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Birds of Paradise


The birds of paradise have a crow-like body shape, with strong feet and bill. However, in some species this basic pattern has been modified substantially. For example, the sicklebills have evolved a long, curved beak used to probe for insects in thick moss and tree bark. In many species the plumage of the males is modified with fantastic plumes, streamers, and wiry head and tail extensions. Although the body of most of the birds of paradise is 10-17 in (25-45 cm) long, the head plumes may reach 16 in (40 cm) in length, and the tail feathers up to 27 in (70 cm) long.

The females of most species are colored drab buff to black, with patterning that helps them remain hidden in the forest canopy while sitting on a nest. (This type of coloration is called cryptic.) Nests of most species are cup-shaped, and are built in forks of trees using leaves, twigs, and other plant material. Females lay one or two eggs, which average 1.4 in (37 mm) long and 1 in (26 mm) wide. Incubation periods are 17-21 days, and young birds remain in the nest 17-30 days.

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