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Birds of Paradise

...the most surprising birds in the world

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.

Full Transcript

Birds of Paradise

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   December 2013; Nov 2017; December 2018   Narrator:  Mary McCann

ID#112805RBOPKOHO           RBOP-01b-2009-12-09-MM

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