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Birds of Paradise: Revealing the World's Most Extraordinary Birdsby Edwin Scholes
Synopses & Reviews
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 behavior. 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 favor, 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 colorations?" 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.
"You’ll initially find it hard to believe that these pictures are real—but they are. These are the most beautiful photographs of the world’s most beautiful birds. The birds’ behavior, richly described in the text, is as remarkable as their appearance. This is a book like no other book."
--Jared Diamond, ornithologist and author of Guns, Germs, and Steel
Eight years. Eighteen expeditions. Fifty-one field sites. Thirty-nine unique species of birds-of-paradise, all photographed in the wild for the first time in history.
“We turned our passion for science, photography, and media documentation into a comprehensive vision to share an unparalleled treasure of Earth’s biodiversity with the world,” write biologists and explorers Tim Laman and Edwin Scholes.
These treasures are the spectacular birds-of-paradise, native only to the remote New Guinea region but known the world around for their brilliant colors, otherworldly plumes, and elaborate courtship dances. Now, for the first and perhaps only time, all 39 species of these extraordinary birds are showcased together through the revealing words and exclusive photographs in this landmark book.
About the Author
TIM LAMAN, rain forest biologist affiliated with Harvard University, is one of the most accomplished wildlife photographers in the world. EDWIN SCHOLES, evolutionary biologist affiliated with the American Museum of Natural History and Cornell University, has studied the New Guinea birds for more than a decade and is the leading authority on their behavior and evolution.
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