Bird of Paradise

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Some days were made even longer trekking through rugged mountains and rainforests to get to their campsites and back. The work also nearly cost him his life early in his career. Male parotia have spectacular antenna-like wires spouting back from near their bright blue eyes. They push some lower torso feathers out to look like a black Scottish kilt before executing a dainty jig. The dance, the notes they serenade females with, and their iridescent golden-green chest patch, may be just different enough from those of the Lawes parotia to possibly warrant their status as a separate species or subspecies.

Luckily, this was one of the only times he had traveled with a satellite phone, which may have saved his life. Five days and several more flights later, he had the appendix removed in a hospital in Australia. But as far as the eastern parotia is concerned, its status as a subspecies or separate species entirely is still an open question.

Exotic Style

Joshua Rapp Learn contributes features on archaeology, ecology and the adventures involved in the research. The A. Filed to: birds Filed to: birds birds conservation evolution science bird-of-paradise. Extreme Field Work A series about how science gets done in Earth's weirdest, wildest environments, from the bottom of the ocean to erupting volcanoes.


Differences between these two types of color influence how males use them during display. Learn more about the inner workings of color in this section. Birds use their feathers for three basic purposes: flight, protection from the elements, and displays. Male birds-of-paradise add to their brilliant colors with specially modified feathers that flutter conspicuously or allow them to transform their shape as they court females.

This section explores how these extreme feathers evolved and are put to use in displays. Many birds fluff out their feathers as part of a display—think of cooing pigeons or strutting turkeys. But birds-of-paradise take it much farther than most birds. The males extend specially shaped feathers, lining them up precisely to change the bird's outline into a new shape. In this section we'll explore different ways and feathers that some species use to get the job done. By the time a male bird-of-paradise reaches adulthood, he's got all the building blocks of a display.

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But he won't be successful until he learns how to put all those sounds, colors, and display feathers into the correct sequence that a female is looking for. This section examines how males choreograph their displays, from early practice sessions to mastering the finest details. It seems incredible, but even males with loud calls, brilliant colors, the ability to shape shift, and perfect dance moves are not guaranteed to win a mate.

At the end of a male's display, females move in to inspect closely and sometimes touch the male before making a final decision. This is one reason why birds-of-paradise are so extraordinary: the extreme choosiness of females. Enjoy them as much as you can, but know the realities that they may suffer long term. Reginae produces yellow blooms and only grow to 6ft where as the aforementioned Nicolai grow to 30ft and adorn white flowers.


For indoors, I would highly recommend going for the less common Reginae as they're much, much smaller and easy to manage if you have enough light. Keep moist but tolerant of drying out. Not particularly sensitive to humidity. These plants are very slow growing, putting out out a new leaf about once a month, sometimes even slower indoors. The best remedy to a slow leaf is simply patience. Strelitzia are heavy feeders and require regular fertilizing during growing season. If your new leaf is slow, just wait it out. So long as there isn't discolouration, it's perfectly normal.

Tanah Papua: A Paradise for Birds

The new tender leaf starts as a vibrant chartreuse shade, then gradually turns a deep green. Common indoors, sometimes the new leaf can have tears which indicates a lack of sufficient light. Bird of Paradise prefer the brightest spot you can give them: south-facing ideally. You can get away with growing a 'Giant White' Bird of Paradise when it's small for years, but once it starts reaching maturity, symptoms of improper conditions will show.

Only a couple years later, you can see in this photo, it quickly started outgrowing my space.

Bird-of-paradise | bird |

I kept it by a west-facing window then eventually moved it to a south-facing one. Even with the south-facing window, under the brightest light I could give it, it didn't get enough light as only one side of the plant was lit. Eventually I had to stake the plant otherwise the petioles would bow down to the ground.

The major difference with its new and current location is that the window is overhead, almost like a skylight but not quite. It allows light to cascade at an angle atop the Bird of Paradise , allow more even lighting. Although still not ideal, for indoors, this plant looks pretty darn good. It's got two stories to grow into before we have to worry. If you don't have this type of lighting, I suggest possibly incorporating an overhead grow light. It'll allow your plant to grow more upright, and sturdy. I was eventually able to remove the bamboo supports and prune the old etiolated petioles as new leaves emerged.