Animal: Superb Bird of Paradise
Research Location: New Guinea and northeastern Australia

Why This Animal?

This animal is the most amazing animal that I have ever seen! I was struggling on what animal I should do for science because I wanted a very unique animal. That night, my dad flipped to the PBS channel and I saw a very cool bird. I immediately knew that this bird was the bird for my science project. The show wouldn't tell me the name of the bird and I thought that I wouldn't be able to use it after all. The next day, I figured out what the bird's name was and I was so excited. I love this bird so much because it is so cool to research. It is very unique and I think that it's a really intriguing animal. I like this bird because of its unusual behavior and mating techniques. The Superb Bird of Paradise is probably the best bird at dancing and mating at the same time! Their mating techniques are so unusual and extravagant at the same time! I have really enjoyed researching this bird and it is now my ultimate favorite animal! I hope that you enjoy the rest of my research as much as I did!

Research Location

The research location that I am doing is New Guinea. This island is the second biggest island in the world and it holds the most amazing birds ever! New Guinea is mostly rain forest so I would consider it as a rain forest type biome. The climate in New Guinea is very nice reaching up to temperatures of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The humidity is fairly high and it usually rains quite often. The birds in New Guinea are so interesting to observe. I am going to be talking about the Superb Bird of Paradise, but there are so many other birds just like it. These category of birds are called the birds of paradise and they act, eat, and do pretty much the same way. They are also very different in their own ways . Each bird of paradise has a different sort of mating technique. Some other species in New Guinea are frogs. The superb bird paradise eats smaller frogs for their diet. New Guinea frogs are mainly found underground, in trees, or in streams. There is usually no tadpole stage in the life cycle because frogs lay their eggs outside of the water. Frogs are very common in New Guinea. Do you think that a rain forest in New Guinea would have rich or poor soil? New Guinea has a combination of both! The soil isn't as rich as you would think because the soil actually is thin. New Guinea has thin soil that can easily be drained of its nutrients. Plants have learned to adapt and look gorgeous standing tall and mighty. Many plant species are only in New Guinea and are very rare. In fact, almost eight out of ten of New Guinea's plants are found nowhere else in the world! The supreme bird of paradise mainly lives in ferns which cover most of New Guinea. Ferns are not the highest trees, but they are not the lowest either. It is the perfect height for birds who need to swoop down on food and not be too far away from their young either. Plants are very important in a rain forest biome and keep many animals alive and help them to survive.


Research Technique

I used a trip camera for my research technique. I would set up the camera at night and when it censored heat, the camera would take a picture. The next morning I would look at the pictures and observe what I saw! These pictures happened on day 8. I am going to show you some pictures of what the trip camera took and the observation notes that I took also.

I saw this superb bird of paradise around 9:00 last night. It was looking for a late night snack and failed. I observe this bird to be an almost grown up male and isn't as big as some of the others that I have seen. His collar is more of a teal color rather than almost a blue. This shows that the bird is still quite young but is getting the features of a grown up male.
This guy was not afraid of the camera at all. I saw this male around 12:00 during the middle of the night. It was just going back to its home and came across the camera. It was interested in it and got up very close. I even have a few beak marks on the camera which I am betting came from this particular bird. This male is a full grown male. You can tell by the almost striking blue of the collar and the silver beak.
The camera saw this bird at about 2:00 in the morning. It has its beak wide upon and I am assuming that it was saying something in bird language. This almost looks like the other bird up above, and I am not sure if it is. If so, it probably was going to try and find a female but failed. The bird was probably trying to call attention to itself by a clucking sound.
The camera caught this fellow up in the tree at about 3:00. The bird was probably searching for food on the ground so it could fly in and snatch its prey in one swift movement. This male is a young bird because it does not have its blue crown yet. It is an all black bird with beady eyes that can see very well.
This bird was caught at 5:00 in the morning. It was talking in bird language and looks like it was marking its territory. It is a full grown male and seems to be calling in a mating song, or a territorial chant.

I also took notes on a video. This video is a you tube video about the mating of the superb bird of paradise. It is also known as the courtship dance!. You can watch the video if you like, it is not very long. Below will the video and the set of notes that I took.
Superb Bird of Paradise

Observation Journal

Day 1- I am so excited to be going to New Guinea! I have never been to a rain forest before and I am ecstatic to see amazing new creatures and beautiful plants. I am about to board the plain that will take me to Papua New Guinea and I will start my journey from there. It is time to board the long flight so I will say good bye for now.
Day 2- I am finally here and boy is it humid. It is raining right now, and I am assuming that it won't let up for a while. The weather would be half way decent if it weren't so hot and sticky. I feel as if some one has poured syrup all over my body. I never knew that I could ever sweat so much in my whole entire life. I am very excited to observe the superb bird of paradise and to see other cool species of birds. I am walking through the rain forest and I am looking about to see if I can find any birds. I doubt I will have any luck because I think they are in the deeper part of the rain forest. It is so hard to get through the tangled mass of bushes and vines. I have to always watch my step because you never know what creatures you will find. I see massive trees hovering over top of me and I see beautiful, magnificent plants everywhere I turn my head. I also see graceful butterflies that flutter past my face and then scatter to the left and then the right. I also need to get used to spider webs because I have encountered about five spider webs. I am not to found of spiders and I am glad I haven't met any yet. The rain has not led up and I am afraid that it is time to pitch the tent. I haven't had any luck today, but I wasn't expecting to anyway. I will get ready for bed and hope that the bed bugs don't bite!
Day 3- This morning is absolutely gorgeous! The sun is high in the sky and there are no clouds to be seen. I am amazed at how the weather can change so fast! I am still walking through thick plants, but should come across a clearing sooner or later where I will set up camp. Today was my first encounter of a snake. Luckily, it was one of the small ones and the guide that was with me told me that it is not poisonous! I didn't realize how dangerous this job could be. I haven't found any birds yet, but I have heard their chirping. I look up a lot, but they are no where to be seen. I have finally found the clearing! I have decided to stay here and observe plants and animals while trying to relax. I finally see my opportunity for a shower. There is a small water fall to my right and it leads into a stream. I am going to attempt and try to bathe in the stream and maybe swim for pure enjoyment. That water was the coldest water that I have ever set foot in. I was probably in the stream for two minutes. The water set my spine shivering and my toes curling. It went up to my knees so it wasn't very deep, but it was freezing. I tried walking under the water fall and I immediately screamed! The water was pounding on my back so hard that I cringed under the weight. The most embarrassing thing was that you could hear some birds singing. It almost sounded as if they were mocking and laughing at me! After the cold water incident, I covered myself with my blankets and looked up at they perfect and blue sky. After I was warm, I sat up and looked for anything interesting to write down. There are many plants here, but they are all the same and they are everywhere. I am so excited to be hear and I really want to find this bird. The sun is setting and I am getting really tired. I hope the frogs croaking won't wake me up again. Today has been such a learning experience and I can't wait to get started tomorrow. Well, good bye for tonight and I'll write again either tomorrow or the next day after that!

Day 5- Day four wasn't very exciting. I just walked through the rain forest and found absolutely nothing. Another thing on the downside was that it was pouring down rain so hard it was almost as tough as the water fall! Today is a misty morning and should produce to an interesting day. I can't see anything it so foggy! I don't think that I am getting anywhere because I can't see my two front feet! This is horrible news and I am sorry to say that I might be going home. Because I couldn't see, I accidentally stepped on a poisonous snake. It was irritated and so it bit me and injected its poison into my body. I thought that I was going to die because I blacked out from the pain. I woke up in the hospital here and I am being treated well. The doctors said that I was very lucky. The snake bite was just below a major vein and if it had taken a chunk out of my vein, I would have been dead within thirty seconds. Luckily, luck was on our side and I will be staying here and continuing my research after I recover.

Day 8- I am finally out of the hospital and I am going back to where I was. I feel a lot better except for the occasional pain in my leg. I can walk fairly well and should be back on track! I hope that I can spot the bird soon. I think that I will start staying awake during the night and using trip cameras to try and spot any birds. It is coming close to night time, but I will keep you updated on how my theory is working. I have set up the trip cameras and I am anxious to see how it will turn out. I finally see a heat censored motion on the camera. It is high in the trees so it could be a bird. I guess I will see until tomorrow to find out what it was. I can't get to sleep because I am so excited to see the results. I hope that it is the bird that I have been looking for, but for right now I will try and get some shut eye!

Day 9- This morning is a glorious day in April and I am excited to look at the pictures that the trip camera took. The superb bird of paradise is so beautiful! The pictures that I took were only male and I hope to find some female soon. The male is an all black bird with a gray beak. Its eyes are a beady black that seem to stare at me! This bird has a tint of blue around it's neck almost like a blue collar. The blue collar has a silver tint to it and shines in the sun. The feathers look almost like fish scales and are very detailed. The colors of the collar start off to be blue, but then they start to turn teal. These birds are truly magnificent creatures! I am packing up my tent again and I am going to start climbing up and down logs again. The ground is so unstable and every once in a while there are big fallen trees on the ground that I have to step over. The sky is actually clear and I am excited to get started for the day! I have just witnessed a competitive relationship between two birds. It was so amazing because one was actually the superb bird of paradise! They both saw the dead frog at the same time and they both swooped down to close in on the prey. They landed on the moist floor and stopped. They both looked at each other and ran towards the prey. The superb bird of paradise was faster and got to the frog first. It cried in triumph, but the other bird would have none of it. The other bird started to screech at the superb bird of paradise. Then the other bird started to hop back in forth and beat its wings at the superb bird of paradise. The superb bird of paradise started to fly away, but the other bird grabbed hold of its wing in his beak. They started to tackle each other in a bird like way, and each had a scar to be proud of. While these two birds were fighting, an unknown bird swooped down and picked up the forgotten dead frog. It flew into the air and gulped the frog down in one swift movement. At that same moment, the two birds that were fighting, glanced up into the sky and went their own and separate ways. That was such an interesting observation and I am glad that it happened. I have been seeing more and more of the superb bird of paradise and I think I am coming to its most general habitat. I am very excited to see the amazing mating techniques that I have heard others talk about. I have only been seeing the bright colored males, and have not seen a single female. Hopefully tomorrow will be my lucky chance. I am done for the day and I actually feel as if I have accomplished something. I’ll hopefully report tomorrow, but right now I will get some sleep.

Day 11- Yesterday was the most boring day ever! It was raining really hard and my feet went sploosh sploosh squish as I walked. I pitched the tent early and called it quits for the day. Today is much different. It is still muddy, but the sun is high in the sky and it is really hot. I am following the sounds of what I think are mating calls from the superb bird of paradise. I am still walking and I am starting to get really bored. I finally see a clearing up ahead and I think I will rest there for a while. When I get to the clearing I see the most amazing sight ever. On a fallen tree, was the superb bird of paradise. I see another bird close to it and I recognize it as the female superb bird of paradise. The female was all brown with black, white, and tan stripes going vertically down her back. She is smaller then the male and looks fragile. I can hardly believe that I am coming across an actual courtship dance. The male is dancing around the female with different calls. The female is trying to get away, but the male blocks her with his plumes. His feathers are all up to make an oval shape. It almost looks as if the male is a cartoon character with blue eyes and a blue stomach. The male keeps dancing around the female and is jumping back and forth. The female has had enough so she flies away. I have seen this several times today with the same female but a different male. I have done some research and it said that it usually takes up to fifteen times for a female to accept the male. This has been an eventful day, and I am sad that my time here is almost up. I have the rest of the night and tomorrow to finish observing and then I go back home.

Day 12- Today is my last day and I am wondering if I will see any activity. I am sitting here trying to observe when I think of an amazing idea. I am going to climb on of these trees and see if I can see anything. I have totally forgotten my stakes that I can stick into trees and climb up like a ladder. I am sticking one stick at a time and going up slowly but surely. I am almost to the top when I see a nest a branch above me. I peer into the nest and see two eggs sitting there. The mother then appears out of nowhere and I see that it is a female superb bird of paradise! I duck out of her way and camouflage myself in the leaves. The male bird is no where to be seen until I look down the tree. I see the male mating with another female. The female was running away, which I figured out why later. Five minutes later, a big male came screeching out of the sky. It swooped in front of the other male and gave a caw. I think this signaled that the big male was the female's "wife". The smaller male gave a wimpy cry and flew away to go find another female. What a weird behavior! After about ten minutes, I hear a crackling sound. I peer over my hiding spot and I see the eggs starting to break apart. The first egg shatters and a new form peeps out of the nest. It is the most wonderful experience to observe! The next one hatches and another baby bird appears. They are the cutest things ever and I never want to leave my perch. I don’t want to go home, but I know that I have to. I have just looked at the time and it is already seven o’clock! I have been up in my hide out for more then three hours. I climb down and take out every stake one by one. I say good-bye to the birds and to the wonderful world around me. I have learned so much and I am excited to show everyone my information back at home.

Day 13- I am on my way home and I can’t stop looking back at New Guinea disappearing behind me. This morning before I left, a superb bird of paradise soared down into the clearing that I was in. It perched on my tent and flew away. As it was flying away, a feather drifted down from the sky. I picked up the feather and saw that it was a superb bird of paradise feather. I will always remember my great experience and I will always remember New Guinea. I am almost home now and I can’t wait to get off the plane and to stretch my legs. I hope you enjoy my observations as much as I had writing them.

Food Web

Using the Research
I think that the superb bird of paradise will be fine, but you never know what will happen. More people have been moving to New Guinea and these people take up subsistence farming. This means that the families just get by with the food that they produce. They don’t make many crops and that is why they have so many acres of land. A well off family needs probably more then 10 acres of land to get a little bit more food then they need. If everyone had about 10 acres or more of land, don’t you think that the rain forest would get smaller? That’s exactly what happens. The birds of paradise are only in New Guinea and now humans are cutting down their natural habitat. This is a bad limiting factor for the superb bird of paradise. These birds eat frogs and lizards and if their habitats are getting smaller also, then the birds of paradise will have a limited diet. Some birds could even die of starvation! Many people often hunt animals to eat and hunt animals for trade. Thankfully, the birds of paradise are well protected because I don’t think anybody wants to see these beautiful birds destroyed. The population in New Guinea is becoming a problem for the superb bird of paradise and I think that it is time to make that stop!

Fellow Researcher Profile

What I've learned from them:

I admire Miriam Supuma very much! Miriam actually grew up living in the island of New Guinea. She was in New Guinea for three months studying the birds of paradise. This was very hard for her because the birds normally never show themselves especially the superb bird of paradise. She was not only observing the birds, but she was making a documentary for a film. This film was called the Birds of the Gods and was shown on PBS. Miriam was in the film and talked about days that were difficult and days that were exciting. I look up to Miriam because she never gave up in looking for the birds. It took her a very long time to find the birds and if she found them, they wouldn’t stay still for long. I am amazed that she didn’t quit because weather problems also interfered with the film. It was raining most of the time and she would have to walk through mud that was knee high to try and find these amazing birds. I want to be like Miriam Supuma because I love animals so much. I really want to observe rare animals and I want to have an experience that might change the world. I would love to meet Miriam and ask her questions about her experience.

I want to help the birds of paradise because more people are moving to New Guinea. People are starting to close in on the beautiful rain forests and are starting to clear the forests for subsistence farming. People are also killing animals for nourishment and trade! I find this sad because I don’t like it when animals are endangered. The birds of paradise are also very special because they are only found in New Guinea. These birds aren’t even found in zoos! I feel like I should help these animals, but I have no idea how! I hope that the birds of paradise will stay safe and the forest will not keep getting smaller! I think Miriam has showed people how important animals are and has seen the most amazing birds in the whole entire world!



Works Cited
PLANET EARTH - Bird Of Paradise - Video. Metacafe - Online Video Entertainment - Free Video Clips for Your Enjoyment. Discovery Channel, 24 July 2007. Web. 28 Jan. 2011. <http://www.metacafe.com/watch/398233/planet_earth_bird_of_paradise/>.
"San Diego Zoo's Animal Bytes: Bird of Paradise." Welcome to the San Diego Zoo. Zoological Society of San Diego, 2011. Web. 04 Feb. 2011. <http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/t-bird_of_paradise.html>.
Superb Bird-of-paradise." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, 17 Dec. 2010. Web. 04 Feb. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superb_Bird-of-paradise>.
"Birds of Paradise." Honolulu Zoo Home Page. Honolulu Zoo, 2008. Web. 04 Feb. 2011. <http://www.honoluluzoo.org/birds_of_paradise.htm>.
"KidsBiology.com - Lophorina Superba." Biology For Kids - KidsBiology.com. KidsBiology.com, 1998-2011. Web. 04 Feb. 2011. <http://www.kidsbiology.com/animals-for-children.php?animal=superb bird of paradise>.
"Papua New Guinea Climate, Temperature, Average Weather History, Rainfall/ Precipitation, Sunshine." World Weather and Climate Graphs, Average Climate Charts, Guide to Precipitation, Temperatures, Best, Friendly, Holiday Climate. Climatetemp.info, 2008-2010. Web. 14 Feb. 2011. <http://www.climatetemp.info/papua-new-guinea/>.
"WWF - New Guinea Plants." WWF - WWF. WWF, 2006. Web. 15 Feb. 2011. http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/where_we_work/new_guinea_forests/area_forests_new_guinea/plants_animals_new_guinea_forests/plants_forests_new_guinea/
WWF - New Guinea Amphibians." WWF - WWF. WWF, 2004. Web. 15 Feb. 2011. <http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/where_we_work/new_guinea_forests/area_forests_new_guinea/plants_animals_new_guinea_forests/amphibians_forests_new_guinea/>.