Birds of paradise are best known for the beautiful array of feathers which are existent on the male birds of paradise, which the male bird of paradise uses to attract the attention of the surrounding female birds of paradise. As with many species of bird, the female birds of paradise are dull looking in comparison to their male counterparts and are generally smaller and have light brown feathers, and have a similar appearance to the nightingale.
There are around 50 different birds of paradise species that range in size from 15cm to over a meter in height. Many of the birds of paradise species are extremely rare and are only found in particular habitats and in certain places. The birds of paradise were unknown to the western world until 1996 when David Attenborough stunned the world with his footage of the incredible birds whilst on a trip to Papua New Guinea.
Many birds of paradise species feed on fruits and berries found in the canopy of the surrounding jungle. Some species however, are very partial to eating insects and other birds of paradise favour particular species of spider.
Birds of paradise are known to be the most dramatic and attractive birds in the world. The brightly coloured plumage of the male birds of paradise contains colours 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, bright colours of the birds of paradise have made these birds a highly prized target for hunters and tribesman alike who use the brightly coloured feathers of the birds of paradise to create clothes and costumes. This practice and tradition has meant for enormous population declines for the birds of paradise, with some species being worse off 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 his bright feathers and perfected dance routine. The female bird of paradise lays her eggs in a nest. Unlike many other species of bird, the birds of paradise can nest on ground level, in the trees or in dense foliage.
Birds of paradise chicks usually hatch within 20 days but the specific incubation period differs between species. The birds of paradise chicks are often born with no feathers at all although some hatchings are born with a few. The newly born birds of paradise chicks are unable to walk or stand and rely on the mother bird of paradise to find food. Birds of paradise chicks are usually independent by the time they are a month old.
Adult birds of paradise have very few natural predators in the wild but the more vulnerable birds of paradise chicks are preyed upon by large birds of prey and the odd snake. The main predator of the birds of paradise is the humans that live in settlements in the same habitat. Birds of paradise are also being continually threatened by deforestation and habitat loss.