Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

Papua

Kingfisher
Numfor Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera carolinae ©Andy Walker Website

Birding Western New Guinea

Western New Guinea, Papua or West Papua is the Indonesian part of the island of New Guinea. Since the island is also named Papua, the region is sometimes called West Papua, although, confusingly, part of the area is the province called West papua! Lying to the west of the independent state of Papua New Guinea, it is the only Indonesian territory to be situated in Oceania. The territory is mostly in the Southern Hemisphere and also includes nearby islands, including the Schouten and Raja Ampat archipelagos. The region is predominantly covered with ancient rainforest where numerous traditional tribes live such as the Dani of the Baliem Valley, although a large proportion of the population live in or near coastal areas, with the largest city being Jayapura.

The region is 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) from east to west and 736 kilometres (457 miles) from north to south. It has an area of 420,540 square kilometres (162,371 square miles), which equates to approximately 22% of Indonesia's land area. The border with Papua New Guinea mostly follows the 141st meridian east, with one section defined by the Fly River. The province has 40 major rivers, 12 lakes, and 40 islands.

Lying in the Asia-Australian transition zone near Wallacea, the region's flora and fauna include Asiatic, Australian, and many endemic species. The mountainous areas and the north are covered with dense rainforest. Highland vegetation also includes alpine grasslands, heath, pine forests, bush and scrub. The vegetation of the south coast includes mangroves and sago palms, and in the drier southeastern section, eucalypts, paperbarks, and acacias.

Indonesian New Guinea

The western half of the subcontinental island of New Guinea, variously known as Papua, West Papua or Irian Jaya, is a singularly unique tropical wilderness area and a birdwatcher's paradise. In fact, the vast and lush frontier forests of Papua are home to some of the most glorious birds on Earth. Anyone who watched the nearly mythical birds of paradise doing their intimate thing in the highly-acclaimed BBC nature documentary 'Attenborough in Paradise' is destined to long ever beyond to see the real stuff. But Papua has so much more to offer than BOP's alone. The cliché-ridden examples of spectacular avian diversity from many an ornithology textbook all occur here: from the man-high, flightless cassowaries and the fascinating megapodes or incubatorbirds, to the glorious crowned-pigeons and amazing bowerbirds. More than 700 bird species have now reliably been recorded from the territory, most of those found in the entire New Guinea faunal region. Knowledge of the birdlife of Indonesian Papua, however, is far less comprehensive than that for adjacent Papua New Guinea, and the intrepid and careful observer is bound to make significant observations just about anywhere.

It is the breeding land birds and freshwater avifauna that adorns Papua with a nearly mythical status, comprising over 550 species including 279 widespread regional New Guinea endemics and at least 53 currently recognised species who's distribution is entirely confined to Papua alone. Species richness is high, lowland forests typically sporting close to 200 different resident breeding birds. New Guinea forest bird communities differ markedly from elsewhere, however, in featuring an unusually high proportion of fruit- and nectar-eaters as well as ground-dwellers, but no wood-borers. Australo-Papuan passerines including fairywrens Malurini, warblers Pardalotidae, robins Eopsaltriidae, honeyeaters Meliphagidae, and the diverse corvid assemblage radiated to fill all niches. Obviously, of prime interest, are the 29 birds of paradise (here including Melampitta but discounting Macgregoria) scattered across the territory. Among these, the Wilson's Bird of Paradise Cicinnurus respublica of Waigeo and Batanta in the fabled Raja Ampat archipelago, has widely been claimed by seasoned world birders to be one of the best birds roaming the face of this planet! Finally, some 115 Palearctic and Australian migrants, including vagrants and seabirds, have also been recorded from Papua, and its southeastern Trans-Fly zone, which includes the famed Wasur National Park, is a globally significant staging and wintering ground for waders and waterfowl.

You can see a list of the 53 endemic species below.

Where to go birding in Papua?

The paramount centres of avian endemism in Papua (in declining order of importance) are the isolated Arfak Mountains on the Bird's Head Peninsula, the oceanic twin islands of Biak-Supiori plus nearby Numfor in Geelvink Bay, the Snow Mountains along the central cordillera, and the Waigeo ophiolitic suite comprising the islands of Waigeo, Batanta and Kofiau in the Raja Ampat archipelago. Moreover, the vast lowland forests effectively isolated to the north and south of the central dividing range, harbour a presently still underestimated endemism component on a much grander scale. See the 'Top Sites' section below for details - they are in alphabetical order, NOT order of importance.

Top Sites

Arfak Mountains

Satellite View

Since Dutch colonial times these mountains are one of the most frequently explored and best known regions of western New Guinea. They support all of the 10 presently described, so-called 'Vogelkop' endemics and provide straightforward access to largely untouched foothill, hill and montane forests that support a wonderfully diverse avifauna. Among the Vogelkop endemics are the Vogelkop Bowerbird Amblyornis inornatus, which surely builds the most complex avian structure on Earth, the little-known Arfak Astrapia Astrapia nigra, the highly-prized Long-tailed Paradigalla Paradigalla carunculata, and the wacko Western Parotia Parotia sefilata, who's ballerina dance almost has to be seen to be believed. In addition, 15 of the 21 restricted-range species present in the Bird's Head region can be seen in the Arfak Mountains.

Geelvink Islands

Satellite View

The deep-water twin islands of Biak and Supiori are only separated from one another by a narrow mangrove-lined channel and harbour the most highly endemic avifauna of any land area in the New Guinea region. In total, 11 endemic taxa have now widely become accepted at the species level, most notably including a megapode, a paradise-kingfisher, a regionally unique scops owl, and two parrots. Numfor Island lies approximately 60 kilometres to the southwest and further boasts its own endemic kingfisher, the glorious Numfor Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera carolinae. In addition, another staggering 25, often morphologically highly distinctive, endemic subspecies exist on the islands.

Kofiau

Information

Satellite View

This oceanic Raja Ampat island features a generally rather depauperate avifauna with a decidedly Moluccan element, but importantly includes two endemic allospecies: Kofiau Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera ellioti and Kofiau Monarch Monarcha julianae. Both are readily seen, as are a limited selection of restricted-range and more widespread goodies.

Northern lowlands

Satellite View

The vast alluvial lowland forests just west of the Cyclops Mountains near Jayapura are an excellent place to secure a great selection of New Guinea's northern lowlands specialties, including the Victoria Crowned-Pigeon Goura victoria, and the little-known Pale-billed Sicklebill Epimachus bruijnii.

Snow Mountains

Information

Satellite View

The discovery in 1938 of the densely populated and agriculturally advanced Balim Valley in the heart of the Snow Mountains by American mammalogist, explorer and millionaire, Richard Archbold, may well have been the last great feat of the age of exploration. Following in Archbold's footsteps, an exquisite selection of the wonderfully diverse montane Papuan avifauna can be seen when hiking through cultivation and upper montane forests up the Ibele Valley onto the Lake Habbema alpine plateau at 3,200 m elevation above the timberline, in the shadow of Mount Trikora or Wilhelmina, New Guinea's second peak. Getting to grips with the MacGregor’s 'Bird of Paradise' Macgregoria pulchra here, in some of the most splendid mountain scenery this side of the Himalayas, is quite simply 'over the top', regardless of whether this is a bird of paradise or a member of the honeyeater family. While only three bird species are genuinely confined to the Snow Mountains, a staggering 33 montane restricted-range species occur.

Trans-Fly and Wasur National Park

Information

Satellite View

Many key species of New Guinea's southern lowlands, including Southern Crowned-Pigeon Goura scheepmakeri and Greater Bird of Paradise Paradisaea apoda, can still be seen in and around the famed Wasur National Park near Merauke within the so-called Trans-Fly zone. This is an extensive plain of seasonally flooded grassland, marshes, reedbeds, savanna, woodland and monsoon forest, bordered by the Digul, Fly and Aramia rivers: in essence, a little piece of Australia, isolated within New Guinea. Not surprisingly therefore, the area harbours the most distinctive avifauna within New Guinea with four endemic species and heaps of Australian specialties. Wasur is also a globally significant staging and wintering ground for water birds from both the Palearctic and Australia.

Waitanta

Satellite View

At the northern end of the Raja Ampat archipelago off New Guinea's westernmost tip, Waigeo and Batanta, once fused to a single landmass 'Waitanta', support a varied lowland and hill forest avifauna with a 'peculiar' endemism component, to say the least. In fact, every self-respecting world birder is bound to at least once in a lifetime undertake the pilgrimage to Waitanta's endemic avian delights, which include the endangered Bruijn’s Brush-turkey Aepypodius bruijnii, and the nearly mythical Wilson's Cicinnurus respublica and Red Bird of Paradise Paradisaea rubra. The brush-turkey only occurs on Waigeo, and then quite likely only east of the visually stunning Mayalibit Bay that divides the island in roughly two equal halves. Furthermore, Waigeo boasts the highest number of land and fresh water bird species of any island in the Raja Ampat group, including the delightful Western Crowned-Pigeon Goura cristata and mysteriously distributed Brown-headed Crow Corvus fuscicapillus.

Contributor

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 704

(As at January 2019)

Endemics

Number of endemics: 53

Bruijn's (Waigeo) Brushturkey Aepypodius bruijnii, Red-billed Brushturkey Talegalla cuvieri, Biak Megapode Megapodius [freycinet] geelvinkianus, White-striped Forest Rail Rallicula leucospila, Western Crowned Pigeon Goura cristata, Geelvink Imperial Pigeon Ducula [myristicivora] geelvinkiana, Biak Coucal Centropus chalybeus, Biak Scops Owl Otus [magicus] beccarii, Vogelkop (Allied) Owlet-nightjar Aegotheles [bennettii] affinis, Kofiau Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera ellioti, Biak Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera riedelii, Numfor Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera carolinae, Geelvink Pygmy Parrot Micropsitta geelvinkiana, Papuan Lorikeet Charmosyna papou, Black Lory Chalcopsitta atra, Black-winged Lory Eos cyanogenia, Biak Lorikeet Trichoglossus [haematodus] rosenbergii, Salvadori's Fig Parrot Psittaculirostris salvadorii, Arfak Catbird Ailuroedus [melanotis] arfakianus, Vogelkop Bowerbird Amblyornis inornatus, Golden-fronted Bowerbird Amblyornis flavifrons, Rufous-sided Honeyeater Ptiloprora erythropleura, Brass's Friarbird Philemon brassi, Western Smoky (Arfak) Honeyeater Melipotes gymnops , Wattled Smoky Honeyeater Melipotes [fumigatus] carolae, Vogelkop Melidectes Melidectes leucostephes, Vogelkop Scrubwren Sericornis rufescens, Biak Gerygone Gerygone [magnirostris] hypoxantha, Western Crested Berrypecker Paramythia [montium] olivacea, Biak Triller Lalage [atrovirens] leucoptera, Vogelkop Whistler Pachycephala meyeri, Baliem Whistler Pachycephala [pectoralis] balim, Raja Ampat Pitohui Pitohui [kirhocephalus] cerviniventris, Kofiau Monarch Symposiachrus (Monarcha) julianae, Biak Monarch Symposiachrus (Monarcha) brehmii, Biak Black Flycatcher Myiagra atra, Brown-headed Crow Corvus fuscicapillus, Long-tailed Paradigalla Paradigalla carunculata, Arfak Astrapia Astrapia nigra, Western Parotia Parotia sefilata, Bronze Parotia Parotia [carolae] berlepschi, Wilson's Bird-of-paradise Diphyllodes (Cicinnurus) respublica, Red Bird-of-paradise Paradisaea rubra, Ashy Robin Heteromyias albispecularis, Smoky Robin Peneothello cryptoleuca, Snow Mountain Robin Petroica archboldi, Numfor Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus [maforensis] maforensis, Biak Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus [maforensis] misoriensis, Biak White-eye Zosterops mysorensis, Long-tailed Starling Aplonis magna, Olive-crowned Flowerpecker Dicaeum pectorale, Grey-banded Munia Lonchura vana, Black-breasted Munia Lonchura teerinki

Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

Useful Reading

* Field Guides & Bird Song

For a comprehensive list of recommended titles covering Indonesia as a whole - please see the Indonesia page of Fatbirder

Birds of New Guinea

By Thane K Pratt & Bruce M Beehler | Princeton University Press | 2014 | Edition 2 | Paperback | 528 pages, 110 plates with colour illustrations; 1 b/w illustrations, 635 colour distribution maps, 4 colour maps, 1 colour table |

ISBN: 9780691095639

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of New Guinea

(Including Bismarck Archipelago and Bougainville) | By Phil Gregory | Lynx Edicions | 2017 | Hardback | 464 pages, 1780+ colour illustrations, 867 colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 9788494189272

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of New Guinea - Distribution, Taxonomy, and Systematics

By Bruce M Beehler & Thane K Pratt | Princeton University Press | 2016 | Hardback | 668 pages, 2 plates with 14 colour photos; 2 b/w maps, tables |

ISBN: 9780691164243

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birdsongs of Papua New Guinea

By Scott Connop | Turaco | CD | Features 99 tracks of some of the most exotic birds on the planet | Dwarf Cassowary | 5 species of cuckoo | 14 species of birds-of-paradise | Features narration by Scott Conno |

ISBN: #176547

Buy this book from NHBS.com

New Guinea Birds

(A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Species) | By James R Kavanagh & Raymond Leung | Waterford Press | 2018 | Unbound | 12 pages, colour illustrations, 1 colour map |

ISBN: 9781620053003

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Organisations

Papua Bird Club

Website

Papua Bird Club was founded by Kris Tindige in 1995 as a non-profit organization committed to helping local Papuan communities and conserving the forests and bird life of Papua through ecotourism. Since then, it has metamorphosed into two wings: Magnificus Expeditions, a registered company which offers birding-based eco-tours throughout West Papua, and Papua Konservasi dan Komunitas, a registered Indonesian yayasan (non-profit foundation) which runs community development and capacity-building programs throughout Papua focused on linking conservation and community development through ecotourism.

Reserves

Abbreviations Key

EBA IBA West Papuan Lowlands

Information

This EBA is in the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya and includes the west Papuan islands of Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, Kofiau and Misool, and the lowland rain forests, swamp forests and mangroves of the Vogelkop and Bomberai peninsulas, extending around Geelvink and Etna bays as far east as the Sirowa river in the north and the Mimika river in the south, where it abuts two other lowland Papuan EBAs.

NP Lorenz

Information

Satellite View

An outstanding example of the biodiversity of New Guinea, Lorentz is one of the most ecologically diverse national parks in the world. It is the only nature reserve in the Asia-Pacific region to contain a full altitudinal array of ecosystems ranging through marine areas, mangroves, tidal and freshwater swamp forest, lowland and montane rainforest, alpine tundra, and equatorial glaciers. Lorentz National Park has 630 documented species of bird (around 95% of the total number of bird species in Papua) and 123 mammalian species. Birds include two species of cassowary, 31 dove and pigeon species, 500 species of cockatoo, 60 species of kingfisher and 145 species of sunbird. Six bird species are endemic to the Snow Mountains including the Snow Mountain quail and Snow Mountains robin, 26 species are endemic to the Central Papuan Ranges while three are endemic to the South Papuan Lowlands. Threatened species include the southern cassowary, Alpine woolly rat, southern crowned pigeon, Pesquet's parrot, Salvadori's teal and Macgregor's giant honeyeater

NP Teluk Cenderawasih

Information

Satellite View

Teluk Cenderawasih National Park is the largest marine national park of Indonesia, located in Cenderawasih Bay, south-east of Bird's Head Peninsula. It includes the islands of Mioswaar, Nusrowi, Roon, Rumberpon and Yoop.

NP WII Wasur

Information

Satellite View

The Wasur National Park forms part of the largest wetland in Papua province of Indonesia and has been the least disturbed by human activity. The high value of its biodiversity has led to the park being dubbed the "Serengeti of Papua". The vast open wetland, in particular Rawa Biru Lake, attracts a very rich fauna…

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Ecotours

Tour Operator

Papua New Guinea (PNG) is indeed a birder’s paradise. Thirty-four birds-of-paradise live on the island of New Guinea, of which thirty-one can be found in Papua New Guinea. The island of New Guinea is home to an incredible 399 endemics! Together with awe-inspiring scenery, endless rainforests, and fascinating highland societies that only made contact with the outside world in 1930, this makes Papua New Guinea a definite must-do destination for any avid birder.

Papua Expeditions

Tour Operator

Specialists in adventure birding and outdoors in Indonesian New Guinea, variously known as Papua, West Papua or Irian Jaya…

Rockjumper

Tour Operator

The Indonesian half of the island, the province of West Papua (Irian Jaya), is a destination few birders have visited, with large expanses of pristine habitat, from towering snow-capped peaks to huge tracts of humid lowland forest. Of particular importance to birders are several distinct mountain ranges, some of them quite isolated. This isolation has led to the evolution of a diverse and unusually interesting avifauna with numerous endemics, a significant number of which being restricted to West Papua and its offshore islands; our pioneering tour is designed to see as many of these restricted-range and endemic species as possible.

Sicklebill Safaris

Tour Operator

Tailor-made tours may be arranged to suit your birding interests plus other facets of natural history if you wish, including flowering plants, fungi, insects and other cold and warm-blooded animals. Tours are arranged and led by a professional ornithologist and natural historian of some 40 years experience in birdwatching and lecturing in UK and overseas. For further information on all aspects of Sicklebill`s tours contact Ian@sicklebill.demon.co.uk

Vacation Indonesia Tours

Tour Operator

Vacation Indonesia Tours, owned by Nurlin Djuni & Darwin Sumang, is your gateway to Indonesia. We can immerse you in our culture, heritage and our extraordinarily diverse natural history. The Islands of Indonesia are justly famous for birdwatching. Over 372 species have been recorded and many are found nowhere else. Nurlin Djuni specialises in Birdwatching/Holidays Tours in Sulawesi, Halmahera, Papua, Java, Bali, Kalimantan, Lesser Sundas and Sumatera…

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2011 [05 May] - Nicolaas van Zalinge & Wim van der Schot

Report

West Papua with its extensive forests and great variety of habitats is one of the most important areas for biodiversity in the world. It is particularly noted for its avifauna with numerous species of birds of paradise. However, it is not an easy destination….

2013 [07 July] - Mark Van heirs

PDF Report

…The splendid Biak Paradise Kingfisher performed very well, after some rather frustrating minutes. This mega endemic is the most endearing of the Geelvink specials and its calls emanated everywhere from the forest. A Great Cuckoo- Dove displayed its aerobatics and several colourful Biak Red Lories presented themselves well…

2013 [08 August] - Frank Lambert

Report PDF

…Other birds seen that first day included small numbers of the beautiful Claret-breasted Fruit-Dove, Biak Hooded Pitta and Black-browed Trillers, but some of the endemics we were searching for proved elusive and we had to await for the following morning, and the arrival of Wendy (who unfortunately missed her original flight), before we finally found Biak Monarch, Biak Black Flycatcher, and Biak Megapode, all of which gave us fantastic views…

2013 [08 August] - Julian Thomas

Report

…Brown and the rather striking Great Cuckoo Doves perched up in regenerating low forest. Parrots included more Eclectus. as well as Black-capped and Black-winged Lories and Rainbow Lorikeets….

2015 [08 August] - Rob Hutchinson - West Papua

PDF Report

This proved a fabulous start to the trip with stunning view of undoubtedly one of the best birds in the world; Wilson’s Bird-of-Paradise. Other treats were amazing displays from Red Bird-of-paradise, Raja Ampat Pitohui and the immense Western Crowned Pigeon.

2015 [11 November] - Gareth Knass

PDF Report

The Arfak Mountains, Nimbokrang, Sorong Lowlands and Waigeo Island

2016 [03 March] - Dominic Chaplin - Nimbokrang

Report

...Here we also saw Blyth's Hornbills, 12 Wired Birds of Paradise and Lesser Birds of Paradise (common and vocal, here as at most locations around Nimbokrang)....

2016 [07 July] - Rob Hutchinson - 'Easy' West Papua

PDF Report

...Two outings near Sorong gave us some of our targets including Spotted Honeyeater and Ruby-throated Myzomela, both of which were completely eclipsed by a magnificent New Guinea Harpy-Eagle...

2016 [11 November] - K David Bishop - West Papuan Island Cruise

PDF Report

...Rockjumper’s inaugural exploration of the Raja Ampats and eastern Wallacea, Indonesia was arguably the finest tour I have ever had the privilege of leading in forty wonderful years of tour leading....

2017 [10 October] - Ross Gallardy

PDF Report

The area around the lake and the Ibele Trail which heads steeply down through a neighboring valley provides access to a number of West Papua’s high elevation specialties. Historically birding this section of West Papua was considered expensive even by Papua standards. Tour companies charge upwards of $3700 for a 9-10 day tour and even local independent operators charge over $200 per day for just coordinating logistics! Although I wanted to visit the Snow Mountains, I couldn’t justify paying the ridiculous costs and figured there had to be more effective and cheaper options available. Luckily I had met some West Papua natives while birding Seram and via some of their contacts was able to find porters in Wamena to plan my trip to the Snow Mountains.

2017 [11 November] - Chris Lotz

PDF Report

This tour was based mainly in West Papua. Some parts of the main tour (e.g. the Arfak Mountains) and one of the pre-tours (Nimbokrang in the province of Papua) were based on the main island of New Guinea. Aside from the large landmass of New Guinea, the New Guinea region includes numerous small islands on the continental shelf or verges thereof (some part of Indonesia and others part of Papua New Guinea), and we visited two of these areas belonging to Indonesia. During the main tour we visited Waigeo, part of the Raja Ampat Islands in the province of West Papua (also known as the Northwestern Islands), and during one of the pretours we visited the Cenderawasih Bay (formerly Geelvink Bay) islands of Biak and Numfor in the province of Papua (also known as the ‘Bay Islands’).

2017 [11 November] - Marc Thibault

PDF Report

During a 6-week independent trip to West Papua, we had the opportunity to explore a few localities that are seldom visited by birders: Mupi Gunung in the Arfak mountains, Numfor island and Malagufuk in the Klasow valley. Although Numfor is now regularly visited by bird tour companies, little information on this island is available for independent birders.

2017 [11 November] - Ross Gallardy

PDF Report

We knew Biak was going to be special. Ross was going to achieve a lifelong goal and see 5,000 species of the world’s birds. That’s a pretty big achievement for a world birder in case you weren’t aware. Come on, FIVE THOUSAND birds! Get a little excited. At the time Ross started birding roughly 10,000...

2018 [07 July] - Carlos Bocos

PDF Report

Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise took pride of place, along with Red Bird-of-paradise, Raja Ampat Pitohui, Spice Imperial Pigeon and Olive Honeyeater. The Arfak Mountains delivered a huge number of crackers, including dancing Western Parotia, Long-tailed Paradigalla, White-striped Forest Rail, Masked Bowerbird, Papuan Lorikeet, Feline Owlet-nightjar, Obscure Berrypecker, Wallace’s Fairywren, Grey-banded Mannikin and so much more. More inclement weather in the Snow Mountains didn’t stop our endemic harvest increasing, with Snow Mountains Quail and Mannikin, Orange-cheeked Honeyeater, Baliem Whistler, Greater Ground Robin and a great number of other specialities of the central highlands like Splendid Astrapia, Archbold’s Nightjar, New Guinea Woodcock, Salvadori’s Teal, Macgregor’s Honeyeater, Hooded Cuckooshrike and more.

2018 [07 July] - Ian Reed

PDF Report

On July 11th, 2018, I started an amazing, bucket-list trip to West Papua, a place filled with arguably the most incredible birdlife on the planet. Long-time birding buddy Steve Young and I have been talking about such a trip for a long time, and I started thinking even more seriously about it when I came to Australia a few years ago. Which is weird, because the geographical proximity doesn’t actually work out at simpler logistics or even much less flying time. It may seem close, but West Papua is actually a bugger to get to from anywhere!

2018 [08 August] - Joshua Bergmark

PDF Report

It is no surprise that the extraordinary ballerina courtship dance of the male Western Parotia and the jaw-droppingly striking Black Sicklebill headed up the list of amazing species enjoyed on our short Best of West Papua tour this year. In fact, the whole top-five list was comprised of birds-of-paradise which we witnessed in full display! From the tiny yet incandescent Wilson’s Bird-ofparadise which vibrantly glows in the dark understorey of Waigeo, to his close relative on the mainland, Magnificent Bird-of-paradise with his intricate feathery cape. Of course the famous Paradisaea genus made an impression as usual, with the Raja Ampat endemic Red Bird-of-paradise observed flamboyantly dancing around in their lek with remarkable style.

2018 [08 August] - Rob Gordijn & Helen Rijkes

PDF Report

This report covers the 5,5-week trip to West Papua where we visited Numfor & Biak, Sorong (inc. Klasow Valley), Waigeo, Nimbokrang, Snow Mountains and the Arfaks. We were joined for most of the trip by Sjoerd Radstaak (Sorong until Arfaks), Marten Hornsveld, Vivian Jacobs, Bas Garcia (Waigeo until Arfaks) and Sander Lagerveld (Nimbokrang & Snow Mountains). Sander also visited the surroundings of Merauke (Wasur NP) for some southern specialities.

2018 [10 October] - Carlos Bocos

PDF Report

Our second full ‘West Papua’ of the year, and actually our fourth tour of the year to this birding heaven, delivered an incredible array of birds, with an exceptional 415 species recorded. Sorong and Raja Ampat made a great start of the tour, with Blue-black Kingfisher, Wilson’s and Red Bird-of-Paradise, Brown-headed Crow, Western Crowned Pigeon, Raja Ampat Pitohui, Spice Imperial Pigeon and loads of lowland and supertramp species. The Arfak Mountains followed, again delivering first class birding, with Arfak Astrapia, Western Parotia, Black and Black-billed Sicklebills, Magnificent Riflebird, Magnificent Bird-of-Paradise, Mountain and Feline Owlet Nightjars, Mottled Berryhunter, Thick-billed Berrypecker, Wallace’s Fairywren and Torrent Lark particularly noteworthy.

Other Links

Birding in Papua – Burung-Nusantara / Birds-Indonesia

Website

Information about birding sites in West Papua (Irian Jaya), including key species, maps, access, local guides and resources. Birdwatching in Papua is on many people’s dream wish list. It is also some of the best birding in Indonesia. From steamy lowland swamp forest, to snow capped mountains, to remote islands, Papua has a great variety of habitats and a great variety of birds to match. Birding in Papua is also not as hard as you might imagine. The access to many of the sites listed here is straightforward, and there are some great local guides to help you. If you’d rather not try birding independently there are also several excellent tour companies offering trips to Papua. Browse sites from the map or the table. Each site page will show links to birding trip reports, guides and other content that is relevant. Help us keep this information up to date by posting your experiences back here as comments…