Wahnes's Parotia Parotia wahnesi


Justification of Red List Category
This species has been downlisted to Near Threatened. The population is estimated to be small but it is not thought to be undergoing a continuing decline; it almost meets the requirements for listing as threatened under criterion C2a(i). 

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
No new data are available to calculate population trends. It was previously suspected to be in moderate decline owing to habitat loss within its range, however doubts about the likelihood of any substantial declines in the habitat and population of this species have recently arisen (B. Beehler in litt. 2012).

Distribution and population

This species is known from the mountains of the Huon Peninsula and the Adelbert Mountains in Papua New Guinea. Its abundance varies from locally common in the Cromwell range (Coates 1990, W. Betz in litt. 1999) and regularly encountered in the YUS ecosystem of the Saruwaged range (B. Beehler in litt. 2012), to rare in the Adelberts (Pratt 1982, Eastwood and Gregory 1995). Records from Satop report three birds seen in three days in 1994 (compared to 16 A. rothschildi) (Eastwood and Gregory 1995). This species has a very narrow elevational distribution, most of which in the Huon Peninsula remains old growth forest.


It is found in mid-montane forest between 1,100-1,700 m on the Huon Peninsula and between 1,300-1,600 m in the Adelberts. It forages actively and noisily in the subcanopy, probing ephiphytes and moss for arthropods, and also feeds on fruit. One or more adult males display on a cleared arena on the forest floor.


These mid-montane altitudes are favoured by local people for settlement and agriculture. Whilst this region does not have a high population density, the human population is expanding rapidly and clearing areas of forest within the species's range (I. Burrows in litt. 1994, W. Betz in litt. 1999). However, this forest loss currently remains fairly minimal (B. Beehler in litt. 2012). It is known to forage near active gardens and appears to be tolerant of human activities (W. Betz in litt. 1999), as is the better-known Lawes's Parotia P. lawesii. However, these observations may just represent feeding excursions from nearby undisturbed forest. There is no evidence that it is hunted for plumes or food (Frith and Beehler 1998, W. Betz in litt. 1999, B. Beehler in litt. 2012).

Conservation actions

Conservation and Research Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It is protected by law in Papua New Guinea. The Tree Kangaroo Conservation Project is working in and proposing a large conservation area in northern Huon (W. Betz in litt. 1999).

Conservation a
nd Research Actions Proposed
Survey other mountain ranges on the Huon peninsula which have not been visited recently. Estimate population densities and sizes at known sites. Investigate tolerance of secondary habitats for both foraging and breeding. Assess forest clearance rates between 1,100-1,700 m. Investigate population trends through interviews with local villagers. Discuss creation of locally-managed forest reserves. Run awareness and education programmes for landowners.


43 cm. Long-tailed parotia. Male, glossy black with metallic breast shield, golden nasal tufts, six long, racket-tipped crown plumes and blue-and-white eyes. Female has black head with pale supercilium, rufous upperparts and finely barred underparts. Similar spp. Other Parotia spp. are extralimital. Huon Astrapia Astrapia rothschildi has longer, blunt-tipped tail. Superb Bird-of-paradise Lophorina superba is smaller with short, square tail. Voice Harsh, double cockatoo-like roar khh kaakkk and nasal twitterings. Hints Can be seen around Satop Village with permission and help of villagers.


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

Betz, W., Burrows, I. & Beehler, B.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Parotia wahnesi. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/07/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/07/2019.