The Black Sicklebill also called (Epimachus fastosus) is a big bird of heaven in the mid-mountain forests of New Guinea. The lovely sickle bill’s diet contains mostly fruits and arthropods. The male of the species is polygamous and does a horizontal courtship display with the pectoral plumes raised around its head.
In the wild, the bird has hybridized with the “Arfak Astrapia” to make offspring that were once considered two distinctive species, Elliot’s sicklebill (Epimachus ellioti) and the “Astrapian sicklebill” (Astrapimachus astrapioides).
Both species are usually viewed by most mainstream ornithologists as hybrids, but a minority of ornithologists consider “Ellioti” may be a valid species. Because of constant habitat loss, insignificant population size, and hunting in some areas for food and its tail feathers, the black sicklebill is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The lovely Black Sicklebills are patchily distributed in the mountainous areas of western and central New Guinea.
From the Tamrau and Arfak Mountains in Vogelkop of Papua (previously Irian Jaya Indonesia) to the Kubor and Kratke ranges and some localities in the Torricelli and Bewani mountains in Papua New Guinea. The Black Sicklebills are in the vicinity common, for instance on Mount Bosavi and the Arfak Mountains, and often scarce to rare or locally absent.
This bird of paradise classically occur in the mid-montane forests at 1,280-2,550 m but may move to lower or higher elevations. They mainly occur in primary forests and are less regularly recorded in nearby secondary growth and gardens.
The Black Sicklebill is the leading plumbed member of its family, including the tail, the male species is an average of 100 cm in length, and the female species around 48 cm. These birds of paradise have long, down-curved bills and very long tails.
The male has habitually black plumage with glossy green, blue and purple scale-like feathers. He has beautiful red eyes, a bright yellow mouth, and a long curved black bill. The bird has a most distinguishing feature is the huge saber-shaped tail and large fan-like plumes on the sides of his chest.
The female species is less than the male. Her plumage is habitually reddish-brown, with chestnut wing-feather fringes and fine, dark brown barring on her off-white underparts, while her eyes are red-brown.
The Black Sicklebill looks like to the Brown Sicklebill (which replaces it at higher elevations) but can be distinguished by the finer, more de-curved bill and pale blue eyes. However, the male is browner and the female doesn’t have any chestnut coloration on her wings. The Buff-tailed Sicklebill has a short, rounded tail. Female Arfak Astrapia has a short bill.
The Black Sicklebills hunt for fruit and small animals in the tree canopy; as well as probing into moss and plants for insects and other arthropods, like crabs, lice, shrimp, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, and millipedes. Therefore, males make paired, sharp, liquid Quik, and simple nasal contact calls.
The Black Sicklebills do not shape strong pair bonds. The male will mate with quite a lot of females over the breeding season. In order to entice females, he usually performs a horizontal courtship display with the pectoral plumes raised around his head. The female bird builds the nestand attends to the young alone.
The Black Sicklebills have hybridized with the Arfak Astrapia in the wild, making offspring that were once well-thought-out a separate species, the Elliot’s Sicklebill, Epimachus ellioti. However, few believe this was a valid species that is perhaps critically endangered or extinct; it is often considered a hybrid by most mainstream ornithologists.