Bird of paradise bird is the common name given to the group of birds classified under the family Paradisaeidae of the order Passeriformes. These are among the largest family of birds that are found on the planet. Bird of paradise species has recorded species diversity of 45 species under the family. The name of the family is attributed to the beautiful and unique structure and shape of the bird of paradise bird.
This article discusses the nature of bird paradise, the species of birds of paradise, the natural habitat, feeding pattern, and reproduction in the bird paradise. This article also discusses the lesser bird of paradise and the greater bird of paradise.
Bird Paradise General Features
Bird of paradise birds consists of 45 birds of paradise species. There are the following characteristics that are generally used for distinguishing the bird of paradise bird.
They are very beautiful, they have the most vibrantly coloured feathers
They have feathers that extend from the beak and tail of the bird.
They have a characteristic plumage observed in the morphology of the adult male bird.
The plumage of the adult male shows evidence of strong sexual dimorphism. Sexual dimorphism is referred to as the clear distinction in the morphology of the male and female birds of the species.
Bird of paradise tail feathers is also termed as plumage (plumage term is more specifically used for the feathers of the tail of the adult male.)
Bird of paradise bird follow different types of breeding patterns, the breeding pattern opted can be polygamy, monogamy, or lekking. Lekking can be defined as the breeding pattern where the males of the birds of paradise species live together during mating season and compete with each other for mating chances.
They are generally herbivores depending upon the seeds of various trees. Some of the birds of paradise species are carnivores, they feed on the arthropods.
Taxonomical Classification of Bird of Paradise.
To understand the position of the bird group in the natural food chain and the importance of the birds from an ecological point of view. It is very important to understand the taxonomical position of the birds of paradise. Birds of paradise birds are classified under the kingdom Animalia, they are categorized under the Phylum called Chordata. That is they have vertebral columns. They belong to the class of Aves, the Aves are the clas of the organism that are basically classified as the organism that has the flight ability, they generally consist of all the birds including the bird of paradise birds. They belong to the order Passeriformes. This order contains almost more than half of all the bird species that are prevalent in nature. The birds of this order generally called singing birds. They are classified under the superfamily called Corvoidea. This superfamily is further classified into various families one of such family that includes bird of paradise birds. They belong to the family called Paradisaeidae. There are about 45 species that are classified under the group, they have 15 genera. The example of some of the genus is listed as the following, Lycocorax, Manucodia, Ptiloris, Epimachus, Paradigalla, and Cicinnurus.
Examples of Birds of Paradise Species
There are the following examples of birds of paradise species that are listed below
Halmahera paradise-crow is the common name of the Lycocorax pyrrhopterus species; they belong to the genus named the Lycocorax. Another example of the species that are classified under this genus is Lycocorax obiensis, they are more commonly referred to as the Obi paradise-crow.
Another genus classified under this family is Manucodia, the Manucodia contains species such as Glossy-mantled manucode, which is the common name for the Manucodia ater. Jobi manucode, which is the common name for the Manucodia jobiensis. Crinkle-collared manucode, which is the common name for the Manucodia chalybatus. Manucodia comrii which is more commonly known as the Curl-crested manucode.
Morphology of the Bird of Paradise
The morphology of the bird paradise is very unique, it is the morphology of the bird that attributes to the centre of attraction for bird sighting, their unique feature is also the reason for their intensive research. The important characteristic related to the morphology of the bird is the prevalence of sexual dimorphism in the population. Sexual dimorphism is prevalent in all the species of the population. Sexual dimorphism can be explained as the difference in the appearance of males and females among the population. The main reason attributing to the sexual dimorphism is due to the presence of the plumage in the adult male of the family. The plumage can be defined as the bird of paradise tail feathers, they can originate from the end of the tail that is more commonly found. Another example of the plumage is seen in the presence of the plumage in the head and area surrounding the beak. It is important to note that the plumage does not provide any benefit for the survival of the organism, it rather decreases the survival probability but increases the mating probability of the male. They are referred to as the sexually selected characters. Another important point that is associated with plumage is that they are absent in younger males. The young males do not possess the vibrantly coloured plumage. The plumage development starts after sexual maturity is obtained. The benefit of not having such vibrantly coloured plumage at a young age is the protection from predation as it helps not to be located easily. absence of plumage at an early age also shows prevent any hostility from adult male due to mating competition.
The size and weight of the bird can range from 50 grams in weight can have the size of 15 cm (5.9 in) to 44 cm of size in some species of the bird of paradise, the weight can range up to 430 gram. The male members of the family have typically a longer body length and weight as compared to their female counterparts. The bird of paradise tail feathers and feathers of wings are modified into a special shape. They generally are modified to have circular feathers, the feathers are modified like this to produce sound. It is observed that the sound produced by such feather vibration is often used to display male dominance during courting a female during mating seasons.
The beaks of the birds are also modified in various species, the bills of the birds are also subject to sexual dimorphism the bill sizes are observed to be larger in female birds as compared to the male birds of the family. Bills may be modified as long and decurved shape, as observed in the sicklebills and riflebirds, another modification of the bill is the small and slim nature of the bill which is more commonly found in species like the Astrapias.
Habitat and Distribution
The wide variety of bird of paradise birds live in the tropical region, they are also found in the areas that are typically present in the tropical forest such as rainforest, swamps, and moss forest. The tropical rainforest can be described as a forest that has the characteristics of receiving a very high amount of rainfall. The rainfall can range from 2.5 meters to 4.5 meters.
The moss forest is also named the cloud forest, the cloud forest as the name suggests has the typical coverage of moist clouds almost every season in the year, they are generally categorized as the subclass of tropical or subtropical, evergreen, montane forest. Some of the species of the bird of paradise are also found living in the temperate forest areas, the species that are resident of such temperate areas include birds like rifle bird paradise species of bird of paradise bird.
Some of the species of the bird of paradise show more plasticity as compared to the other species. The plasticity of habitat refers to the ability of the organism to love in more than one or different habitats and adapting the needs of survival according to the resources that are available. An example of such a species is the glossy-mantled manucode. The glossy-mantled manucode is primarily the inhabitants of the woodland but they can also be found in temperate forest and open savanna woodland. Mid montane bird habitats are the second most commonly inhabited habitats reported among the bird of paradise bird.
Some of the nations where these birds species are found include New Guinea, Australia, the island of Little Tobago, in Trinidad and Tobago off the coast of Venezuela, Maluku Islands, and Queensland.
Diet of Bird of Paradise
The diet of birds of paradise contains a herbivore diet that is fruit and seed of the plant and a carnivore diet that depends upon the arthropods. The arthropods are the phylum of the animal kingdom that constitutes all the insects that are present in nature. The carnivore species also prey on some invertebrates in case of a shortage of food.
It is important to note that based on the diet the nature and occupancy of the species of the bird are also decided. For example, the herbivore species that depend on feeding the plant fruit generally reside in a higher altitude than compared to the carnivore species that reside in the lower altitude area of the same forest. Examples of fruit include fig, mahogany, and nutmeg.
Breeding in Bird of Paradise
The breeding pattern followed by the species of bird of paradise includes monogamy, polygamy, and lekking. The monogamous breeding pattern is described as the breeding where one male mates to only one female, whereas polygamy, refers to the mating pattern where the one male mates with many females or vice versa where the female mates with more than one male.
The important generalization seen in monogamous species is that there is no sexual dimorphism, that is the male and female of the species do not differ greatly in terms of their physical appearance. Sexual dimorphism is highest in the case of the polygamous species, it is because the sexual traits often help in increasing the reproductive probability. The sexual traits of the adult male such as plumage length and colour are representative of strong male dominance this increasing their marting probability.
The lek mating system which is also known as lekking is the condition where all the adult male comes together to form a group. Among the group, the males compete to receive or assert male dominance. The dominant male mates with the female, in this case, the male is generally polygamous.
After the mating the zygote is formed, these are like all other birds are oviparous animals, that is they lay eggs. Female of the species take care and nurture the egg till hatching. Parental care is not provided by the males. Eggs hatch to produce younger birds which are provided care and food in the mother nest, after development they usually leave the nest.
Lesser Bird of Paradise
The lesser bird of paradise also belongs to the same superfamily. They belong to the genus named, Paradisaea. The lesser bird of paradise is scientifically known as the Paradisaea minor, which represents the species name of the bird. The genus Paradisaea consists of about seven species. Similar to most of the species the lesser bird of paradise is sexually dimorphic, the male has the characteristic bird of paradise tail feather that is the plumage of the adult male. They mostly inhabit the region of Northern, Northwestern, and Western New Guinea (nominate race found also on Misool and other nearby islands.), also Eastern New Guinea.
The adult male has maroon-brown with a yellow crown and brownish-yellow upper back. The characteristic feature is the emerald green part of the neck. they have long white plumage with yellow feathers towards the end of the tail.
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Greater Bird of Paradise
The greater bird of paradise belongs to the genus Paradisaea. Both the lesser bird of paradise and the greater bird of paradise belong to the same genus. The species to which the greater bird of paradise belongs is referred to as Paradisaea apoda, they are also known as the legless birds of paradise. This name can be attributed to the long greater bird of paradise feathers or plumage. They possess the long greater bird of paradise feathers which creates the illusion of hab\ving no leg, in older days they were believed to be the visitors from paradise. They have a brown marron body, and the neck is of emerald green colour.
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The bird of paradise is the common name of the group of birds, they are distinctively known for their bird of paradise tail feathers. This more accurately termed the plumage. The long plumage of the bird provides sexual dimorphism and an extraordinary look. These birds are generally fruit eaters, some of the species of the birds are found to be carnivores. The carnivorous species generally feed on small arthropods. They are found in a wide range of habitats including tropical forests to open savanna woodland. The birds of paradise names of the common species include lesser bird of paradise, greater bird of paradise, blue bird of paradise, Wilson's Bird of Paradise, and red bird of paradise. These birds of paradise names are the common names given to the specific species of birds. These groups can be polygamous or monogamous depending on the species but it is noteworthy that the majority of the species are polygamous.