Family Birds-of-paradise (Paradisaeidae)

Least Concern

Black Sicklebill (Epimachus fastosus)


French: Paradisier fastueux German: Schwarzbauch-Paradieshopf Spanish: Ave del paraíso fastuosa

Promerops fastuosus

[sic] Hermann

, 1783,

Arfak Mountains, New Guinea


Intergeneric hybridization recorded with Lophorina superba, Paradigalla carunculata and Astrapia nigra. Geographical variation slight and perhaps matched by that within populations, and species sometimes treated as monotypic#R; however, calls reported as being regionally distinct#R; study required. Proposed race stresemanni (Schraderberg, in Sepik Mts) included in atratus. Species name often listed as “fastuosus”, but this spelling explicitly corrected by original author on later page of same work. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. f. fastosus (Hermann, 1783) – Vogelkop (Tamrau Mts and Arfak Mts), in NW New Guinea.
  • E. f. atratus (Rothschild & E. J. O. Hartert, 1911) – mountains of Wandammen Peninsula, and C Cordillera E to Kratke Range, in E New Guinea.
  • E. f. ultimus Diamond, 1969 – Bewani Mts (Menawa) and Torricelli Mts (Mt Somoro), in N New Guinea.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 63 cm (110 cm including central rectrices), 250–318 g; female 55 cm, 160–255 g. Large paradisaeid with long, sickle-shaped bill and greatly elongated central... read more


    Advertisement calls of males regionally variable, but best known is loud ringing, upslurred whip-... read more


    Middle montane forest, occasionally at forest edge, mostly in primary forest; more rarely in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits and animals in about equal proportion; animal food includes insects and small vertebrates. Forages primarily in middle and upper... read more


    Breeds at least Nov–Feb (wet season); males with enlarged gonads Apr–Sept, a female with large eggs in oviduct early Feb (... read more


    No information.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Mostly uncommon or rare; apparently locally common but at low density above 1800 m on Mt Bosavi; thought to be common in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Frith, C. & Frith, D. (2020). Black Sicklebill (Epimachus fastosus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 February 2020).