While exploring for new faux birds of paradise, we were shocked and delighted to find a good, healthy specimen of a black-maned liontail bird of paradise in breeding plumage.
On the rugged coastline of the Matako-Smith island, lives the rare black-maned liontail bird of paradise. The male is a strikingly coloured bird, but spends the majority of its life living in the similarly coloured stoneleaf tree, and so is frequently hard to spot, and well-camouflaged. Like all maned liontail birds of paradise, the female is drably coloured, with only a blush of red on her wings. The black-maned liontail is said to be possessed of a curse by locals, and unlike many other birds of paradise, he is not hunted for his feathers or his meat.
The maned liontails are related to the moon-sickles, but possess a unique physiological behaviour. Males grow a profuse, luscious ‘mane’ before every breeding season. The larger the mane, the more likely he is to secure a mate. Upon doing so, he allows the female to guide him back to her nest, where she plucks every individual mane feather to line her nest. The feathers increase the warmth for offspring, and in turn, the larger the mane; the larger the chance of survival during the cold, Winter months.
You have to tilt your heads to really get the full impact of the iridescence, but when you do!