Birds Of Paradise


A bird standing on top of each other
A flock of seagulls flying in the sky

Introduction:

A bird hanging off the side of a flower

Paradise birds are a group of extremely colorful birds that live in the tropical rainforest. They are some of the most beautiful and exotic birds in the world. These birds are popular with many people because of their strikingly beautiful colors.

Physical Description:

There are twenty-six species of paradise birds living in the rainforest. They have long, thin tails that can be up to three feet long. They range in size from 5 inches to 25 inches in length. All paradise birds have long, curved beaks used to reach the insects inside of tree hollows or deep within crevices on tree trunks. They also use their beaks to peel away bark and search for termite nests. From birth, paradise birds are covered with a special type of down. This down ranges in color from gray to cinnamon depending on their species. As they mature, they develop their bright array of colors.

Diet and Hunting:

Like other birds, paradise birds are plant eaters. They feed on fruits, berries, blossoms, and leaves although some species supplement their diets with insects such as termites. They occupy a different niche in the rainforest than other birds. They have long bills and talons that allow them to climb large trees in search of food. One paradise bird, the paradise whydah has developed a relationship with another unique species of bird called the golden-headed manakin. The paradise whydah will lay its eggs inside of the golden-headed manakins nest. After the paradise whydah chicks hatch they will destroy their “foster parents” eggs. Eventually, the golden-headed manakins give up and build a nest for them so both species can reproduce.

They have many predators in the tropical rainforest including hawks, toucans, and snakes. Because of this most paradise birds are very noisy when flying or looking for food. This noise helps warn other paradise birds of predators in the area.

Distribution And Habitat:

Paradise birds live in Central and South America, southern Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. They can be found in rainforests that have large trees with cavities or crevices in which they can nest and feed. They are generally sedentary, staying in the same area for most of their lives. However, there has been some evidence of paradise whydahs migrating when they feel the urge to reproduce.

Reproduction:

The paradise whydah is a polygamous bird. This means that paradise whydahs have more than one mate at a time. The paradise whydah will build many nests in hopes of attracting more than one female paradise bird to lay its eggs in them. The mating season for paradise birds lasts from September through November. During this time paradise birds are very vocal and may sing for hours to attract their mate. The paradise whydah female will lay three to four eggs in a nest built by another paradise whydahs males. She may find several nests and lay her eggs in each one.

Interesting Facts:

In ancient Greece, they were thought of as poisonous because of their bright colors and their diet of poisonous insects.

Male paradise whydahs court females by flying in figure eights in front of them while shaking their tails.

The paradise whydah is one of the rare bird species that has demonstrated the ability to mimic mobile phone rings when trying to attract females.

The paradise whydah will lay its eggs in other paradise whydahs nests so it can ensure its offspring’s survival.

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