field guide to Papua/New Guinea birds?

To: Mark Clayton <>
Subject: field guide to Papua/New Guinea birds?
From: Robin Hide <>
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 2010 12:22:52 +1100
Beehler et al is in the process of being updated - plates just about finished I gather.

For PNG as a whole there is also:
Coates, B.J. and Peckover, W.S. (2001). Birds of New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago: A Photographic Guide. Alderley,Qld., Dove Publications, 272 p.

Where is the Highlands are you going? there are lists available for some areas. eg:
Mack, A.L. and Wright, D.D. 1996. Notes on occurrence and feeding of birds at Crater Mountain Biological Research Station, Papua New Guinea. Emu, 96(2), 89-101.

and many others in the Newsletter of the PNG BIRD Society (I have a complete run available on CD if useful)
and also some unpublished lists: (I have copies of :)
Jaensch, R. 1998. Annex 5: Birds of the Lake Kutubu Swamp Forest, Papua New Guinea. Summary Report.
Jaensch, R. and Kulmoi, P. 1998. Birds recorded at Tubo Lodge, Lake Kutubu.
Diamond, J. and K. D. Bishop (2000). Birds of Mt. Sisa, For the World Wildlife Fund/Chevron Kikori Integrated Conservation and Development Project.
Abstract: This report summarizes a survey of birds that we carried out on Mt. Sisa, at the request of its Huli land-owners.  Our survey was organized and sponsored by World Wildlife Fund (abbreviated WWF) and Chevron, which are collaborating to monitor and preserve the environment of the Kutubu oil lease area managed by Chevron.
    Mt. Sisa rises to an elevation of about 2560 meters, from a base elevation of around 700 meters to the south and around 1200 meters to the north.  The nearest mountains equalling or exceeding Mt. Sisa in elevation are 45 kilometers distant: Mt. Bosavi (2897 meters high) to the south and Doma Peaks (4000 meters high) to the northeast.  Both Mt. Sisa and Mt. Bosavi are former volcanoes, now extinct.  Other extinct volcanic mountains nearby include Mt. Murray, Mt. Karimui, and Mt. Suaru.  The mountain forests on tops of these mountains rise like islands above the surrounding plains and valleys, and above the morning cloud banks.  As far as birds and other animal and plant species confined to montane forest are concerned, these mountain tops really do constitute "islands" of montane forest habitat, separated by the "sea" of surrounding low-elevation habitat in which these montane species cannot live.  Thus, it was interesting to determine which, of the approximately 100 bird species occurring on PNG's Central Cordillera (e.g. on Mt. Hagen or on Doma Peaks) at elevations comparable to Mt. Sisa's, actually do occur on Mt. Sisa.
    Our survey took place from October 14 to October 23, 1999.  While based at two tent camps and helipads, one at 1980 meters and the other at 2380 meters, we spent much of each day walking along trails radiating from each camp, down to 1840 meters and up to Mt. Sisa's summit at 2560 meters.  We identified bird species especially by sound (by their songs and calls), and also by sight, using binoculars.  We carried tape recorders and made extensive recordings of birds' voices, for two purposes: to broadcast back in the forest our recordings of songs from unidentified birds, often with the result that the singer flew to us (thinking that our broadcasting tape recorder was actually a rival bird) and revealed its identity; and to relisten to the tapes ourselves afterwards, and thereby to recognize the recorded songs for some bird species of whose presence we had not been aware at the time that the birds were singing faintly or in the distance.  We interviewed our Huli companions extensively regarding their knowledge of birds, and regarding bird names in the Huli language.  We are grateful to Huli land-owners for inviting us to their lands, for their help with our study, and for their patience in answering our seemingly endless questions about birds.

There is also:
Wheatley, N. (1998). Where to Watch Birds in Australasia and Oceania. London, Christopher Helm.
Describes almost 150 sites in detail and many more in passing. As with the other guides in the series its primary aim is to help birders make the most of their trips, detailing the endemic and `special' birds to be found at each site as well as the more common and usual species. West Papua pp. 237-268 PNG pp 332-381.

Robin Hide

Mark Clayton wrote:

G’day Des,


I have a copy of “Birds of New Guinea” by Beehler, Pratt and Zimmerman, published by Princeton University Press in 1986. It could be hard to get hold of as it took me quite a while to find a copy. Perhaps if you “googled” the title you may find one of the bookstores with a copy. If you get totally desperate I might consider lending my copy!!!






From: Des Clark-Walker [m("","des.clark-walker");">]
Sent: Monday, 18 January 2010 10:40 AM
To: Canberrabirds List
Subject: [canberrabirds] field guide to Papua/New Guinea birds?


Hi All,


My wife and I are going to the highlands in August and would welcome suggestions for field guides for

this region or for PNG in general?





Des Clark-Walker

Professor Emeritus

Research School of Chemistry

Australian National University



Ph 61-2-6125 4510


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