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The aptly named “superb bird-of-paradise” is fascinating to behold, especially when it’s performing its courtship dance. In fact, once the male bird opens its plumage, it doesn’t look like a bird at all. The transformation is so complete, so bizarre that all the female sees is a black disk with an electric blue smiley-like face.

The superb bird of paradise (Lophorina superba) is a species belonging to the Paradisaeidae family, also known as the “bird-of-paradise”. All members of this family have elaborate plumage and display bizarre courtship rituals. As in other species of this family, only the male superb bird-of-paradise posses the spectacular ornamental plumage consisting of an iridescent green crown, a blue-green “breast shield” that can be erected during courtship and long velvety black feathers on the back that can also be erected to form a cape. The female is rather drab.

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