The King of Saxony Bird of Paradise, Pteridophora alberti, is a small, approximately 22cm long, passerine of the Paradisaeidae family. It is the only member in monotypic genus Pteridophora. The adult male is a black and yellow bird of paradise with a dark brown iris, black bill, brownish-grey legs, aqua green mouth, and two remarkably long, scalloped, enamel blue brow plumes that can be erected at the bird's will. So bizarre are its ornamental head plumes that, when the first specimen was brought to Europe, this bird was thought to be a fake. The unadorned female is a greyish brown bird with barred below.
Pteridophora alberti, male - AMNH
The King of Saxony Bird of Paradise is distributed to the cloud forests of New Guinea. Its diet consists mainly of fruits, berries and arthropods.
The name commemorates the German King Albert of Saxony.
Although males of King of Saxony Bird of Paradise are hunted for its highly prized long plumes, used by natives for ceremonial purposes, it is a common species throughout its large habitat range. The King of Saxony Bird of Paradise is considered as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is listed on Appendix II of CITES.
- Molted head-plumes of the King of Saxony Bird of Paradise in good condition are sought out by male Archbold's Bowerbirds for use as decorations, and in turn collected from the courtship bowers by humans.
- In 1996, David Attenborough filmed the first ever footage of the mating ritual of the King of Saxony Bird of Paradise.