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Voyages: Scientific Circumnavigations 1679 to 1859
Duperrey's Voyage 1822-1825


The naturalist on board, René Primavère Lesson, would become known for the important studies that he made of the birds of New Guinea. He considered the emerald bird of paradise the most magnificent bird of that country.

"On one of the first days of our arrival in New Guinea, this promised-land of naturalists," he wrote, "we glimpsed the emerald birds of paradise flying in the deep darkness of the old forests, creating perhaps the grandest and most magical spectacle ever to strike the eye of a European. The birds’ wings beat the air with graceful undulations: the feathers of their flanks form an elegant and aerial plume which, without hyperbole, resemble a brilliant meteor, streaming through the air like a star."



Martinet à Moustaches


Symé torotoro and Martin-chausseur gros-bec


Héron Phaëton


The above three images are from
Voyage Autour du Monde… sur la Corvette…La Coquille Pendant les Années 1822-1825:
Paris: Arthus Bertrand, 1825-39.



Lesson captured many New Guinea birds, such as these colorful specimens, and he did collect a red female bird of paradise (females lack the famous plumage of the males). Unhappily he was not successful during his assignment aboard the Coquille, in procuring a specimen of the male, jewel-green bird of paradise that he so admired.


Duperrey. Page 2 of 3.
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