Posted by: henrymcghie | July 29, 2014

Mysterious Birds of Paradise

bird of paradiseI’ve been enjoying myself this morning, looking at some of the Museum’s mysterious bird specimens. One name I hadn’t come across before is for a Bird of Paradise, named ‘Diphyllodes guilielmi tertii’. This is actually a hybrid between two species, the Magnificent Bird-of-Paradise and the King Bird-of-Paradise; the hybrid origin of this bird was only realised in the 1920s. The form goes by the charming name of ‘the Exquisite Little King’ or the King of Holland’s Bird-of-Paradise’. The Manchester Museum specimen has the King’s red colouration, but the yellow cape of the Magnificent Bird-of-Paradise, as well as its green metallic breast plate of feathers. These hybrids are rare occurrences: there were only 25 known in museums, now there are 26. The bird has been in the collection here since 1902. The feathers on the bird’s back are especially amazing, looking like they are made from very thin pieces of glass.

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