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Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Spectacular Wilson’s Bird-of-Paradise

The Wilson's Bird-of-paradise (Cicinnurus respublica), is a very small, up to about 16 cm, passerine bird of the Paradisaeidae family.

The spectacular male Wilson’s Bird-of-Paradise has a bare blue crown with criss-crossing lines on it. The turquoise blue of its head is said to be so vivid that it is clearly visible at night. It has a yellow mantle on its neck, a crimson back, a mixture of blackish-brown/crimson wings, emerald green breast, a light green mouth, and bright blue feet. Its short tail is black and it has two spiraling tail feathers. The female is much less ornately adorned than the male - a brownish bird with a bare blue crown and black head. The female also lacks the spiral tail feathers. Immature males are very similar in appearance to the female. However, the inconspicuous behavior of this species means that it is more easily located by its calls.

The male chooses a display ground, usually a small clearing in dense forest, which he must tidy, by removing leaves and litter. The emerald green breast-shield is thrust forward, and the spiral tail feathers flicked during the display.

An Indonesian endemic, the Wilson's Bird-of-paradise is distributed to the hill and lowland rainforests of Waigeo and Batanta Islands off northern West Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), Indonesia. The diet consists mainly of fruits and also some small insects.

Due to ongoing habitat loss, limited range and exploitation, the Wilson's Bird-of-paradise is evaluated as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is listed on Appendix II of CITES.

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