Fun Magnificent Riflebird Facts For Kids

Arkoprabho Sadhu
Aug 31, 2023 By Arkoprabho Sadhu
Originally Published on Oct 14, 2021
Magnificent riflebird facts explain their characteristics and distribution.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.6 Min

The magnificent riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus) is a velvet black, ornate bird that is part of the Paradisaeidae family.

The male has elongated black flank plumes, a dazzling blue-green crown, a curved bill, and a wide, breast shield that is triangular shaped. The female is less extravagant as they are brownish and have dark spots.

Their diet mainly consists of fruits as well as insects and oftentimes, small animals. They are not the primary prey for any predator. Their habitat is quite hospitable, which is why this species has very elaborate mating rituals where the male is expected to perform a courtship dance to attract the female.

These displays consist of the male fully extending his wings and raising his tail while jumping upward and swinging his head from side to side. He also makes a point to show off his metallic breast shield.

This performance is done in front of multiple females who observe, and if satisfied with the performance, reward the male with mating benefits. The magnificent riflebird can be found in lowland and hill forest areas of New Guinea as well as in the northern Cape York Peninsula in Australia.

Continue reading this article to learn more about the magnificent riflebird habitat, magnificent riflebird diet, and more. For more related content, check out these thrush bird facts and tropical kingbird facts for kids.

Magnificent Riflebird Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a magnificent riflebird?

The magnificent riflebird is classified as a bird of paradise and a member of the family Paradisaeidae of the order Passeriformes. 

What class of animal does a magnificent riflebird belong to?

The magnificent riflebird belongs to the class Aves.

How many magnificent riflebirds are there in the world?

They are widespread in their distribution and relatively common. This is why the magnificent riflebird is listed as a Least Concern species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Where does a magnificent riflebird live?

The magnificent riflebird lives in lowland, hill, and mid montane forests but they can also be found in swamps, forest edges, and gallery forests in and around New Guinea and Cape York (Australia).

What is a magnificent riflebird's habitat?

The magnificent riflebird thrives in swampy areas, with lots of rain, ideally, lowland rainforests.

Who do magnificent riflebirds live with?

These birds live in flocks and prefer to keep to themselves instead of interacting with humans.

How long does a magnificent riflebird live?

Their average lifespan is around five to eight years.

How do they reproduce?

Generally, riflebirds usually lay one to two eggs each that weigh 0.4 oz (10 g) and are incubated for 18 to 20 days. Nestlings are then brooded and fed for up to two weeks.

There is not a lot of information about the incubation and nestling of the magnificent riflebird but it is known that nestlings hatch naked with their eyes closed and stay in the nest until they are fully fledged. In order to attract their mate, male birds perform a mating dance with loud calls.

What is their conservation status?

The magnificent riflebird classifies as Least Concern on the IUCN list due to even distributions, hospitable climate, and lack of serious predators. However, they have been facing a decreasing population trend.

Magnificent Riflebird Fun Facts

What do magnificent riflebirds look like?

The magnificent riflebird is a medium-sized bird. Males are usually much more appealing to look at than females as they sport velvet-black feathers with an iridescent blue-green crown and a curved bill, used to impress females during their mating season.

Alternatively, the magnificent riflebird female does not have this iridescent blue-green crown and is quite plain with brown feathers, spots, and a white brow.

Magnificent riflebird facts cover their diet, habitat, and physical appearance.*We've been unable to source an image of a magnificent riflebird and have used an image of paradise riflebird instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a magnificent riflebird, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How cute are they?

These birds are not conventionally cute however the males can be identified as exotic birds as they sport such bright and illuminating colors.

How do they communicate?

The call of the magnificent riflebird is a three-note whistled phrase that goes along the lines of 'wee-oooo-whittt', similar to human whistles beckoning someone to 'come here'.

How big is a magnificent riflebird?

An average magnificent riflebird weighs around 3.3-8.1 oz (94-230 g) and its length is around 111-13.4 in (28-34 cm). They are bigger than an average fox sparrow.

How fast can a magnificent riflebird fly?

The magnificent riflebird can fly fast enough to escape any predators.

How much does a magnificent riflebird weigh?

On average, these birds can weigh around 3.3-8.1 oz (94-230 g). They are bulkier than a savannah sparrow.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female individuals of this species are referred to as cock and hen respectively.

What would you call a baby magnificent riflebird?

A baby or young magnificent riflebird is called a chick.

What do they eat?

The magnificent riflebird feeds on fruits and small insects.

Are they dangerous?

Just like the grasshopper sparrow, this species is not classified as dangerous since they prefer to stay away from human habitation and are not aggressive towards humans.

Would they make a good pet?

They would not make good pets. Caging them is not recommended as they are used to living in their natural habitat and would not thrive if kept at home, just like the pitta bird.

Did you know...

Birds of paradise are said to have originated 24 to 30 million years ago. They belong to the distribution of passerines that occurred in Australia during the last 60 million years.

The nests of Victoria's riflebirds are often parasitized by the Pacific koel (Eudynamys orientalis).

Mating rituals of the magnificent riflebird have seen much evolution over the years due to the fact that they live in very hospitable conditions and are not threatened by many predators. So, multiple females observe the courting display and if satisfied with the performance they tend to reward the male with mating rights.

If females are unimpressed, they subsequently build nests, incubate, brood, and feed young without a male counterpart. They are one of the only species that has the ability to reject every single mate if they choose to.

How many types of riflebirds are there?

The genus Ptiloris has four species of birds in the family of Paradisaeidae. These birds of paradise are commonly referred to as riflebirds and are named thus for the likeness of their black plumage to the uniform of the Rifle Brigade.

They are commonly found and their range extends to areas in the rainforests of New Guinea and eastern Australia.

Why is it called magnificent riflebird?

These birds of paradise are ordinarily identified as riflebirds because of the similarity between their plumage and the uniform of the Rifle Brigade. The bird's cry also sounds very similar to the sound of firing a rifle and hitting the bull's eye. However, this is very rarely heard.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our sea eagle interesting facts and merlin bird fun facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable spotted catbird coloring pages.

Second image by Dominic Sherony. 

new guinea northeastern australia

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Written by Arkoprabho Sadhu

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Arkoprabho Sadhu picture

Arkoprabho SadhuBachelor of Arts specializing in English

Arkoprabho is an English graduate from Bidhannagar University with experience in academic writing on various subjects such as business management, law, and medicine. He is a published poet and enjoys films, music, and finance. As a member of the Content Updating team, he aims to become an expert in SEO content writing and editing. In his free time, he likes to write film scripts, research the stock market, and indulge in creative interests such as poetry writing, anime, and music.

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