Birds of Paradise are found in Australia, New Guinea and surrounding islands. Although numerous species display hybridization (Fuller, 1979), few studies have been conducted.

Frith and Frith (1996a; 1996b) describe several hybrids, such as Superb Bird-of-Paradise (Lophorina superba) x Queen Carola’s Parotia (Parotia carolae) and Lawes’ Parotia (Parotia lawesii) x Blue Bird-of-Paradise (Paradisaea rudolphi).

In a collection hybrid eggs were discovered (Mayer & Peckover, 1991). Unfortunately, only the male parent is known, namely Ribbon-tailed Astrapia (Astrapia mayeri).

The birds of Paradise exhibit diverse colour patterns and courtship displays. Paradoxically, hybridization is relatively common. Martin (2015) presents the view that persistent but infrequent hybridization among species that differ markedly in prezygotic isolation traits (such as colour patterns) represent the signature of historical reinforcement.

Ribbon-tailed Astrapia (Astrapia mayeri).

Ribbon-tailed Astrapia (Astrapia mayeri).


Frith, C. B. & Frith, D. W. (1996a). Description of the unique Parotia lawesii Paradisaea rudolphi hybrid bird of paradise (Aves: Passeriformes: Paradisaeidae). Records of the Australian Museum 48, 111-116.

Frith, C. B. & Frith, D. W. (1996b). The unique type specimen of the bird of paradise Lophorina superba pseudoparotia Stresemann 1934 (Paradisaeidae): A hybrid of Lophorina superba x Parotia carolae. Journal Fur Ornithologie 137, 515-521.

Fuller, E. (1979). Hybridization amongst the Paradisaeidae. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club 99, 145-152.

Martin, P. R. (2015). The paradox of the Birds-of-Paradise: persistent hybridization as a signature of historical reinforcement. Ideas in Ecology and Evolution 8.

Mayer, F. W. S. & Peckover, W. S. (1991). Eggs of Hybrid Shaw Mayer Bird of Paradise – the Ribbontail Astrapia-Mayeri X. Emu 91, 189-189.

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