A flashlight lighted the footpath that runs through the conservation forest of Aketajawe Lolobata National Park in Halmahera, North Maluku. Park ranger Jamal reminded us several times to be extremely careful and not fall into the ravine or be dragged by the current in the river that we were crossing.
After trekking since 4 a.m. for about 90 minutes, we finally arrived at the perfect location to spot the Wallace’s standardwing (Semioptera wallacii), an endemic bird species known locally as the bidadari Halmahera, or “Halmahera’s angel”. Their heavenly voices were heard from the canopy, while others were seen hopping from one tree to another with open wings, appearing as though they were dancing. It is no wonder that the legendary British adventurer and naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace (1823-1913) fell in love with the creatures at first sight.