9 Stunning Birds of Paradise ...


9 Stunning Birds of Paradise ...
9 Stunning Birds of Paradise ...

The birds of paradise are some of the most colorful in the world and they are also well known for their carefully choreographed courtship displays that are sometimes quite comedic. As with all birds, it is the males that enjoy the magnificent plumage and colors, all of which are put to good use to wooing the lady birds. An endless source of fascination for all lovers of wildlife and nature, the birds of paradise are aptly named.

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Wilson’s Bird-of-Paradise

When you think of birds of paradise, it is brightly colored plumage that springs to mind. There’s no doubting that the jewel colors of Wilson’s bird-of-paradise marks it out as one of the species. Indeed, so bright are the markings that the bird’s blue head is visible at night. Its other distinguishing mark is the curlicue silver tail. Wilson’s is one of the smaller species and its habitat is the West Papua islands of Indonesia.


Greater Bird-of-Paradise

With one of the showier and biggest plumages of the species, the Greater bird-of-paradise is one of the bigger species too, growing up to 17 inches (without the tail feathers). It lives in South West New Guinea and the Aru Islands of Indonesia on fruit, seeds and insects, and when it comes to the mating dance, this guy really knows how to shake his tail feathers.


Twelve-Wired Bird-of-Paradise

With a courtship dance of choreography worthy of a music video, the Twelve-wired bird-of-paradise is a balletic little fellow who makes his home in the lowland forests of Salawati Island and New Guinea. It is named so precisely for the wire-like filaments that emerge from the rear of his back plumes and which are used to tickle and tease the female during the mating dance.


This dazzling performer combines vivid hues of black, yellow, and red to put on a true spectacle. His distinct back plumes stand out as the centerpiece during his elaborate mating rituals. The female, a spectator to this dance, watches as the male meticulously shakes his twelve wires in a rhythmic pattern that is nothing short of mesmerizing. Natural selection, it seems, has choreographed a romantic display where the most compelling entertainer wins the heart – and the genes – of his counterpart.


Magnificent Riflebird

One of the lesser-colored birds of paradise, the magnificent Riflebird's distinguishing feature is the bank of iridescent feathers that extends from its throat to its chest. This charmer grows about a foot in length and lives on a diet of fruits and arthropods in the forests of New Guinea and Northeastern Australia. The male courtship dance consists of hopping and displaying his shield of magnificent plumes.


Western Parotia

The Western Parotia is the street dancer of the bird world. With nimble moves worthy of a ballerina, the male bird seriously has the hip hop vibe as he displays his golden-green breast and silver crown. The arterial elongated breast plumes and the three spatulate head wires tremble as he dances, all adding to the attraction to the female birds. The Western Parotia performs on the stages of Vogelkop in Indonesia and western New Guinea.


King of Saxony Bird-of-Paradise

The King of Saxony is immediately recognizable by his two occipital plumes which are extraordinarily long compared to the bird’s body length. Their length makes them prized among the tribesmen of the mountains of New Guinea but the birds haven’t been hunted extensively so as to affect their numbers greatly. The feathers come into play during the courtship dance which comes with a bout of branch bouncing and an accompaniment of a distinctive cry that leads locals to call it the kiss-a-ba bird.


King Bird-of-Paradise

One of the smallest and most brightly colored of the birds of paradise, the aptly named King, is also one of the most numerous, widely distributed among the island forest of New Guinea. Recognized by its cottonball white breast plumage, its distinguishing feature is the two elongated tail feathers finished off with pompoms. These tail wires are widely employed in the mating dance, bobbing around and standing tall according to the bird’s strictly choreographed routine.


Lesser Bird-of-Paradise

Can you believe something this gorgeous is called “lesser”? The lesser is a cousin of the Greater bird-of-paradise and is of similar make up but of different colors and being smaller in stature. Like its cousin, it too has magnificent tail plumage which is used to great showy effects during the courtship ritual. It is one of the wider ranging birds of paradise, making its home in the forests of New Guinea and some islands of Indonesia.


Superb Bird-of-Paradise

I know you wouldn’t normally associate such an appearance with birds of paradise – in fact, all black is very bland for this particular species. But, watch the video and something magical (and also somewhat comical) happens when the male puts on his display to capture his lady. First of all the male bird clears his stage – scrubbing the dirt and clearing away leaf and twig debris. Then his cape unfolds and his iridescent breast shield is revealed in a dazzle of color to impress his would-be lady. One of the most common species, the Superb inhabits the forests of New Guinea.

I can sit and watch the crazy (but significant) antics of the beautiful birds of paradise for hours. Are you as impressed and as fascinated too?

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