1) The shape of a heart outlines the red bird of paradise (Paradisaea rubra) as it hangs upside down in its performance. This species, from the west Papuan islands, is listed as near threatened on the IUCN red list, but generally birds of paradise are not at threat of survival.
2)It’s possible the plumage of some species inhibit their flying abilities, especially navigating the vine- and foliage-dense jungles where they live. They rarely need to fly far though, as no birds of paradise travel great distances. Pictured is the king bird of paradise (Cicinnurus regius) from New Guinea.
3)To attract females the magnificent bird of paradise (Cicinnurus magnificus), found in the montane forests of New Guinea, opens its fluorescent green mouth and puffs up its chest like a muscular bodybuilder. Like most birds of paradise, after mating the female is left to protect the eggs and raise the chicks on her own.
4) The plumes of the raggiana bird of paradise (Paradisaea raggiana) are heavily used in the feathered headdresses of New Guineans, but habitat loss from human development is a greater threat to their survival than hunting.
5) The plumage of male birds of paradise is usually bright and bold in colour, like the feathers of this blue bird of paradise (Paradisaea rudolphi). In contrast, the females of this group of birds have retained the dull brown, black and olive colouring of their crow-like ancestors.
Photo Credit: Tim Laman/Australian Museum (1, 2, 3), Dr Bruce M Beehler/Australian Museum (4) and Carl Bento/Australian Museum (5).