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King Bird of Paradise

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The King Bird of Paradise is the most magnificent creature in the Paradise of Birds.

Usually seated on the topmost branch of a golden bush in the central arbor of the Paradise, the King Bird bears lush and lustrous plumage, smooth as velvet. The feathers of his head and neck appear a delicate shade of lavender, though they display iridescent effects when he moves. His body feathers are of a rich royal purple, shading to lavender and then to white on his breast. His wings are white, tipped with specks of gold. His tail is an astonishing assemblage of dainty, fern-like plumes that spread about him in graceful yet bewildering curves, revealing all the colors of the rainbow.

His voice is soft; he sometimes uses it to praise his own beauty and magnificence. (In the ethic of the Paradise, failure to appreciate beauty, even one's own, shows ingratitude toward the handiwork of the Divine.) The King can become upset, though, when any of his plumes is disarranged, and calls upon his small brown ladies in waiting to correct any displacement. (Policeman Bluejay)

Background

There is in fact a King Bird of Paradise native to New Guinea, though it does not resemble Baum's description. The actual Bird is a bright red with a white breast; it can appear tailless, since its tail consists of two slender "wires" that end in wound-up spools.

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