Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Paradise bird

Birds of paradise in the rainforest of West Papua are being threatened from their habitat due to hunting, logging and conversion of the forest into monoculture plantation. From 41 known species of Birds of Paradise known to science, there are 37 of them that inhabit New Guinea island. The most famous species among the indigenous Papuan people in the bird's head or vogelkop region is the Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor). The indigenous people use its feather during traditional ceremonies and dances.

The lesser birds of paradise usually come out of their nests to perform courtship dance early in the mornings and in the afternoons before the sunsets. Several male birds gather in a tree whose branches have been cleared from small twigs to enable them compete from one to another in performing the best courtship dance. The surrounding dusk area of the forest that is not too bright meets the bright colors from the birds of paradise. This creates a contrast impression to those who were watching the birds. 
The above photograph shows how a male Lesser Birds of Paradise attracts the female birds (that were sitting above him) for mating. Malagufuk village in Klasow valley of Sorong regency is one of the most favorite site among birdwatchers who want to go hiking in the jungle and watching wild animals.
Paradise birds, besides being the best natural dancers in the avian world, are also effective seed dispersers. A lot of plants in the tropical rainforest of New Guinea rely on these birds to spread their seeds to far away places. Without the role of the paradise bird, the forest of Papua would not be able to expand effectively. So, the hunting of these birds should be stopped to ensure that paradise birds will survive and continue to carry out their duties in the next century.
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