The Wilson’s bird of paradise is a small, exotic bird that can only be found on Waigeo and Batanta islands in Indonesia. This colorful bird lives primarily in lowland rainforests but can also survive at higher altitudes in mountain forests. It’s named the “Wilson’s” bird of paradise because Napoleon’s nephew used the term to describe an unknown bird purchased by British naturalist Edward Wilson. Due to logging and forest fires, much of this species’ wild habitat is shrinking, putting them as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List.
Wilson’s bird of paradise is an omnivore and its diet consists mainly of fruit and small insects. It’s pretty small itself and only reaches 8.3 inches (21cm) in length and 1.8 to 2.2 ounces (51-62g) in weight. The turquoise yamaka he seems to be sporting on his head isn’t made up of feathers, but is actually bare skin. The male approaches mating with a lot of panache by performing a very special dance routine to attract the female’s attention from May to June and then again in October. Before the dance, he carefully clears the ground from any leaves or other obstacles that might disturb his illustrious performance.
As the dance begins, he moves into the spot with the best sun and strikes a pose which is a dramatic frozen posture. His next dance move is to try to catch the attention of a female and impress her by exposing his beautiful breasts. This seems a bit backward, but like most birds, the male is more colorful, so it actually makes sense in the end. The show moves to a display of his head and tail feathers, belting out a special song, and closes with the sexy display of the inner part of his mouth. This is apparently an alluring light green color that creates a stunning finale that always makes the ladies swoon.
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham watercolors: Cobalt Teal, Cobalt Blue, Pyrrol Red, Burnt Sienna, Quinacridone Gold, Ultramarine Blue, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal
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Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!