Frowny superb bird of paradise | Sunday Observer

Frowny superb bird of paradise

Heard of a bird of paradise? Most of the birds of paradise living in remote mountains of rain forests of New Guinea in the Pacific are known for their brightly coloured plumage, courtship dances and bizarre behaviours.

This bird of paradise has 42 species in 15 genera.

The Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise is a newly found species in New Guinea’s far western Bird’s Head or Volgelkop region. It has more different features compared to the other family of birds of paradise.

The male species of the Volgelkop Superb has a highly descriptive and different courtship ritual performed to woo females. Their vocalization is different, more “radically different than the one we are familiar with” says Dr. Edwin Scholes, scientist, author, explorer, Cornell Lab.

The female looks different with its reddish-brown and brownish barred buff. The shape of the displaying male is different as well. For the first time leading Ornithologists described it as a new species “hiding in the plain sight”.

The males’ courtship dance is highly structured. They spread out their velvet black cape which creates a completely different appearance. It forms a crescent shape with pointed tips. While only a bright blue-green breast plate and blue eyes are visible in an all absorbing blackness.

He puts a dance while moving around the female in semi circle movements while rhythmically snapping its tail feathers against each other until the female is wooed. His speciality is his dance where he deeply bends his knees and bounces. “He almost looks like a wind-up toy rotating around the female” says Scholes.The bird is known for its ‘bouncy smiley face joined by the frowny face’ dance routine. He begins with a loud call and prepares to dance once a curious female approaches.

These birds are gifted with such distinct dance rituals as the female population is low and this has led to a great competition among the birds to have different mating behaviours.