228 pages, 300 colour photos, colour illustrations, colour distribution maps
Legendary naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace once observed, "The bird of paradise really deserves its name and must be ranked as one of the most beautiful and most wonderful of living things." In this dazzling photo essay, Tim Laman and Edwin Scholes explain why, presenting gorgeous full-color photographs of all 39 species of the birds of paradise that highlight their unique and extraordinary plumage and mating behaviour.
The authors take you into the depths of the remote New Guinea rainforest to find each of these birds, some of which have never before been photographed. In pursuit, the authors pose answers to questions raised by eminent evolutionary biologists such as Ernst Mayr: "How can natural selection favour, one might almost say permit, the evolution of such conspicuously bizarre plumes and displays? How can it permit such 'absurd exaggerations', as one is almost tempted to call them? How can it happen that apparently closely related species and genera differ so drastically in their habits and colourations?"
Field notes, conservation success stories, and observations of native peoples' interactions with these magnificent birds provide a rich feast for birders, naturalists, and any one who is seduced by the power and majesty of the natural world.
Summary in French:
Une aventure exceptionnelle à la découverte des oiseaux de paradis. 8 années. 18 expéditions. 51 sites uniques dans les montagnes et forêts de Nouvelle-Guinée. 39 espèces de paradisiers, toutes photographiées pour la première fois dans leur milieu naturel. 300 photographies et documents accompagnés d’informations scientifiques exclusives et de descriptions systématiques (allure, chant, territoire, statut de conservation). Ce livre illustré et documenté retrace l’ambitieux et inégalé Bird-of-Paradise project de Tim Laman et Edwin Scholes.
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