It is 34cm-long, maroon-brown with greyish-blue bill, yellow iris and greyish-brown feet.
The male has a yellow crown, dark emerald-green throat and yellow collar between the throat and its blackish upper breast feathers. It is adorned with a pair of long black tail wires and large flank plumes.
The female is a comparatively drab maroonish-brown-colored bird.
The ornamental flank plumes vary from red to orange in color, depending on subspecies.
- The nominate subspecies, P. r. raggiana has the deepest red plumes, while
- subspecies P. r. augustavictoriae also known as the Empress of Germany’s Bird of Paradise of northeast New Guinea has apricot-orange plumes
- BreedingThe breeding system of the Raggiana Bird of Paradise is polygamy. Males congregate in leks (a display arena for visiting females). Leks can be 30-100 meters in diameter. Within the lek there is a group of tall slender trees, competition for prominent perches and these are defended by the males from rivals. On these perches males do a display which involves clapping wings and shaking head. The female usually lays up to two pinkish buff eggs.