The Greater Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea apoda) is a member of the Paradisaeidae family. It is endemic to the southwestern lowland and hill forests of New Guinea. From 1909 to 1958, a small population introduced by Sir William Ingram in an attempt to save the species from excessive poaching for the plume trade survived on Little Tobago Island of West Indies, though, the birds are considered to be since extinct in that region. Carolus Linnaeus named the species Paradisaea apoda or "legless bird of paradise", because early skins of the bird were traded to Europe with the feet removed, and this brought the misconception that the birds floated in the air and never touched the ground until death.
The Greater Bird of Paradise is a large bird that can be up to 43 cm long. The male is maroon brown, with a yellow crown, dark emerald green throat, and a blackish brown breast. It has large, yellow flank plumes, with a pair of long tail wires. The female is maroon brown, with a darker head and a lighter belly.
Groups of about eight and sometimes up to twenty males will gather in leks in the tree canopy to perform mating displays. The ritual consists of the male spreading its wings to the side, arching its back, and bending its tail forward under its perch, followed by flapping its wings with its long ornamental plumes raised. When approached by a female, the male will become frozen in this stance for seconds at a time.
These birds mainly eat fruits, seeds, and small insects.
- Mating Ritual Video at YouTube