Birds of Paradise

Production Details

Living in the depths of the New Guinean Rainforest are birds of unimaginable colour and beauty. When Europeans first saw the plumes of these fabulous creatures in the sixteenth century, they believed they must be from heaven and called them the Birds of Paradise. The men of New Guinea make even greater claims. They say the birds possess supernatural powers and magic.

But to find these Birds of Paradise in New Guinea is one of the very toughest assignments, and to witness their extraordinary mating displays is even tougher. These rare moments happen only briefly, unpredictably, in tiny patches of thick forest at dawn. To SEE them requires immense patience and luck.

David Attenborough has been entranced by these birds since he was a boy, and introduces the latest expedition to try their luck at finding and filming 10 birds of paradise. The team is led by Miriam Supuma, a young New Guinean ecologist, and Paul Igag, a highly talented ornithologist, and the programme follows them as they search for the birds – the holy grail of wildlife filmakers – in the heart of the New Guinean rainforest. From the Crater Highlands to Spirit Mountain, a moving journey unfolds.

To attract a mate, some male Birds of Paradise, like the King bird, perform like acrobats. Others, including the Parotia, have highly complex dance moves. The Superb Bird of Paradise displays a bizarre shield apparently with eyes, while the Prince Rudolf’s Blue Bird makes a hypnotic, pulsating sound like no other creature on earth. But above all, they give us a glimpse of what happens when there are no limits to beauty.

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