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Birds of paradise
Adult male Lesser bird-of-paradise,
Paradisaea minor
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Passeri
Family: Paradisaeidae

The birds of paradise are members of the family Paradisaeidae of the order Passeriformes. They are found in eastern Indonesia, Maluku, Papua New Guinea, Torres Strait Islands, and eastern Australia. Best known are the members of the genus Paradisaea, including the type species, the Greater Bird of Paradise, Paradisaea apoda.

They live in tropical forests like rainforests, swamps and moss forest and build their nests from soft materials, such as leaves, ferns, and vine tendrils, typically placed in a tree fork.[1]

They are best known for the remarkable plumage and behaviour of the males. They are an extreme example of how sexual selection works.[2] Females choose males who they instinctively see are fine specimens of their species. The colours of the plumage, the construction of the nest, the song and the mating dance all play a part. In some species the pairing is monogamous, and in others the males are polygamous. If they are monogamous, the males look much like the females. If they are polygamous, the males are very much flashier than the females. In both cases, it is the female who makes the choice of partner.

Hunting for plumes and habitat destruction have reduced some species to endangered status. Habitat destruction due to deforestation is now the main threat.[3]

What they look like[change | change source]

Birds of paradise range in size from the King Bird of Paradise at 3 grams (1.8 oz) and 15 cm (6 in) to the Black Sicklebill at 110 cm (43 in) and the Curl-crested Manucode at 430 grams (15.2 oz).

Birds of paradise have bodies that look like a crow. They have stout or long bills and strong feet, with around two-thirds of the species being strongly sexually dimorphic.

What they eat[change | change source]

In most species, the diet is mostly fruit, but riflebirds and sicklebills also prefer insects and other arthropods.[1]

Species of Birds of Paradise[change | change source]

Genus Lycocorax

Genus Manucodia

Genus Paradigalla

Genus Astrapia

Genus Parotia

Genus Pteridophora

Genus Lophorina

Genus Ptiloris

Genus Epimachus

Genus Cicinnurus

Genus Semioptera

Genus Seleucidis

Genus Paradisaea

Greater "Melampitta"

Formerly placed here

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Frith, Clifford B. (1991). Forshaw, Joseph. ed. Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 228–231. ISBN 1-85391-186-0.
  2. Irested, Martin et al 2009. An unexpectedly long history of sexual selection in birds-of-paradise. Evolutionary Biology 9 (235): 235. [1]
  3. Firth, Clifford B. & Dawn W. 2009. Family Paradisaeidae (Birds-of-paradise). In del Hoyo, Josep et al (eds). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14, Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. pp. 404–459. ISBN 978-84-96553-50-7

Other websites[change | change source]