Standardwing bird of paradise

Semioptera wallacii subfamily

Paradisaeinae taxonomy

Semioptera wallacii Gray, 1859, near Labuha Village, Batchian (= Bacan Island). Two subspecies.

other common names

English: Wallace's standardwing; French: Paradisier de Wallace; German: Banderparadeisvogel; Spanish: Ave del Paraíso de Wallace.

physical characteristics

9.1-10.2 in (23-26 cm), but 11 in (28 cm) if the standards of adult males be included; female 0.28-0.32 lb (126-143 g), male 0.34-0.38 lb (152-174 g). Light brown head, upperparts, and central tail feathers. Decurved bill and tuft at base of mandible give both sexes a distinctive profile. Chin and upper throat brown, with highly iridescent greenish yellow breast shield. Two white, elongated lesser coverts are often longer than the wing. Legs orange; bill ivory-beige.


The northern Moluccan Islands of Indonesia. 5. w. wallacii: Bacan Island, from low hills up to 3,770 ft (1,150 m) altitude, as probably also the population on Kasiruta Island; 5. w. halmaherae: Halmahera Island, from lower hills at about 820 ft (250 m) to about 3,300 ft (1,000 m) altitude.


Rainforests. Birds apparently absent from flat lowlands and patchy on steeper hilly topography, particularly on limestone. Rare in mature secondary woodland.


Males remove foliage from lek perches. At the latter males are highly vocal and perform very animated courtship plumage manipulations, postures, movements, and aerial flight displays. Advertisement song is typically a single loud nasal upslurred bark. The display season is from about April to December. Birds, shy and inconspicuous except at leks, typically frequent the lower forest canopy and subcanopy.

feeding ecology and diet

Typically forage in densely foliaged forest canopies. The diet is fruits and arthropods and probably small vertebrates. May join mixed species foraging flocks.

reproductive biology

Polygynous, with densely lekking promiscuous adult males forming aggregations of 30-40 or more at traditional display trees. Breeding during at least May through September. Presumed exclusively female nest attendance. The only nest described was an open cup that included dry leaves and was 33 ft (10 m) above ground; it contained one egg.

conservation status

Not threatened. Contrary to previous impressions, it was widespread and moderately common on the larger islands in 1999; the status of the Kasiruta Island population is not known.

significance to humans

Historically significant in the context of the field work and discoveries of Alfred Russel Wallace. ♦

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