Sea Sanctuaries Blog

Wilson's Bird of Paradise

We have been searching for the endangered & rare Wilson's Bird of Paradise for the whole of this year. It is a small passerine bird only found on the islands of Waigeo & Batanta in Raja Ampat & nowhere else in the world. We were lucky enough to get up at 5am, take a longboat into the heart of the Batanta mangrove forests, wade the last part in bare feet & then climb a hill before sunrise to watch this exquisite bird for almost 2 hours. The male is brightly coloured, as you can see, and sings and dances each morning to attract females. We listened to a song contest between rival males in the jungle before 'our' bird won over two females who watched his shimmering dance. The Wilson's Birds of Paradise are very difficult to photograph due to low light, difficult field conditions & they fly low & fast to the 'lek' & perform their dance in a matter of seconds before flying off to the treetops. This beautiful bird is endangered due to its extremely restricted habitat being steadily eroded to make way for villages, farm land & infrastructure. Wonder at its beauty whilst you can. Our last comment on this post is that the credit for the photo goes to Max Day (age 10) who got very muddy taking it.