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The Malay Archipelago by by Alfred Russell Wallace

Part 5 out of 6

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it was just forty days since we had sailed from Goram.

Immediately on our arrival at Muka, I engaged a small boat and
three natives to go in search of my lost men, and sent one of my
own men with them to make sure of their going to the right
island. In ten days they returned, but to my great regret and
disappointment, without the men. The weather had been very bad,
and though they had reached an island within sight of that in
which the men were, they could get no further. They had waited
there six days for better weather, and then, having no more
provisions, and the man I had sent with them being very ill and
not expected to live, they returned. As they now knew the island,
I was determined they should make another trial, and (by a
liberal payment of knives, handkerchiefs, and tobacco, with
plenty of provisions) persuaded them to start back immediately,
and make another attempt. They did not return again till the 29th
of July, having stayed a few days at their own village of Bessir
on the way; but this time they had succeeded and brought with
them my two lost men, in tolerable health, though thin and weak.
They had lived exactly a month on the island had found water, and
had subsisted on the roots and tender flower-stalks of a species
of Bromelia, on shell-fish. and on a few turtles' eggs. Having
swum to the island, they had only a pair of trousers and a shirt
between them, but had made a hut of palm-leaves, and had
altogether got on very well. They saw that I waited for them
three days at the opposite island, but had been afraid to cross,
lest the current should have carried them out to sea, when they
would have been inevitably lost. They had felt sure I would send
for them on the first opportunity, and appeared more grateful
than natives usually are for my having done so; while I felt much
relieved that my voyage, though sufficiently unfortunate, had not
involved loss of life.




THE village of Muka, on the south coast of Waigiou, consists of a
number of poor huts, partly in the water and partly on shore, and
scattered irregularly over a space of about half a mile in a
shallow bay. Around it are a few cultivated patches, and a good
deal of second-growth woody vegetation; while behind, at the
distance of about half a mile, rises the virgin forest, through
which are a few paths to some houses and plantations a mile or
two inland. The country round is rather flat, and in places
swampy, and there are one or two small streams which run behind
the village into the sea below it. Finding that no house could be
had suitable to my purpose, and hawing so often experienced the
advantages of living close to or just within the forest, I
obtained the assistance of half-a-dozen men; and having selected
a spot near the path and the stream, and close to a fine fig-
tree, which stood just within the forest, we cleared the ground
and set to building a house. As I did not expect to stay here so
long as I had done at Dorey, I built a long, low, narrow shed,
about seven feet high on one side and four on the other, which
required but little wood, and was put up very rapidly. Our sails,
with a few old attaps from a deserted but in the village, formed
the walls, and a quantity of "cadjans," or palm-leaf mats,
covered in the roof. On the third day my house was finished, and
all my things put in and comfortably arranged to begin work, and
I was quite pleased at having got established so quickly and in
such a nice situation.

It had been so far fine weather, but in the night it rained hard,
and we found our mat roof would not keep out water. It first
began to drop, and then to stream over everything. I had to get
up in the middle of the night to secure my insect-boxes, rice,
and other perishable articles, and to find a dry place to sleep
in, for my bed was soaked. Fresh leaks kept forming as the rain
continued, and w e all passed a very miserable and sleepless
night. In the morning the sun shone brightly, and everything was
put out to dry. We tried to find out why the mats leaked, and
thought we had discovered that they had been laid on upside down.
Having shifted there all, and got everything dry and comfortable
by the evening, we again went to bed, and before midnight were
again awaked by torrent of rain and leaks streaming in upon us as
bad as ever. There was no more sleep for us that night, and the
next day our roof was again taken to pieces, and we came to the
conclusion that the fault was a want of slope enough in the roof
for mats, although it would be sufficient for the usual attap
thatch. I therefore purchased a few new and some old attaps, and
in the parts these would not cover we put the mats double, and
then at last had the satisfaction of finding our roof tolerably

I was now able to begin working at the natural history of the
island. When I first arrived I was surprised at being told that
there were no Paradise Birds at Muka, although there were plenty
at Bessir, a place where the natives caught them and prepared the
skins. I assured the people I had heard the cry of these birds
close to the village, but they world not believe that I could
know their cry. However, the very first time I went into the
forest I not only heard but saw them, and was convinced there
were plenty about; but they were very shy, and it was some time
before we got any. My hunter first shot a female, and I one day
got very close to a fine male. He was, as I expected, the rare
red species, Paradisea rubra, which alone inhabits this island,
and is found nowhere else. He was quite low down, running along a
bough searching for insects, almost like a woodpecker, and the
long black riband-like filaments in his tail hung down in the
most graceful double curve imaginable. I covered him with my gun,
and was going to use the barrel which had a very small charge of
powder and number eight shot, so as not to injure his plumage,
but the gun missed fire, and he was off in an instant among the
thickest jungle. Another day we saw no less than eight fine males
at different times, and fired four times at them; but though
other birds at the same distance almost always dropped, these all
got away, and I began to think we were not to get this
magnificent species. At length the fruit ripened on the fig-tree
close by my house, and many birds came to feed on it; and one
morning, as I was taking my coffee, a male Paradise Bird was seen
to settle on its top. I seized my gun, ran under the tree, and,
gazing up, could see it flying across from branch to branch,
seizing a fruit here and another there, and then, before I could
get a sufficient aim to shoot at such a height (for it was one of
the loftiest trees of the tropics), it was away into the forest.
They now visited the tree every morning; but they stayed so short
a time, their motions were so rapid, and it was so difficult to
see them, owing to the lower trees, which impeded the view, that
it was only after several days' watching, and one or two misses,
that I brought down my bird--a male in the most magnificent

This bird differs very much from the two large species which I
had already obtained, and, although it wants the grace imparted
by their long golden trains, is in many respects more remarkable
and more beautiful. The head, back, and shoulders are clothed
with a richer yellow, the deep metallic green colour of the
throat extends further over the head, and the feathers are
elongated on the forehead into two little erectile crests. The
side plumes are shorter, but are of a rich red colour,
terminating in delicate white points, and the middle tail-
feathers are represented by two long rigid glossy ribands, which
are black, thin, and semi-cylindrical, and droop gracefully in a
spiral curve. Several other interesting birds were obtained, and
about half-a-dozen quite new ones; but none of any remarkable
beauty, except the lovely little dove, Ptilonopus pulchellus,
which with several other pigeons I shot on the same fig-tree
close to my house. It is of a beautiful green colour above, with
a forehead of the richest crimson, while beneath it is ashy white
and rich yellow, banded with violet red.

On the evening of our arrival at Muka I observed what appeared
like a display of Aurora Borealis, though I could hardly believe
that this was possible at a point a little south of the equator.
The night was clear and calm, and the northern sky presented a
diffused light, with a constant succession of faint vertical
flashings or flickerings, exactly similar to an ordinary aurora
in England. The next day was fine, but after that the weather was
unprecedentedly bad, considering that it ought to have been the
dry monsoon. For near a month we had wet weather; the sun either
not appearing at all, or only for an hour or two about noon.
Morning and evening, as well as nearly all night, it rained or
drizzled, and boisterous winds, with dark clouds, formed the
daily programme. With the exception that it was never cold, it
was just such weather as a very bad English November or February.

The people of Waigiou are not truly indigenes of the island,
which possesses no "Alfuros," or aboriginal inhabitants. They
appear to be a mixed race, partly from Gilolo, partly from New
Guinea. Malays and Alfuros from the former island have probably
settled here, and many of them have taken Papuan wives from
Salwatty or Dorey, while the influx of people from those places,
and of slaves, has led to the formation of a tribe exhibiting
almost all the transitions from a nearly pure Malayan to an
entirely Papuan type. The language spoken by them is entirely
Papuan, being that which is used on all the coasts of Mysol,
Salwatty, the north-west of New Guinea, and the islands in the
great Geelvink Bay,--a fact which indicates the way in which the
coast settlements have been formed. The fact that so many of the
islands between New Guinea and the Moluccas--such as Waigiou,
Guebe, Poppa, Obi, Batchian, as well as the south and east
peninsulas of Gilolo--possess no aboriginal tribes, but are
inhabited by people who are evidently mongrels and wanderers, is
a remarkable corroborative proof of the distinctness of the
Malayan and Papuan races, and the separation of the geographical
areas they inhabit. If these two great races were direct
modifications, the one of the other, we should expect to find in
the intervening region some homogeneous indigenous race
presenting intermediate characters. For example, between the
whitest inhabitants of Europe and the black Klings of South
India, there are in the intervening districts homogeneous races
which form a gradual transition from one to the other; while in
America, although there is a perfect transition from the Anglo-
Saxon to the negro, and from the Spaniard to the Indian, there is
no homogeneous race forming a natural transition from one to the
other. In the Malay Archipelago we have an excellent example of
two absolutely distinct races, which appear to have approached
each other, and intermingled in an unoccupied territory at a very
recent epoch in the history of man; and I feel satisfied that no
unprejudiced person could study them on the spot without being
convinced that this is the true solution of the problem, rather
than the almost universally accepted view that they are but
modifications of one and the same race.

The people of Muka live in that abject state of poverty that is
almost always found where the sago-tree is abundant. Very few of
them take the trouble to plant any vegetables or fruit, but live
almost entirely on sago and fish, selling a little tripang or
tortoiseshell to buy the scanty clothing they require. Almost all
of them, however, possess one or more Papuan slaves, on whose
labour they live in almost absolute idleness, just going out on
little fishing or trading excursions, as an excitement in their
monotonous existence. They are under the rule of the Sultan of
Tidore, and every year have to pay a small tribute of Paradise
birds, tortoiseshell, or sago. To obtain these, they go in the
fine season on a trading voyage to the mainland of New Guinea,
and getting a few goods on credit from some Ceram or Bugis
trader, make hard bargains with the natives, and gain enough to
pay their tribute, and leave a little profit for themselves.

Such a country is not a very pleasant one to live in, for as
there are no superfluities, there is nothing to sell; and had it
not been for a trader from Ceram who was residing there during my
stay, who had a small vegetable garden, and whose men
occasionally got a few spare fish, I should often have had
nothing to eat. Fowls, fruit, and vegetables are luxuries very
rarely to be purchased at Muka; and even cocoa-nuts, so
indispensable for eastern cookery, are not to be obtained; for
though there are some hundreds of trees in the village, all the
fruit is eaten green, to supply the place of the vegetables the
people are too lazy to cultivate. Without eggs, cocoa-nuts, or
plantains, we had very short commons, and the boisterous weather
being unpropitious for fishing, we had to live on what few
eatable birds we could shoot, with an occasional cuscus, or
eastern opossum, the only quadruped, except pigs, inhabiting the

I had only shot two male Paradiseas on my tree when they ceased
visiting it, either owing to the fruit becoming scarce, or that
they were wise enough to know there was danger. We continued to
hear and see them in the forest, but after a month had not
succeeded in shooting any more; and as my chief object in
visiting Waigiou was to get these birds, I determined to go to
Bessir, where there are a number of Papuans who catch and
preserve them. I hired a small outrigger boat for this journey,
and left one of my men to guard my house and goods. We had to
wait several days for fine weather, and at length started early
one morning, and arrived late at night, after a rough and
disagreeable passage. The village of Bessir was built in the
water at the point of a small island. The chief food of the
people was evidently shell-fish, since great heaps of the shells
had accumulated in the shallow water between the houses and the
land, forming a regular "kitchen-midden "for the exploration of
some future archeologist. We spent the night in the chief's
house, and the next morning went over to the mainland to look out
for a place where I could reside. This part of Waigiou is really
another island to the south of the narrow channel we had passed
through in coming to Muka. It appears to consist almost entirely
of raised coral, whereas the northern island contains hard
crystalline rocks. The shores were a range of low limestone
cliffs, worn out by the water, so that the upper part generally
overhung. At distant intervals were little coves and openings,
where small streams came down from the interior; and in one of
these we landed, pulling our boat up on a patch of white sandy
beach. Immediately above was a large newly-made plantation of
yams and plantains, and a small hot, which the chief said we
might have the use of, if it would do for me. It was quite a
dwarf's house, just eight feet square, raised on posts so that
the floor was four and a half feet above the ground, and the
highest part of the ridge only five feet above the flour. As I am
six feet and an inch in my stockings, I looked at this with some
dismay; but finding that the other houses were much further from
water, were dreadfully dirty, and were crowded with people, I at
once accepted the little one, and determined to make the best of
it. At first I thought of taking out the floor, which would leave
it high enough to walk in and out without stooping; but then
there would not be room enough, so I left it just as it was, had
it thoroughly cleaned out, and brought up my baggage. The upper
story I used for sleeping in, and for a store-room. In the lower
part (which was quite open all round) I fixed up a small table,
arranged my boxes, put up hanging-shelves, laid a mat on the
ground with my wicker-chair upon it, hung up another mat on the
windward side, and then found that, by bending double and
carefully creeping in, I could sit on my chair with my head just
clear of the ceiling. Here I lived pretty comfortably for six
weeks, taking all my meals and doing all my work at my little
table, to and from which I had to creep in a semi-horizontal
position a dozen times a day; and, after a few severe knocks on
the head by suddenly rising from my chair, learnt to accommodate
myself to circumstances. We put up a little sloping cooking-but
outside, and a bench on which my lads could skin their birds. At
night I went up to my little loft, they spread their mats on the,
floor below, and we none of us grumbled at our lodgings.

My first business was to send for the men who were accustomed to
catch the Birds of Paradise. Several came, and I showed them my
hatchets, beads, knives, and handkerchiefs; and explained to
them, as well as I could by signs, the price I would give for
fresh-killed specimens. It is the universal custom to pay for
everything in advance; but only one man ventured on this occasion
to take goods to the value of two birds. The rest were
suspicious, and wanted to see the result of the first bargain
with the strange white man, the only one who had ever come to
their island. After three days, my man brought me the first bird-
-a very fine specimen, and alive, but tied up in a small bag, and
consequently its tail and wing feathers very much crushed and
injured. I tried to explain to him, and to the others that came
with him, that I wanted them as perfect as possible, and that
they should either kill them, or keep them on a perch with a
string to their leg. As they were now apparently satisfied that
all was fair, and that I had no ulterior designs upon them, six
others took away goods; some for one bird, some for more, and one
for as many as six. They said they had to go a long way for them,
and that they would come back as soon as they caught any. At
intervals of a few days or a week, some of them would return,
bringing me one or more birds; but though they did not bring any
more in bags, there was not much improvement in their condition.
As they caught them a long way off in the forest, they would
scarcely ever come with one, but would tie it by the leg to a
stick, and put it in their house till they caught another. The
poor creature would make violent efforts to escape, would get
among the ashes, or hang suspended by the leg till the limb was
swollen and half-putrefied, and sometimes die of starvation and
worry. One had its beautiful head all defiled by pitch from a
dammar torch; another had been so long dead that its stomach was
turning green. Luckily, however, the skin and plumage of these
birds is so firm and strong, that they bear washing and cleaning
better than almost any other sort; and I was generally able to
clean them so well that they did not perceptibly differ from
those I had shot myself.

Some few were brought me the same day they were caught, and I had
an opportunity of examining them in all their beauty and
vivacity. As soon as I found they were generally brought alive, I
set one of my men to make a large bamboo cage with troughs for
food and water, hoping to be able to keep some of them. I got the
natives to bring me branches of a fruit they were very fond of,
and I was pleased to find they ate it greedily, and would also
take any number of live grasshoppers I gave them, stripping off
the legs and wings, and then swallowing them. They drank plenty
of water, and were in constant motion, jumping about the cage
from perch to perch, clinging on the top and sides, and rarely
resting a moment the first day till nightfall. The second day
they were always less active, although they would eat as freely
as before; and on the morning of the third day they were almost
always found dead at the bottom of the cage, without any apparent
cause. Some of them ate boiled rice as well as fruit and insects;
but after trying many in succession, not one out of ten lived
more than three days. The second or third day they would be dull,
and in several cases they were seized with convulsions, and fell
off the perch, dying a few hours afterwards. I tried immature as
well as full-plumaged birds, but with no better success, and at
length gave it up as a hopeless task, and confined my attention
to preserving specimens in as good a condition as possible.

The Red Birds of Paradise are not shot with blunt arrows, as in
the Aru Islands and some parts of New Guinea, but are snared in a
very ingenious manner. A large climbing Arum bears a red
reticulated fruit, of which the birds are very fond. The hunters
fasten this fruit on a stout forked stick, and provide themselves
with a fine but strong cord. They then seep out some tree in the
forest on which these birds are accustomed to perch, and climbing
up it fasten the stick to a branch and arrange the cord in a
noose so ingeniously, that when the bird comes to eat the fruit
its legs are caught, and by pulling the end of the cord, which
hangs down to the ground, it comes free from the branch and
brings down the bird. Sometimes, when food is abundant elsewhere,
the hunter sits from morning till night under his tree with the
cord in his hand, and even for two or three whole days in
succession, without even getting a bite; while, on the other
hand, if very lucky, he may get two or three birds in a day.
There are only eight or ten men at Bessir who practise this art,
which is unknown anywhere else in the island. I determined,
therefore, to stay as long as possible, as my only chance of
getting a good series of specimens; and although I was nearly
starved, everything eatable by civilized man being scarce or
altogether absent, I finally succeeded.

The vegetables and fruit in the plantations around us did not
suffice for the wants of the inhabitants, and were almost always
dug up or gathered before they were ripe. It was very rarely we
could purchase a little fish; fowls there were none; and we were
reduced to live upon tough pigeons and cockatoos, with our rice
and sago, and sometimes we could not get these. Having been
already eight months on this voyage, my stock of all condiments,
spices and butter, was exhausted, and I found it impossible to
eat sufficient of my tasteless and unpalatable food to support
health. I got very thin and weak, and had a curious disease known
(I have since heard) as brow-ague. Directly after breakfast every
morning an intense pain set in on a small spot on the right
temple. It was a severe burning ache, as bad as the worst
toothache, and lasted about two hours, generally going off at
noon. When this finally ceased, I had an attack of fever, which
left me so weak and so unable to eat our regular food, that I
feel sure my life was saved by a couple of tins of soup which I
had long reserved for some such extremity. I used often to go out
searching after vegetables, and found a great treasure in a lot
of tomato plants run wild, and bearing little fruits about the
size of gooseberries. I also boiled up the tops of pumpkin plants
and of ferns, by way of greens, and occasionally got a few green
papaws. The natives, when hard up for food, live upon a fleshy
seaweed, which they boil till it is tender. I tried this also,
but found it too salt and bitter to be endured.

Towards the end of September it became absolutely necessary for
me to return, in order to make our homeward voyage before the end
of the east monsoon. Most of the men who had taken payment from
me had brought the birds they had agreed for. One poor fellow had
been so unfortunate as not to get one, and he very honestly
brought back the axe he had received in advance; another, who had
agreed for six, brought me the fifth two days before I was to
start, and went off immediately to the forest again to get the
other. He did not return, however, and we loaded our boat, and
were just on the point of starting, when he came running down
after us holding up a bird, which he handed to me, saying with
great satisfaction, "Now I owe you nothing." These were
remarkable and quite unexpected instances of honesty among
savages, where it would have been very easy for them to have been
dishonest without fear of detection or punishment.

The country round about Bessir was very hilly and rugged,
bristling with jagged and honey-combed coralline rocks, and with
curious little chasms and ravines. The paths often passed through
these rocky clefts, which in the depths of the forest were gloomy
and dark in the extreme, and often full of fine-leaved herbaceous
plants and curious blue-foliaged Lycopodiaceae. It was in such
places as these that I obtained many of my most beautiful small
butterflies, such as Sospita statira and Taxila pulchra, the
gorgeous blue Amblypodia hercules, and many others. On the skirts
of the plantations I found the handsome blue Deudorix despoena,
and in the shady woods the lovely Lycaena wallacei. Here, too, I
obtained the beautiful Thyca aruna, of the richest orange on the
upper side; while below it is intense crimson and glossy black;
and a superb specimen of a green Ornithoptera, absolutely fresh
and perfect, and which still remains one of the glories of my

My collection of birds, though not very rich in number of
species, was yet very interesting. I got another specimen of the
rare New Guinea kite (Henicopernis longicauda), a large new
goatsucker (Podargus superciliaris), and a most curious ground-
pigeon of an entirely new genus, and remarkable for its long and
powerful bill. It has been named Henicophaps albifrons. I was
also much pleased to obtain a fine series of a large fruit-pigeon
with a protuberance on the bill (Carpophaga tumida), and to
ascertain that this was not, as had been hitherto supposed, a
sexual character, but was found equally in male and female birds.
I collected only seventy-three species of birds in Waigiou, but
twelve of them were entirely new, and many others very rare; and
as I brought away with me twenty-four fine specimens of the
Paradisea rubra, I did not regret my visit to the island,
although it had by no means answered my expectations.




I HAD left the old pilot at Waigiou to take care of my house and
to get the prau into sailing order--to caulk her bottom, and to
look after the upper works, thatch, and ringing. When I returned
I found it nearly ready, and immediately began packing up and
preparing for the voyage. Our mainsail had formed one side of our
house, but the spanker and jib had been put away in the roof, and
on opening them to see if any repairs were wanted, to our horror
we found that some rats had made them their nest, and had gnawed
through them in twenty places. We had therefore to buy matting
and make new sails, and this delayed us till the 29th of
September, when we at length left Waigiou.

It took us four days before we could get clear of the land,
having to pass along narrow straits beset with reefs and shoals,
and full of strong currents, so that an unfavourable wind stopped
us altogether. One day, when nearly clear, a contrary tide and
head wind drove us ten miles back to our anchorage of the night
before. This delay made us afraid of running short of water if we
should be becalmed at sea, and we therefore determined, if
possible, to touch at the island where our men had been lost, and
which lay directly in our proper course. The wind was, however,
as usual, contrary, being S.S.W. instead of S.S.E., as it should
have been at this time of the year, and all we could do was to
reach the island of Gagie, where we came to an anchor by
moonlight under bare volcanic hills. In the morning we tried to
enter a deep bay, at the head of which some Galela fishermen told
us there was water, but a head-wind prevented us. For the reward
of a handkerchief, however, they took us to the place in their
boat, and we filled up our jars and bamboos. We then went round
to their camping-place on the north coast of the island to try
and buy something to eat, but could only get smoked turtle meat
as black and as hard as lumps of coal. A little further on there
was a plantation belonging to Guebe people, but under the care of
a Papuan slave, and the next morning we got some plantains and a
few vegetables in exchange for a handkerchief and some knives. On
leaving this place our anchor had got foul in some rock or sunken
log in very deep water, and after many unsuccessful attempts, we
were forced to cut our rattan cable and leave it behind us. We
had now only one anchor left.

Starting early, on the 4th of October, the same S.S.W wind
continued, and we began to fear that we should hardly clear the
southern point of Gilolo. The night of the 5th was squally, with
thunder, but after midnight it got tolerably fair, and we were
going along with a light wind arid looking out for the coast of
Gilolo, which we thought we must be nearing, when we heard a dull
roaring sound, like a heavy surf, behind us. In a short time the
roar increased, and we saw a white line of foam coming on, which
rapidly passed us without doing any harm, as our boat rose easily
over the wave. At short intervals, ten or a dozen others overtook
us with bleat rapidity, and then the sea became perfectly smooth,
as it was before. I concluded at once that these must be
earthquake waves; and on reference to the old voyagers we find
that these seas have been long subject to similar phenomena.
Dampier encountered them near Mysol and New Guinea, and describes
them as follows: "We found here very strange tides, that ran in
streams, making a great sea, and roaring so loud that we could
hear them before they came within a mile of us. The sea round
about them seemed all broken, and tossed the ship so that she
would not answer her helm. These ripplings commonly lasted ten or
twelve minutes, and then the sea became as still and smooth as a
millpond. We sounded often when in the midst of them, but found
no ground, neither could we perceive that they drove us any way.
We had in one night several of these tides, that came mostly from
the west, and the wind being from that quarter we commonly heard
them a long time before they came, and sometimes lowered our
topsails, thinking it was a gust of wind. They were of great
length, from north to south, but their breadth not exceeding 200
yards, and they drove a great pace. For though we had little wind
to move us, yet these world soon pass away, and leave the water
very smooth, and just before we encountered them we met a great
swell, but it did not break." Some time afterwards, I learnt that
an earthquake had been felt on the coast of Gilolo the very day
we had encountered these curious waves.

When daylight came, we saw the land of Gilolo a few miles off,
but the point was unfortunately a little to windward of us. We
tried to brace up all we could to round it, but as we approached
the shore we got into a strong current setting northward, which
carried us so rapidly with it that we found it necessary to stand
off again, in order to get out of its influence. Sometimes we
approached the point a little, and our hopes revived; then the
wind fell, and we drifted slowly away. Night found us in nearly
the same position as we had occupied in the morning, so we hung
down our anchor with about fifteen fathoms of cable to prevent
drifting. On the morning of the 7th we were however, a good way
up the coast, and we now thought our only chance would be to got
close in-shore, where there might be a return current, and we
could then row. The prau was heavy, and my men very poor
creatures for work, so that it took us six hours to get to the
edge of the reef that fringed the shore; and as the wind might at
any moment blow on to it, our situation was a very dangerous one.
Luckily, a short distance off there was a sandy bay, where a
small stream stopped the growth of the coral; and by evening we
reached this and anchored for the night. Here we found some
Galela men shooting deer and pigs; but they could not or would
not speak Malay, and we could get little information from them.
We found out that along shore the current changed with the tide,
while about a mile out it was always one way, and against us; and
this gave us some hopes of getting back to the point, from which
we were now distant twenty miles. Next morning we found that the
Galela men had left before daylight, having perhaps some vague
fear of our intentions, anal very likely taking me for a pirate.
During the morning a boat passed, and the people informed us
that, at a short distance further towards the point, there was a
much better harbour, where there were plenty of Galela men, from
whom we, might probably get some assistance.

At three in the afternoon, when the current turned, we started;
but having a head-wind, made slow progress. At dusk we reached
the entrance of the harbour, but an eddy and a gust of wind
carried us away and out to sea. After sunset there was a land
breeze, and we sailed a little to the south-east. It then became
calm, and eve hung down our anchor forty fathoms, to endeavour to
counteract the current; but it was of little avail, and in the
morning we found ourselves a good way from shore, and just
opposite our anchorage of the day before, which we again reached
by hard rowing. I gave the men this day to rest and sleep; and
the next day (Oct. 10th) we again started at two in the morning
with a land breeze. After I had set them to their oars, and given
instructions to keep close in-shore, and on no account to get out
to sea, I went below, being rather unwell. At daybreak I found,
to my great astonishment, that we were again far off-shore, and
was told that the wind had gradually turned more ahead, and had
carried us out--none of them having the sense to take down the
sail and row in-shore, or to call me. As soon as it was daylight,
we saw that we had drifted back, and were again opposite our
former anchorage, and, for the third time, had to row hard to get
to it. As we approached the shore, I saw that the current was
favourable to us, and we continued down the coast till we were
close to the entrance to the lower harbour. Just as we were
congratulating ourselves on having at last reached it, a strong
south-east squall carne on, blowing us back, and rendering it
impossible for us to enter. Not liking the idea of again
returning, I determined on trying to anchor, and succeeded in
doing so, in very deep water and close to the reefs; but the
prevailing winds were such that, should we not hold, we should
have no difficulty in getting out to sea. By the time the squall
had passed, the current had turned against us, and we expected to
have to wait till four in the afternoon, when we intended to
enter the harbour.

Now, however, came the climax of our troubles. The swell produced
by the squall made us jerk our cable a good deal, and it suddenly
snapped low down in the water. We drifted out to sea, and
immediately set our mainsail, but we were now without any anchor,
and in a vessel so poorly manned that it could not be rowed
against the most feeble current or the slightest wind, it word be
madness to approach these dangerous shores except in the most
perfect calm. We had also only three days' food left. It was
therefore out of the question making any further attempts to get
round the point without assistance, and I at once determined to
run to the village of Gani-diluar, about ten miles further north,
where we understood there was a good harbour, and where we might
get provisions and a few more rowers. Hitherto winds and currents
load invariably opposed our passage southward, and we might have
expected them to be favourable to us now we had turned our
bowsprit in an opposite direction. But it immediately fell calm,
and then after a time a westerly land breeze set in, which would
not serve us, and we had to row again for hours, and when night
came had not reached the village. We were so fortunate, however,
as to find a deep sheltered cove where the water was quite
smooth, and we constructed a temporary anchor by filling a sack
with stones from our ballast, which being well secured by a
network of rattans held us safely during the night. The next
morning my men went on shore to cut wood suitable for making
fresh anchors, and about noon, the current turning in our favour,
we proceeded to the village, where we found an excellent and
well-protected anchorage.

On inquiry, we found that the head men resided at the other Gani
on the western side of the peninsula, and it was necessary to
send messengers across (about half a day's journey) to inform
them of my arrival, and to beg them to assist me. I then
succeeded in buying a little sago, some dried deer-meat and
cocoa-nuts, which at once relieved our immediate want of
something to eat. At night we found our bag of atones still held
us very well, and we slept tranquilly.

The next day (October 12th), my men set to work making anchors
and oars. The native Malay anchor is ingeniously constructed of a
piece of tough forked timber, the fluke being strengthened by
twisted rattans binding it to the stem, while the cross-piece is
formed of a long flat stone, secured in the same manner. These
anchors when well made, hold exceedingly arm, and, owing to the
expense of iron, are still almost universally used on board the
smaller praus. In the afternoon the head men arrived, and
promised me as many rowers as I could put on the prau, and also
brought me a few eggs and a little rice, which were very
acceptable. On the 14th there was a north wind all day, which
would have been invaluable to us a few days earlier, but which
was now only tantalizing. On the 16th, all being ready, we
started at daybreak with two new anchors and ten rowers, who
understood their work. By evening we had come more than half-way
to the point, and anchored for the night in a small bay. At three
the next morning I ordered the anchor up, but the rattan cable
parted close to the bottom, having been chafed by rocks, and we
then lost our third anchor on this unfortunate voyage. The day
was calm, and by noon we passed the southern point of Gilolo,
which had delayed us eleven days, whereas the whole voyage during
this monsoon should not have occupied more than half that time.
Having got round the point our course was exactly in the opposite
direction to what it had been, and now, as usual, the wind
changed accordingly, coming from the north and north-west,--so
that we still had to row every mile up to the village of Gani,
which we did not reach till the evening of the 18th. A Bugis
trader who was residing there, and the Senaji, or chief, were
very kind; the former assisting me with a spare anchor and a
cable, and making me a present of some vegetables, and the latter
baking fresh sago cakes for my men; and giving rue a couple of
fowls, a bottle of oil, and some pumpkins. As the weather was
still very uncertain, I got four extra men to accompany me to
Ternate, for which place we started on the afternoon of the 20th.

We had to keep rowing all night, the land breezes being too weak
to enable us to sail against the current. During the afternoon of
the 21st we had an hour's fair wind, which soon changed into a
heavy squall with rain, and my clumsy men let the mainsail get
taken aback and nearly upset us, tearing the sail; and, what was
worse, losing an hour's fair wind. The night was calm, and we
made little progress.

On the 22d we had light head-winds. A little before noon we
passed, with the assistance of our oars, the Paciencia Straits,
the narrowest part of the channel between Batchian and Gilolo.
These were well named by the early Portuguese navigators, as the
currents are very strong, and there are so many eddies, that even
with a fair wind vessels are often quite unable to pass through
them. In the afternoon a strong north wind (dead ahead) obliged
us to anchor twice. At nigh it was calm, and we crept along
slowly with our oars.

On the 23d we still had the wind ahead, or calms. We then crossed
over again to the mainland of Gilolo by the advice of our Gani
men, who knew the coast well. Just as we got across we had
another northerly squall with rain, and had to anchor on the edge
of a coral reef for the night. I called up my men about three on
the morning of the 24th, but there was no wind to help us, and we
rowed along slowly. At daybreak there was a fair breeze from the
south, but it lasted only an hour. All the rest of the day we had
nothing but calms, light winds ahead, and squalls, and made very
little progress.

On the 25th we drifted out to the middle of the channel, but made
no progress onward. In the afternoon we sailed and rowed to the
south end of Kaiķa, and by midnight reached the village. I
determined to stay here a few days to rest and recruit, and in
hopes of getting better weather. I bought some onions and other
vegetables, and plenty of eggs, and my men baked fresh sago
cakes. I went daily to my old hunting-ground in search of
insects, but with very poor success. It was now wet, squally
weather, and there appeared a stagnation of insect life. We
Staved five days, during which time twelve persons died in the
village, mostly from simple intermittent fever, of the treatment
of which the natives are quite ignorant. During the whole of this
voyage I had suffered greatly from sunburnt lips, owing to having
exposed myself on deck all day to loon after our safety among the
shoals and reefs near Waigiou. The salt in the air so affected
them that they would not heal, but became excessively painful,
and bled at the slightest touch, and for a long time it was with
great difficulty I could eat at all, being obliged to open my
mouth very wide, and put in each mouthful with the greatest
caution. I kept them constantly covered with ointment, which was
itself very disagreeable, and they caused me almost constant pain
for more than a month, as they did not get well till I had
returned to Ternate, and was able to remain a week indoors.

A boat which left for Ternate, the day after we arrived, was
obliged to return the next day, on account of bad weather. On the
31st we went out to the anchorage at the mouth of the harbour, so
as to be ready to start at the first favourable opportunity.

On the 1st of November I called up my men at one in the morning,
and we started with the tide in our favour. Hitherto it had
usually been calm at night, but on this occasion we had a strong
westerly squall with rain, which turned our prau broadside, and
obliged us to anchor. When it had passed we went on rowing all
night, but the wind ahead counteracted the current in our favour,
and we advanced but little. Soon after sunrise the wind became
stronger and more adverse, and as we had a dangerous lee-shore
which we could not clear, we had to put about and get an offing
to the W.S.W. This series of contrary winds and bad weather ever
since we started, not having had a single day of fair wind, was
very remarkable. My men firmly believed there was something
unlucky in the boat, and told me I ought to have had a certain
ceremony gone through before starting, consisting of boring a
hole in the bottom and pouring some kind of holy oil through it.
It must be remembered that this was the season of the south-east
monsoon, and yet we had not had even half a day's south-east wind
since we left Waigiou. Contrary winds, squalls, and currents
drifted us about the rest of the day at their pleasure. The night
was equally squally and changeable, and kept us hard at work
taking in and making sail, and rowing in the intervals.

Sunrise on the 2d found us in the middle of the ten-mile channel
between Kaiķa and Makian. Squalls and showers succeeded each
other during the morning. At noon there was a dead calm, after
which a light westerly breeze enabled us to reach a village on
Makian in the evening. Here I bought some pumelos (Citrus
decumana), kanary-nuts, and coffee, and let my men have a night's

The morning of the 3d was fine, and we rowed slowly along the
coast of Makian. The captain of a small prau at anchor, seeing me
on deck and guessing who I was, made signals for us to stop, and
brought me a letter from Charles Allen, who informed me he had
been at Ternate twenty days, and was anxiously waiting my
arrival. This was good news, as I was equally anxious about him,
and it cheered up my spirits. A light southerly wind now sprung
up, and we thought we were going to have fine weather. It soon
changed, however, to its old quarter, the west; dense clouds
gathered over the sky, and in less than half an hour we had the
severest squall we had experienced during our whole voyage.
Luckily we got our great mainsail down in time, or the
consequences might have been serious. It was a regular little
hurricane, and my old Bugis steersman began shouting out to
"Allah! il Allah!" to preserve us. We could only keep up our jib,
which was almost blown to rags, but by careful handling it kept
us before the wind, and the prau behaved very well. Our small
boat (purchased at Gani) was towing astern, and soon got full of
water, so that it broke away and we saw no more of it. In about
an hour the fury of the wind abated a little, and in two more we
were able to hoist our mainsail, reefed and half-mast high.
Towards evening it cleared up and fell calm, and the sea, which
had been rather high, soon went down. Not being much of a seaman
myself I had been considerably alarmed, and even the old
steersman assured me he had never been in a worse squall all his
life. He was now more than ever confirmed in his opinion of the
unluckiness of the boat, and in the efficiency of the holy oil
which all Bugis praus had poured through their bottoms. As it
was, he imputed our safety and the quick termination of the
squall entirely to his own prayers, saying with a laugh, "Yes,
that's the way we always do on board our praus; when things are
at the worst we stand up and shout out our prayers as loud as we
can, and then Tuwan Allah helps us."

After this it took us two days more to reach Ternate, having our
usual calms, squalls, and head-winds to the very last; and once
having to return back to our anchorage owing to violent gusts of
wind just as we were close to the town. Looking at my whole
voyage in this vessel from the time when I left Goram in May, it
will appear that rely experiences of travel in a native prau have
not been encouraging. My first crew ran away; two men were lost
for a month on a desert island; we were ten times aground on
coral reefs; we lost four anchors; the sails were devoured by
rats; the small boat was lost astern; we were thirty-eight days
on the voyage home, which should not have taken twelve; we were
many times short of food and water; we had no compass-lamp, owing
to there not being a drop of oil in Waigiou when we left; and to
crown all, during the whole of our voyages from Goram by Ceram to
Waigiou, and from Waigiou to Ternate, occupying in all seventy-
eight days, or only twelve days short of three months (all in
what was supposed to be the favourable season), we had not one
single day of fair wind. We were always close braced up, always
struggling against wind, tide, and leeway, and in a vessel that
would scarcely sail nearer than eight points from the wind. Every
seaman will admit that my first voyage in my own boat was a most
unlucky one.

Charles Allen had obtained a tolerable collection of birds and
insects at Mysol, but far less than be would have done if I had
not been so unfortunate as to miss visiting him. After waiting
another week or two till he was nearly starved, he returned to
Wahai in Ceram, and heard, much to his surprise, that I had left
a fortnight before. He was delayed there more than a month before
he could get back to the north side of Mysol, which he found a
much better locality, but it was not yet the season for the
Paradise Birds; and before he had obtained more than a few of the
common sort, the last prau was ready to leave for Ternate, and he
was obliged to take the opportunity, as he expected I would be
waiting there for him.

This concludes the record of my wanderings. I next went to Timor,
and afterwards to Bourn, Java, and Sumatra, which places have
already been described. Charles Allen made a voyage to New
Guinea, a short account of which will be given in my next chapter
on the Birds of Paradise. On his return he went to the Sula
Islands, and made a very interesting collection which served to
determine the limits of the zoological group of Celebes, as
already explained in my chapter on the natural history of that
island. His next journey was to Flores and Solor, where he
obtained some valuable materials, which I have used in my chapter
on the natural history of the Timor group. He afterwards went to
Coti on the east coast of Borneo, from which place I was very
anxious to obtain collections, as it is a quite new locality as
far as possible from Sarawak, and I had heard very good accounts
of it. On his return thence to Sourabaya in Java, he was to have
gone to the entirely unknown Sumba or Sandal-wood Island. Most
unfortunately, however, he was seized with a terrible fever on
his arrival at Coti, and, after lying there some weeks, was taken
to Singapore in a very bad condition, where he arrived after I
had left for England. When he recovered he obtained employment in
Singapore, and I lost his services as a collector.

The three concluding chapters of my work will treat of the birds
of Paradise, the Natural History of the Papuan (stands, and the
Races of Man in the Malay Archipelago.



AS many of my journeys were made with the express object of
obtaining specimens of the Birds of Paradise, and learning
something of their habits and distribution; and being (as far as
I am aware) the only Englishman who has seen these wonderful
birds in their native forests, and obtained specimens of many of
them, I propose to give here, in a connected form, the result of
my observations and inquiries.

When the earliest European voyagers reached the Moluccas in
search of cloves and nutmegs, which were then rare and precious
spices, they were presented with the dried shins of birds so
strange and beautiful as to excite the admiration even of those
wealth-seeking rovers. The Malay traders gave them the name of
"Manuk dewata," or God's birds; and the Portuguese, finding that
they had no feet or wings, and not being able to learn anything
authentic about then, called them "Passaros de Col," or Birds of
the Sun; while the learned Dutchmen, who wrote in Latin, called
them "Avis paradiseus," or Paradise Bird. John van Linschoten
gives these names in 1598, and tells us that no one has seen
these birds alive, for they live in the air, always turning
towards the sun, and never lighting on the earth till they die;
for they have neither feet nor wings, as, he adds, may be seen by
the birds carried to India, and sometimes to Holland, but being
very costly they were then rarely seen in Europe. More than a
hundred years later Mr. William Funnel, who accompanied Dampier,
and wrote an account of the voyage, saw specimens at Amboyna, and
was told that they came to Banda to eat nutmegs, which
intoxicated them and made them fall down senseless, when they
were killed by ants. Down to 1760, when Linnaeus named the
largest species, Paradisea apoda (the footless Paradise Bird), no
perfect specimen had been seen in Europe, and absolutely nothing
was known about them. And even now, a hundred years later, most
books state that they migrate annually to Ternate, Banda, and
Amboyna; whereas the fact is, that they are as completely unknown
in those islands in a wild state as they are in England. Linnaeus
was also acquainted with a small species, which he named
Paradisea regia (the King Bird of Paradise), and since then nine
or ten others have been named, all of which were first described
from skins preserved by the savages of New Guinea, and generally
more or less imperfect. These are now all known in the Malay
Archipelago as "Burong coati," or dead birds, indicating that the
Malay traders never saw them alive.

The Paradiseidae are a group of moderate-sized birds, allied in
their structure and habits to crows, starlings, and to the
Australian honeysuckers; but they are characterised by
extraordinary developments of plumage, which are unequalled in
any other family of birds. In several species large tufts of
delicate bright-coloured feathers spring from each side of the
body beneath the wings, forming trains, or fans, or shields; and
the middle feathers of the tail are often elongated into wires,
twisted into fantastic shapes, or adorned with the most brilliant
metallic tints. In another set of species these accessory plumes
spring from the head, the back, or the shoulders; while the
intensity of colour and of metallic lustre displayed by their
plumage, is not to be equalled by any other birds, except,
perhaps, the humming-birds, and is not surpassed even by these.
They have been usually classified under two distinct families,
Paradiseidae and Epimachidae, the latter characterised by long
and slender beaks, and supposed to be allied to the Hoopoes; but
the two groups are so closely allied in every essential point of
structure and habits, that I shall consider them as forming
subdivisions of one family. I will now give a short description
of each of the known species, and then add some general remarks
on their natural history.

The Great Bird of Paradise (Paradisea apoda of Linnaeus) is the
largest species known, being generally seventeen or eighteen
inches from the beak to the tip of
the tail. The body, wings, and tail are of a rich coffee-brown,
which deepens on the breast to a blackish-violet or purple-brown.
The whole top of the head and neck is of an exceedingly delicate
straw-yellow, the feathers being short and
close set, so as to resemble plush or velvet; the lower part of
the throat up to the eye clothed with scaly feathers of an
emerald, green colour, and with a rich metallic gloss, and
velvety plumes of a still deeper green extend in a band across
the forehead and chin as far as the eye, which is bright yellow.
The beak is pale lead blue; and the feet, which are rather large
and very strong and well formed, are of a pale ashy-pink. The two
middle feathers of the tail have no webs, except a very small one
at the base and at the extreme tip, forming wire-like cirrhi,
which spread out in an elegant double curve, and vary from
twenty-four to thirty-four inches long. From each side of the
body, beneath the wings, springs a dense tuft of long and
delicate plumes, sometimes two feet in length, of the most
intense golden-orange colour and very glossy, but changing
towards the tips into a pale brown. This tuft of plumage cam be
elevated and spread out at pleasure, so as almost to conceal the
body of the bird.

These splendid ornaments are entirely confined to the male sex,
while the female is really a very plain and ordinary-looking bird
of a uniform coffee-brown colour which never changes, neither
does she possess the long tail wires, nor a single yellow or
green feather about the dead. The young males of the first year
exactly resemble the females, so that they can only be
distinguished by dissection. The first change is the acquisition
of the yellow and green colour on the head and throat, and at the
same time the two middle tail feathers grow a few inches longer
than the rest, but remain webbed on both sides. At a later period
these feathers arc replaced by the long bare shafts of the full
length, as in the adult bird; but there is still no sign of the
magnificent orange side-plumes, which later still complete the
attire of the perfect male. To effect these changes there must be
at least three successive moultings; and as the birds were found
by me in all the stages about the same time, it is probable that
they moult only once a year, and that the full plumage is not
acquired till the bird is four years old. It was long thought
that the fine train of feathers was assumed for a short time only
at the breeding season, but my own experience, as well as the
observation of birds of an allied species which I brought home
with me, and which lived two years in this country, show that the
complete plumage is retained during the whole year, except during
a short period of moulting as with most other birds.

The Great Bird of Paradise is very active and vigorous and seems
to be in constant motion all day long. It is very abundant, small
flocks of females and young male being constantly met with; and
though the full-plumaged birds are less plentiful, their loud
cries, which are heard daily, show that they also are very
numerous. Their note is, "Wawk-wawk-wawk-Wok-wok-wok," and is so
loud and shrill as to be heard a great distance, and to form the
most prominent and characteristic animal sound in the Aru
Islands. The mode of nidification is unknown; but the natives
told me that the nest was formed of leaves placed on an ant's
nest, or on some projecting limb of a very lofty tree, and they
believe that it contains only one young bird. The egg is quite
unknown, and the natives declared they had never seen it; and a
very high reward offered for one by a Dutch official did not meet
with success. They moult about January or February, and in May,
when they are in full plumage, the males assemble early in the
morning to exhibit themselves in the singular manner already
described at p. 252. This habit enables the natives to obtain
specimens with comparative ease. As soon as they find that the
birds have fled upon a tree on which to assemble, they build a
little shelter of palm leaves in a convenient place among the
branches, and the hunter ensconces himself in it before daylight,
armed with his bow and a number of arrows terminating in a round
knob. A boy waits at the foot of the tree, and when the birds
come at sunrise, and a sufficient number have assembled, and have
begun to dance, the hunter shoots with his blunt arrow so
strongly as to stun the bird, which drops down, and is secured
and killed by the boy without its plumage being injured by a drop
of blood. The rest take no notice, and fall one after another
till some of them take the alarm. (See Frontispiece.)

The native mode of preserving them is to cut off the wings and
feet, and then skin the body up to the beak, taking out the
skull. A stout stick is then run up through the specimen coming
out at the mouth. Round this some leaves are stuffed, and the
whole is wrapped up in a palm spathe and dried in the smoky hut.
By this plan the head, which is really large, is shrunk up almost
to nothing, the body is much reduced and shortened, and the
greatest prominence is given to the flowing plumage. Some of
these native skins are very clean, and often have wings and feet
left on; others are dreadfully stained with smoke, and all hive a
most erroneous idea of the proportions of the living bird.

The Paradisea apoda, as far as we have any certain knowledge, is
confined to the mainland of the Aru Islands, never being found in
the smaller islands which surround the central mass. It is
certainly not found in any of the parts of New Guinea visited by
the Malay and Bugis traders, nor in any of the other islands
where Birds of Paradise are obtained. But this is by no means
conclusive evidence, for it is only in certain localities that
the natives prepare skins, and in other places the same birds may
be abundant without ever becoming known. It is therefore quite
possible that this species may inhabit the great southern mass of
New Guinea, from which Aru has been separated; while its near
ally, which I shall next describe, is confined to the north-
western peninsula.

The Lesser Bird of Paradise (Paradisea papuana of Bechstein), "Le
petit Emeraude" of French authors, is a much smaller bird than
the preceding, although very similar to it. It differs in its
lighter brown colour, not becoming darker or purpled on the
breast; in the extension of the yellow colour all over the upper
part of the back and on the wing coverts; in the lighter yellow
of the side plumes, which have only a tinge of orange, and at the
tips are nearly pure white; and in the comparative shortness of
the tail cirrhi. The female differs remarkably front the same sex
in Paradisea apoda, by being entirely white on the under surface
of the body, and is thus a much handsomer bird. The young males
are similarly coloured, and as they grow older they change to
brown, and go through the same stages in acquiring the perfect
plumage as has already been described in the allied species. It
is this bird which is most commonly used in ladies' head-dresses
in this country, and also forms an important article of commerce
in the East.

The Paradisea papuana has a comparatively wide range, being the
common species on the mainland of New Guinea, as well as on the
islands of Mysol, Salwatty, Jobie, Biak and Sook. On the south
coast of New Guinea, the Dutch naturalist, Muller, found it at
the Oetanata river in longitude 136° E. I obtained it myself at
Dorey; and the captain of the Dutch steamer Etna informed me that
he had seen the feathers among the natives of Humboldt Bay, in
141° E. longitude. It is very probable, therefore, that it ranges
over the whole of the mainland of New Guinea.

The true Paradise Birds are omnivorous, feeding on fruits and
insects--of the former preferring the small figs; of the latter,
grasshoppers, locusts, and phasmas, as well as cockroaches and
caterpillars. When I returned home, in 1862, I was so fortunate
as to find two adult males of this species in Singapore; and as
they seemed healthy, and fed voraciously on rice, bananas, and
cockroaches, I determined on giving the very high price asked for
them--Ŗ100.--and to bring them to England by the overland route
under my own care. On my way home I stayed a week at Bombay, to
break the journey, and to lay in a fresh stock of bananas for my
birds. I had great difficulty, however, in supplying them with
insect food, for in the Peninsular and Oriental steamers
cockroaches were scarce, and it was only by setting traps in the
store-rooms, and by hunting an hour every night in the
forecastle, that I could secure a few dozen of these creatures,--
scarcely enough for a single meal. At Malta, where I stayed a
fortnight, I got plenty of cockroaches from a bake-house, and
when I left, took with me several biscuit-tins' full, as
provision for the voyage home. We came through the Mediterranean
in March, with a very cold wind; and the only place on board the
mail-steamer where their large cage could be accommodated was
exposed to a strong current of air down a hatchway which stood
open day and night, yet the birds never seemed to feel the cold.
During the night journey from Marseilles to Paris it was a sharp
frost; yet they arrived in London in perfect health, and lived in
the Zoological Gardens for one, and two years, often displaying
their beautiful plumes to the admiration of the spectators. It is
evident, therefore, that the Paradise Birds are very hardy, and
require air and exercise rather than heat; and I feel sure that
if a good sized conservators` could be devoted to them, or if
they could be turned loose in the tropical department of the
Crystal Palace or the Great Palm House at Kew, they would live in
this country for many years.

The Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisea rubra of Viellot), though
allied to the two birds already described, is much more distinct
from them than they are from each other. It is about the same
size as Paradisea papuana (13 to 14 inches long), but differs
from it in many particulars. The side plumes, instead of being
yellow, are rich crimson, and only extend about three or four
inches beyond the end of the tail; they are somewhat rigid, and
the ends are curved downwards and inwards, and are tipped with
white. The two middle tail feathers, instead of being simply
elongated and deprived of their webs, are transformed into stiff
black ribands, a quarter of an inch wide, but curved like a split
quill, and resembling thin half cylinders of horn or whalebone.
When a dead bird is laid on its back, it is seen that these
ribands take a curve or set, which brings them round so as to
meet in a double circle on the neck of the bird; but when they
hang downwards, during life, they assume a spiral twist, and form
an exceedingly graceful double curve. They are about twenty-two
inches long, and always attract attention as the most conspicuous
and extraordinary feature of the species. The rich metallic green
colour of the throat extends over the front half of the head to
behind the eyes, and on the forehead forms a little double crest
of scaly feathers, which adds much to the vivacity of the bird's
aspect. The bill is gamboge yellow, and the iris blackish olive.
(Figure at p. 353.)

The female of this species is of a tolerably uniform coffee-brown
colour, but has a blackish head, and the nape neck, and shoulders
yellow, indicating the position of the brighter colours of the
male. The changes of plumage follow the same order of succession
as in the other species, the bright colours of the head and neck
being first developed, then the lengthened filaments of the tail,
and last of all, the red side plumes. I obtained a series of
specimens, illustrating the manner in which the extraordinary
black tail ribands are developed, which is very remarkable. They
first appear as two ordinary feathers, rather shorter than the
rest of the tail; the second stage would no doubt be that shown
in a specimen of Paradisea apoda, in which the feathers are
moderately lengthened, and with the web narrowed in the middle;
the third stage is shown by a specimen which has part of the
midrib bare, and terminated by a spatulate web; in another the
bare midrib is a little dilated and semi-cylindrical, and the
terminal web very small; in a fifth, the perfect black horny
riband is formed, but it bears at its extremity a brown spatulate
web, while in another a portion of the black riband itself bears,
for a portion of its length, a narrow brown web. It is only after
these changes are fully completed that the red side plumes begin
to appear.

The successive stages of development of the colours and plumage
of the Birds of Paradise are very interesting, from the striking
manner in which they accord with the theory of their having been
produced by the simple action of variation, and the cumulative
power of selection by the females, of those male birds which were
more than usually ornamental. Variations of _colour_ are of all
others the most frequent and the most striking, and are most
easily modified and accumulated by man's selection of them. We
should expect, therefore, that the sexual differences of _colour_
would be those most early accumulated and fixed, and would
therefore appear soonest in the young birds; and this is exactly
what occurs in the Paradise Birds. Of all variations in the
_form_ of birds' feathers, none are so frequent as those in the
head and tail. These occur more, or less in every family of
birds, and are easily produced in many domesticated varieties,
while unusual developments of the feathers of the body are rare
in the whole class of birds, and have seldom or never occurred in
domesticated species. In accordance with these facts, we find the
scale-formed plumes of the throat, the crests of the head, and
the long cirrhi of the tail, all fully developed before the
plumes which spring from the side of the body begin to mane their
appearance. If, on the other hand, the male Paradise Birds have
not acquired their distinctive plumage by successive variations,
but have been as they are mow from the moment they first appeared
upon the earth, this succession becomes at the least
unintelligible to us, for we can see no reason why the changes
should not take place simultaneously, or in a reverse order to
that in which they actually occur.

What is known of the habits of this bird, and the way in which it
is captured by the natives, have already been described at page

The Red Bird of Paradise offers a remarkable case of restricted
range, being entirely confined to the small island of Waigiou,
off the north-west extremity of New Guinea, where it replaces the
allied species found in the other islands.

The three birds just described form a well-marked group, agreeing
in every point of general structure, in their comparatively large
size, the brown colour of their bodies, wings, and tail, and in
the peculiar character of the ornamental plumage which
distinguishes the male bird. The group ranges nearly over the
whole area inhabited by the family of the Paradiseidae, but each
of the species has its own limited region, and is never found in
the same district with either of its close allies. To these three
birds properly belongs the generic title Paradisea, or true
Paradise Bird.

The next species is the Paradisea regia of Linnaeus, or Ding Bird
of Paradise, which differs so much from the three preceding
species as to deserve a distinct generic name, and it has
accordingly been called Cicinnurus regius. By the Malays it is
called "Burong rajah," or King Bird, and by the natives of the
Aru Islands "Goby-goby."

This lovely little bird is only about six and a half inches long,
partly owing to the very short tail, which does not surpass the
somewhat square wings. The head, throat, and entire upper surface
are of the richest glossy crimson red, shading to orange-crimson
on the forehead, where the feathers extend beyond the nostrils
more than half-way down the beak. The plumage is excessively
brilliant, shining in certain lights with a metallic or glassy
lustre. The breast and belly are pure silky white, between which
colour and the red of the throat there is a broad band of rich
metallic green, and there is a small spot of the same colour
close above each eye. From each side of the body beneath the
wing, springs a tuft of broad delicate feathers about an inch and
a half long, of an ashy colour, but tipped with a broad band of
emerald green, bordered within by a narrow line of buff: These
plumes are concealed beneath the wing, but when the bird pleases,
can be raised and spread out so as to form an elegant
semicircular fan on each shoulder. But another ornament still
more extraordinary, and if possible more beautiful, adorns this
little bird. The two middle tail feathers are modified into very
slender wirelike shafts, nearly six inches long, each of which
bears at the extremity, on the inner side only, a web of an
emerald green colour, which is coiled up into a perfect spiral
disc, and produces a most singular and charming effect. The bill
is orange yellow, and the feet and legs of a fine cobalt blue.
(See upper figure on the plate at the commencement of this

The female of this little gem is such a plainly coloured bird,
that it can at first sight hardly be believed to belong to the
same species. The upper surface is of a dull earthy brown, a
slight tinge of orange red appearing only on the margins of the
quills. Beneath, it is of a paler yellowish brown, scaled and
banded with narrow dusky markings. The young males are exactly
like the female, and they no doubt undergo a series of changes as
singular as those of Paradisea rubra; but, unfortunately, I was
unable to obtain illustrative specimens.

This exquisite little creature frequents the smaller trees in the
thickest parts of the forest, feeding on various fruits; often of
a very large size for so small a bird. It is very active both on
its wings and feet, and makes a whirring sound while flying,
something like the South American manakins. It often flutters its
wings and displays the beautiful fan which adorns its breast,
while the star-bearing tail wires diverge in an elegant double
curve. It is tolerably plentiful in the Aru Islands, which led to
it, being brought to Europe at an early period along with
Paradisea apoda. It also occurs in the island of Mysol and in
every part of New Guinea which has been visited by naturalists.

We now come to the remarkable little bird called the
"Magnificent," first figured by Buffon, and named Paradisea
speciosa by Boddaert, which, with one allied species, has been
formed into a separate genus by Prince Buonaparte, under the name
of Diphyllodes, from the curious double mantle which clothes the

The head is covered with short brown velvety feathers, which
advance on the back so as to cover the nostrils. From the nape
springs a dense mass of feathers of a straw-yellow colour, and
about one and a half inches long, forming a mantle over the upper
part of the back. Beneath this, and forming a band about one-
third of an inch beyond it, is a second mantle of rich, glossy,
reddish-brown fathers. The rest of the bath is orange-brown, the
tail-coverts and tail dark bronzy, the wings light orange-buff:
The whole under surface is covered with an abundance of plumage
springing from the margins of the breast, and of a rich deep
green colour, with changeable hues of purple. Down the middle of
the breast is a broad band of scaly plumes of the same colour,
while the chin and throat are of a rich metallic bronze. From the
middle of the tail spring two narrow feathers of a rich steel
blue, and about ten inches long. These are webbed on the inner
side only, and curve outward, so as to form a double circle.

From what we know of the habits of allied species, we may be sure
that the greatly developed plumage of this bird is erected and
displayed in some remarkable manner. The mass of feathers on the
under surface are probably expanded into a hemisphere, while the
beautiful yellow mantle is no doubt elevated so as to give the
bird a very different appearance from that which it presents in
the dried and flattened skins of the natives, through which alone
it is at present known. The feet appear to be dark blue.

This rare and elegant little bird is found only on the mainland
of New Guinea, and in the island of Mysol.

A still more rare and beautiful species than the last is the
Diphyllodes wilsoni, described by Mr. Cassin from a native skin
in the rich museum of Philadelphia. The same bird was afterwards
named "Diphyllodes respublica" by Prince Buonaparte, and still
later, "Schlegelia calva," by Dr. Bernstein, who was so fortunate
as to obtain fresh specimens in Waigiou.

In this species the upper mantle is sulphur yellow, the lower one
and the wings pure red, the breast plumes dark green, and the
lengthened middle tail feathers much shorter than in the allied
species. The most curious difference is, however, that the top of
the head is bald, the bare skin being of a rich cobalt blue,
crossed by several lines of black velvety feathers.

It is about the same size as Diphyllodes speciosa, and is no
doubt entirely confined to the island of Waigiou. The female, as
figured and described by Dr. Bernstein, is very like that of
Cicinnurus regius, being similarly banded beneath; and we may
therefore conclude that its near ally, the "Magnificent," is at
least equally plain in this sex, of which specimens have not yet
been obtained.

The Superb Bird of Paradise was first figured by Buffon, and was
named by Boddaert, Paradisea atra, from the black ground colour
of its plumage. It forms the genus Lophorina of Viellot, and is
one of the rarest and most brilliant of the whole group, being
only known front mutilated native skins. This bird is a little
larger than the Magnificent. The ground colour of the plumage is
intense black, but with beautiful bronze reflections on the neck,
and the whole head scaled with feathers of brilliant metallic
green and blue. Over its breast it bears a shield formed of
narrow and rather stiff feathers, much elongated towards the
sides, of a pure bluish-green colour, and with a satiny gloss.
But a still more extraordinary ornament is that which springs
from the back of the neck,--a shield of a similar form to that on
the breast, but much larger, and of a velvety black colour,
glossed with bronze and purple. The outermost feathers of this
shield are half an inch longer than the wing, and when it is
elevated it must, in conjunction with the breast shield,
completely change the form and whole appearance of the bird. The
bill is black, and the feet appear to be yellow.

This wonderful little bird inhabits the interior of the northern
peninsula of New Guinea only. Neither I nor Mr. Allen could hear
anything of it in any of the islands or on any part of the coast.
It is true that it was obtained from the coast-natives by Lesson;
but when at Sorong in 1861, Mr. Allen learnt that it is only
found three days' journey in the interior. Owing to these "Black
Birds of Paradise," as they are called, not being so much valued
as articles of merchandise, they now seem to be rarely preserved
by the natives, and it thus happened that during several years
spent on the coasts of New Guinea and in the Moluccas I was never
able to obtain a skin. We are therefore quite ignorant of the
habits of this bird, and also of its female, though the latter is
no doubt as plain and inconspicuous as in all the other species
of this family.

The Golden, or Six-shafted, Paradise Bird, is another rare
species, first figured by Buffon, and never yet obtained in
perfect condition. It was named by Boddaert, Paradisea sexpennis,
and forms the genus Parotia of Viellot. This wonderful bird is
about the size of the female Paradisea rubra. The plumage appear,
at first sight black, but it glows in certain light with bronze
and deep purple. The throat and breast are scaled with broad flat
feathers of an intense golden hue, changing to green and blue
tints in certain lights. On the back of the head is a broad
recurved band of feathers, whose brilliancy is indescribable,
resembling the sheen of emerald and topaz rather than any organic
substance. Over the forehead is a large patch of pure white
feathers, which shine like satin; and from the sides of the head
spring the six wonderful feathers from which the bird receives
its name. These are slender wires, six inches long, with a small
oval web at the extremity. In addition to these ornaments, there
is also an immense tuft of soft feathers on each side of the
breast, which when elevated must entirely hide the wings, and
give the bird au appearance of being double its real bulk. The
bill is black, short, and rather compressed, with the feathers
advancing over the nostrils, as in Cicinnurus regius. This
singular and brilliant bird inhabits the same region as the
Superb Bird of Paradise, and nothing whatever is known about it
but what we can derive from an examination of the skins preserved
by the natives of New Guinea.

The Standard Wing, named Semioptera wallacei by Mr. G. R. Gray,
is an entirely new form of Bird of Paradise, discovered by myself
in the island of Batchian, and especially distinguished by a pair
of long narrow feathers of a white colour, which spring from
among the short plumes which clothe the bend of the wing, and are
capable of being erected at pleasure. The general colour of this
bird is a delicate olive-brown, deepening to a loud of bronzy
olive in the middle of the back, and changing to a delicate ashy
violet with a metallic gloss, on the crown of the head. The
feathers, which cover the nostrils and extend half-way down the
beak, are loose and curved upwards. Beneath, it is much more
beautiful. The scale-like feathers of the breast are margined
with rich metallic blue-green, which colour entirely covers the
throat and sides of the neck, as well as the long pointed plumes
which spring from the sides of the breast, and extend nearly as
far as the end of the wings. The most curious feature of the
bird, however, and one altogether unique in the whole class, is
found in the pair of long narrow delicate feathers which spring
from each wing close to the bend. On lifting the wing-coverts
they are seen to arise from two tubular horny sheaths, which
diverge from near the point of junction of the carpal bones. As
already described at p. 41, they are erectile, and when the bird
is excited are spread out at right angles to the wing and
slightly divergent. They are from six to six and a half inches
long, the upper one slightly exceeding the lower. The total
length of the bird is eleven inches. The bill is horny olive, the
iris deep olive, and the feet bright orange.

The female bird is remarkably plain, being entirely of a dull
pale earthy brown, with only a slight tinge of ashy violet on the
head to relieve its general monotony; and the young males exactly
resemble her. (See figures at p. 41.)

This bird, frequents the lower trees of the forests, and, like
most Paradise Birds, is in constant motion--flying from branch to
branch, clinging to the twigs and even to the smooth and vertical
trunks almost as easily as a woodpecker. It continually utters a
harsh, creaking note, somewhat intermediate between that of
Paradisea apoda, and the more musical cry of Cicinnurus regius.
The males at short intervals open and flutter their wings, erect
the long shoulder feathers, and spread out the elegant green
breast shields.

The Standard Wing is found in Gilolo as well as in Batchian, and
all the specimens from the former island have the green breast
shield rather longer, the crown of the head darker violet, and
the lower parts of the body rather more strongly scaled with
green. This is the only Paradise Bird yet found in the Moluccan
district, all the others being confined to the Papuan Islands and
North Australia.

We now come to the Epimachidae, or Long-billed Birds of Paradise,
which, as before stated, ought not to be separated from the
Paradiseidae by the intervention of any other birds. One of the
most remarkable of these is the Twelve-wired Paradise Bird,
Paradises alba of Blumenbach, but now placed in the genus
Seleucides of Lesson.

This bird is about twelve inches long, of which the compressed
and curved beak occupies two inches. The colour of the breast and
upper surface appears at first sight nearly black, but a close
examination shows that no part of it is devoid of colour; and by
holding it in various lights, the most rich and glowing tints
become visible. The head, covered with short velvety feathers,
which advance on the chic much further than on the upper part of
the beak, is of a purplish bronze colour; the whole of the back
and shoulders is rich bronzy green, while the closed wings and
tail are of the most brilliant violet purple, all the plumage
having a delicate silky gloss. The mass of feathers which cover
the breast is really almost black, with faint glosses of green
and purple, but their outer edges are margined with glittering
bands of emerald green. The whole lower part of the body is rich
buffy yellow, including the tuft of plumes which spring from the
sides, and extend an inch and a half beyond the tail. When skins
are exposed to the light the yellow fades into dull white, from
which circumstance it derived its specific name. About six of the
innermost of these plumes on each side have the midrib elongated
into slender black wires, which bend at right angles, and curve
somewhat backwards to a length of about ten inches, forming one
of those extraordinary and fantastic ornaments with which this
group of birds abounds. The bill is jet black, and the feet
bright yellow. (See lower figure on the plate at the beginning of
this chapter).

The female, although not quite so plain a bird as in some other
species, presents none of the gay colours or ornamental plumage
of the male. The top of the head and back of the neck are black,
the rest of the upper parts rich reddish brown; while the under
surface is entirely yellowish ashy, somewhat blackish on the
breast, and crossed throughout with narrow blackish wavy bands.

The Seleucides alba is found in the island of Salwatty, and in
the north-western parts of New Guinea, where it frequents
flowering trees, especially sago-palms and pandani, sucking the
flowers, round and beneath which its unusually large and powerful
feet enable it to cling. Its motions are very rapid. It seldom
rests more than a few moments on one tree, after which it flies
straight off, and with great swiftness, to another. It has a loud
shrill cry, to be heard a long way, consisting of "Cah, cah,"
repeated five or six times in a descending scale, and at the last
note it generally flies away. The males are quite solitary in
their habits, although, perhaps, they assemble at pertain times
like the true Paradise Birds. All the specimens shot and opened
by my assistant Mr. Allen, who obtained this fine bird during his
last voyage to New Guinea, had nothing in their stomachs but a
brown sweet liquid, probably the nectar of the flowers on which
they had been feeding. They certainly, however, eat both fruit
and insects, for a specimen which I saw alive on board a Dutch
steamer ate cockroaches and papaya fruit voraciously. This bird
had the curious habit of resting at noon with the bill pointing
vertically upwards. It died on the passage to Batavia, and I
secured the body and formed a skeleton, which shows indisputably
that it is really a Bird of Paradise. The tongue is very long and
extensible, but flat and little fibrous at the end, exactly like
the true Paradiseas.

In the island of Salwatty, the natives search in the forests till
they find the sleeping place of this bird, which they know by
seeing its dung upon the ground. It is generally in a low bushy
tree. At night they climb up the trap, and either shoot the birds
with blunt arrows, or even catch them alive with a cloth. In New
Guinea they are caught by placing snares on the trees frequented
by them, in the same way as the Red Paradise birds are caught in
Waigiou, and which has already been described at page 362.

The great Epimaque, or Long-tailed Paradise Bird (Epimachus
magnus), is another of these wonderful creatures, only known by
the imperfect skins prepared by the
natives. In its dark velvety plumage, glowed with bronze and
purple, it resembles the Seleucides alba, but it bears a
magnificent tail more than two feet long, glossed on the upper
surface with the most intense opalescent blue. Its chief
ornament, however, consists in the group of broad plumes which
spring from the sides of the breast, and which are dilated at the
extremity, and banded with the most vivid metallic blue and
green. The bill is long and curved, and the feet black, and
similar to those of the allied forms. The total length of this
fine bird is between three and four feet.

This splendid bird inhabits the mountains of New Guinea, in the
same district with the Superb and the Six-shafted Paradise Birds,
and I was informed is sometimes found in the ranges near the
coast. I was several times assured by different natives that this
bird makes its nest in a hole under ground, or under rocks,
always choosing a place with two apertures, so that it may enter
at one and go out at the other. This is very unlike what we
should suppose to be the habits of the bird, but it is not easy
to conceive how the story originated if it is not true; and all
travellers know that native accounts of the habits of animals,
however strange they may seem, almost invariably turn out to be

The Scale-breasted Paradise Bird (Epimachus magnificus of Cuvier)
is now generally placed with the Australian Rifle birds in the
genus Ptiloris. Though very beautiful, these birds are less
strikingly decorated with accessory plumage than the other
species we have been describing, their chief ornament being a
more or less developed breastplate of stiff metallic green
feathers, and a small tuft of somewhat hairy plumes on the sides
of the breast. The back and wings of this species are of an
intense velvety black, faintly glossed in certain lights with
rich purple. The two broad middle tail feathers are opalescent
green-blue with a velvety surface, and the top of the head is
covered with feathers resembling scales of burnished steel. A
large triangular space covering the chin, throat, and breast, is
densely scaled with feathers, having a steel-blue or green
lustre, and a silky feel. This is edged below with a narrow band
of black, followed by shiny bronzy green, below which the body is
covered with hairy feathers of a rich claret colour, deepening to
black at the tail. The tufts of side plumes somewhat resemble
those of the true Birds of Paradise, but are scanty, about as
long as the tail, and of a black colour. The sides of the head
are rich violet, and velvety feathers extend on each side of the
beak over the nostrils.

I obtained at Dorey a young male of this bird, in a state of
plumage which is no doubt that of the adult female, as is the
case in all the allied species. The upper surface, wings, and
tail are rich reddish brown, while the under surface is of a pale
ashy colour, closely barred throughout with narrow wavy black
bands. There is also a pale banded stripe over the eye, and a
long dusky stripe from the gape down each side of the neck. This
bird is fourteen inches long, whereas the native skins of the
adult male are only about ten inches, owing to the way in which
the tail is pushed in, so as to give as much prominence as
possible to the ornamental plumage of the breast.

At Cape York, in North Australia, there is a closely allied
species, Ptiloris alberti, the female of which is very similar to
the young male bird here described. The beautiful Rifle Birds of
Australia, which much resemble those Paradise Birds, are named
Ptiloris paradiseus and Ptiloris victories, The Scale-breasted
Paradise Bird seems to be confined to the mainland of New Guinea,
and is less rare than several of the other species.

There are three other New Guinea birds which are by some authors
classed with the Birds of Paradise, and which, being almost
equally remarkable for splendid plumage, deserve to be noticed
here. The first is the Paradise pie (Astrapia nigra of Lesson), a
bird of the size of Paradises rubra, but with a very long tail,
glossed above with intense violet. The back is bronzy black, the
lower parts green, the throat and neck bordered with loose broad
feathers of an intense coppery hue, while on the top of the head
and neck they are glittering emerald green, All the plumage round
the head is lengthened and erectile, and when spread out by the
living bird must lave an effect hardly surpassed by any of the
true Paradise birds. The bill is black and the feet yellow. The
Astrapia seems to me to be somewhat intermediate between the
Paradiseidae and Epimachidae.

There is an allied species, having a bare carunculated head,
which has been called Paradigalla carunculata. It is believed to
inhabit, with the preceding, the mountainous, interior of New
Guinea, but is exceedingly rare, the only known specimen being in
the Philadelphia Museum.

The Paradise Oriole is another beautiful bird, which is now
sometimes classed with the Birds of Paradise. It has been named
Paradises aurea and Oriolus aureus by the old naturalists, and is
now generally placed in the same genus as the Regent Bird of
Australia (Sericulus chrysocephalus). But the form of the bill
and the character of the plumage seem to me to be so different
that it will have to form a distinct genus. This bird is almost
entirely yellow, with the exception of the throat, the tail, and
part of the wings and back, which are black; but it is chiefly
characterised by a quantity of long feathers of an intense glossy
orange colour, which cover its neck down to the middle of the
back, almost like the hackles of a game-cock.

This beautiful bird inhabits the mainland of New Guinea, and is
also found in Salwatty, but is so rare that I was only able to
obtain one imperfect native skin, and nothing whatever is known
of its habits.

I will now give a list of all the Birds of Paradise yet known,
with the places they are believed to inhabit.

1. Paradisea apoda (The Great Paradise Bird). Aru Islands.

2. Paradisea papuana (The Lesser Paradise Bird). New Guinea,
Mysol, Jobie.

3. Paradisea rubra (The Red Paradise Bird). Waigiou,

4. Cicinnurus regius (The King Paradise Bird). New Guinea, Aru
Islands, Mysol, Salwatty.

5. Diphyllodes speciosa (The Magnificent). New Guinea, Mysol,

6. Diphyllodes wilsoni (The Red Magnificent). Waigiou.

7. Lophorina atra (The Superb). New Guinea.

8. Parotia sexpennis (The Golden Paradise Bird). New Guinea.

9. Semioptera wallacei (The Standard Wing). Batchian, Gilolo.

10. Epimachus magnus (The Long-tailed Paradise Bird). New Guinea

11. Seleucides albs (The Twelve-wired Paradise Bird).New Guinea,

12. Ptiloris magnifica (The Scale-breasted Paradise Bird). New

13. Ptiloris alberti (Prince Albert's Paradise Bird). North

14. Ptiloris Paradisea (The Rifle Bird). East Australia.

15. Ptiloris victoriae (The Victorian Rifle Bird). North-East

16. Astrapia nigra (The Paradise Pie). New Guinea.

17. Paradigalla carunculata (The Carunculated Paradise Pie). New

I8. (?) Sericulus aureus (The Paradise Oriole). New Guinea,

We see, therefore, that of the eighteen species which seem to
deserve a place among the Birds of Paradise, eleven are known to
inhabit the great island of New Guinea, eight of which are
entirely confined to it and the hardly separated island of
Salwatty. But if we consider those islands which are now united
to New Guinea by a shallow sea to really form a part of it, we
shall find that fourteen of the Paradise Birds belong to that
country, while three inhabit the northern and eastern parts of
Australia, and one the Moluccas. All the more extraordinary and
magnificent species are, however, entirely confined to the Papuan

Although I devoted so much time to a search after these wonderful
birds, I only succeeded myself in obtaining five species during a
residence of many months in the Aru Islands, New Guinea, and
Waigiou. Mr. Allen's voyage to Mysol did not procure a single
additional species, but we both heard of a place called Sorong,
on the mainland of New Guinea, near Salwatty, where we were told
that all the kinds we desired could be obtained. We therefore
determined that he should visit this place, and endeavour to
penetrate into the interior among the natives, who actually shoot
and skin the Birds of Paradise. He went in the small prau I had
fitted up at Goram, and through the kind assistance of the Dutch
Resident at Ternate, a lieutenant and two soldiers were sent by
the Sultan of Tidore to accompany and protect him, and to assist
him in getting men and in visiting the interior.

Notwithstanding these precautions, Mr. Allen met with
difficulties in this voyage which we had neither of us
encountered before. To understand these, it is necessary to
consider that the Birds of Paradise are an article of commerce,
and are the monopoly of the chiefs of the coast villages, who
obtain them at a low rate from the mountaineers, and sell them to
the Bugis traders. A portion is also paid every year as tribute
to the Sultan of Tidore. The natives are therefore very jealous
of a stranger, especially a European, interfering in their trade,
and above all of going into the interior to deal with the
mountaineers themselves. They of course think he will raise the
prices in the interior, and lessen the supply on the coast,
greatly to their disadvantage; they also think their tribute will
be raised if a European takes back a quantity of the rare sorts;
and they have besides a vague and very natural dread of some
ulterior object in a white man's coming at so much trouble and
expense to their country only to get Birds of Paradise, of which
they know he can buy plenty (of the common yellow ones which
alone they value) at Ternate, Macassar, or Singapore.

It thus happened that when Mr. Allen arrived at Sorong, and
explained his intention of going to seek Birds of Paradise in the
interior, innumerable objections were raised. He was told it was
three or four days' journey over swamps and mountains; that the
mountaineers were savages and cannibals, who would certainly kill
him; and, lastly, that not a man in the village could be found
who dare go with him. After some days spent in these discussions,
as he still persisted in making the attempt, and showed them his
authority from the Sultan of Tidore to go where be pleased and
receive every assistance, they at length provided him with a boat
to go the first part of the journey up a river; at the same time,
however, they sent private orders to the interior villages to
refuse to sell any provisions, so as to compel him to return. On
arriving at the village where they were to leave the river and
strike inland, the coast people returned, leaving Mr. Allen to
get on as he could. Here he called on the Tidore lieutenant to
assist him, and procure men as guides and to carry his baggage to
the villages of the mountaineers. This, however, was not so
easily done. A quarrel took place, and the natives, refusing to
obey the imperious orders of the lieutenant, got out their knives
and spears to attack him and his soldiers; and Mr. Allen himself
was obliged to interfere to protect those who had come to guard
him. The respect due to a white man and the timely distribution
of a few presents prevailed; and, on showing the knives,
hatchets, and beads he was willing to give to those who
accompanied him, peace was restored, and the next day, travelling
over a frightfully rugged country, they reached the villages of
the mountaineers. Here Mr. Allen remained a month without any
interpreter through whom he could understand a word or
communicate a want. However, by signs and presents and a pretty
liberal barter, he got on very well, some of them accompanying
him every day in the forest to shoot, and receiving a small
present when he was successful.

In the grand matter of the Paradise Birds, however, little was
done. Only one additional species was found, the Seleucides alba,
of which be had already obtained a specimen in Salwatty; but he
learnt that the other kinds' of which be showed them drawings,
were found two or three days' journey farther in the interior.
When I sent my men from Dorey to Amberbaki, they heard exactly
the same story--that the rarer sorts were only found several
days' journey in the interior, among rugged mountains, and that
the skins were prepared by savage tribes who had never even been
seen by any of the coast people.

It seems as if Nature had taken precautions that these her
choicest treasures should not be made too common, and thus be
undervalued. This northern coast of New Guinea is exposed to the
full swell of the Pacific Ocean, and is rugged and harbourless.
The country is all rocky and mountainous, covered everywhere with
dense forests, offering in its swamps and precipices and serrated
ridges an almost impassable barrier to the unknown interior; and
the people are dangerous savages, in the very lowest stage of
barbarism. In such a country, and among such a people, are found
these wonderful productions of Nature, the Birds of Paradise,
whose exquisite beauty of form and colour and strange
developments of plumage are calculated to excite the wonder and
admiration of the most civilized and the most intellectual of
mankind, and to furnish inexhaustible materials for study to the
naturalist, and for speculation to the philosopher.

Thus ended my search after these beautiful birds. Five voyages to
different parts of the district they inhabit, each occupying in
its preparation and execution the larger part of a year, produced
me only five species out of the fourteen known to exist in the
New Guinea district. The kinds obtained are those that inhabit
the coasts of New Guinea and its islands, the remainder seeming
to be strictly confined to the central mountain-ranges of the
northern peninsula; and our researches at Dorey and Amberbaki,
near one end of this peninsula, and at Salwatty and Sorong, near
the other, enable me to decide with some certainty on the native
country of these rare and lovely birds, good specimens of which
have never yet been seen in Europe.

It must be considered as somewhat extraordinary that, during five
years' residence and travel in Celebes, the Moluccas, and New
Guinea, I should never have been able to purchase skins of half
the species which Lesson, forty years ago, obtained during a few
weeks in the same countries. I believe that all, except the
common species of commerce, are now much more difficult to obtain
than they were even twenty years ago; and I impute it principally
to their having been sought after by the Dutch officials through
the Sultan of Tidore. The chiefs of the annual expeditions to
collect tribute have had orders to get all the rare sorts of
Paradise Birds; and as they pay little or nothing for them (it
being sufficient to say they are for the Sultan), the head men of
the coast villages would for the future refuse to purchase them
from the mountaineers, and confine themselves instead to the
commoner species, which are less sought after by amateurs, but
are a more profitable merchandise. The same causes frequently
lead the inhabitants of uncivilized countries to conceal minerals
or other natural products with which they may become acquainted,
from the fear of being obliged to pay increased tribute, or of
bringing upon themselves a new and oppressive labour.



NEW GUINEA, with the islands joined to it by a shallow sea,
constitute the Papuan group, characterised by a very close
resemblance in their peculiar forms of life. Having already, in
my chapters on the Aru Islands and on the Birds of Paradise,
given some details of the natural history of this district, I
shall here confine myself to a general sketch of its animal
productions, and of their relations to those of the rest of the

New Guinea is perhaps the largest island on the globe, being a
little larger than Borneo. It is nearly fourteen hundred miles
long, and in the widest part four hundred broad, and seems to be
everywhere covered with luxuriant forests. Almost everything that
is yet known of its natural productions comes from the north-
western peninsula, and a few islands grouped around it. These do
not constitute a tenth part of the area of the whole island, and
are so cut off from it, that their fauna may well he somewhat
different; yet they have produced us (with a very partial
exploration) no less than two hundred and fifty species of land
birds, almost all unknown elsewhere, and comprising some of the
most curious and most beautiful of the feathered tribes. It is
needless to say how much interest attaches to the far larger
unknown portion of this great island, the greatest terra
incognita that still remains for the naturalist to explore, and
the only region where altogether new and unimagined forms of life
may perhaps be found. There is now, I am happy to say, some
chance that this great country will no longer remain absolutely
unknown to us. The Dutch Government have granted well-equipped
steamer to carry a naturalist (Mr. Rosenberg, already mentioned
in this work) and assistants to New Guinea, where they are to
spend some years in circumnavigating the island, ascending its
large rivers a< far as possible into the interior, and making
extensive collections of its natural productions.

The Mammalia of New Guinea and the adjacent islands, yet
discovered, are only seventeen in number. Two of these are bats,
one is a pig of a peculiar species (Sus papuensis), and the rest
are all marsupials. The bats are, no doubt, much more numerous,
but there is every reason to believe that whatever new land
Mammalia man be discovered will belong to the marsupial order.
One of these is a true kangaroo, very similar to some of middle-
sized kangaroos of Australia, and it is remarkable as being the
first animal of the kind ever seen by Europeans. It inhabits
Mysol and the Aru Islands (an allied species being found in New
Guinea), and was seen and described by Le Brun in 1714, from
living specimens at Batavia. A much more extraordinary creature
is the tree-kangaroo, two species of which are known from New
Guinea. These animals do not differ very strikingly in form from
the terrestrial kangaroos, and appear to be but imperfectly
adapted to an arboreal life, as they move rather slowly, and do
not seem to have a very secure footing on the limb of a tree. The
leaping power of the muscular tail is lost, and powerful claws
have been acquired to assist in climbing, but in other respects
the animal seems better adapted to walls on terra firma. This
imperfect adaptation may be due to the fact of there being no
carnivore in New Guinea, and no enemies of any kind from which
these animals have to escape by rapid climbing. Four species of
Cuscus, and the small flying opossum, also inhabit New Guinea;
and there are five other smaller marsupials, one of which is the
size of a rat, and takes its place by entering houses and
devouring provisions.

The birds of New Guinea offer the greatest possible contrast to
the Mammalia, since they are more numerous, more beautiful, and
afford more new, curious, and elegant forms than those of any
other island on the globe. Besides the Birds of Paradise, which
we have already sufficiently considered, it possesses a number of
other curious birds, which in the eyes of the ornithologist
almost serves to distinguish it as one of the primary divisions
of the earth. Among its thirty species of parrots are the Great
Pluck Cockatoo, and the little rigid-tailed Nasiterna, the giant
and the dwarf of the whole tribe. The bare-headed Dasyptilus is
one of the most singular parrots known; while the beautiful
little long-tailed Charmosyna, and the great variety of
gorgeously-coloured lories, have no parallels elsewhere. Of
pigeons it possesses about forty distinct species, among which
are the magnificent crowned pigeons, now so well known in our
aviaries, and pre-eminent both for size and beauty; the curious
Trugon terrestris, which approaches the still more strange
Didunculus of Samoa; and a new genus (Henicophaps), discovered by
myself, which possesses a very long and powerful bill, quite
unlike that of any other pigeon. Among its sixteen kingfishers,
it possesses the carious hook-billed Macrorhina, and a red and
blue Tanysiptera, the most beautiful of that beautiful genus.
Among its perching birds are the fine genus of crow-like
starlings, with brilliant plumage (Manucodia); the carious pale-
coloured crow (Gymnocorvus senex); the abnormal red and black
flycatcher (Peltops blainvillii); the curious little boat-billed
flycatchers (Machaerirhynchus); and the elegant blue flycatcher-
wrens (Todopsis).

The naturalist will obtain a clearer idea of the variety and
interest of the productions of this country, by the statement,
that its land birds belong to 108 genera, of which 20 are
exclusively characteristic of it; while 35 belong to that limited
area which includes the Moluccas and North Australia, and whose
species of these genera have been entirely derived from New
Guinea. About one-half of the New Guinea genera are found also in
Australia, about one-third in India and the Indo-Malay islands.

A very curious fact, not hitherto sufficiently noticed, is the
appearance of a pure Malay element in the birds of New Guinea. We
find two species of Eupetes, a curious Malayan genus allied to
the forked-tail water-chats; two of Alcippe, an Indian and Malay
wren-like form; an Arachnothera, quite resembling the spider-
catching honeysuckers of Malacca; two species of Gracula, the
Mynahs of India; and a curious little black Prionochilus, a saw-
billed fruit pecker, undoubtedly allied to the Malayan form,
although perhaps a distinct genus. Now not one of these birds, or
anything allied to them, occurs in the Moluccas, or (with one
exception) in Celebes or Australia; and as they are most of them
birds of short flight, it is very difficult to conceive how or
when they could have crossed the space of more than a thousand
miles, which now separates them from their nearest allies. Such
facts point to changes of land and sea on a large scale, and at a
rate which, measured by the time required for a change of
species, must be termed rapid. By speculating on such changes, we
may easily see how partial waves of immigration may have entered
New Guinea, and how all trace of their passage may have been
obliterated by the subsequent disappearance of the intervening

There is nothing that the study of geology teaches us that is
more certain or more impressive than the extreme instability of
the earth's surface. Everywhere beneath our feet we find proofs
that what is land has been sea, and that where oceans now spread
out has once been land; and that this change from sea to land,
and from land to sea, has taken place, not once or twice only,
but again and again, during countless ages of past time. Now the
study of the distribution of animal life upon the present surface
of the earth, causes us to look upon this constant interchange of
land and sea--this making and unmaking of continents, this
elevation and disappearance of islands--as a potent reality,
which has always and everywhere been in progress, and has been
the main agent in determining the manner in which living things
are now grouped and scattered over the earth's surface. And when
we continually come upon such little anomalies of distribution as
that just now described, we find the only rational explanation of
them, in those repeated elevations and depressions which have
left their record in mysterious, but still intelligible
characters on the face of organic nature.

The insects of New Guinea are less known than the birds, but they
seem almost equally remarkable for fine forms and brilliant
colours. The magnificent green and yellow Ornithopterae are
abundant, and have most probably spread westward from this point
as far as India. Among the smaller butterflies are several
peculiar genera of Nymphalidae and Lycaenidae, remarkable for
their large size, singular markings, or brilliant coloration. The
largest and most beautiful of the clear-winged moths (Cocytia
d'urvillei) is found here, as well as the large and handsome
green moth (Nyctalemon orontes). The beetles furnish us with many
species of large size, and of the most brilliant metallic lustre,
among which the Tmesisternus mirabilis, a longicorn beetle of a
golden green colour; the excessively brilliant rose-chafers,
Lomaptera wallacei and Anacamptorhina fulgida; one of the
handsomest of the Buprestidae, Calodema wallacei; and several
fine blue weevils of the genus Eupholus, are perhaps the most
conspicuous. Almost all the other orders furnish us with large or
extraordinary forms. The curious horned flies have already been
mentioned; and among the Orthoptera the great shielded
grasshoppers are the most remarkable. The species here figured
(Megalodon ensifer) has the thorax covered by a large triangular
horny shield, two and a half inches long, with serrated edges, a
somewhat wavy, hollow surface, and a faun median line, so as very
closely to resemble a leaf. The glossy wing-coverts (when fully
expanded, more than nine inches across) are of a fine green
colour and so beautifully veined as to imitate closely some of
the large shining tropical leaves. The body is short, and
terminated in the female by a long curved sword-like ovipositor
(not seen in the cut), and the legs are all long and strongly-
spined. These insects are sluggish in their motions, depending
for safety on their resemblance to foliage, their horny shield
and wing-coverts, and their spiny legs.

The large islands to the east of New Guinea are very little
known, but the occurrence of crimson lories, which are quite
absent from Australia, and of cockatoos allied to those of New
Guinea and the Moluccas, shows that they belong to the Papuan
group; and we are thus able to define the Malay Archipelago as
extending eastward to the Solomon's Islands. New Caledonia and
the New Hebrides, on the other hand, seem more nearly allied to
Australia; and the rest of the islands of the Pacific, though
very poor in all forms of life, possess a few peculiarities which
compel us to class them as a separate group. Although as a matter
of convenience I have always separated the Moluccas as a distinct
zoological group from New Guinea, I have at the same time pointed
out that its fauna was chiefly derived from that island, just as
that of Timor was chiefly derived from Australia. If we were
dividing the Australian region for zoological purposes alone, we
should form three great groups: one comprising Australia, Timor,
and Tasmania; another New Guinea, with the islands from Bouru to
the Solomon's group; and the third comprising the greater part of
the Pacific Islands.

The relation of the New Guinea fauna to that of Australia is very
close. It is best marked in the Mammalia by the abundance of
marsupials, and the almost complete absence of all other
terrestrial forms. In birds it is less striking, although still
very clear, for all the remarkable old-world forms which are
absent from the one are equally so from the other, such as
Pheasants, Grouse, Vultures, and Woodpeckers; while Cockatoos,
Broad-tailed Parrots, Podargi, and the great families of the
Honeysuckers and Brush-turkeys, with many others, comprising no
less than twenty-four genera of land-birds, are common to both
countries, and are entirely confined to them.

When we consider the wonderful dissimilarity of the two regions
in all those physical conditions which were once supposed to
determine the forms of life-Australia, with its open plains,

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