Location and Habitat
The birds of paradise are members of
the Paradisaeidae family of the Passeriformes order. These birds
are typical found in Australasia, particularly in New Guinea, and in fact
a bird of paradise appears in the Papua-New Guinea flag. As well
as in the tropical regions of the North of Australia, Birds of Paradise
are also found in Indonesia and the Moluccas Islands. The habitat
of these birds is mainly tropical forest.
These birds are well-known for extreme gender dimorphism,
the females having monotonous plumage, in tones of gray and chestnut, whereas
the males of the majority of the species are very strikingly colorful indeed,
and usually posessing long and beautiful tails. However, not all species
have these remarkable differences between males and females. For
example both sexes of the Trumpet Manucode (Manucodia keraudrenii) are
equipped with a blue-black feather dress.
Courtship Dances of the Bird
In many birds of paradise, then male bird tries to
get the female's attention and approval by dancing in a highly elaborate
fashion. Many of these dances are very striking to behold.
Courtship displays may involve several males displaying together in in
a type of courtship arena in the catchment area of several females. They
lure their female admirer admire inside by loud of calls to the arena,
where the male birds present their decoration feathers, by throwing these
over their body. The females select one of the males to mate with, apparently
depending on how impressed she is by his displays. Other types of
display may be enacted on a branch, with the male sometimes hanging upside
down to attract the female's attention. Branch displays can be amazing
in the way that the male performs his spectacle without falling off.
In the majority of the species, where there is
significant gender dimorphism the female incubates and hatches the chicks
alone. The male bird of paradise is normally solitary, whereas the
females live together in small groups with their young offspring.
However, in birds where the male is similar in plumage to the female, the
male also takes part in the parental cares. Hibridization is a common phenomenon
in these birds, and results in animals with intermediate plumages, which
have been confused in the past as proper species.