The Wilson's Bird-of-paradise, Cicinnurus respublica, is a small, up to 21 cm (8.3 in) 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.
An Indonesian endemic, the Wilson's Bird-of-paradise is distributed to the hill and lowland rainforests of Waigeo and Batanta Islands off West Papua. The diet consists mainly of fruits and small insects.
The controversial scientific name of this species was given by Charles Lucien Bonaparte, Napoleon's nephew and a republican idealist, who described the bird from a badly damaged trade specimen purchased by British ornithologist Edward Wilson. In doing so, he beat John Cassin, who wanted to name the bird in honor of Wilson, by several months. Thirteen years later, in 1863, the German zoologist Heinrich Agathon Bernstein discovered the home grounds of the Wilson's Bird-of-paradise in Waigeo Island.
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.
The first footage of the Wilson's Bird-of-paradise ever to be filmed was recorded in 1996 by David Attenborough for the BBC documentary Attenborough in Paradise. He did so by dropping leaves on the forest floor, which irritated the bird into clearing them away.
- BirdLife International (2004). Cicinnurus respublica. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is near threatened.
- BirdLife species factsheet for Cicinnurus respublica
- IUCN Red List
- BBC Video Segment - Wilson's Bird of Paradise
- Red Data Book
- Alternate Image (PBase)