Attenborough's Birds of Paradise

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Attenborough's Birds of Paradise


You’ll know the male bird of paradise, the glimmering star of many a natural history documentary, with his scintillating, full-on theatrical female-attracting production of vivid colours and shimmering feathers.

David Attenborough has been entranced by birds of paradise since he was a lad, and he saw his first one up close in 1957 during a trip to New Guinea. In this love letter, he looks at the history of the paradise bird from its discovery in the 16th century to the present day, where they are hand-reared in a sanctuary in the Qatar desert.

There’s plenty of extraordinary footage of the males as they shimmy and shape-shift in front of rapt females. She chooses her mate, so he has to work hard.


Among David Attenborough's life-long passions are birds of paradise, which he has tracked all over the jungles of New Guinea to film their beautiful and often bizarre displays. In this documentary, he examines how and why these creatures have captivated explorers, naturalists, artists, film-makers and even royalty, investigating the myths surrounding their discovery 500 years ago, the latest extraordinary behaviour captured on camera and the science behind their beauty. He also travels to a state-of-the art facility in Qatar that houses the largest breeding group of these birds in the world.

Cast & Crew

Presenter David Attenborough
Executive Producer Mike Gunton
Producer Miles Barton