Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is proud habitat for the beautiful paradise rifle bird.
The paradise riflebird is found in temperate and subtropical rainforests east of the Great Dividing Range. This loud calling, but seldom seen bird is related to the bird of paradise group of Papua New Guinea.
Both birds are approximately 28 - 30cm but as a sexually dimorphic species the female and male birds have very different appearances. The adult male is jet black with an iridescent blue-green crown and breast. When its black wings are raised in elaborate courtship the oily blue-green under-feathers are revealed. Adult females are rufous-brown above and with light-cinnamon underparts patterned with with dark brown chevrons.
In spring the male displays and calls from a chosen branch high in the canopy. His drawn out ‘yaaarss' can be heard above all other birds. The mating season runs from September through January. The female builds her nest and raises the young riflebirds alone, and is known to wrap snake skin around it perhaps to scare away predators.
Paradise riflebirds actively forage up tree-trunks and branches searching for insects, spiders and centipedes. Its long curved bill is perfect for prying invertebrates out of their hidden places.
Ask one of the friendly Rainforest Discovery Centre guides about where the rifelbirds are likely to be seen. With luck you'll get a glimpse of this spectacular bird - the emblem of our Reserve.