Adaptations for Attraction

Male birds–of–paradise are precision-tuned performers. Their unrivaled displays combine extreme feathers, dazzling colors, piercing sounds, and precise movements. These are all adaptations with a single function: to attract mates. This section explores the wide range of traits that males have evolved to conform to the picky preferences of females.

  • Sound

    Explore birds-of-paradise sounds, which run the gamut from basic squawks, to seemingly mechanical noises, to melodious whistles, to sounds that don’t involve their voices at all.

  • Color

    View the range of colors among the birds-of-paradise, learn two main ways birds produce colors, and watch how males display them to maximum effect.

  • Feathers

    Learn more how birds use their feathers for three basic purposes: flight, protection from the elements, and displays.

  • Victoria's Riflebird
    Shape Shifting

    Male birds-of-paradise extend specially shaped feathers, lining them up precisely to change the bird’s outline into a new shape.

  • Dance

    Learn more about how male birds–of–paradise choreograph their displays, from early practice sessions to mastering the finest details

  • Inspection & Touch

    At the end of a male’s display, females move in to inspect closely and sometimes touch the male before making a final decision about choosing him as a mate.