Bird of Paradise (Paradisaeidae)
The birds-of-paradise are members of the family Paradisaeidae of the order Passeriformes. The majority of species in this family are found on the island of New Guinea and its satellites, with a few species occurring in the Moluccas and eastern Australia. The family has forty species in 14 genera. The members of this family are perhaps best known for the plumage of the males of the sexually dimorphic species (the majority), in particular the highly elongated and elaborate feathers extending from the beak, wings, tail or head. For the most part they are confined to dense rainforest habitat. The diet of all species is dominated by fruit and to a lesser extent arthropods. The birds-of-paradise have a variety of breeding systems, ranging from monogamy to lek-based polygamy.
The family is of cultural importance to the inhabitants of New Guinea. The trade in skins and feathers of the birds-of-paradise has been going on for two thousand years. The birds have also been of considerable interest to Western collectors, ornithologists and writers. A number of species are threatened by hunting and habitat loss.
There are more than three dozen species in the family Paradisaeidae, more commonly known as the birds of paradise. Most are distinguished by striking colors and bright plumage of yellow, blue, scarlet, and green. These colors distinguish them as some of the world's most dramatic and attractive birds. Males often sport vibrant feathered ruffs or amazingly elongated feathers, which are known as wires or streamers. Some species have enormous head plumes or other distinctive ornaments, such as breast shields or head fans.
Males put their bright colors and unusual ornaments to good use when they display for females. Their elaborate dances, poses, and other rituals accentuate their appearance and put on a phenomenal show for both female birds and any humans lucky enough to be in the vicinity. Such displays can last for hours, and in many species they consume a significant part of the male's time.
Birds of paradise are found in New Guinea and surrounding islands. The manucodes and riflebirds species also dwell in Australia. Birds of paradise are so attractive that their appearance once made them the target of skin hunters, who decimated some species.
These birds also lend their name to a colorful flower. South Africa's bird-of-paradise (Strelitzia reginae) is a member of the banana family. It sports a beautiful flower believed to resemble the avian bird of paradise in flight.
Fast Facts about Bird of Paradise
Diet: Varies by species
Average life span in the wild: Varies by species and habitat
Size: 4.75 to 39 in (12 to 100 cm)
Weight: Varies by species
Courtesy : http://animals.nationalgeographic.com, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird-of-paradise
Bird of Paradise Images / Pictures