Family Satinbirds (Cnemophilidae)

Least Concern

Red Satinbird (Cnemophilus sanguineus)


French: Cnémophile rouge German: Feuersamtvogel Spanish: Ave del paraíso crestada roja

Cnemophilus macgregorii sanguineus


, 1948,

Kumdi, Mt Hagen district


Hitherto treated as conspecific with C. macgregorii, but differs in male’s flame-red vs orange-tinged yellow upper body (3); black vs brown bill (2); mid-brownish-purple vs dark-edged buffy crown plumes (2); and darker-shaded, more rufous-tinged tail and outer vanes of wings (ns[1]); also marginally longer wings and shorter tail#R (differences trivial). Birds on Kratke Mts may be intermediate#R, while those from Kubor Mts (E New Guinea) have sometimes been separated as race kuboriensis. Monotypic.


Mountains of E New Guinea (Kaijende Highlands, Mt Giluwe and Mt Hagen region E to at least Bismarck Mts and Kubor Range); also undiagnosed population in highlands of C New Guinea (N of L Habbema)#R.

Descriptive notes

24 cm; male 94–120 g, female 79–125 g. Upper ridge of culmen broadly flat towards skull, gape wide, tail graduated. Male has erectile (usually concealed) sagittal crest of 4–... read more


Not very vocal. Male emits loud hisses, as well as series of repeated dull clicking sounds and a... read more


Upper montane and subalpine forest and forest edge, including second growth, disturbed vegetation... read more

Food and feeding

Diet almost entirely of fruits (e.g. Zygogynum argentia, Timonius belensis, Riedelia sp., Rapanea... read more


Season Aug–Jan in EC highlands; display season undefined, but birds with enlarged gonads in Jun–Nov on Mt Hagen, courting well established... read more


Few data. Limited information suggests that numbers of individuals above 2600 m on Mt Giluwe... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Restricted-range species: present in Central Papuan Mountains EBA. CITES II. Secretive habits limit meaningful assessment of... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2018). Red Satinbird (Cnemophilus sanguineus). 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 21 October 2018).