New Guinea is home to 700 bird species, 445 of which reside in the lush rainforest. Home to 9 parrot subspecies, a trip to New Guinea’s rainforest almost guarantees you’ll see the eclectus parrot, the most common of the 9. New Guinea’s birds of paradise are incredibly popular, due to their brilliant color palates and the peculiar way they mate with one another. Also dwelling in New Guinea’s rainforest is the world’s largest pigeon, the Victoria crowned pigeon, and the cassowary, a large, flightless bird.
Although a predominately quiet bird, the red-sided eclectus can be instantly recognized by the noisy, jarring call it makes when distressed or excited. Like many New Guinea birds, eclectus parrots are rich in color. The females have bright red heads and striking blue beaks and bodies. The males are equally impressive with beaks featuring a blend of yellow and orange and a predominately green body.
Birds of Paradise
Spiritual and majestic, New Guinea’s birds of paradise are widely recognized as the country’s most notable bird species. Their plumage is incredibly striking, but no two birds of paradise are alike. Many are covered in bright yellow and green feathers, while some are flashier and have tails that extend far beyond their bodies. Their mating ritual is spectacular to watch, as the decorated male will dance for the female in an attempt to dazzle her. This courtship has drawn many to the island of New Guinea, but it pleases none more than New Guinea natives, who see the souls of their ancestors in the birds.
Victoria Crowned Pigeon
The size of a hen turkey, the Victoria crowned pigeon is the largest pigeon in the world. Their name comes from the crest of feathers on the tops of their heads, which are royal blue in color and quite resemble a peacock’s tail. With their crowns and long tails, there is no denying this pigeon is very majestic in appearance. The breast of the Victoria crowned pigeon is a deep purple and red blend, as are their legs. All Victoria crowned pigeons are native to New Guinea, but many can be found in zoos and private collections around the world.
Found only in Australia and New Guinea, the rare cassowary is a striking creature rarely beheld by the human eye. Related to emus, cassowary birds are large and flightless. Unlike emus, there is nothing plain or colorless about their plumage. Cassowaries have lustrous black plumage, set over a black and red neck. Their heads are entirely blue and feature a casque, or helmet, that angles backward and is used to clear away flora as the bird runs, head down, through the rainforest.