Cendrawasih: Papua’s Most Beautiful Bird of Paradise

Paradisaea bird or the bird of paradise found in Papua, Indonesia and also in New Guinea and eastern Australia had long been recognized for its rarely beautiful plumage. Known locally as Cendrawasih, this bird now suffers from illegal hunting and is on the brink of extinction.

Cendrawasih, is believed by local tribes to have a mystical properties, the tribes believe that the bird is the bird of the gods that come from heaven and because of that the birds will never set foot on ground. Members of the tribes use Cendrawasih feathers to decorate their heads and cloths during cultural feast.

Habitat

There are around 43 birds of paradise species in the world, of which at least 28 can be found living in the rainforest of West Papua Province, Indonesia. The birds make their nest in tree holes and branches.

Paradiseae minor. Image credit

Description

The average length of Paradiseae or Cendrawasih bird is around 13 inches including the ornamental plum. The males have different shocking colors of yellow, red, green and blue all over their body and tail that comes in different size and shapes. One of the most famous species, the Raggiana for example usually has orange tail, yellow neck and green chin. This extravagant look of beautiful feathers is properties of the males as they need it to attract females. The females on the contrary has dull brown feather with no colorful plumes. The dull color protects them when they are laying eggs and raising their young. Cendrawasih is mostly polygamous. For some monogamous species that mate for life, the color of the male is as dull as the female.

The Raggiana. Image via Wikipedia

Every morning, the males will gather in a specific tree to display their extensive feathers and dance their energetic courtship dance to win the heart of the females. This graceful movement has become inspiration of a local traditional dance.  

The courtship dance. Image credit

Conservation Status

The number of Cendrawasih bird left in the wild is unknown but believed to have declined rapidly in recent years. Cendrawasih is mainly killed by arrows, traps or riffle for its beautiful feathers. The feathers are sometimes sold openly in hotels or malls or secretly smuggled out of Papua. Recent trend however shows that collectors now want the bird alive to be kept as pet. The price for one bird is ranging from USD 100-600 in Jakarta. In Papua, the price is cheaper, only around USD 75-150

Paradiseae rubra. Image credit

Illegal trade of the bird had raised many concerns in respect of the survival of this species. Although the used of Cendrawasih’s feather for local tribes’ cultural ceremony is still allowed, the trade of this bird has actually been banned by the Indonesian government, but as the demand for the bird remains high, it only does little to stop the trading of the bird dead or alive in the black market.

Paradiseae apoda. Image credit

In addition to the above, Papua rainforest, which is the natural habitat of Cendrawasih, had been diminished rapidly due to land conversion, mining and logging activities.

WWF has been trying to increase awareness of the public about the endangered status of this beautiful bird. It is hoped that by decreasing the demand for this bird or its feather the numbers of birds killed will be reduced as well. Off course this effort has to be supported by the government by sternly reinforcing rules against the killing and trading of Cendrawasih.

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44 Responses to “Cendrawasih: Papua’s Most Beautiful Bird of Paradise”
  1. Sarah Rebecca Says...

    On December 23, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    This is indeed a very beautiful bird. Thanks for sharing!


  2. lxdollarsxl Says...

    On December 23, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    They are really spectacular birds and hopefully they will be always protected so that they dont die out


  3. Larry Fish Says...

    On December 23, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Great Article, beautiful birds, beautiful photos.


  4. buenavida Says...

    On December 23, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Thank you for describing these beautiful birds!


  5. The Quail 1957 Says...

    On December 23, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Indeed an awesome looking bird. I loved this article and found it to be extremely well researched,written and very informative as well as educational. You might want to add education and educational to your tags on this and other articles of this nature, because it’s yet another huge niche of people which will read it if they know its there.

    I’m going to ping this article for you to my own list of followers and friends. Good luck with this article and let me know how you do with it over the next two weeks.

    AGAIN GREAT ARTICLE…


  6. Mystical Whitewolf Says...

    On December 23, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    This birds are fabulous as is this article, you did a wonderful job writing a really informative read. Thank you so much for share such beauty with all of us.


  7. PR Mace Says...

    On December 23, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Beautiful bird and a well written article.


  8. Eunice Tan Says...

    On December 23, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Another beautiful bird beside peacock.


  9. Shirley Shuler Says...

    On December 23, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Wonderful article. Very beautiful bird, thank you for sharing this with us.


  10. lapasan Says...

    On December 23, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    Those are indeed beautiful birds. They should be saved from extinction.


  11. Pete Macinta Says...

    On December 23, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    Colorful! Nice!


  12. OhSugar Says...

    On December 23, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    Very nice post; the birds are very exotic.


  13. LCM Linda Says...

    On December 23, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    Beautiful birds. Hope more effort can be given to protect them and help them survive. Merry Christmas to you.


  14. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 12:22 am

    The Papua rainforst should have a protected section. This bird is beautiful.


  15. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 12:24 am

    ‘rainforest’


  16. ShaFar Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 12:44 am

    I don’t think I can pronounce the name of the bird, but it is really beautiful! I wish I had one. Merry Christmas to you and yours.


  17. valli Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 2:03 am

    Beautiful write up with beautiful images.


  18. jimmy2362 Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 2:43 am

    cendrawasih bird is a exotic bird, nice article.


  19. Betty Carew Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 7:04 am

    Awesome articles and awesome bird. Just beautiful Yovita. I didn’t know about this bird. A very well written article and very well presented.Such a beautiful bied I hope they can protect it. It would be such a shame to lose something as beautiful as this from our planet.


  20. anndavey650 Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 7:05 am

    Some amazing photos you have there. I hope these birds stay forever protected. Beautifully written.


  21. albert1jemi Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 7:07 am

    good share


  22. celydeepi Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 11:04 am

    very nice post


  23. ladym33 Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 11:39 am

    I have never seen one of those before. The tail feathers are beautiful.


  24. Francois Hagnere Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    A wonderful article, my friend. Thank you for sharing this beauty!
    Merry Christmas to you!


  25. Francois Hagnere Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    I hope tha birds will be protected more and more. You did a fabulous work researching on these. Thank you again, my friend.


  26. obikelvin Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    An awesome blog with explicit photos.Paradisaea bird or the bird of paradise is indeed a beautiful bird.Wish i’d have a facial encounter with this magnificient creature.Nice research.


  27. Judy Kaelin Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Very nice, thanks for sharing the photo’s of these beautiful birds!


  28. Anuradha Ramkumar Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    That was a very cute and beautiful looking bird…haven’t heard of it.


  29. bhaswati Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    such a rare beauty!! i had never heard about these birds, thnx for brining out the informative article. very well-researched and well-presented


  30. Ruby Hawk Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    You are right, they are beautiful. Merry Christmas.


  31. PSingh1990 Says...

    On December 24, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Nice Share.

    :-)


  32. UncleSammy Says...

    On December 25, 2010 at 4:44 am

    lovely one


  33. CHAN LEE PENG Says...

    On December 25, 2010 at 5:13 am

    This is such a wonderful place to know and visit.


  34. Sheri Fresonke Harper Says...

    On December 25, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    Beautiful, I am going to have to visit and see all of the birds:)


  35. zokkizox Says...

    On December 25, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    wow, that’s unbelievable! Very pretty. I enjoyed this article, thanks!


  36. Brewed Coffee Says...

    On December 26, 2010 at 2:18 am

    I hope they strictly implement the conservation of these birds so they don’t disappear. They are beautiful and very bright..deserving the name well


  37. The Soul Explorer Says...

    On December 26, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Nice tribute


  38. Sharif Ishnin Says...

    On December 27, 2010 at 1:54 am

    Wonderful article Yovita. I never actually seen the cendrawasih bird till now. There’s a Malay song about the cendrawasih that I always hear on the radio.:)


  39. leo604 Says...

    On December 27, 2010 at 8:42 am

    wonderful article. this is the most beautiful bird i ever seen


  40. Geny Says...

    On December 27, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Thanks for sharing,nise article..


  41. ur guide Says...

    On December 30, 2010 at 10:48 am

    awesome pics


  42. leo604 Says...

    On January 12, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Great Great post and pic


  43. Agnes Samil Says...

    On January 30, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing your article about these beautiful birds.


  44. Parag Harish Shah Says...

    On May 17, 2011 at 1:57 am

    Bird of paradise are so attractive that their appearance once made them the target of skin hunters, who decimated some species.


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