Birds of paradise eat mostly fruit and insects, but also buds, leaves, flowers, frogs, lizards and snails.
Breeding at least July-February. Females build and attend nests alone; may lay up to 12 eggs. Nests are bulky open cups, built in tree branches.
As with all Birds of Paradise, the Lesser and Greater have elaborate mating rituals. Males gather in a clearing taking up positions they held during previous mating seasons and have competitive courtship displays. They spar individually with their neighbors often putting on extravagant mating dance, plumage displays and vocal challenges with each other to woo a female.
It is in the spring that wild birds make their strongest appeal to the human mind; in fact, the words "birds" and "spring" seem almost synonymous, so accustomed are we to associate one with the other. All the wild riotous singing, all the brave flashing of wings and tail, all the mad dashing in and out among the thickets or soaring upward above the tree-tops, are impelled by the perfectly natural instinct of mating and rearing young.
The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
There are around 50 different birds of paradise species that range in size from 15cm to over a meter in height. Many of the birds of paradise species are extremely rare and are only found in particular habitats and in certain places. The birds of paradise were unknown to the western world until 1996 when David Attenborough stunned the world with his footage of the incredible birds whilst on a trip to Papua New Guinea.
The Lesser Bird-of-paradise is medium-sized, up to 32 cm-long, maroon-brown with a yellow crown and brownish-yellow upper back. The male has a dark emerald-green throat, a pair of long tail-wires and is adorned with ornamental flank plumes which are deep yellow at their base and fade outwards into white. The female is a maroon bird with a dark-brown head and whitish underparts.
The Birds of Paradise got their name because specimens brought back to Europe from trading expeditions had been prepared by New Guinea locals by removing their wings and feet, which led to the belief that the birds never landed but were kept permanently aloft by their plumes.
Birds of Paradise belong to the family Paradisaeidae. There are about 45 species, of which Lesser Birds of Paradise is one. The Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor) are found in lowland rainforests of New Guinea and other adjacent islands.
Some bird families have more than a hundred members, others only one. Characteristics within a family are helpful in identifying birds in the field. Brief family descriptions, with information applicable to all members of the family, can be found at the beginning of each group.