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MacGregor’s Honeyeater, The Elegant Found by Sir William MacGregor

At a glance, people would question which family this species belongs to. From a distance, its jet-black plumage dominates the appearance, giving the impression that this bird resembles a crow. But, the light orange wattles around the outer circle of its eyes catch the bird watchers’ attention, calling the Smoky Honeyeater (Melipotes fumigatus) to their minds.

To enhance its beauty, several orange-ochre feathers adorn its primary remiges so that when spread out this bird will be as elegant as a bird of paradise. This species was considered to belong to the bird-of-paradise family, but based on latest genetic evidence, it’s actually a honeyeater. Due to that, this species has no longer been a member of the bird-of-paradise family and has joined the honeyeaters as one of their “giants”. Its current name is the MacGregor’s Honeyeater (Macgregoria pulchra).

This species, which is around 39 centimeters in size, can be found in Jayawijaya Mountains and Bintang Mountains, where the indigenous people of Katengban protect the bird for being inseparable from their important tradition. The encounter of the MacGregor’s Honeyeater also occurs in Papua New Guinea, the area where the species was found for the first time by Lieutenant-Governor Sir William MacGregor when it was a colony of the British Empire.

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MacGregor was no ordinary Governor. Throughout his career, as a representative of the British Empire in various colonies, MacGregor was known as an explorer and collector of ethnographic objects and biological specimens. Therefore, it is not surprising that he made many explorations to various unexplored places in New Guinea, and was close to the local indigenous people. MacGregor's interest in these two things is similar to Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles’ in the Dutch East Indies.

MacGregor's reputation as a governor was enriched by his enthusiasm for science and his prowess in the field while working as a scientist-style governor. One of broadcasted stories of his explorations was when he became the first person to reach the highest peak of the Owen Stanley Mountains in New Guinea in 1888.

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In a story published by the weekly newspaper The Cardigan Observer on 5th October 1889, entitled "British New Guinea, Notable-Mountaineering", MacGregor and his entourage departed on April 20 and arrived at the highest peak of the Owen Stanley Mountains (which he named Mount Victoria) on 11th June. During climbing, he managed to catch a number of birds of paradise, one of which is thought to be a new species. The top of the mountain was where he collected many specimens of flora and fauna. However, there was no definite information whether the bird-of-paradise he collected during the exploration was including MacGregor's Honeyeater.

The MacGregor’s Honeyeater is known to be timid, but often produces loud noises while flying between the hillside. The genetic studies, which pronounced its closer relative to honeyeaters, did not diminish its uniqueness.

Unduh wallpaper burung edisi Mei 2017 di tautan berikut ini: Isapmadu elok


Important fact: Out of 10.000 bird species in the world, Indonesia is a home for 1.769 wild birds. Discovering the various types of birds and their services for the environment is a way of appreciating the biodiversity richness of Indonesia.