RECORD: Gray, George Robert. 1859. [Notes on a new bird-of-paradise discovered by Mr. Wallace.] Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 27: 130.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed (single key) by AEL Data 2012. RN1

[page] 130

The sketch alluded to in the above extract having been placed in Mr. G. R. Gray's hands for examination and comparison with the other known species, the following notes of that gentleman, relative to it, were read to the meeting:—

"This Paradise-Bird proves, as Mr. Wallace remarks in his lettre, to be a new form, differing from all its congeners, approaching most nearly to the King Bird of Paradise; but in place of the lengthened caudal appendages, it has, springing from the lesser coverts of each wing, two long shafts, both of which are webbed on each side at the apex. It is the possession of these peculiar winged standards that induces me to propose for it the subgeneric appellation of Semioptera.

"I have endeavoured to transform the rough sketch into the probable appearance of the living bird; and I further add the provisional specific name of Paradisea wallacii, which appellation I think is justly due to Mr. Wallace for the indefatigable energy he has hitherto shown in the advancement of ornithological and entomological knowledge, by visiting localities rarely if ever travelled by naturalists.

"I wait for the arrival of the specimens before venturing to give more detailed accounts of its subgeneric characters, or a full description of its coloration, &c., which I hope to have the pleasure of laying before the members at some future meeting of the Society."

Mr. G. R. Gray laid before the meeting a drawing of Tringa pectoralis, which was made by the late Mr. Adams, Surgeon of H.M.S. 'Enterprise'. It exhibited the bird in the act of having inflated its throat and breast in the manner of the Pouter Pigeon. From the correctness of the other drawings by the same gentleman, Mr. Gray had little doubt that Mr. Adams observed this singular phenomenon in the specimen from which the drawing was taken. The drawing was more especially placed before the members, in the hopes of learning whether such a singularity of habits had been noticed before in this species or in any other of the Tringæ.

The bird has peculiar feathers on its breast.

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Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2012-. Wallace Online. (

File last updated 26 September, 2012