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Birds of Paradise

Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution

Opens January 18, 2018

Journey to the remote rainforests of New Guinea, land of the exotic birds-of-paradise in our new exhibit Birds of Paradise: Amazing Avian Evolution.

Photo by Rebecca Hale/National Geographic.

An elegant example of extreme evolution, birds-of-paradise show off their feathery flair during elaborate mating rituals. Visitors will behold the birds’ cinematic courtship dances, puffed-out plumage, wild calls, and wacky behaviors through games, hands-on activities, photo and video, and an interactive display on research and conservation!

Featuring the extravagant plumage, crazy courtship dances and bizarre behaviors of the extraordinary birds, the exhibition is born out of the groundbreaking research of National Geographic photographer Tim Laman and Cornell Lab of Ornithology scientist Edwin Scholes’ work studying these birds.

Birds of Paradise takes visitors deep into the New Guinea rainforest and brings these extravagant birds to life through engaging games and fun, hands-on activities.

Member Exclusive Celebration

Nature Museum members can join us for an exclusive Birds of Paradise celebration on January 19 starting at 5:30pm. Bring the whole family and enjoy a night of exhibit exploration, kid-friendly activities, museum-wide access, and complimentary refreshments. Click the button below to RSVP.

RSVP for Member Exclusive Event


  • Challenge friends to a bird-like dance-off in “Dance, Dance Evolution” 
  • Witness the transformations these species undergo to attract their mates through photos, videos, specimens and sculptures
  • Put yourself in the shoes of a National Geographic photographer and test your camera skills as you try to navigate tree branches to get the best shot
  • Discover maps and diagrams of the birds’ ranges across New Guinea that showcase how the country’s environment encouraged the birds to adapt and evolve over time.
  • Explore old and new scientific knowledge about the birds-of-paradise, including previous misconceptions, vintage illustrations and information on how the giants of evolutionary studies, including Charles Darwin, were fascinated by them
  • Play interactive games to learn how sexual selection works, and download the Species Atlas app featuring information on all birds-of-paradise species

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