Birds of Paradise have thick bills and are hardy bodied, but can range in size from Starling to Crow. Their tails can trail as long as 3 feet depending on the species and their colors can vary from mostly black all the way to being brightly colored. The tails are a nuisance when considering flying with them, but they help the male to win over a mate and show up other males by dancing and showing off. If you can catch a show, it's one of a kind. The male will dance in trees or make a stage of sorts upon the ground so the sun can shine upon the plumage. Hanging from limbs, charging and freezing, and spinning and freezing are all popular dance moves in the Birds of Paradise species. People who've seen the bird would describe it nothing short of majestic, like a creature made up in someone's active imagination or in the pages of a book.
In most Birds of Paradise, once the male wins over a female and does its job, it moves on to finding the next female without helping the first. The female creates a cup-like nest high in a tree and incubates the egg her self, then takes care of her own young. Some males stay with the female for the season and help with the young before moving on. The young are born without feathers which take about a week to come in. They are pretty independent by one month, but still with their adult parents for several weeks before striking out on their own. Females may reach full maturity by a year, but males take several years and even up to seven years to grow the fully mature plumage that scores the females.
Little is known about the bird's diet and behavior in their natural habitat, but they have been seen tearing bark from trees to get to the insects inside and we do know they also eat fruit. In captivity, they are given nutritional pellets made for soft-billed birds and some fruits, as well as meal worms and crickets during breeding season, an ideal food source for feeding bird young. This information is from the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park where the species is kept in captivity.
A variety of sounds are utilized by the bird to announce their location to a mate or mark their territories. They also make noises with their bills (a rattling like sound) and by batting their wings. Some species seem to hum, others click. There are numerous sounds that only further study can reveal the meanings of.
This bird is now being highly protected after some of its species almost reached extinction caused by the demands of the fashion industry. There was a time before 1920 that the feathers and skin of the bird were popular materials for dressing and wearing. Now the bird is protected from export and has strict hunting laws, only allowing hunting for the ceremonial needs of local native society.