Thursday, February 17, 2011

King of Saxony Bird-of-Paradise

Male King of Saxony Bird-of-Paradise
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Aves
Order : Passeriformes
Family : Paradisaeidae
Genus : Pteridophora
Species : alberti

Body Length : 8.5in (22cm)
Plume Length : 20in (50cm)

IUCN Status : Least Concern

The King of Saxony Bird-of-Paradise is a little bird with a HUGE name... and some pretty long feathers to match. Females are brownish-gray and plain, which helps to camouflage them, but males of the species are colorful and have some incredible headgear- long plumes that appear to stick out from their ears! These scalloped, iridescent feathers can stick up at will, and are used in their mating displays.They are so strange looking that when the first specimens were brought back to Europe, many believed them to be fake!

Males are territorial. They call and sing songs to lure in potential females, and wow them with their plume movements. After mating, the female leaves and the male works to attract more females. Females lay one egg, which she alone cares for.

King of Saxony's live in New Guinea, and are one of several "Bird-of-Paradise" species, though they are the only member of their specific genus. They are named for Albert, a late 19th century King of Saxony.

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