Emperor Bird-of-paradise Paradisaea guilielmi


Justification of Red List category
Although locally common, this species has a small range that is experiencing ongoing habitat loss and degradation. It is therefore listed as Near Threatened.

Population justification
The population size of this species has not been quantified, but it is described as fairly common (Frith and Beehler 1998).

Trend justification
Although it is reported to be tolerant of secondary and degraded forest (Coates 1990, Frith and Beehler 1998, W. Betz in litt. 1999), forest degradation around Boana village has led to a major decline, coincident with an increase in Raggiana Bird-of-paradise P. raggiana (P. Gregory in litt. 1999).
There are no data on population trends; however, the species is suspected to undergo a slow decline owing to habitat degradation by clearance for subsistence gardens by the growing local population. Remote sensing data (Global Forest Watch 2022, based on data from Hansen et al. [2013] and methods disclosed therein) indicate that in the three generations to 2021, forest cover extent in the species' mapped range reduced by c.5% and this is suspected to have had an approximately proportional impact on the population size. Such rates of reduction are suspected to continue into the future. The species is replaced in degraded forest by P. raggiana and P. minor.

Distribution and population

Paradisaea guilielmi is endemic to the Huon peninsula of Papua New Guinea where it is widespread and relatively common. At lower elevations it has been replaced in the east of its range by P. raggiana and in the west by P. minor (Beehler and Pratt 2016).


It inhabits forest from 670-1,350 m, sometimes from 450-1,500 m, throughout the peninsula (Frith and Beehler 1998). It is occasionally also found in gardens and shade coffee plantations (Beehler and Pratt 2016). Nests are deep cups made of vines and tendrils, lined with leaves, with a clutch size of 1-2 eggs (Pratt and Beehler 2015).


The principal threat to this species is forest loss and degradation; the latter appears to bring it into contact with the competitively dominant P. raggiana, which eventually replaces it. There appears to be a small demand for its plumes by local people and traders, but leks still survive within villages (W. Betz in litt. 1999) and this is not thought to be contributing to population declines.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. No direct action is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Regularly monitor the population at selected sites. Further research its reported tolerance of degraded forest, and its interactions with P. raggiana. Protect significant areas of remaining primary forest on the Huon peninsula.


Text account compilers
Berryman, A.

Betz, W. & Gregory, P.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Paradisaea guilielmi. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/emperor-bird-of-paradise-paradisaea-guilielmi on 01/03/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org on 01/03/2024.