The unique Standardwing (also known as Wallace’s Standardwing) is the most westerly distributed bird-of-paradise in the world. It is endemic to the Maluku or Moluccan Islands
of eastern Indonesia, specifically Halmahera and the islands of Kasiruta and Bacan, off southwest Halmahera. The male’s most striking features are his two pairs of long white plumes (or standards – one of which can be seen in this incredible image by Ignacio Yufera) projecting from his wings. These can be raised at will and form part of an elaborate display ritual when males leap into the air and then “parachute” back down with wings spread and these standards fluttering above their backs. These displays are performed by numerous resplendent males at a lek, making it even more impressive.
This bird was named after Alfred Russel Wallace, a British naturalist and explorer whose “The Malay Archipelago” book is a classic of travel and discovery. Wallace discovered the Standardwing in 1858 but it wasn’t seen again for nearly 60 years, and then only a few times until the 1980’s.
For anyone wishing for a chance to observe this amazing avian spectacle, our upcoming Sulawesi & Halmahera – Wallacean Endemics II tour, from 8 to 25 July 2012, still has some places remaining. Led by the legendary David Hoddinott, this exciting adventure will also be seeking out many other superb regional specialties and endemics in this seldom-visited birding hotspot. Other targets include the amazing Ivory-breasted Pitta, Knobbed Hornbill, Maleo, Geomalia, Purple-bearded Bee-eater, Fiery-browed Starling, Lilac Kingfisher and a host of other mouth-watering species. For further details, please visit our website or else contact our office directly.