Superb Bird of Paradise
The male is black with an iridescent green crown, blue-green breast shield, and a long velvety black erectile cape covering his back.
The female is a reddish-brown bird with brownish-barred buff below.
The young is similar to the female.
The Superb Bird of Paradise is distributed throughout the rainforests of New Guinea.
Although heavily hunted for its plumes, the Superb Bird of Paradise is one of the most common and widespread birds of paradise in New Guinea forests. The Superb Bird of Paradise is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is listed in Appendix II of CITES.
The species has an unusually low population of females, and competition amongst males for mates is intensely fierce.
This has led the species to evolve into one of the most bizarre and elaborate courtship displays in the avian world.
After carefully and meticulously preparing a “dance floor” (even scrubbing the dirt or branch smooth with leaves), the male first attracts a female with a loud call.
After the curious female approaches, his folded black feather cape and blue-green breast shield spring upward and spread widely and symmetrically around its head, instantly transforming the frontal view of the bird into a spectacular ellipse-shaped creature that rhythmically snaps its tail feathers against the ground while hopping in frantic circles around the female.
Even despite the elaborate display, the average female rejects 15-20 potential suitors before consenting to mate.