Family Birds-of-paradise (Paradisaeidae)

Least Concern

Brown Sicklebill (Epimachus meyeri)


French: Paradisier de Meyer German: Braunbauch-Paradieshopf Spanish: Ave del paraíso de Meyer

Epimachus Meyeri

Finsch and A. B. Meyer

, 1885,

Hufeisengebirge [Horseshoe Mountains = Mount Maguli], south-eastern New Guinea


Hybridization unrecorded in wild, but species crossed with Astrapia mayeri in captivity. Geographical variation generally clinal, and species treated as monotypic by some authors#R; differences in size and plumage, however, here considered sufficient to warrant recognition of races. Proposed race megarhynchus (Gebroeders Mts, in Weyland Range) included in albicans. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • E. m. albicans (van Oort, 1915) – C Cordillera of New Guinea from Weyland Mts E to Hindenburg Mts and Victor Emanuel Mts.
  • E. m. bloodi Mayr & Gilliard, 1951 – mountains of E New Guinea from at least Mt Hagen and Mt Giluwe (probably from Doma Peaks/Tari region) E to Kratke Range just W of Watut/Tauri Gap.
  • E. m. meyeri Finsch & A. B. Meyer, 1885 – mountains of SE New Guinea E from Mt Missim (E of Watut/Tauri Gap) and Ekuti Range.
  • Descriptive notes

    Male 49 cm (96 cm including central rectrices), 144–310 g; female 52 cm, 140–202 g. Large paradisaeid with long, sickle-shaped bill and long, graduated tail with... read more


    Advertisement song of male sounds like a burst of automatic machine-gun fire, with slight... read more


    Middle and upper montane forests, including moss forest, also disturbed forest, secondary growth... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits (mainly drupes), also arthropods and small vertebrates, in fairly equal proportions. Fruits and arthropods fed to nestlings. Forages... read more


    At least Apr–Jan; males with gonads moderately enlarged in Jan–Feb, Apr and Jun and much enlarged in Jul–Dec, female with... read more


    Presumed resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Restricted range species: present in Central Papuan Mountains EBA. CITES II. Common to abundant over much, if not most, of range; uncommon or absent... read more

    Recommended citation

    Frith, C. & Frith, D. (2020). Brown Sicklebill (Epimachus meyeri). 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 25 February 2020).