Birds of paradise are a group of birds found in the rainforests of Southeast Asia, mainly in the jungles of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and parts of eastern Australia.
Birds of paradise are best known for the beautiful variety of feathers that exist on male birds of paradise, which the male bird of paradise uses to attract the attention of the females of the surrounding birds of paradise. As with many bird species, bird-of-paradise females are dull in appearance than their male counterparts and are generally smaller and have light brown feathers and have a nightingale-like appearance.
There are around 50 different species of birds of paradise ranging in size from 15cm to over a meter in height. Many of the bird-of-paradise species are extremely rare and are found only in particular habitats and in certain locations. Birds of paradise were unknown to the Western world until 1996 when David Attenborough stunned the world with his images of the amazing birds on a trip to Papua New Guinea.
Many bird-of-paradise species feed on the fruits and berries found in the surrounding forest. Some species, however, are very prone to eating insects and other birds of paradise prefer particular species of spiders.
Birds of Paradise are known to be the most spectacular and attractive birds in the world. The brightly colored plumage of the male birds of paradise contains colors ranging from red to yellow to green, and along with their unique dance moves, the male birds of paradise really stand out on the forest floor.
The beautiful and bright colors of the birds of paradise have made these birds a popular target for both hunters and tribe members who use the brightly colored feathers of the birds of paradise to create clothing and costumes. This practice and tradition have meant a huge decline in the bird-of-paradise population, with some species in worse condition than others.
Birds of paradise tend to be solitary birds and only come together to mate. The male bird of paradise attracts a female bird of paradise using its shiny feathers and perfected dance routine. The female of the bird of paradise lays her eggs in a nest. Unlike many other bird species, birds of paradise can nest at ground level, in trees, or in dense vegetation.
Bird-of-paradise chicks are usually born in 20 days, but the specific incubation period varies by species. Bird-of-paradise chicks are often born without feathers, although some young are born with few. Newborn bird of paradise chicks cannot walk or stand and depend on the bird of paradise for food. Bird-of-paradise chicks are generally independent when they are one month old.
Adult birds of paradise have very few natural predators in the wild, but the most vulnerable bird of paradise chicks are preyed upon by large raptors and the occasional snakes. The main predator of the birds of paradise are humans living in settlements in the same habitat. Birds of paradise are also continually threatened by deforestation and habitat loss.