West Papua (Irian Jaya) birding trip

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: West Papua (Irian Jaya) birding trip
From: Susan Myers <>
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2003 13:00:53 +1100 (EST)
Dear all,
I have just returned from leading a tour to West Papua
(formerly Irian Jaya), Indonesia and thought that
there may be some interest in our observations amongst
the members of this group.
The itinerary took in Sorong, Batanta and Salawati on
the extreme west coast; Biak Island in Geelvink Bay on
the central north coast; the Arfak Mountains on the
east of the Vogelkop or Doberai Peninsula, and
Nimbokrang at the the foot of the Cyclops Mountains
near Jayapura. All these sites are areas of
biological importance with high biodiversity and

Notable sightings included:

Wonderful views of Wilson's Bird of Paradise (must be
seen to be believed) and Red Bird of Paradise on

A total of six Cinnamon Bitterns in rice padi around
Sorong - a recent arrival in West Papua, most likely
due to the introduction of rice cultivation into the

A great selection of the Biak/Geelvink endemics
including Biak Flycatcher, Biak Paradise Kingfisher,
Biak Lory and the wonderful Geelvink Pygmy Parrot,
which behaves somewhat like a treecreeper.

An incredible Feline Owlet Nightjar found by our local
Hattam guide, Zeth, at a roost in a tangle of vines in
the Arfaks (photographed).

A memorable two hours mid-morning birding in the Arfak
Mountains where we had close studies of Lesser
Melampitta, Lesser Ground Robin, the strange
Rufous-naped Whistler, Spotted Jewel Babbler and the
near mythical Long-tailed Paradigalla (amongst

At Nimbokrang an incredible Twelve-wired Bird of
Paradise watched from a distance of only about 20
metres for over 30 minutes as he displayed to a
cooperative female. This was followed by displaying
King BoPs, a stunning view of the scarce Blue-black
Kingfisher in lowland swamp forest, full scope views
of Pale-billed Sicklebill  and a Salvodori's Fig
Parrot in a fruiting fig tree.

It was disturbing to find wholesale logging taking
place on Salawati with large swathes of forest being
bulldozed. Biak Island has been largely deforested in
the lowland areas where many transmigrants have been
settled but there appears to be quite a lot of forest
cover in the north of the island (as seen from the
air). Logging is also a huge business in the
Nimbokrang area but the forest is still very rich in
terms of biological diversity and density.
This is a tough but fabulous birding destination. We
encountered no security problems whatsoever and found
both our Indonesian and Papuan hosts to be nothing but
hospitable. Special thanks to Kris Tindige for his
assistance in helping me plan and run this tour.

Susan Myers
13 Ryan Street
Brunswick East 3057
ph. +61 412 943 593
(0412 943 593) - Yahoo! Personals
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