It's morning on the island of New Guinea, and the lowland forests erupt with the crowing calls of Birds-of-Paradise. Male Raggiana Birds-of-Paradise perform elaborate displays to attract females, sometimes even hanging upside-down with their wings pointing upward. Forty-three species of Birds-of-Paradise are found on or near New Guinea.
There's a world of birds out there -- Learn more about Birds-of-Paradise at Cornell's Bird of Paradise Project website.
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote!
[Ambient New Guinea forest and Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise crowing at lek]
It’s early morning on the island of New Guinea. The lowland forest erupts with the crowing calls of male Raggiana Birds-of-Paradise. [Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise]
Groups of male Raggiana Birds-of-Paradise perform elaborate displays to attract females. The size of small crows, the males have a yellow head, bright green throat, and a lush mass of fine, russet-orange plumes that hang well beyond their tails. In a sequence known as the “flower display,” the males hang upside down with their wings flexed downward, while flaunting those russet plumes upward. [Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise]
“Birds-of-Paradise”— an aptly exotic name for this most varied and extravagantly decorated group of birds. All forty-three species are found on New Guinea, or nearby.
Picture one named the Ribbon-tailed Astrapia, as it flies along the forest edge. [Ribbon-tailed Astrapia] With an emerald-green head and velvety black body, the Astrapia trails two slender, white tail-plumes a full three feet behind its body. They undulate like fine ribbons in the breeze.
For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.
Calls of the birds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise and Ribbon-tailed Astrapia recorded by Eleanor Brown.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org December 2013; Nov 2017; December 2018/2021
Narrator: Mary McCann