Birds-of-Paradise: Created For Thy Pleasure

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Some of the most colorful and fascinating creatures in all of Creation are birds.  They vary in size from the tiny Bee Hummingbird of Cuba (0.056–0.071 oz and 2.0–2.4 in) to the roadrunner of Africa, the ostrich (140-290 lbs and 6-9 ft tall).  They also come in every color in the rainbow and then some.

Perhaps some of the most beautiful and amazing birds are the birds-of-paradise.  They are found nowhere else in the world, except in New Guinea.  There are 39 species of these unique birds that inhabit some of the remotest rainforests in the world.

Birds-of-Paradise are known for five things: their colorssoundselaborate feathersshape shifting and dance.  Their colors are so beautiful and exotic that people have hunted several species to extinction.  Their sounds vary from species to species, echoing through the tangled jungles they call home.

The elaborate feathers on some males are very different than all of their other feathers.  Instead of having the standard central quill with interlocking barbs, they range from fluffy plumes to long stiff almost wire-like feathers stretching several feet out from their bodies.   These modified feathers are one of the things that make birds-of-paradise so different from most other birds.

The shape shifting and dancing go hand in hand as part of their courting display.  They change their shape by bending their heads back or puffing up their breasts or necks or by displaying their wings in such a way as to totally transform their appearance.  Some of the males go through elaborate dances for the sole purpose of impressing a nearby female.

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