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18 October, 2023

Discover the display and dancing of Victoria’s Riflebird

The Atherton Tablelands is home to a spectacular diversity of wonderful and unusual animals and birds.

Discover the display and dancing of Victoria’s Riflebird - feature photo

One of the most captivating of these is Victoria’s riflebird (Ptiloris victoriae) – a species of Bird-of-Paradise found only in the Wet Tropics. Like other Birds-of-Paradise, males are adorned with ornate feathers and perform elaborate courtship displays or ‘dances’ to woo females.

While these fascinating displays were first observed by Western naturalists in the 19th century, we still know very little about how they are performed and why females find them so attractive. 

Since these magnificent birds have been studied very little in the wild, there are many questions left unanswered. How are the displays choreographed? What kind of perceptual effects do they have for females? Do males adjust their displays depending on what females see, and what are the general features that define successful performances? 

While each of these questions is relevant to adults, immature males display too, but they do so to practice. However, instead of displaying to females, immature males display to each other. Even less is known about these young bachelors than their adult counterparts, which makes them another fascinating topic for study. 

The BirdLife Northern Queensland Branch invites all interested people to a free talk at the Malanda Hotel this Thursday 19 October. 

The presentation starts at 7.30pm and will be given by Thomas MacGillvray who is a PhD student currently researching the display behaviour of Victoria’s Riflebird. 

Come along and find out more about these local, endemic, beautiful, intelligent and appealing birds. Further Information contact Peter Valentine on 0427 634 136.


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