RECORD: Gould, John. 1858. Exhibition of a series of birds collected by Mr.A.R. Wallace in the Aroo Islands. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1858 February 23: 95.

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

[page] 95

February 23, 1858.

Dr. Gray, F.R.S., V.P., in the Chair.

Mr. Gould brought before the notice of the Society a highly interesting series of birds collected by Mr. A. R. Wallace in the Aroo Islands. Among them were two species of Birds of Paradise—Paradisea apoda and P. regia. Hitherto these magnificent birds have only been sent to this country in a mutilated condition, their skins having been prepared and dried by the Papuans frequently without their wings, and almost always without their legs; Mr. Wallace's skins, however, are perfect, and in the highest possible condition. They comprise not only adult males and females, but young birds in various stages of development. Mr. Gould remarked that the ornithology of the Aroo Islands, like that of New Guinea, partook more of the character of the Australian fauna than of any other. The Picidæ (Woodpeckers) and Bucerotidæ(Hornbills), so common in India and the Indian Islands, are totally wanting, while the Meliphagidæ (Honeyeaters) and the Halcyonidæ (Kingfishers) are very numerous; on the other hand, the collection did not contain a single Malurus, nor any of the Finches—forms represented by numerous species even in the northern parts of Australia. Mr. Gould, in remarking upon the beautiful plumes which adorn the Paradiseæ, stated that he considered they were in their most perfect state just prior to the breeding season, and that the bird was then adorned in its greatest beauty,—a beauty assumed apparently not only for the purpose of attracting the females, but to exhibit to each other their gorgeous finery, when they assemble and perform many curious and extraordinary evolutions. In South America the Cock of the Rock (Rupicola) has many singular habits at the like season, while in Australia the Bower Birds attract every one by the curious structures they make for a similar purpose: Mr. Gould instanced also the Peacock, the Turkey, and the well-known Ruff of the British Islands, as birds which assemble and make such displays.

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

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