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Any of over 40 species (family Paradisaeidae) of small to medium-sized forest birds that are rivaled by only a few pheasants and hummingbirds in colour and in the bizarre shape of the males' plumage. Courting males perform mating rituals for hours on a perch or in a cleared space on the forest floor. Birds-of-paradise are found in the highlands of New Guinea and on nearby islands; some species are also found in Australia. Among the most notable species are the plumebirds, which are 12–18 in. (30–46 cm) long and have central tail feathers elongated as wires or twisted ribbons.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on bird-of-paradise, visit Britannica.com.
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