The World’s Most Beautiful Birds

1. Quetzal


   The quetzal is a beautifully colored bird in the trogon family. They are found in forests and woodlands, abundantly in more humid highlands.

They can be hard to spot in their wooded habitats, even with their brightly colored feathers. Their feet are unique with having two toes facing forward and two back, aiding the bird in perching high in the trees.

2. Mandarin Duck


   The mandarin duck is a perching duck species found in China and Japan.

Both males and females have crests, but the crest is more pronounced on the male. The male molts after mating season into eclipse (summer) plumage. When in eclipse plumage, the male looks very similar to the female, but can be told apart by their bright yellowish/orange beak.

3. Bluejay


   The bluejay is native to most of the eastern and central United States, western populations may be migratory. They are also found in Newfoundland and Canada.

This vibrantly colored bird feeds on nuts and seeds such as acorns, soft fruits, insects, and occasionally small vertebrates. They can sometimes be seen to catch insects while in flight.

4. Victoria Crowned Pigeon


   This stunning beauty is named after the British monarch Queen Victoria. The Victoria crowned pigeon is native to lowland and swamp forests of northern New Guinea.

The Victoria crowned pigeon is now uncommon around human established areas due to heavy hunting for it’s plumage and meat. The bird is easily tamed so it easily falls prey to hunters. As such it was named Near Threatened in the IUCN Red List.

5. Lesser Bird of Paradise


   The lesser bird of paradise is native to forests of New Guinea, and the nearby islands of Misool and Yapen. They are omnivorous, their diet mainly consisting of fruit, insects, and snails.

The lesser bird of paradise is considered to be at low risk, but its habitat, the tropical rain forests of Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya are increasingly threatened and quickly disappearing.

6. Long Tailed Widowbird


   This hauntingly beautiful species, the long-tailed widowbird, is found in Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia. They live in swampy grasslands, in flocks consisting of one to two males and a larger amount of females.

The long-tailed widowbird’s diet mainly consists of seeds and insects. They do most of their foraging in flocks on the ground, though they are sometimes seen catching insects mid flight.

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A stimulus for economic growth in Pakistan

CPEC is considered economically vital to Pakistan in helping it drive economic growth.China and Pakistan intend that the massive investment plan will transform Pakistan into a regional economic hub and further boost the deepening ties between the two countries.The Pakistani media and government called the investments a “game and fate changer” for the region,while Financial Times notes that Pakistan’s electricity shortages are a major hindrance to foreign investment, and that Chinese investments in Pakistani infrastructure and power projects will lead to a “virtuous cycle” that will make the country more attractive for foreign investment in a variety of sectors.
Pakistan currently faces energy shortfalls of over 4,500MW on a regular basis with routine power cuts of up to 12 hours per day, which has shed an estimated 2-2.5% off its annual GDP. Poor availability of electricity is considered by the World Bank to be a main constraint to both economic growth and investment in Pakistan. Pakistan’s large textile industry has also been negatively effected by several-hour long power cuts, with almost 20% of textile factories in the city of Faisalabad shutting down on account of power shortages. The CPEC’s “Early Harvest” projects are expected to resolve shortages in power generation by 2018 by increasing Pakistan’s power generation capacity by over 10,000 megawatts. As a result of improved infrastructure and energy supplies, the Pakistani government expects that economic growth rates will reach 7% by 2018.
According to Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying, the corridor will “serve as a driver for connectivity between South Asia and East Asia.” Mushahid Hussain, chairman of the Pakistan-China Institute, told China Daily that the economic corridor “will play a crucial role in regional integration of the ‘Greater South Asia’, which includes China, Iran, Afghanistan, and stretches all the way to Myanmar.” When fully built, the corridor is expected to generate significant revenue from transit fees levied on Chinese goods – to the tune of several billion dollars per annum. According to The Guardian, “The Chinese are not just offering to build much-needed infrastructure but also make Pakistan a key partner in its grand economic and strategic ambitions.”
Moody’s Investors Service has described the project as a “credit positive” for Pakistan. In 2015, the agency acknowledged that much of the project’s key benefits would not materialise until 2017, but stated that it believes at least some of the benefits from the economic corridor would likely begin accruing even before then. The Asian Development Bank stated “CPEC will connect economic agents along a defined geography. It will provide connection between economic nodes or hubs, centered on urban landscapes, in which large amount of economic resources and actors are concentrated. They link the supply and demand sides of markets.”

CPEC to circumvent the Straits of Malacca and South China Sea


*Map showing territorial claims in South China Sea. A high percentage of Chinese energy imports pass through this disputed region, rendering much of China’s energy imports vulnerable to conflict.


The Straits of Malacca provide China with its shortest maritime access to Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Approximately 80% pass of its Middle Eastern energy imports also pass through the Straits of Malacca. As the world’s biggest oil importer, energy security is a key concern for China. Current sea routes used to import Middle Eastern oil are frequently patrolled by the United States’ Navy.
In the event that China were to face hostile actions from a state or non-state actor, energy imports through the Straits of Malacca could be cut, which in turn would paralyse the Chinese economy in a scenario that is frequently referred to as the “Malacca Dilemma”. In addition vulnerabilities faced in the Straits of Malacca region, China is heavily dependent upon sea-routes that pass through the South China Sea, near the disputed Spratly Islands and Paracel Islands, which are currently a source of tension between China, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, and the United States. The CPEC project will allow China to circumvent these contentious areas, and thereby decrease the possibility of confrontation between the United States and China.


In addition to potential weaknesses in regards to the United States’ Navy, the Indian Navy has recently increased maritime surveillance of the Straits of Malacca region from its base on Great Nicobar Island. India has expressed fears of a Chinese “String of Pearls” encircling it. Were conflict to erupt, India could potentially impede Chinese imports through the straits. Indian maritime surveillance in the Andaman Sea could possibly enhance Chinese interest in Pakistan’s Gwadar Port – the Kyaukpyu Port, which is currently being developed in Myanmar by the Chinese government as another alternate route around the Straits of Malacca, will likely be vulnerable to potential advances from the Indian Navy. The proposed Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Corridor (BCIM) would also be vulnerable to Indian advances against China in the event of conflict, thereby potentially limiting the BCIM Corridor’s usefulness to China’s energy security, and thereby increasing Chinese interest in CPEC.