The Superb Bird of Paradise

By: Shruthi Ravichandran and Jessica Chang

Hi! We’re so glad you’re here again! We know Thanksgiving was a couple weeks ago, but this week we’re doing a lesser known show-off, the SUPERB BIRD OF PARADISE!! *cue applause* Take one look at this crazy-looking bird!



This bird species has an unusually low ratio of females to males, meaning that competition is fierce, with lots of bizarre courtship rituals involved. The females are a bit smaller with duller plumage than the males. The male superb bird of paradise has a two-pronged iridescent shield on its throat. When he is ready to mate, the male will first smooth out the forest floor, clearing it of twigs and dirt. He will then attract the female with a loud call. When she arrives, he fans out his plumage and will begin jumping around her in a circle while displaying his feathers.

Superb birds of paradise are found on the island of New Guinea. While they were avidly hunted in the 18th and 19th centuries for their plumage and skins, they are thriving in the rainforests of the island. Their brilliant feathers are also used often in traditional indigenous rituals. If you ever get the chance to visit New Guinea, you should definitely go bird watching!! Keep an eye out for these magnificent birds. Despite their flashy appearance, they’re actually quite hard to find.


Thanks for reading!

Happy Sciencing! 🙂


Your favorite freshmen,

Shruthi and Jessica