Lawess parotia

Parotia lawesii subfamily

Paradisaeinae taxonomy

Parotia lawesii Ramsay, 1885, Astrolabe Mountains (subsequently defined as the Aruma Apa-Maguli Mountains, Owen Stanley Range, Papua New Guinea). Two subspecies.

other common names

English: Lawes's six-wired bird of paradise, Lawes's six-wired parotia, Lawes's six-plumed bird of paradise, Helena's parotia; French: Paradisier de Lawes; German: Blaunacken-Paradeisvogel; Spanish: Perotia de Lawes.

physical characteristics

9.8 in (25 cm); female 0.27-0.37 lb (122-169 g), male 0.34-0.43 lb (153-195 g). Entirely jet black with short tail. Head decorated with a silvery tuft over base of bill and a frontal crest of dark coppery feathers. Behind each eye are three long, black, wire-like occipital plumes with circular tips. Breast shield of scale-like feathers has highly iridescent yellows, greens, and violets. Female have brown upperparts, black head

Lawes Parotia

to nape, banded orange and blackish underparts, and lack occipital plumes.


The eastern third of New Guinea's central cordillera, entirely within Papua New Guinea. P. l. lawesii: western and southern highlands of Papua New Guinea southeastward into peninsular Papua New Guinea; P. l. helenae: the northern watershed of peninsular Papua New Guinea, from Waria southeast to Milne Bay. Found between altitudes of 1,640-7,540 ft (500-2,300 m).


Midmontane forests including primary mixed oak forest, disturbed forest, secondary growth, and remnant forest patched even within extensive village gardens.


Males clear a terrestrial court to dance upon in courtship display. Courts are typically dispersed to form exploded leks, but some are solitary. Males advertisement-sing from court perches or the forest canopy above but remain mostly silent when interacting with females. Flight swift and buoyant, consisting of four audible wingbeats followed by a short glide.

feeding ecology and diet

Omnivorous, but very predominantly frugivorous. Tears epiphytic growth from tree limbs to find arthropods.

reproductive biology

Polygynous, with promiscuous, solitary, males and exclusively female nest attendance. Breeds June through January. Nests, built in large trees and vine tangles, consist of a substatial but relatively shallow open cup. Only single egg clutches recorded.

conservation status

Not threatened. Widespread, common, and tolerant of habitat disturbance.

significance to humans

Plumes of adult males are worn as wig/head dress by highland men. ♦

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