the beauty of the Bird of Paradise…

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13/11/2010 by Sarah Ritchie

Bird of Paradise

If you look very closely at the Papua New Guinean flag, you will see the silhouette of an unusual-looking bird. Assuming you have spent sleepless nights wondering what that bird is, I will happily tell you! It is the Bird of Paradise (family Paradisaeidae)…the most exquisitely beautiful of all the bird species (from Sarah Ritchie’s “Book of Biased Bird Opinions“).

Papua New Guinean flag

Papua New Guinean flag

In my primary-aged years I produced a school project about the Bird of Paradise. I must have seen it in a National Geographic, or similar, and I have heard not a peep about this bird either before that time or since! How can such a magnificent creature remain so un-raved-about at dinner parties?!

In New Zealand, when one hears the term “bird of paradise”, one thinks immediately of the common South African garden flower (which was named after the bird). If only people knew, and could picture, the lovely beauty that lies behind those words.

These creatures are the fashion-extreme of the bird world, with their vibrant garments, their long feather trains and high fashion adornments.

Next time you are in the Highland jungles of Papua New Guinea you can check them out!

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