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01_newguinea_gallery1Birds of paradise are found almost exclusively in New Guinea. Spanning over 300,000 square miles, the island is blanketed in thick tropical forests, providing a perfect home for these strange, remarkable birds. 015-newguinea-galleryNew Guinea houses the third largest rainforest in the world, after the Amazon and Congo. 02_king_gallery1During a display, the King bird of paradise will puff up his plumes and flick his two wire-like tail quills from side to side. 03_greaterbirdlek_gallery1Greater birds of paradise often display in groups, inviting the females to choose the most impressive from a wide assortment of males. This is known as lek-mating. 04_parotiacloseup_gallery1The Parotia bird of paradise is also known as the Six-plumed bird of paradise because of his six head quills. 05_parotiadance_gallery1Parotia’s have some of the most complex courtship displays in the animal kingdom. During his hypnotic dance, the male adjusts his flank plumes to resemble a tutu before performing a series of movements on a cleared patch of forest floor. 06_magnificent_gallery1To impress the female, the Magnificent bird of paradise gently pulses, puffing out his emerald breast feathers. 07_magnificentupclose_gallery1The Magnificent bird of paradise has two curlicue feathers sprouting from its tail. 08_wilsons_gallery1One of the defining features of the Wilson’s bird of paradise is his lack of head plumes, revealing a bright blue skin tone. 09_superb_gallery1Some males completely transform themselves during their displays. The Superb bird of paradise snaps his breast and back plumes forward until his head is surrounded by a giant black and blue ellipse. 10_man_galleryBird of paradise plumes are highly valued by the New Guinea people and adorn the spectacular headdresses used in traditional dances and religious ceremonies. 11_children_galleryMore than simply decorative, the plumes are treated as currency in many tribal communities. 115-market-galleryBy tracking what plumes are most popular among the locals, conservationists can better assess what birds of paradise are most in need of protection. 12_bluebirdcloseup_gallery1The Blue bird of paradise is a soloist, preferring to display without other males nearby. During his display, the Blue Bird hangs upside down and fans out his blue and violet flank plumes. 13_bluebirdwithfemale_gallery1When approached by a female, the male bird of paradise releases a soft and low buzzing sound.