Tiny And Spectacular – Wilson’s Bird Of Paradise

Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise, Cicinnurus respublica

This gorgeous little Bird of Paradise is only found on 2 islands, Waigeo and Batanta in Raja Ampat where they share the habitat of the Red Bird of Paradise.  Of these, Waigeo is the easiest place for independant travelers to reach on public transport but most organized birding tours will go to Batanta.  The Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise, Cicinnurus respublica, is a small, up to 21 cm long, passerine bird of the Paradisaeidae family. The male is a red and black bird-of-paradise, with a yellow mantle on its neck, light green mouth, rich blue feet and two curved violet tail feathers. The head is naked blue, with black double cross pattern on it. The female is a brownish bird with bare blue crown.  In the field, the blue bare skin on the crown of the bird’s head is so vivid that it is clearly visible by night; the deep scarlet back and velvet green breast are lush, the curlicue tail gleaming bright silver.

They are not easy to photograph, these little guys are fast!   We were all in the hide, trying to be inconspicuous and get photos as the bird darted in and out of his bower.  I couldn’t get a clear shot, he was just too tiny to focus on and he was too fast.  This was the best I could do.  You can barely see his head, that blue dot about 1/3 down in the center of the photo.  He wasn’t fooled by the hide in the least.  At one point, he zoomed right over my head, less than a foot away and off into the bush as if to say, “LOL, I know you’re there!”

Wilson's Bird-of-paradise, Cicinnurus respublica

Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise, Cicinnurus respublica

Nothing like seeing and hearing the bird in action.  Not my video, this is a professional one from YouTube.  Why can’t I ever get footage this clear?

David Attenborough finds the rare exotic Wilson’s bird of paradise

My guide, Benny tried that same thing with the leaves but we couldn’t lure him into coming down.  To be fair, I simply wasn’t able to hold as still as I should have as I was sitting on a very uncomfortable rock!  This was the best I could do, couldn’t quite focus on the bird.  At least you can hear him at the end!

And finally, here he is – up close and personal with Lab of Ornithology