Goldie's Bird-of-paradise Paradisaea decora


Justification of Red List Category
This species has been uplisted to Vulnerable because its population is estimated to be very small, thus not as numerous as previously thought, probably existing in two small subpopulations, and inferred to be in decline owing to continued habitat loss and degradation.

Population justification
Recent data suggest that the population may be very small, being estimated at only c.650 individuals, with a maximum of 500 individuals on Fergusson Island, and c.150 individuals on Normanby Island (D. Mitchell in litt. 2008). Based on these estimates, the total number of mature individuals is estimated at 450, with c.350 on Fergusson Island.

Trend justification
Surveys of the populations on Fergusson and Normanby indicate declines of c.20% from c.1997 to 2007 (D. Mitchell in litt. 2008). Satellite imagery suggests that 4.8% forest in the species' range has been lost over three generations (Tracewski et al. 2016). Until further data are available the rate of decline over three generations (27 years) is conservatively suspected to be 25-29%

Distribution and population

Paradisaea decora is restricted to Fergusson (1,340 km2) and Normanby (1,040 km2) in the D'Entrecasteaux archipelago of east Papua New Guinea. Populations are scattered across this range. It has been described as fairly common (LeCroy et al. 1984); however, recent research indicates that the total population numbers as few as c.650 individuals, with a maximum of 500 individuals on Fergusson Island (at Maybole Mountain, Oya Tabu Mountain, Edagwaba Mountain, Sebutuia Bay lowlands, Lavu Lowlands and Lamonai), and 150 individuals on Normanby Island (at Lomitawa, Mount Solomonai, inland Sewa, Lonana and Mount Hobia) (D. Mitchell in litt. 2008). Surveys of the two presumed sub-populations (on Fergusson and Normanby) indicate declines of c.20% from c.1997 to 2007 (D. Mitchell in litt. 2008).


It occurs in forest between 300 m and at least 750 m, occasionally down to near the coast (Beehler and Pratt 2016). It appears to inhabit secondary regrowth and forest edge, suggesting some tolerance of logging (Coates 1990, Frith and Beehler 1998). It does not occur in heavily degraded forest, but does occur in recovering selectively logged forest, and returns to regrowth forest that was cut for subsistence gardens after 20-30 years of regrowth (D. Mitchell in litt. 2016).  


Habitat loss and degradation through commercial logging, mineral exploration and clearance for agriculture are on-going threats. As of 2016, the resumption of logging in the East Fergusson Timber Rights Purchase Areas was in its second of fifth year of logging (D. Mitchell in litt. 2016). On Normanby Island, mineral exploration (gold) is taking place in proximity to populations of this species. In other areas on Normanby, the expansion of subsistence agriculture has recently resulted in the replacement of previously occupied habitat with gardens (D. Mitchell in litt. 2013). On Fergusson Island mineral exploration (nickel) is taking place in proximity to populations of this species (D. Mitchell in litt. 2016)

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. This species has been the subject of monitoring work in recent years (D. Mitchell in litt. 2008, 2013).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue to monitor the population at selected sites. Further research its tolerance of degraded forest. Production of interactive workbook materials on the life history requirements and management requirements of the species to be distributed across its known range. Work towards the protection of areas of remaining primary forest. Lobby against large-scale development of forested areas on the islands where the species occurs. Limit logging and any mining operations through agreements between landowners, government and the private sector.



Text account compilers
Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Mitchell, D.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Paradisaea decora. Downloaded from on 21/10/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/10/2019.