[Bird calls] [A male and a female twelve-wired bird-of-paradise perch on a vertical stick. They look very different. He is black and yellow with long, thin tail wires. She is brown and without tail wires. The male reaches his beak down to her. He begins a display, moving on the stick, calling, and changing direction several times, showing off his tail wires. She flies to a different branch. He follows her, and raises feathers around his neck that look like a collar. She flies away and he chases her.] [Explore MacaulayLibrary.org]

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In some birds, males and females are distinguished solely by color. In others, males possess additional ornamentation not seen in females. This is especially true in birds-of-paradise such as the Twelve-wired Bird-of-Paradise, which has several long tail wires, which it sweeps across a female’s face during courtship displays.

This video accompanies Chapter 4, Feathers and Plumages, Handbook of Bird Biology, 3rd Edition from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Wiley Publishing.

Recorded by Timothy G. Laman, Macaulay Library