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acrylic on panel 9" x 12"
This painting depicts two common members of two very famous groups of New Guinean animals. The birds of paradise are derived from a crow-like ancestor, and have radiated into 42 species within 15 different genera. Unlike their relatives the corvids, the male birds of paradise engage in a lekking mating behavior, where they perform ornate courtship displays, often in groups. Most species have developed elaborate and colorful plumage. The Lesser Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea minor) is one of the most common species and is found in a number of different types of forest across the island. The tree monitors form a complex of species that range throughout the island and Australia's Capre York Peninsula. They are the most arboreally-adapted of the monitors, and are equipped with long, prehensile tails. The Green Tree Monitor (Varanus prasinus) is the best-known and most common member of the group.