Rufous Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone cinnamomea Scientific name definitions

Pamela C. Rasmussen, Kees Moeliker, Josep del Hoyo, David Christie, and Nigel Collar
Version: 2.0 — Published May 20, 2022

Plumages, Molts, and Structure



Juvenile plumage is poorly known. A possible juvenile photographed in the hand but in poor light had notably duller, browner plumage overall than adults, with minimal orbital ring enlargement and a mostly dusky, paler-based bill. Plumage maturation of males and whether tail streamer length increases with age is unknown.


Adult males and females differ mainly in the size of eye wattles, the depth of coloration on the belly, and the presence versus total absence of tail streamers, but some individuals are still difficult to assign to sex, unlike most members of the genus Terpsiphone.

Female. Similar to male in being entirely bright pale orange rufous, but paler than male, especially on the belly. No elongated central rectrices.

Male. Entirely bright orange rufous, a little darker on the slightly crested head, with elongated central tail feathers of variable length.



A young bird (KUBI 114607) with bursa 4 mm x 2.5 mm and skull unossified had molt of the entire body on 17 June in southeastern Luzon. An immature (bursa 3 mm x 2 mm, skull 40% ossified; KUBI 114727) was in molt of breast and back on 8 April at Pasonanca, Mindanao. A young bird from Samar (KUBI 123413) was in heavy molt on 16 June.

An unsexed, unaged bird (KUBI 119152) at Mount Cagua, Luzon was in body and wing molt on 21 July.


A molting bird from Polillo photographed in the hand (labeled juvenile but appears to be adult; date not given) had the entire head in pin feathers. An adult female on Polillo (KUBI 119631) was molting body, wing, and tail on 31 July.

Bare Parts

Bill and Gape

Bill grayish blue with a black tip and cutting edges. Mouth lining pea green . For the nominate population on Mindanao, soft part colors of a female were recorded as "bill greyish-cobalt, shading into black at the tip" (1).

Iris and Facial Skin

Iris dark brown. Has a wattle of blue bare skin around the eye. Photographs show great variability in degree of development of eye wattles, from barely perceptible to very large, especially below the eye. An in-depth study is needed to document whether this is age, seasonal, geographic, or individual variation. Moreover, some individuals appear to have eye wattles and bill that are paler, more turquoise blue than others, but color controlled data are needed here. For the nominate population of Mindanao, soft part colors of a female were recorded as "[i]ris very dark brown, rim of eyelids cobalt-blue" (1).

Tarsi and Toes

Legs are typically blue-gray but for the nominate population of Mindanao, the feet are described as "grayish cobalt" (1).


Linear Measurements

Rufous Paradise-Flycatcher (Southern)

18–21 cm long (male up to approximately 25 cm when elongated central rectrices included).

Specimens from Samar (3 males, 1 female) had the following measurements:

Wing Chord: Males - 84.5-92.5 mm, female - 81.5 mm (2).

Culmen from base: Males - 22-24 mm, female - 21 mm (2).

Rufous Paradise-Flycatcher (Northern)

21.5 cm long (males up to at least 30.5 cm when elongated central rectrices included).


Rufous Paradise-Flycatcher (Southern)

19.4–25.5 g.

Weights of birds from Samar given as: males, 21.2-23.1 g, female, 19.4 g (2)

Additional males from Samar: 18 g (KUBI 131900) and 22.2 g (KUBI 123414).

Rufous Paradise-Flycatcher (Northern)

18–27 g.

A female from Luzon weighed 21.9 g (3).

Recommended Citation

Rasmussen, P. C., K. Moeliker, J. del Hoyo, D. A. Christie, and N. Collar (2022). Rufous Paradise-Flycatcher (Terpsiphone cinnamomea), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (N. D. Sly, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.rupfly1.02