Birds of Paradise

Past Event: 23 November 2012 to 3 February 2013

stuffed blue bird hanging upside down
Blue Bird-of-Paradise, Paradisaea rudolphi.
Source: © Australian Museum
Photographer: Carl Bento

Discover the extraordinary and exotic birds-of-paradise in this colourful exhibition.

Featuring over 60 spectacular bird specimens native to the rainforests of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and northern Australia, Birds of Paradise explores the evolution of these beautiful feathered creatures and their importance to the PNG tribes who share their forest home. Discover the famous dancing displays of birds-of-paradise, in which males show off their exotic plumage to attract a female for mating, as well as how the clans of Papua New Guinea identify with these birds, using their feathers for decoration and symbolism.

Birds of Paradise looks at how both birds and people engage in a variety of decoration, display and dance rituals to draw attention to themselves – often as part of courtship – and the close relationship between birds-of-paradise and people.

An exhibition developed and toured by the Australian Museum.

Comments (3)

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Sue 12 October, 2012 19:05
This musseum. Is great fun
James 16 December, 2012 12:18
This exhibition is so great. Really found the birds and headdress so beautiful. I know photos are not allowed in the exhibition but was wondering what the museums policy on drawing is. Would love to do some sketches. Thanks!
Kerry 7 January, 2013 06:52
I went with a few friends to the Birds of Paradise exhibition and we all left feeling so sad and disappointed. If you love birds don't go- the exhibit is primarily about how certain tribes in PNG kill the birds and use the feathers and body parts in their hats. While we can appreciate the colour and beauty of the hats, there was something awful about seeing the beautiful birds reduced to parts (we realise it's the reality, but it's not a reality I'd like to go to a museum and see).  Also, the birds that the museum had collected, many were just laying flat on their backs in the displays. They looked like carcasses rather than displayed with any sort of energy or respect for their beauty.  The best part was a video of a few of the birds doing their mating dances. From the name and website of the exhibition I was expecting more pictures and information on the birds, unfortunately that was almost non-existent. So again, don't go if you like birds!
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