Wilsons Bird of Paradise Click to enlarge image
Wilsons Bird of Paradise. Drawn by William T. Cooper. Image: William T. Cooper
© William T. Cooper

Fast Facts

Common name

Wilson’s Bird of Paradise

Scientific name

Diphyllodes respublica


Diphyllodes (Greek, resembling double leaf, alluding to two long tail feathers); respublica (Latin, the republic; named by Prince CL Bonaparte, Napoleon’s nephew, who was a staunch republican with anti-monarchy sentiments); common name honours Edwin Wilson, who had purchased the specimen for donation to the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, but who had been pre-empted by Bonaparte in the opportunity to describe the species.


Sexually dimorphic. Both sexes 16 cm (21 cm with elongated tail feathers). Adult male has naked blue skin on crown, bright yellow mantle, crimson mantle and wings, iridescent green underparts, blue legs and feet and glossy, sicle-shaped central tail feathers. Adult female with darker bare crown, drab olive brown to reddish brown upperparts and light brown underparts with dark brown bars.


Fruit and arthropods.


Hill forests, rarely lowland and mid montane forests; 300-1000m, occasionally 1200m.


Polygynous. Display season is undefined but probably at least May-June and October. Solitary male displays from terrestrial court which it clears. Display involves static postures and movements that advertise cape, pectoral shield, head, central tail feathers and inside mouth.


Only females build and attend nests; no information on incubation, nestling and development. No hybridisation is known.

Status and conservation

Near threatened: restricted range, poorly known, much of its lowland habitat cleared.


Indonesia: West Papua: Waigeo and Batanta Islands, Rajah Ampat group.