Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)
on Semioptera Wallacii, Gray (S55: 1860)
Editor Charles H. Smith's
Note: From a letter from Wallace to John Gould dated 30 September 1859,
and published on page 61 of the Proceedings of the Zoological Society
of London for 1860. To link directly to this page connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S055.htm
"The Semioptera wallacii frequents
the lower trees of the virgin forests, and is almost constantly in motion.
It flies from branch to branch, and clings to the twigs and even to the
vertical smooth trunks almost as easily as a Woodpecker. It continually
utters a harsh croaking cry, something between that of Paradisea apoda
and the more musical cry of Cicinnurus regius. The males, at short
intervals, open and flutter their wings, erect the long shoulder feathers,
and expand the elegant shields on each side of the breast. Like the other
Birds of Paradise, the females and young males far outnumber the fully
plumaged birds, which renders it probable that the extraordinary accessory
plumes are not fully developed until the second or third year. The bird
seems to feed principally upon fruit, but it probably takes insects occasionally.
iris is of a deep olive; the bill horny-olive; the feet orange, and the
have now obtained a few examples of apparently the same bird from Gilolo;
but in these the crown is of a more decided violet hue, and the plumes
of the breast are much larger."