Raja Ampat’s main draw might be its incredible diving, but on land there are some pretty amazing creatures as well. For centuries birds of paradise have been revered as some of the most beautiful and unique birds in the world. Thankfully, there are still a number of species in Raja Ampat that you can see on guided treks to witness them in their own habitat. To learn a bit more about birds of paradise, read our 5 facts about them.
1. Raja Ampat has two endemic species
Raja Ampat is very lucky to have two endemic bird of paradise species, the red bird of paradise and the Wilson’s bird of paradise. These birds are very unique and rare and can be found only on Waigeo and Batanta Islands. These birds are not only critical for the ecosystem, they are also a huge draw for tourists to the area.
2. They are thought to be reincarnated fairies
The local tribes on the islands of Raja Ampat have many legends and traditions surrounding birds of paradise. Their feathers and symbols representing the birds are often used in the ceremonies and dances of the people of Raja Ampat. One legend even says that these birds are the reincarnation of fairies flitting around the jungles.
3. They are an essential part of the ecosystem
Birds of paradise are adept at reaching fruit and seeds high up in the canopies of the rainforests of Raja Ampat. They then move around dispersing the seeds of the fruit, ensuring the dispersal of trees. This role is generally played by mammals, but in the forests of Raja Ampat it is largely up to birds of paradise. This is one reason why it is so important to protect these incredible birds.
4. The British didn’t believe they existed
When reports of these magnificent birds were brought back to Great Britain, no one believed there could be such a creature. It wasn’t until Ferdinand Magellen’s expedition to the East Indies arrived back in Spain in 1522 with two preserved birds of paradise that Europeans acknowledged the birds were indeed real. After this, their feathers were bought and sold as rare gifts and even given as presents for royalty.
5. Birds of paradise have great noses
If you get the chance to take a morning hike to see the birds of paradise, you may be told not to wear perfume or use anything scented on your body or clothes. This is because birds of paradise have a great sense of smell and can be disturbed easily by smells they don’t recognize. They also have very good hearing so you will need to creep very quietly into the hide and stay still if you want to watch these amazing creatures in the wild.
Would you like to see birds of paradise in the wild? A trip to Papua Paradise Eco Resort gives you the perfect opportunity to do so because of its position close to Batanta Island. To learn more about how to book a Bird of Paradise Trek, leave us a message in the comments box below.