PNG has some of the wildest, least explored places on the planet and is covered in tropical forest, with an abundance of fruit and other food supplies.
With no significant predators, the birds of paradise have evolved in a super abundance of colour and plumes found nowhere else on Earth. These birds have long fascinated Sir David and he has made many trips to film them.
This natural history documentary picks up where he left off, following two local experts, Paul Igag and Miriam Sumpa, as they attempt to film as many of these birds as possible.
The birds of paradise form an important part of rituals and festivals. Attending such a gathering, Paul and Miriam attempt to identify the array of feathers found in these tribal adornments, to work out which birds are most threatened by hunting.
The displays are mesmerising – the appropriately named male Superb Bird of Paradise transforms his upper body into a reflective bowl of incandescent black and green feathers, while two bright green false eyes stare at the focus of his desire.
The Lawes’ parotia has a different strategy – he is a master of detail who meticulously moves leaves so that he can dance unimpeded. Rising up, he extends his feathered skirt and performs a dance that is the envy of any ballerina.
As PNG develops, there is an increased pressure on the forests and the birds. Very little is known about birds behaviour, and the research carried out by the team could prove vital when it comes to protecting them.
Birds Of Paradise, ABC-TV1, Tonight 7:30pm
Spotter: Peter Kranz
Image: Hal Holman