Stephanie’s Astrapia – Connection to Indigenous Cosmologies
Digging beneath the surface, the sacredness of mountains and forests, aesthetics, the value of beauty, beauty for beauty’s sake, a connection to royalty, stories and folklore surrounding Princesses, a connection to Indigenous and New Guinea cosmology, forest wisdom, a connection to tree wights and sky gods, being concerned with status.
The Princess Stephanie’s astrapia, is a bird of paradise found in the Astrapia genus (of which there are five species, all endemic to New Guinea). Stephanie’s astrapia was named after Princess Stephanie of Belgium, after its discovery in 1884. It is a medium-sized astrapia, with patches of iridescence, a long tail, and as is usual for many birds of paradise – the female is distinctly duller than the male. They primarily eat insects, lizards, amphibians and fruit. They have cryptic habits, living in dense forests in hard to reach regions. Astrapias are able to interbreed, and produce different hybrids (which they also do with at least one member of the sicklebill family).