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BIRD PARADISE [1 record]

Record 1 1996-01-25


Subject field(s)
  • Birds

Any of a family (paradisaeidae) of brightly colored birds found in and near New Guinea.


Most people assume that birds of paradise are named for the exquisite beauty of their elaborate feathers. In fact, they owe their lovely moniker to another legless legend. The natives of New Guinea prepared specimens for trade by cutting off the legs and drying the skin over a fire. The first specimens, supplied by Islamic traders, reached Europe in the sixteenth century and inspired an elaborate legend about ethereal birds that, according to a commentator in 1551, «lack feet and are therefore obliged to fly continuously and live in the highest sky ... They require no other food or drink than dew from Heaven " - hence, birds of paradise.


  • Oiseaux

Oiseau (passereaux) de la Nouvelle-Guinée.


Oiseau tropical d'Indonésie orientale et d'Australie du Nord, dont le mâle porte une parure de noce aux formes et aux couleurs les plus variées.


Les paradisiers, quand ils sont arrivés empaillés en Europe au XVIe siècle, ont été qualifiés d'apodes, car les indigènes leur avaient coupé les pattes, et la légende en a fait des oiseaux volant sans jamais se poser.


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