Smooth dance moves of a new species of Bird-of-Paradise are revealed in a flirty courtship display
- Discovery of the ‘Vogelkop’ species was made by Cornell’s Lab of Ornithology
- Filming revealed choreography different to anything previously documented
- The species is also distinctive due to unique plumage arrangements on its body
- The newly found bird lives in New Guinea’s far-western Bird’s Head region
Birds-of-Paradise are known for their elaborate courtship dance, and scientists studying their smooth moves have used this information to discover a new species.
Footage shot in New Guinea has revealed choreography completely different to anything ornithologists have previously documented.
The newly-uncovered birds look very similar to the other Birds-of-Paradise, apart from their unique plumage arrangement.
Experts concluded that this, combined with its dance moves, was evidence of a new species – dubbed Vogelkop, after the region where it was uncovered.
Birds-of-Paradise are known for their elaborate courtship dance and scientists studying their smooth moves have used this information to discover a new species. Footage shot in New Guinea revealed choreography different to anything previously documented
Some species of the Bird-of-Paradise family have super-black feathers that absorb 99.95 per cent of light. Experts can tell the species apart by looking a their plumage and their courting dance routine
Scientists at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Birds-of-Paradise project identified the new species through careful study of hours of recordings.
This particular species is only found on the far-western Bird’s Head or Vogelkop region of the island of New Guinea.
The Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise, to use its full name, raises its cape while displaying a brilliantly bright blue chest.
This, as well as startling spots on its head, is designed to impress females.
When expanded for courtship display, the Vogelkop male’s raised cape creates a completely different shape than other species.
‘After you see what the Vogelkop form looks like and acts like in the wild, there’s little room for doubt that it is a separate species,’ said Ed Scholes of Cornell.
‘The courtship dance is different. The vocalisations are different. The females look different. Even the shape of the displaying male is different.’
In a new paper, scientists ‘show and tell’ six ways that this animal is distinct from the more widespread Superb Bird-of-Paradise.
The newly uncovered birds look very similar to the other Birds-of-Paradise, apart from their unique plumage arrangement
Experts concluded that this, combined with its dance moves, was evidence of a new species – dubbed Vogelkop, after the region where it was uncovered
The new bird creates a crescent-shaped cape with pointed tips rather than the oval shape of the other widespread bird. When the different morphology is combined with the distinctive dance routine, experts concluded the evidence was decisive
WHAT ARE BIRDS OF PARADISE AND WHY ARE THEY SO BLACK?
Birds of Paradise is a term for several species of bird which live around Papua New Guinea and Australia.
The males often have spectacular plumage full of vibrant colour and long tails.
These physical traits are combined with a mating dance which is used to impress the female.
Females have the choice of who to mate with and the combination of elaborate plumage and a good dance routine will influence the decision of who to mate with.
Some species of the Bird of Paradise family have super-black feathers that absorb 99.95 per cent of light.
Ultra-black feathers increase the attractiveness of the bird in the eyes of females.
The incredible darkness results from tiny microfilaments that exist in the feathers of the birds, highly modified microscopic filaments called barbules.
These are arranged in vertically tilted patterns, significantly increasing the scattering of light – resulting in just a hundredth of of the degree of reflection compared to normal black feathers.
It appears the function of this extreme blackness is to amplify the patches of brightly coloured plumage elsewhere on the bird.
This include the fact that the Vogelkop creates a crescent-shaped cape with pointed tips rather than the oval shape of the other widespread Superb Bird-of-Paradise species.
Unlike these birds, its steps are also smooth instead of bouncy.
The Bird-of-Paradise are members of the family Paradisaeidae of the order Passeriformes.
The majority of species are found in eastern Indonesia, New Guinea, and eastern Australia.
The majority of the Birds of Paradise species are found in eastern Indonesia, New Guinea, and eastern Australia.
Scientists ‘show and tell’ half-a-dozen ways that this animal is distinct from the Greater Superb Bird-of-Paradise-the bird which is more widespread
The members of this family are perhaps best known for the plumage of the males. This sexually dimorphic species is easily identified by the elongated and elaborate feathers extending from the beak, wings, tail or head of the males
Unlike the other bird of paradise, its steps are smooth instead of bouncy. Footage of the birds revealed choreography completely different to everything ornithologists had previously documented
The members of this family are perhaps best known for the plumage of the males.
These species are easily identified by the elongated and elaborate feathers extending from the beak, wings, tail or head of males.
Cornell Lab’s Birds-of-Paradise Project is a research and education initiative to document, interpret, and protect the birds-of-paradise, their native environments, and the other biodiversity of the New Guinea region-one of the largest remaining tropical wildernesses on the planet.
The full findings of the study were published in the journal PeerJ.
This particular species is only found in the far-western Bird’s Head or Vogelkop region of Indonsesia
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