Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Amboyna to John Gould [none given] on 30 September 1859.
Reply to Gould's letter of June 25th; re. Semioptera wallacei G.R. Gray.
A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.
An original MS
Pages with text: 2
Transcriber: O'Hanlon, Alice
Transcription date: March 29, 2012
Scrutiny: 13/08/2012 - Parfitt, Elisabeth; 15/01/2013 - Catchpole, Caroline;
Signed off: no
Sept[embe]r 30th. 1859.
My dear Mr. Gould
I hasten to reply to yours of June 25th. by return of post as requested, & it is pleasing to me to find that my collections excite so much interest. The following is an extract from my notebook:
1"It frequents the lower trees of the virgin forest, & is in almost constant motion. It flies from branch to branch, clings to the twigs, & even to the vertical smooth trunks almost as easily as a woodpecker. It continually utters a harsh creaking cry, something between that of Paradisea apoda & the more musical note of P. regia. The males at short intervals open & flutter their wings, erect the long shoulder feathers & expand the elegant shields on each side of the breast. Like the other Birds of Paradise, the females & young males far outnumber the fully plumaged birds which makes it probable that it is only in the 2nd. or 3rd. year that extraordinary [] "accessory feathers are fully developed."
The bird seems to feed mostly on fruit, though it probably takes insects occasionally. The iris is of a deep olive, - the bill olive horny, the feet orange, & the claws horny. I have now obtained a few specimens of what appears to be the same bird from Gilolo, - but the crown is more decidedly violet & the plumes of the breast much longer.
I have now an interesting collection from Manado including the singular Megacephalon and also one from Gilolo with I think a new & fine Megapodius & the superb Pitta Maxima Fowls[?], the first bird I think of the whole family. After sending these off I am off to Ceram where I hope to do something good in ornithology. A paper lately sent to the Linnean will give you my ideas on the structure & origin of the Archipelago.
Yours faithfully | Alfred.R. Wallace [signature]
John Gould Esq.[uire]
1. The words "Semioptera Wallacii. G. R. Gray" have been written up the left margin.
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