Birding West Papua – October 2016Brent Beach, Zoe Brocklehurst, Don Cecile and Justen Dralle Trip organized and guided by Royke Mananta, assisted by David Beadle
This was a fairly comprehensive trip to West Papua that was run along the same lines as most tours to the area. The whole trip was organized and executed with great skill and attention to detail by Royke Mananta and he is to be congratulated for making a notoriously complex trip run so very smoothly. We concentrated of five areas – the Bay Islands (represented by Biak), lowland forest (Nimbokrang), cloud forest and alpine scrub (Lake Habbema), mid-mountain and montane forest (Arfak) and the Western Islands (represented by Waigeo). This itinerary offered a great variety of birds. We experienced rain at all sites, but only lost one whole morning whilst in the Arfaks due to heavy rain. There were some steep and muddy trails to negotiate at most sites. The birding was generally very slow and viewing conditions difficult at times. Because of the late timing of the trip many birds were halfway through their breeding cycle meaning response to playback was minimal. However, in spite of all this we were successful if seeing a nice selection of the birds West Papua has to offer. We were happy with 16 species of Bird of Paradise and got to see some spectacular displays at very close range. We did rather poorly for some parrots and imperial pigeons, but perhaps these birds are somewhat nomadic and tied to certain fruiting trees? Probably our biggest miss was not seeing either of the Crowned-Pigeons that were on offer. In the end it seemed obvious, to me at least, that a single visit to this fascinating region is simply not enough. Many birds occur at a very low density and require much time and effort to find. Apart from the birds we were impressed with the friendly and welcoming people, great food and spectacular scenery. The butterflies were amazing and DB in particular was happy with the local “moth trap” in the village of Mokwam!
Day 1. Biak We arrived early in the morning where we met with Royke and local guide William. We bundled everything into two SUVs and drove to the Aguda Hotel that was very close to the airport. After a brief breakfast and a bit of faffing around we eventually headed for our main birding spot for the day. A couple of short stops yielded Biak White-eye and Hooded Butcherbirds. Pretty much as soon as we arrived at the forest it started to rain! We struggled on in spite of this and saw a modest selection of birds, including some lovely Yellow-bibbed Fruit-Doves, Long-tailed Starlings and Biak Triller. By early afternoon the rain eased off and we headed out along a nice forested trail. It was pretty slow at first, but we managed to lure in a lovely Hooded Pitta that raised everyone’s spirits. At the furthest point of the trail we finally caught up with a noisy gang of Biak Paradise-Kingfishers. On the return journey we were well pleased to find a smart male Biak Flycatcher, which offered some nice photo opportunities. We hung around until dusk and entered the forest again in the hope of seeing Biak Scops-Owl. However, it was all to no avail and we succeeded in only hearing a couple of less than obliging individuals.
Day 2. Biak We returned to the forest this morning hoping to see our remaining Biak endemics. The early morning was quite active and it didn’t take too long to find Spice (Geelvink) Imperial-Pigeon as well as some brief looks at the furtive Emperor Fairy-Wren. After some searching we eventually got a response to what we thought was going to be Biak Monarch. However, the bird that appeared was a Little Shrike-Thrush! Obviously a note to Xeno Canto is required! We were relieved when shortly thereafter both Golden and the real Biak Monarch showed up in the same general area. The rest of the morning and afternoon were very quiet. We did see Biak Coucal, Biak Gerygone and heard Biak Scrubfowl, but it was tough going. We again waited until dusk to try for Biak Scops-Owl, but with the same result. A close Large-tailed Nightjar was our only reward. There was some comedy later on when upon showering I heard a loud thumping on my hotel room door. Without even time to reach for a towel I was surprised by our local fixer William as he flung open the door telling me not to be late for dinner! So much for privacy…
Day 3. Biak to Jayapura We took an early morning flight to Sentani this morning, where we were met by the drivers of two 4X4 vehicles ready to take us to Jamil’s homestay at Nimbokrang. Upon arrival we were treated to an excellent lunch whilst the torrential rain pounded the rooftops. Once the rain had subsided Jamil took us to an area of open country just outside of town were we enjoyed some of the common open country birds of the area. The undoubted highlight was seeing a fresh bower of the Fawn-breasted Bowerbird, a totally remarkable structure, complete with offerings of fruit and stones! We had nice scope views of the bowerbird as well as the lovely White-shouldered Fairywren, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra and the smart-looking White-bellied Thicket-Fantail amongst others.
Day 4. Nimbokrang Jamil took us to a trail close to town this morning. The plank trail was rather slippery due to the recent rains. We headed straight for the Pale-billed Sicklebill area, but in spite of the birds being very vocal they were only offering brief flight views, which was a bit frustrating. After some time waiting for a better view and seeing little else other than Black-browed Triller we decided to cut our losses and head for the King BoP. He was much more obliging and we spend a fascinating hour or two with this most exquisite of birds. Other birds were at a premium, so we headed back for lunch. The afternoon was spent at a relatively new site at Alex Waisimon’s excellent forested property. We decided to visit the upper forest overview, passing by the Lesser BoP dancing ground as we went. Here we had a most enjoyable couple of hours seeing a few new birds. Best were prolonged views of an admittedly distant vocalizing Pale-billed Sicklebill. Other highlights included Brown Lory, Golden Cuckooshrike and a superb, albeit slightly evil-looking Palm Cockatoo.
Day 5. Nimbokrang Much of the day was spent birding the trails uphill to the forest overview at Alex‘s property. An early start got us to the favored display tree of the highly desirable Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise just as dawn was breaking. It didn’t take too long for this stunning bird to appear – its impressive star power mesmerizing the whole group. We watched as he sidled up and down his tree, but no females were present to be impressed. At one point the Twelve-wired BoP flew off for a bit and his tree was quickly taken over by a Glossy-mantled Manucode. However, it didn’t stay long and the BoP reappeared to claim his rights to the tree! Also in the area were Papuan Babbler and Black-sided Robin. We then walked along a small stream, seeing a nice Variable Dwarf Kingfisher and a male Black Cuckooshrike. As we climbed the trail towards the upper viewpoint we added a few more species that included nesting Papuan Hanging-Parrot (with two young in a low stump) and flushed a Coroneted Fruit-Dove off its very exposed nest (containing a single egg). We heard and glimpsed a closer Pale-billed Sicklebill, but it wouldn’t show for the cameras. At the viewpoint we were happy to see a small group of Grey Crows – stylishly ugly! Other birds seen here included our only Lowland Peltops of the trip, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra and a variety of raptors, including a nice Long-tailed Honey-buzzard and a Pacific Baza. In spite of staying out until dusk the remainder of the day was rather quite and we added few new birds.
Day 6. Nimbokrang We met up with Alex again this morning and walked the trail at Km. 8 in darkness in order to reach a site for Magnificent Rifelbird by first light. Once in place it didn’t take too long for the birds to appear. First a female and then the smart-looking male arrived. We were rather far from the display area so there were no real photo opportunities, but as these were the only ones we saw the whole trip we were more than delighted with the sighting. After this success we tried for Magnificent BoP at two different sites, but none were displaying and we had brief glimpses at a male at each site. Other birds were decidedly at a premium and there was some disappointment at missing a male Northern Cassowary with a youngster that Alex saw. In spite of much trolling by Royke we had no luck with any kingfishers. It looked like an excellent trail and we were bemused that we’d spent so much of the morning trying to see a bird we were almost certainly going to see well later in the trip! After lunch Jamil took us to an area of rice fields near Nibokrang. Here we found a few shorebirds in the wet fields that included a few Pacific Golden Plovers and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers amongst the common Wood Sandpipers. In addition there were many Swinhoe’s Snipe flying around, and occasionally offering perched views in the fields. However, we were here to look for munias and eventually we succeeded in seeing a few Hooded amongst the more numerous Grand and Chestnut-breasted.
Day 7. Nimbokrang – Sentani The usual early start had us hitting the trail to the Lesser BoP site along the trail at ISO. The Lesser BoPs were quite active, but remained mostly hidden high in the favored tree. We got lucky when a lovely male flew closer and sat calling for a few minutes allowing photos to be obtained. The rest of the morning was a tough slog with very few birds to be found. New birds for the trip included Yellow-bellied Longbill for Justen and a Beautiful Fruit-Dove for Don. We returned to Jamil’s for our final excellent lunch, packed and departed at about 1:30 PM. After a few false starts we eventually arrived at the grasslands near Lake Sentani in time for happy hour! It was quite birdy and highlights included Whistling Kite, and Orange-fronted Fruit-Dove.
Day 8. Sentani – Wamena The 10 am flight from Sentani to Wamena was a bit late, but the flight was so short it didn’t really matter too much. In fact the seats were so comfortable we wished the flight had been a bit longer! After a bit of faffing around at the airport with the “ticket man” we hooked up with a couple of vehicles and drivers for the rest of the day. First off we booked into the very comfortable hotel where we regrouped over lunch. We decided to bird an area just outside of town that had been reported as good on eBird. However, after taking a wrong turn we ended up birding some scrappy forest near a river crossing. Still, the happy hour yielded some nice new birds for us, including a couple of gorgeous Papuan Harriers, some outrageously attractive Ornate Meledectes and a Mountain Kingfisher and Baliem Whistler for one lucky participant! A pair of Superb BoPs offered distant views. The dinner was great, but we were disappointed that, as usual, there was no alcohol to be had in spite of the bar appearing to be fully stocked with all manner of spirits!
Day 9. Wamena to Baliem Valley The day got off to a rather messy start when he who must not be named trod large (and decidedly smelly) quantities of “dung-dung” all over the restaurant floor! This made for rather precarious footwork for those who were just wearing socks in order not to do likewise! Upon departure from the hotel we were not at all sure whether we would receive a warm welcome when we returned from the hills. We made a few stops on the way up, but the habitat was rather scrappy and the birding slow. However, we added a few new birds to the list, including the attractive (if you like bare facial skin) Smoky Honeyeater, Island Leaf Warbler and prolonged looks at the slightly confusing (for some!) Brown Falcon. As we approached our camp near the shore of Lake Habbema we chanced upon a busy mixed species flock that offered a nice selection of highland birds. Compared to what we’d been used to it was dazzling! Short-bearded, Orange-cheeked and Black-throated Honeyeaters were everywhere and several smart-looking Red-collared Myzomelas flashed by. A small flock of New Guinea Thornbills entertained us, whilst Island Thrush and Lorenz’s Whistler put in cameo appearances. We arrived at our fully set-up camp in the drizzle and were happy to meet our gang of porters and cooks, settle in and have some lunch. Later in the afternoon we strolled along the road in rather inclement weather, adding Belford’s Melidectes, but little else of great note. We tried without success for New Guinea Woodcock at dusk.
Day 10. Baliem Valley Our first full day in the valley was an eventful one, but was marred with frequent rain showers. There were lots of new birds to be found, including a very tame juvenile Painted Tiger-Parrot sat in the middle of the track, but the main prize this morning came when Z&J shouted out MacGregor’s Honey BoP! We watched two birds as they hopped up a bank and along mossy branches by the side of the road before disappearing into the forest. Though admittedly distant the memory of these fantastic birds will be with us forever. Other local specials included nice looks at a male Papuan Harrier, Alpine Pipits and the hefty Snow Mountain Quail. After lunch we headed to a lower patch of mossy forest to try for Greater Ground-Robin, but without success. Retracing our steps Don and I decided to hike to the lake with our local guide Rufus while the rest of the group opted to bird the road back to camp. Those who went to the lake were rewarded with nice looks at the smart Salvadori’s Teal and the main prize for Justen along the road was the slightly evil-looking Sooty Melidectes.
Day 11. Baliem Valley Early this morning we drove to the Yogabema Trail hoping to see a few species that had eluded us thus far. We tried for Greater Ground-Robin at Royke’s site, but our efforts met with little success. However, all was not lost when a pair of Splendid Astrapia put in a welcome appearance, the female in particular was most obliging. Flushed with this success we started our decent along the sometimes steep and muddy trail. New birds came at regular intervals, including the desired Greater Ground-Robin and Lesser Melampitta. The mossy-draped forest was atmospheric, but the birding was generally rather slow. However, patience usually pays off and we were delighted when a Blue-crowned Ifrita suddenly appeared. As usual the rain started early in the afternoon making our exit from the trail a soggy uphill trudge. To make things worse we found out that the truck that should have been waiting for us on the road had to return to town in order to fix a few problems. We were faced with a seven km. death march back to camp that wasn’t really what was wanted at this stage! We tried again for the woodcock with no success…
Day 12. Baliem Valley This morning we again tried our luck down the Yogabema Trail. It was quite birdy along the upper section of the trail, where Papuan Firetail and Mid-mountain Berrypecker were added to the list. Lower down it was frustratingly quite, though Zoe struck lucky with a fireball-like fly-by Masked Bowerbird! The return journey up the hill and back to camp was relatively uneventful. After a break we again headed to the Yagabema Trail to try for New Guinea Woodcock as Royke had seen it here on his last trip. Only the lucky person riding the back of the truck (DB of course) got to see the distinctly uncommon Archbold’s Nightjar that flushed from the side of the road. The woodcock was, rather dismally, a no-show…
Day 13. Baliem Valley to Wamena A pre-breakfast excursion to look for Honey BoPs down the road turned out to be somewhat unfortunate as Rufus and the guys saw two birds right at the camp whilst we were away! Needless-to-say we saw none – good job we’d already seen this bird, but we would have loved the photo ops. After packing we decided to head straight for the pass to look, successfully, for the desirable Black Sitella – cute little birds. Also here were a few of the highly localized Alpine Robin and a nice variety of more common fare. Next we headed down the muddy trail one last time. DB scored big when a New Guinea Woodcock fluttered up and perched on a low branch whilst he was trying for Melampitta photos! Unfortunately it didn’t stick around for all to see. This was a shame as we had put some effort into trying for this bird each evening without even hearing one. We hiked down to the mossy forest, but it was all to no avail and there was very little to be seen. A small flock of Yellow-billed Lorikeets was scant reward for the effort! Of course it started to rain on the return journey and spirits for much of the group were low when we found out that Royke and Brent had seen a party of three Papuan Logrunners. We tried calling them in, but they were long gone. So it was time to depart the wonderful Lake Habbema area. We headed down towards Wamena and found a place to have lunch once we were out of the rain belt. As usual Rufus and his team cooked up a delicious lunch as we dried our soggy wears in the dim sun. Not too many birds here, but a pair of Splendid Astrapias provided a welcome distraction for some. Further down the road we stopped at a promising looking patch of degraded forest. There were quite a few birds here, but the stars of the show were a pair of stunning Brown Sicklebills! We heard a Papuan Treecreeper, but couldn’t find it amongst the hoards of Black Sitellas. Eventually we rolled into town looking very soggy in our wet drabs and wellies – probably a pitiful and unwelcome site for the hotel staff! It was great indeed to have hot showers and a comfortable bed to sleep in!
Day 14. Wamena to Jayapura and on to Mankokwari The early morning flight to Jayapura left on time, getting us into Jayapura a short while later. After a short layover we were off on our flight to Manokwari. Upon arrival we were met by local guide Zeth, two 4X4s complete with drivers and helpers. An extensive shopping expedition ended with lunch at the local KFC! The first half of the journey to Mokwam was flat, flowing the coast, but we soon started to ascend into the hills. The road was tarmac at first and we travelled through some lovely forest. However, the road soon became a rough jeep track that was rather steep in parts. Our one birding stop yielded a few new birds, including Fairy Lorikeets and Ornate Fruit-Doves at a productive fruiting tree. Further up the road Zeth (who was riding on the back of the lead truck) shouted out for the trucks to stop, but too late – a calling Vulturine Parrot had flown right overhead, but was now out of site! We eventually rolled into Mokwam and drove the steep track to Syoubri homestay, now complete with beds and electricity! We were in high spirits in spite of missing the most wanted of parrots.
Day 15. Mokwam We started the day in Zeth’s hide hoping for some Mag BoP action. Straight away we could hear the male calling, distantly at first, but very close after an hour or so. Suddenly, a female arrived on the scene and perched very close for a brief few seconds. However, this was still not enough to tempt the male into view and we departed empty handed. We then located a pair of Green-backed Robins, but they were hard to see well. Grey-green Scrubwren and a female Black Fantail were also in the area. A little further down the road a Fantailed Monarch teased us with a few brief glimpses and both Capped and Black-fronted White-eyes gave brief views high in the canopy. The middle of the day was a washout, so we caught up with some much wanted sleep or wrote notes. By mid afternoon the rain had eased so we headed up the trail from the lodge. The birding was steady and we added several new species. We even found a flock of sorts that held White-necked Bronze-Cuckoo, Mid-mountain Berrypecker, Rufous-naped Bellbird and Vogelkop Melidectes amongst others. The real highlight came on the way down when Zoe spotted a large raptor cruising along the ridge. There was a distinct possibility that this was a Harpy Eagle and the rest of us were feeling slightly gripped! However, shortly thereafter Royke spotted the bird gliding low across the valley and we all caught up with one of New Guinea’s most sought after birds – it was pretty epic. After another great dinner DB decided to see if there was any moth action at the lights in the village. It was warm with light rain, which seemed perfect. Upon arrival at “the light” which turned out to be a very bright mercury vapor bulb suspended in front of a plastic sheet (perfect moth set-up!) he was amazed to see that the sheet was literally plastered with hundreds of fantastic moths, including one large silkmoth and several hawk moths. Moth bliss followed for the next hour or so!
Day 16. Mokwam We awoke to the sound of torrential rain. Back to bed for most folk! After a couple of hours plus a very (and distinctly uncharacteristic) late breakfast we decided to venture out into the rain and visit the Mag BoP hide again as the two Dutch guys had seen a Cinnamon Ground-Dove there. Again, there was no BoP action, but the lovely and much desired ground-dove did put in a cameo appearance! The rain eased off a bit, but it was still unpleasant through lunch. By mid-afternoon it had eased enough to venture up the trail with Zeth. It was a bit slow, but we did add a few new birds. It was nice to see a couple of Magnificent BoPs. After dinner most of us ventured down the hill to the moth light. It was not as busy as the previous night. But there were still a nice variety of flashy moths to be had.
Day 17. Mokwam to Camp David Today was the day to start our real Arfak adventure. We headed out into the dark morning and trudged the steep uphill climb to the Western Parotia site at death-march speed! Once there we discovered there were two hides, so we split up between them. Only a single male put in an appearance in the two hours we were there and, of course, was only visible from the upper of the two hides leaving those in the lower hide feeling a bit left out. We ate our breakfast above the hides only to hear the parotia again below us. Back down for those who still needed this BoP. Poor view, but better than nothing. We’d be returning on the way back and hoped for more luck. However, luck was on our side as the trail leveled out beyond the Garden House and a near constant stream of nice birds put in an appearance. First was a pair of Papuan Treecreepers, followed in short order by a flushed Wattled Brushturkey and a vocal Black Pitohui. Then, best of all, Zeth spotted our most wanted bird here – a Long-tailed Paradigala. It was distant at first, offering half hidden views, but soon flew to trees close to us allowing nice looks at this scarce BoP. We then saw Fan-tailed Berrypecker and a pair of Titlike Berrypeckers appeared briefly. By this time it started to rain, just in time for the steepest section of the trail needless-to-say. It was a tough slog, but we got to the next hut without incident. A roosting Mountain Owlet-Nightjar just outside the hut was a welcome sight, even if the rain made for challenging photography. Once at the camp we were pleasantly surprised to see several tarps covering sleeping and eating areas, which allowed for some privacy and slight comfort! After lunch we headed to a hide overviewing a remarkable bower of the plainly attired Vogelkop Bowerbird. Large clusters of fruits and garbage were piled in front of this elaborate structure. Zeth removed a few strands of blue tarp material and scattered them close to the hides that we were now settled in. It took only a few minutes for the irate bird to arrive and he immediately set to work putting every single strand back in place again – it was quite a sight. But that wasn’t the best part. The sounds that this unassuming bird came out with were otherworldly to say the least, especially when using the hollow interior of his bower to amplify his vocalizations. We were mesmerized by the performance.
Day 18. Camp David and Camp Japan We started the day with the ultra impressive display of the Black Sicklebill. A pre-dawn start was required, but things got a bit messed up when half of our group got left behind and missed a crucial turnoff along a side trail! All of the disturbance at the hide when everyone was finally in place put the bird off and he didn’t perform as he normally would, which was unfortunate. This combined with the fact that everyone’s lenses had fogged up (!) made for a rather unsatisfactory start to proceedings. However, having seen the bird we hiked back to camp for breakfast before climbing higher still to the ridge-top forest above Camp Japan favored by the desirable Arfak Astrapia. It didn’t take too long for a female and juvenile to appear, offering prolonged close views for all. The scarce Smoky Robin was also seen, as well as a Mountain Peltops for Justen. We hiked back to camp, seeing a nice Brehm’s Tiger-Parrot, Papuan Lorikeets, Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo and a Canary Flycatcher along the way. A roosting Feline Owlet-Nightjar was another welcome diversion! After lunch we birded close to camp. It was rather quiet and none of our target birds were showing apart from a few brief views of Mountain Fruit-Dove. Still, the atmosphere in the forest was quite captivating late in the day in spite of the general lack of birds. A hard to find Papuan Boobook and a brief Couscous were seen by the few that stayed up late.
Day 19. Camp David to Mokwam We decided to try again to watch the spectacular display of the Black Sicklebill early this morning. As we departed in the darkness the Boobook was seen again, albeit rather briefly. The awesome Sicklebill arrived right on cue and gave a good account of himself – with time with un-fogged lenses pointing in his general direction! Even the remarkable “Darth Vader” display was captured on a couple of occasions. We saw some nice birds as we hiked back to camp, including a vocal Modest Tiger-Parrot, a confiding pair of Red-breasted Pygmy-Parrots and a pair of hard to see Garnet Robins. After a late breakfast we packed and started our decent to the relative comfort of Mokwam. The trail was steep downhill and the birding was slow until we reached the Garden House, where a fine Mountain Owlet-Nightjar was found at its day roost and a superbly obliging Ornate Fruit-Dove entertained us. As we approached the Parotia hides we had great looks at White-eared Bronze-Cuckoo and again heard a distant Arfak Catbird. With this being out last chance we were hoping for better luck with the Western Parotia – we were not to be disappointed! To say that the display of this remarkable bird was the highlight of our trip would be an understatement I think. After watching his display one was left starching one’s head and wondering whether what we had just seen was reality! The rest of the afternoon was rather quiet, but it gave us a little time to reflect on the great birds we had seen in the Arfaks…
Day 20. Mokwam to Manokwari We were on a mission early this morning to finally catch up with good views of a male Mag BoP. We’d been a bit unlucky thus far and this was to be our final chance for this desirable bird. We piled into Zeth’s new hide and hoped for the best. It didn’t take long for the male to start calling – very close. After a few tense moments he burst onto the scene in a blaze of colour, much to everyone’s relief! In the end we were treated to a great performance, especially after the arrival of two females. With the shutter fingers well and truly satisfied we headed back up the hill for breakfast and to prepare for our imminent departure. For various reasons we were a bit late leaving and by the time we drove to the Masked Bowerbird site bird activity was already much reduced. We experienced quite a nice rush of new birds over the next couple of hours, including Black-bellied Cuckooshrike, White-faced Robin and the lovely Goldenface, but no bowerbirds, unfortunately. Rain stopped play for a while and we decided to drive a short distance back up the road to look for Black-billed Sicklebill. We spent some time here, but aside from a couple of Black-mantled Goshawks it really was very quiet. After lunch and a siesta we decided to hang around until mid-afternoon in the hope the sicklebill would become more active – it didn’t! We saw very little else here so cut our losses and headed back down the road. We made just one more stop, at a productive fruiting tree in the foothills. Here we saw many hornbills and fruit-doves, but there was nothing new on offer. It was nice indeed to arrive at our rather plush hotel in Manokwari – hot showers at last!
Day 21. Manokwari to Sorong and Waigeo A rare leisurely start to proceedings this morning due to our mid-morning flight saw us eating breakfast during daylight hours! And very nice it was too. Our short flight to Sorong was uneventful, which is always desirable. Royke arranged taxis to take us to a rather nice seaside restaurant for an extended lunch. It was a delightful scene it has to be said, and best of all they sold beer! The food when it arrived was excellent. This is definitely a star attraction for any group visiting the area. We took the mid-afternoon ferry to Waigeo, which is not exactly primetime for seabirds, but we added a few to our list. Notable was a subadult Long-tailed Jaeger and a few Red-necked Phalaropes. Upon arrival we were singled out as being tourists and each had to pay an unexpected US$ 100 for a permit to visit the Raja Ampat Islands – not the greatest start it has to be said! Things got slightly worse upon arriving at our delightful homestay only to find out some of the rooms were double booked and already occupied! However, it all got sorted out in the end and normal service was resumed. It really was a great place to be at sunset and the other guests were totally understanding and tolerant of the revised rooming situation.
Day 22. Waigeo Well, today was THE day. The day for Wilson’s BoP, a bird that is arguably one of the very finest in the world. It demanded a very early start, a 20-minute boat ride and a 90-minute hike, mostly uphill, in order to reach the hide by daybreak. That done we sat (or something similar to sitting for some of us!) and waited. He didn’t take too long to arrive and over the next couple of hours we were treated to superb looks at this most splendid of birds. There were more photos taken in these two hours than the rest of the trip put together I think, or at least it seemed that way! Anyway, after all the excitement we needed to calm down a bit with some Common Paradise Kingfishers down the way. The birding was generally slow for the remainder of the morning with very few birds showing well for us. However, there was a big highlight as we headed down the trail back towards the waiting boat in the form of two Hook-billed Kingfishers! Deemed to be an adult and a juvenile, they gave us tremendous views at close range. It was satisfying to actually watch this bird at such close quarters since we had all but given up on seeing it. There were large numbers of terns offshore during the boat ride back to the homestay as well as a nice sighting of the sublime Beach Kingfisher. The afternoon was left open and some of us remained back at the homestay whereas the others hiked a short distance along the road in search of more birds, what else! It was pretty quiet, but we did see a pair of the extremely local Brown-headed Crow.
Day 23. Waigeo We took a different trail this morning that started right from our homestay and headed up into the hills behind. Our main target was the spectacular Red Bird of Paradise. We started in darkness, but upon reaching the favored display tree it was already light. We could hear the birds as we got nearer and it wasn’t long before we were admiring the brilliant reddish hues of this lovely BoP. Over the next hour or so we were treated to a wonderful (and noisy) display from these birds. In the general area we added a few new birds, including the rather somber Brown Oriole, Yellow-capped Pygmy-Parrot and Green-backed Honeyeater. A short hike to a scenic overview provided just that, with few birds on offer. We headed back to our homestay and enjoyed a relaxing time just sitting around, which was quite rare for us! In the afternoon we strolled the road looking for anything interesting, but it was pretty quiet. A roosting Papuan Frogmouth was a nice diversion and Don was lucky to see a Spice Imperial Pigeon amongst the common Pied and Pinon’s.
Day 24. Waigeo to Sorong We awoke to the sound of rain on the rooftops. First glance out at the sea didn’t look promising, so most of us were treated to that rare commodity – more sleep! After a leisurely breakfast the rain appeared to ease off a bit, so we decided to continue with our plan to hike the Wilson’s BoP trail in search of Western Crowned-pigeon. Upon arrival at the trail things looked promising when the pigeon started calling quite close to the start of the trail. However, after much searching in the light rain we failed to find the bird. Disappointed, we climbed the hill to an area where our local guide sometimes sees this desirable bird. It was not to be and we departed empty handed. Apart from a Hook-billed Kingfisher, a few Red BoPs and a few common forest birds it was pretty quiet. There were brief sightings of a Moluccan King Parrot and Raja Ampat Pitohui. We returned to our homestay to pack and have lunch. After a few farewell hugs for Zoe and Justen, who were now on their way to Batanta for a few days of actual holiday (!), the rest of us piled into a couple of taxis bound for the ferry docks and our return to Sorong. A fine Moustached Treeswift entertained us as Royke sorted out the ferry tickets and a few Singing Starlings graced to wires at the docks. The return ferry ride was very quite for birds, but we did add Wedge-tailed Shearwater and Pomarine Jaeger to the trip list. A few dolphins and an unidentified sea turtle added some variety to the proceedings. After checking into our hotel close to the airport we headed to our favorite seaside restaurant on the edge of town, where over great food and beers we reminisced on what had been a great trip.
Day 25. Sorong to Makassar and onwards to Kuala Lumpur Very much a travel day with no birds to report!
This Trip report was written by David Beadle firstname.lastname@example.org Toronto – Canada for Explore Islands of Indonesia company.
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Royke Mananta, indonesian birder at: email@example.com His company name is PT Explore Iso Indonesia Tour and Travel. Derives from Explore islands of Indonesia. Royke’s company website: www.exploreisoindonesia.com. Royke is organizing and leading birding tours to all main islands of Indonesia from Sumatra, Java, Bali, Lesser Sundas (indonesian Nusa Tenggara), Sulawesi, Halmahera, and West Papua (also known Irian Jaya).
Phone: +62811456468, +6281313130468 (outside of Indonesia), 0811456468 and 081313130468 (inside of Indonesia).
Systematic list of birds
Northern Cassowary Casuarius unappendiculatus: Heard on one occasion at Nimbokrang (Alex’s property). Endemic NG.
Ducks, Geese and Swans
Salvadori’s Teal Salvadorina waigiuensis: Several of these unique and attractive ducks were seen on Lake Habbema. Close views were to be had for those who made the journey to the lake edge. Endemic NG.
Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa: Seven were seen at Lake Habbema.
Wattled Brushturkey Aepypodius arfakianus: One was flushed and seen briefly perched high in a tree as we hiked to Camp German in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Red-billed Brushturkey Talegalla cuvieri: Heard a few times at Nimbokrang, but we never came close to seeing one. Endemic NG.
Biak Megapode Megapodius [freycinet] geelvinkianus: Heard, with a couple of brief sightings that may have been this species, on Biak. Endemic WP.
Pheasants and allies
Brown Quail Synoicus ypsilophora: Six were seen in rice fields at Nimbokrang.
Blue-breasted Quail Synoicus chinensis: Five were flushed from the edge of rice fields near Lake Sentani.
Snow Mountains Quail Anurophasis monorthonyx: At least four were seen at Lake Habbema. Endemic WP.
Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacifica: A dark morph individual was seen from the ferry as we returned from Waigeo to Sorong.
Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel: Commonly seen on and around Waigeo, where a maximum of 500 was seen flying over one evening.
Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris: Commonly seen on Lake Sentani.
Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus: One was flushed from a rice field at Nimbokrang.
Great Egret Ardea alba: One was seen in flight at Nimbokrang. Another was seen at Lake Sentani.
Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia: At least 15 were seen at Lake Sentani.
Pacific Reef-Heron Egretta sacra: A white morph individual was seen at Sorong airport and a dark morph was seen at our homestay on Waigeo.
Rufous Night-Heron Nycticorax caledonicus: Two were seen at rice fields at Nimbokrang. Another was seen near Lake Sentani.
Australian White Ibis Threskiornis moluccus: One was seen in low flight near the ferry docks on Waigeo.
(Australasian) Osprey Pandion haliaetus cristatus: A few were seen on Waigeo.
Kites, Hawks and Eagles
Long-tailed Honey Buzzard Henicopernis longicauda: Three were seen well at Nimbokrang. One was seen near the Parotia site in the Arfaks. Up to three were seen on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Pacific Baza Aviceda subcristata: We had several sightings of this attractive raptor whilst we were on Biak. Two were seen at Nimbokrang with another three on Waigeo.
New Guinea Eagle Harpyopsis novaeguineae: One was seen in low gliding flight just above Zeth’s lodge at Mokwan. Endemic NG.
Pygmy Eagle Hieraaetus weiskei: One was seen (and photographed) in high circling flight at Nimbokrang.
Gurney’s Eagle Aquila gurneyi: One gave nice scope views as it perched high in a roadside tree on Biak.
Eastern Marsh (Papuan) Harrier Circus spilonotus spilothorax: Two beautiful males were seen near Wamena. Several, mostly immature or females, were seen at Lake Habbema. Endemic NG.
Variable Goshawk Accipiter hiogaster: An adult and an immature were seen on Biak. Another adult was seen at close range at Nimbokrang.
Black-mantled Goshawk Accipiter melanochlamys: A brief fly by from an adult and a perched juvenile were seen at a nest site in the lower Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Grey-headed Goshawk Accipiter poliocephalus: An adult was seen in low flight on Waigeo (DB). Endemic NG.
Collared Sparrowhawk Accipiter cirrocephalus: One, thought most probably to be a female or immature bird, was seen at Nimbokrang.
Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus: One was seen briefly near Lake Sentani.
Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus: Three were seen on Biak. One was seen en route to Nimbokrang. At least five were seen near Lake Sentani.
White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster: A few of these attractive raptors were seen on Waigeo.
Rails, Crakes and Coots
Chestnut Forest-Rail Rallina rubra: Heard, with one seen briefly (JD), along the Yogabema trail. Endemic NG
Buff-banded Rail Gallirallus philippensis: One was seen in rice fields near Nimbokrang.
Rufous-tailed Bush-hen Amaurornis moluccana: Heard at Nimbokrang on a couple of occasions.
White-browed Crake Amaurornis cinerea: Heard in rice fields at Nimbokrang and Lake Sentani.
Australasian Swamphen Porphyrio melanotus melanopterus: One was seen near Lake Sentani.
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra novaeguinea: Small numbers were seen on Lake Habbema.
Pacific Golden-Plover Pluvialis fulva: Ten or more were seen in rice fields near Nimbokrang.
Lesser Sand-Plover Charadrius mongolus: At least 20 were seen on the runway upon arrival on Biak. Another was seen on Waigeo.
(Siberian) Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus vareigatus: Three were seen near the ferry docks on Waigeo.
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminate: about 15 were seen in rice fields near Nimbokrang.
Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta: Six were seen in flight with Sharp-tailed Sandpipers at the rice fields near Nimbokrang.
Swinhoe’s Snipe Gallinago megala: 20 or more were seen in rice fields near Nimbokrang. At least four were flushed at Lake Habbema, offering some nice flight views.
New Guinea Woodcock Scolopax rosenbergii: None appeared to be displaying at this time in spite of some effort put in each evening. Therefore it was with great luck (for DB only) that one fluttered onto a low branch for a few seconds along the Yogabema trail. Endemic NG.
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus: Four were seen from the ferry as we travelled from Sorong to Waigeo.
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos: Two were seen in rice fields near Nimbokrang. Others were noted at Lake Sentani and on Waigeo.
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus: One was seen near Sarong.
Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes: Singles were seen near Sorong and on Waigeo.
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola: At least 50 were seen in rice fields near Nimbokrang.
Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus: One was seen from the ferry as we returned from Waigeo to Sorong.
Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus: A subadult individual was seen from the ferry as we travelled from Sorong to Waigeo. A possible was seen on the return journey.
Gulls, Terns and Skimmers
Brown Noddy Anous stolidus: Small numbers were seen amongst the terns on Waigeo.
Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus: At least 50 were seen mid channel during our ferry ride from Sorong to Waigeo. Small numbers were noted daily with other tern offshore whilst on Waigeo.
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrid: Commonly seen offshore from Sorong and Waigeo.
Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana: A few were picked out amongst the tern throngs whilst on Waigeo. Another was seen from the ferry as we returned to Sorong.
Greater Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii: Small numbers were seen offshore from Waigeo.
Rock Pigeon Columba livia: Just a few were seen around human habitations.
(Eastern) Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis: Several were seen in open habitats on Biak. One was seen at Nimbokrang. Four were seen near Lake Sentani. Int.
Amboyna Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia amboinensis: Up to three were seen daily on Biak.
Black-billed Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia nigrirostris: Three singles were seen in the Arfaks.
Great Cuckoo-Dove Reinwardtoena reinwardti griseotincta: Heard, with one seen briefly in flight, whilst we were on Biak (brevis). A few were heard, with two seen, at Nimbokrang. Also, a few were heard, with nice views of a perched individual, on Waigeo.
Asian Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica minima: Two singles were seen briefly in flight on Biak.
Stephan’s Dove Chalcophaps stephani: Two were seen on Waigeo.
Cinnamon Ground-Dove Gallicolumba rufigula septentrionalis: A confiding bird was seen at very close range from the Mag BoP hide at Mokwam. Regrets to Don…! Endemic NG.
Bronze Ground-Dove Gallicolumba beccarii beccarii: One was seen roosting pre-dawn as we hiked in darkness to the Black Sicklebill site above camp German in the Arfaks.
Western Crowned-Pigeon Goura cristata minor: Heard on Waigeo, but not close enough to see, unfortunately. Endemic WP.
Wompoo Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus magnificus: At least three were seen at Nimbokrang.
Pink-spotted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus perlatus: Two were seen from the upper watch-point at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Ornate Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus ornatus ornatus: Good numbers were seen in a large fruiting tree whilst en route to Mokwam. Another was seen at close range at the Garden House in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Orange-fronted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus aurantiifrons: Three were seen near Lake Sentani. Endemic NG
(Eastern) Superb Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus superbus superbus: A lovely male was seen with others heard whilst we were on Biak. Another was seen at Nimbokrang.
Coroneted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus coronulatus: Two singles were seen at Nimbokrang, where a nest with a single egg was found. Endemic NG.
Beautiful Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus pulchellus: Don photographed one at Nimbokrang. Small numbers were seen on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
White-breasted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus rivoli: Commonly seen and heard in the upper Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Yellow-bibbed Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus solomonensis speciosus: At least three of these beautiful doves were seen during our first morning on Biak.
Claret-breasted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus viridis: We enjoyed several great views of this lovely dove whilst on Biak. Several were seen in a large fruiting tree in the lower Arfaks. Another was seen on Waigeo.
Orange-bellied Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus iozonus: Commonly seen at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Dwarf Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus nainus: Heard on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Spice (Pink-naped) Imperial-Pigeon Ducula myristicivora: Don saw a single bird on Waigeo. Endemic WP.
Spice (Geelvink) Imperial-Pigeon Ducula [myristicivora] geelvinkiana: We were fortunate to have great, albeit brief, views of a perched individual on Biak. We heard a few other, well hidden, individuals whilst we were on Biak. Endemic WP.
Pinon’s Imperial-Pigeon Ducula pinon: Up to 20 were seen daily at Nimbokrang.
Zoe Imperial-Pigeon Ducula zoeae: Heard a few times at Nimbokrang, but frustratingly never close enough to see. Endemic NG.
Pied Imperial-Pigeon Ducula bicolor: Up to 50 were seen daily on Waigeo.
Torresian Imperial-Pigeon Ducula spilorrhoa: Two individuals were seen on Biak.
Papuan Mountain-Pigeon Gymnophaps albertisii albertisii: A flock of 13 flew over the Yogabema trail. Two were seen in flight above Wamena. Commonly seen (often in flocks) in the Arfaks.
Biak Coucal Centropus chalybeus: It was getting a bit tense, but eventually we tracked down a vocal individual and got a few half hidden views as it crashed its way through the dense canopy. Endemic WP.
Greater Black Coucal Centropus menbeki: Heard distantly a few times at Nimbokrang. Half of the group managed to see one that had been flushed by the other half (!) in the lower Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Lesser Black (Black-billed) Coucal Centropus bernsteini: Two were seen, with others heard, at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Pacific Koel Eudynamys orientalis: Heard on one occasion in the Arfaks.
Channel-billed Cuckoo Scythrops novaehollandiae: Up to three were seen at Nimbokrang. Three were seen on Waigeo.
White-eared Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx meyerii: A few were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo Cacomantis castaneiventris: Two were seen in the Arfaks.
Fan-tailed Cuckoo Cacomantis flabelliformis: Three were seen at Lake Habbema.
Brush Cuckoo Cacomantis variolosus: Frequently heard, with a couple seen briefly, whilst we were on Biak.
(Greater) Sooty Owl Tyto tenebricosa arfaki: Heard at night from Camp David in the Arfaks.
Biak Scops-Owl Otus beccarii: Frustratingly heard only whilst we were on Biak. We got pretty close to one calling individual, but it wouldn’t give itself up! Endemic WP.
Papuan Boobook Ninox theomacha: One was seen, with others heard, at night during our stay at Camp David in the Arfaks. Heard a couple of times pre-dawn on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Papuan Hawk-Owl Uroglaux dimorpha: Heard briefly pre-dawn at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Papuan Frogmouth Podargus papuensis: Heard at night on a few occasions whilst on Biak. We had nice looks at a roosting individual on Waigeo.
Archbold’s Nightjar Eurostopodus archboldi: There has to be some compensation for constantly riding in the back of the truck and this proved true when DB saw one flush from the road and fly close to the truck as dusk approached. Unfortunately it was not to be found on the return journey… Endemic NG.
Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus: We had great looks at a calling individual whilst on Biak.
Feline Owlet-nightjar Aegotheles insignis: One was seen at a day roost above Camp David in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Mountain Owlet-nightjar Aegotheles albertisi: We had great looks at a couple of individuals at day roosts in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Papuan Spinetailed Swift Mearnsia novaeguineae: Two were seen in low flight at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta: Commonly seen on Biak. A few were noted at Nimbokrang. Commonly seen at Lake Habbema. A few were seen in the Arfaks and on Waigeo.
Mountain Swiftlet Aerodramus hirundinaceus: Ten were seen near Wamena. Small numbers were seen at Lake Habbema. Endemic NG.
Uniform Swiftlet Aerodramus vanikorensis: A few gatherings were noted flying over open country whilst we birded on Biak. A few were seen at Nimbokrang and on Waigeo.
Moustached Treeswift Hemiprocne mystacea mystacea: A lone individual was seen flying by late in the afternoon on Biak. A more obliging individual offered nice perched views on Waigeo.
Blyth’s Hornbill Rhyticeros plicatus ruficollis: Just one was seen distantly on Biak. This impressive hornbill was commonly seen and heard at Nimbokrang, the lower Arfaks and on Waigeo.
Azure Kingfisher Ceyx azureus: Two sightings at Nimbokrang with another near Lake Sentani.
Papuan Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx solitarius: We had perched views at Nimbokrang. Don saw another on Waigeo.
Rufous-bellied Kookaburra Dacelo gaudichaud: We had great views of this handsome kingfisher at Nimbokrang. Another was seen on Waigeo. Two singles were noted on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Sacred Kingfisher Todiramphus sanctus sanctus: Two were seen on Biak. One was seen at Nimbokrang.
Beach Kingfisher Todiramphus saurophagus: one was seen daily on Waigeo.
Hook-billed Kingfisher Melidora macrorrhina: Heard at Nimbokrang. Three individuals (Waigiuensis) were seen at very close range on Waigeo – a very pleasant surprise! Endemic NG.
Yellow-billed Kingfisher Syma torotoro torotoro: Heard a few times, with two seen, at Nimbokrang. Heard on Waigeo.
Mountain Kingfisher Syma megarhyncha wellsi: One was seen (Justen only), with others heard, near Wamena. Endemic NG.
Common Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera galatea galatea: Several were seen on Waigeo.
Biak Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera riedelii: We had several encounters with lone individuals or excitable groups whilst on Biak. Endemic WP.
Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus: A few were seen near Lake Sentani.
Oriental Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis: Small numbers were seen on Biak. Three were seen near Lake Sentani. Two were seen on Waigeo.
Australian Kestrel Falco cenchroides baru: A male was seen many times at Lake Habbema.
Brown Falcon Falco berigora novaeguineae: We had great looks at this hefty falcon above Wamena, with three together on one occasion.
Palm Cockatoo Probosciger aterrimus goliath: We had great looks at this impressive beast at Nimbokrang.
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita triton: A couple of individuals gave flight views whilst we on Biak. A few were seen in the lower Arfaks and on Waigeo.
Old World Parrots
Yellow-capped Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta keiensis chloroxantha: One was seen on Waigeo.
Geelvink Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta geelvinkiana misoriensis: Two probable individuals were seen in flight on Biak. Endemic WP.
Buff-faced Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta pusio beccarii: Up to six of these diminutive parrots were seen at Nimbokrang, including amazing looks at a pair excavating a nest hole.
Red-breasted Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta bruijnii bruijnii: We had great looks at a couple of pairs in the Arfaks.
Moluccan King Parrot Alisterus amboinensis dorsalis: Zoe saw one briefly on Waigeo.
Eclectus Parrot Eclectus roratus: Small numbers of these gaudy and noisy parrots were seen on Biak and Nimbokrang. Also, commonly observed on Waigeo.
Red-cheeked Parrot Geoffroyus geoffroyi: A couple of fly-bys were noted whilst on Biak. Commonly seen at Nimbrkrang with a few on Waigeo.
Blue-collared Parrot Geoffroyus simplex simplex: Four were seen in flight, with others heard, in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Great-billed Parrot Tanygnathus megalorynchos megalorynchos: Two were seen on Waigeo.
Brehm’s Tiger-Parrot Psittacella brehmii brehmii: A female was seen well in the upper Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Painted (Snow Mountain) Tiger-Parrot Psittacella picta lorentzi: Several were seen at Lake Habbema. Including amazing looks at a juvenile that eventually had to be captured by hand and moved from its dangerous location in the middle of the road! Endemic NG.
Modest Tiger-Parrot Psittacella modesta modesta: After hearing the calls for some time one was eventually tracked down in the upper reaches of the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Plum-faced Lorikeet Oreopsittacus arfaki major: Small flocks were a common feature at Lake Habbema. Endemic NG.
Fairy Lorikeet Charmosyna pulchella pulchella: A couple of small flocks were noted in the Arfaks. Endemic NG..
Papuan Lorikeet Charmosyna papou papou: A flock of five was seen in a fruiting tree in the upper reaches of the Arfaks. Endemic WP.
Yellow-billed Lorikeet Neopsittacus musschenbroekii: A small flock was seen along the Yogabema trail and in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Orange-billed Lorikeet Neopsittacus pullicauda alpinus: Commonly seen at Lake Habbema. Endemic NG.
Black-capped Lory Lorius lorry viridicrissalis: Two were seen from the ISO viewpoint at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Brown Lory Chalcopsitta duivenbodei duivenbodei: Two were seen in low flight from the ISO watchpoint at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Black-winged Lory Eos cyanogenia: This stunning parrot was seen several times on Biak. Most were brief fly-bys, but we were lucky to have prolonged views of a pair feeding in a fruiting tree. Endemic WP.
Coconut (Rainbow) Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus: Commonly seen on Waigeo.
Biak (Rainbow) Lorikeet Trichoglossus (haematodus) rosenbergii: Small numbers were seen on Biak, usually in small noisy flocks hurtling over the canopy. Endemic WP.
Double-eyed Fig Parrot Cyclopsitta diophthalma diophthalma: We had nice looks at six birds at Nimbokrang.
Papuan Hanging Parrot Loriculus aurantiifrons: Six were noted at Nimbokrang. We found a nest in a small hollow stump that held two young. Endemic NG.
Papuan Pitta Erythropitta macklotii habenichti: Heard (and seen briefly by Royke) at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida rosenbergii: Commonly heard on Biak, where a confiding individual gave nice looks with some persistence.
White-eared Catbird Ailuroedus buccoides: Singles were seen briefly at Nimbokrang and on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Arfak Catbird Ailuroedus arfakianus arfakianus: Heard only on a couple of occasions in the Arfaks. Endemic WP.
Vogelkop Bowerbird Amblyornis inornata: We had a great experience with this unassuming bowerbird in the upper Arfaks, where many impressive bowers were seen. Endemic WP.
MacGregor’s Bowerbird Amblyornis macgregoriae mayri: Z&J saw a female in a fruiting tree along the Yogabema trail. Endemic NG.
Flame (Masked) Bowerbird Sericulus aureus aureus: Zoe had the very good fortune to have this fireball whizz past her whilst on the Yogabema trail. Endemic NG.
Fawn-breasted Bowerbird Chlamydera cerviniventris: Two were seen at Nimbokrang, where the remarkable bower was studied at close range.
Papuan Treecreeper Cormobates placens: One was heard in a mixed flock in degraded forest above Wamena and a few were seen or heard in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Emperor Fairywren Malurus cyanocephalus: Two were seen on Biak. One was seen (with others heard) at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
White-shouldered Fairywren Malurus alboscapulatus: Up to six were seen in open swampy habitats at Nimbokrang. Two were seen near Lake Sentani. Up to four were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Marbled Honeyeater Pycnopygius cinereus dorsalis: Two were seen above Wamena. A few of the distinctive nominate form were noted in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Streak-headed Honeyeater Pycnopygius stictocephalus: We had nice scope studies of this honeyeater at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Orange-cheeked Honeyeater Oreornis chrysogenys: This large and attractive honeyeater was commonly seen at Lake Habbema. Endemic NG.
Puff-backed Honeyeater Meliphaga aruensis sharpei: A few were seen on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Scrub Honeyeater Meliphaga albonotata setekwa: A few were seen in the Arfaks and on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Mountain Honeyeater Meliphaga orientalis becki: Heard in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Mimic Honeyeater Meliphaga analoga flavida: Several were seen at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Black-throated Honeyeater Caligavis subfrenata utakwensis: A few were seen at Lake Habbema. Endemic NG.
Sooty Melidectes Melidectes fuscus: Two singles were seen at Lake Habbema – rather a smart-looking bird. Endemic NG.
Short-bearded Melidectes Melidectes nouhuysi: Commonly seen at Lake Habbema. Endemic NG.
Ornate Melidectes Melidectes torquatus nuchalis: At least six were seen near Wamena. Endemic NG.
Cinnamon-browed Melidectes Melidectes ochromelas ochromelas: A few were noted in the upper Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Vogelkop Melidectes Melidectes leucostephes: A few of these flashy honeyeaters were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic WP.
Belford’s Melidectes Melidectes belfordi: This noisy honeyeater was a common feature at Lake Habbema and along the Yogabema trail. Endemic NG.
Arfak Honeyeater Melipotes gymnops: Small numbers were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic WP.
Smoky Honeyeater Melipotes fumigatus goliathi: This attractive honeyeater was seen several times below Lake Habbema. Endemic NG.
Macgregor’s Honeyeater Macgregoria pulchra carolinae: One of the major highlights of the trip was seeing a pair at Lake Habbema. Endemic NG.
Long-billed Honeyeater Melilestes megarhynchus: One was seen at Nimbokrang. Two were seen on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Ruby-throated Myzomela Myzomela eques eques: One was seen by Justen at Nimbokrang. A few were seen in a flowering tree on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Red-collared Myzomela Myzomela rosenbergii: Commonly encountered at Lake Habbema. Endemic NG.
Green-backed Honeyeater Glycichaera fallax pallida: Two were seen on Waigeo.
Rufous-sided Honeyeater Ptiloprora erythropleura: Two were seen at the pass above Lake Habbema. A few were seen in the upper Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Grey-streaked Honeyeater Ptiloprora perstriata incerta: Small numbers were seen at Lake Habbema. Endemic NG.
Spotted Honeyeater Xanthotis polygrammus polygrammus: Two were seen in a flowering tree on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Meyer’s Friarbird Philemon meyeri: We had nice looks at this small friarbird at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Helmeted (New Guinea) Friarbird Philemon buceroides novaeguineae: Up to six were seen at Nimbokrang. Two were seen near Lake Sentani. Commonly seen on Waigeo. Endemic subspecies.
Goldenface Pachycare flavogriseum flavogriseum: Three of these attractive birds were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Rusty Mouse-warbler Crateroscelis murina: A few were heard, with one seen briefly, at Nimbokrang. Small numbers were heard or seen in the Arfaks and on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Mountain Mouse-warbler Crateroscelis robusta peninsularis: Heard, with a couple of pairs seen, in the upper Arfaks. Regrets to Justen! Endemic NG.
Perplexing Scrubwren Sericornis virgatus virgatus: One was seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Large Scrubwren Sericornis nouhuysi nouhuysi: A few were noted along the Yogabema trail. Endemic NG.
Vogelkop Scrubwren Sericornis rufescens: A few were seen well in the upper reaches of the Arfaks. Endemic WP.
Buff-faced Scrubwren Sericornis perspicillatus: Seen along the Yogabema trail and in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Papuan Scrubwren Sericornis papuensis buergersi: Small numbers were seen along the Yogabema trail. Endemic NG.
Grey-green Scrubwren Sericornis arfakianus: Two were seen near Mokwam in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Pale-billed Scrubwren Sericornis spilodera ferrugineus: A few were seen on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Papuan Thornbill Acanthiza murina: A couple of small flocks were seen at close range at Lake Habbema. Endemic NG.
Grey Thornbill Acanthiza cinerea: Several were seen in the flocks in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Fairy (Black-throated) Gerygone Gerygone palpebrosa palpebrosa: A nice male was seen in the Arfaks.
Biak Gerygone Gerygone hypoxantha: Three were seen on Biak. Endemic WP.
Yellow-bellied Gerygone Gerygone chrysogaster leucothorax: One was seen at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Brown-breasted Gerygone Gerygone ruficollis: Commonly seen or heard in the highlands. Endemic NG.
Papuan Babbler Pomatostomus isidorei calidus: Seen on several occasions at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Papuan Logrunner Orthonyx novaeguineae dorsalis: A group of three vocal birds was seen by Royke and Brent along the Yogabema trail. In spite of some effort to see this enigmatic bird in the Arfaks it all ended in disappointment – next time… Endemic NG.
Berrypeckers and Longbills
Black Berrypecker Melanocharis nigra: Two singles were seen at Nimbokrang. A couple of females were seen on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Mid-mountain Berrypecker Melanocharis longicauda: One was seen briefly (DB) along the Yogabema trail. A female was seen in a mixed canopy flock in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Fan-tailed Berrypecker Melanocharis versteri: A male whizzed by us above the Yogabema trail. Another was seen in the upper Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Spotted Berrypecker Rhamphocharis crassirostris crassirostris: Two were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Yellow-bellied Longbill Toxorhamphus novaeguineae: Singles were seen at Nimbokrang and in the Arfaks. Several were seen on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Spectacled Longbill Oedistoma iliolophus affine: We had great looks at two confiding birds in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Tit Berrypecker Oreocharis arfaki: Two pairs were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Crested Berrypecker Paramythia montium olivacea: This stunning bird was seen many times at Lake Habbema and along the Yogabema trail. Endemic NG.
Whipbirds, Jewel-babblers and Quail-thrushes
Spotted Jewel-babbler Ptilorrhoa leucosticta leucosticta: Two were seen in the upper Arfaks, where this retiring bird was frequently heard. Endemic NG.
Blue Jewel-babbler Ptilorrhoa caerulescens: Frequently heard at Nimbokrang, but never close enough to see. Endemic NG.
Black-breasted Boatbill Machaerirhynchus nigripectus nigripectus: A few of these smart-looking birds were seen in the mixed species flocks in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Woodswallows, Butcherbirds and allies
Great Woodswallow Artamus maximus: A few were seen between Wamena and Lake Habbema. Endemic NG.
White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorynchus leucopygialis: Three were seen at Sorong airport and two were noted on Waigeo.
Mountain Peltops Peltops montanus: Justen saw one in the upper Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Lowland Peltops Peltops blainvillii: One was seen at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Hooded Butcherbird Cracticus cassicus cassicus: The evocative vocalizations were commonly heard whilst on Biak and several birds were seen quite well. Small numbers seen and heard on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Black Butcherbird Cracticus quoyi quoyi: Heard many times at Nimbokrang, but frustratingly never seen.
Hooded Cuckooshrike Coracina longicauda longicauda: Five were seen at the pass above Lake Habbema. Endemic NG.
Barred Cuckooshrike Coracina lineata: A few were noted in the lower Arfaks and on Waigeo.
Boyer’s Cuckooshrike Coracina boyeri boyeri: Good numbers were seen at Nimbokrang. Two were seen whilst en route to Mokwam. Endemic NG.
Golden Cuckooshrike Campochaera sloetii sloetii: A few sightings at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Black-browed Triller Lalage atrovirens: Two were seen at Nimbokrang. Two were seen at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Black-browed (Biak) Triller Lalage (atrovirens) leucoptera: Three individuals were seen on Biak. Endemic WP.
Black-bellied Cicadabird Edolisoma montanum montanum: Two were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Black Cicadabird Edolisoma melan: A male was seen well at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Black Sittella Daphoenositta Miranda kuboriensis: We had great looks at these sprites at the pass above Lake Habbema and in some degraded forest above Wamena. Endemic NG.
Whistlers and allies
Rusty Pitohui Colluricincla ferruginea holerythra: At least one was seen at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Little (Rufous) Shrikethrush Colluricincla megarhyncha: One was seen on Biak. Commonly heard, with a few seen, at Nimbokrang. One was seen in the Arfaks with another heard on Waigeo.
Black Pitohui Melanorectes nigrescens nigrescens: Three were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Regent Whistler Pachycephala schlegelii schlegelii: A couple of these attractive whistlers were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Vogelkop Whistler Pachycephala meyeri: A few were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic WP.
Sclater’s Whistler Pachycephala soror soror: Small numbers were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Baliem Whistler Pachycephala balim: A couple of singles were seen near Wamena. Endemic WP.
Lorentz’s Whistler Pachycephala lorentzi: A few were seen at Lake Habbema. Endemic NG.
Grey Whistler Pachycephala simplex jobiensis: Two singles were seen at Nimbokrang.
Rufous-naped Bellbird Aleadryas rufinucha rufinucha: A few were seen in mixed species flocks in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Old World Orioles
Hooded Pitohui Pitohui dichrous dichrous: Two were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Variable (Northern) Pitohui Pitohui kirhocephalus kirhocephalus: Zoe saw one briefly in the lower Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Variable (Raja Ampat) Pitohui Pitohui kirhocephalus cerviniventris: One was seen in a canopy flock on Waigeo. Endemic WP.
Brown Oriole Oriolus szalayi: We had great looks at this somber bird on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Spangled Drongo Dicrurus bracteatus carbobarius: Commonly seen and heard whilst on Biak. A few were seen at Nimbokrang. Heard on Waigeo.
Pygmy Drongo-Fantail Chaetorhynchus papuensis: Three were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Black Fantail Rhipidura atra atra: A few were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Northern (Plain) Fantail Rhipidura rufiventris gularis: Up to three were noted at Nimbokrang. Two were seen in the Arfaks and a few were noted on Waigeo.
Northern (Slaty) Fantail Rhipidura rufiventris kordensis: A few were seen in forest habitat on Biak.
White-bellied Thicket Fantail Rhipidura leucothorax leucothorax: Two gave nice looks at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Willie-wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys melaleuca: A few were noted in towns on Biak. Small numbers were noted at Nimbokrang and Lake Sentani. A few were seen on Waigeo.
Dimorphic Fantail Rhipidura brachyrhyncha: One was seen along the Yogabema trail. Another was seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Friendly Fantail Rhipidura albolimbata: A few were seen along the Yogabema trail and the pass above Lake Habbema. Frequently seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Blue-capped Ifrita Ifrita kowaldi brunnea: Just one was seen along the Yogabema trail. Endemic NG.
Golden Monarch Carterornis chrysomela: A party of three birds, a pair and a juvenile, were seen on Biak. A few were seen at Nimbokrang with another on Waigeo.
Fantailed Monarch Symposiachrus axillaris axillaris: A few were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Biak Monarch Symposiachrus brehmii: Two were seen on Biak. Endemic WP.
Spot-winged Monarch Symposiachrus guttula: A male was seen at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Frilled Monarch Arses telescophthalmus batantae: One was seen on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Ochre-collared Monarch Arses insularis: Heard and seen a couple of times at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Biak Flycatcher Myiagra atra: After some effort a nice male was eventually located on Biak. Another was heard at a different location on our second day there. Endemic WP.
Shining Flycatcher Myiagra alecto: A male was seen on Biak. A few were seen and heard at Nimbokrang. Two were noted on Waigeo.
Crows, Jays and Magpies
Brown-headed Crow Corvus fuscicapillus megarhychus: Two were noted on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Grey Crow Corvus tristis: Up to four were seen at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Torresian Crow Corvus orru orru: One was seen harassing a White-bellied Sea Eagle offshore from Sorong. Two were seen on Waigeo.
Glossy-mantled Manucode Manucodia ater ater: Singles were seen at Nimbokrang and near Lake Sentani. Another was seen on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Western Parotia Parotia sefilata: We were mesmerized by the otherworldly courtship display in the Arfaks. Endemic WP.
Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradise Seleucidis melanoleucus auripennis: A superb male was seen at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Pale-billed Sicklebill Drepanornis bruijnii: A few were seen or (more often) heard at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Superb Bird-of-paradise Lophorina superba: A pair was seen near Wamena. Three were noted in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Magnificent Riflebird Ptiloris magnificus magnificus: Four were seen at Nimbokrang, including a stunning adult male.
Black Sicklebill Epimachus fastosus fastosus: We had some fabulous encounters with a displaying male and a few females in the upper Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Brown Sicklebill Epimachus meyeri bloodi: A pair of these magnificent BoPs was seen in degraded forest whilst en route from Lake Habbema to Wamena. Endemic NG.
Long-tailed Paradigalla Paradigalla carunculata: One was seen on a couple of occasions in the Arfaks. Endemic WP.
Splendid Astrapia Astrapia splendidissima helios: Three birds were seen at Lake Habbema and a pair was seen rather distantly as we headed back down the road towards Wamena. Endemic NG.
Arfak Astrapia Astrapia nigra: Three juvenile/female types were seen in the upper Arfaks. Endemic WP.
King Bird-of-paradise Cicinnurus regius coccineifrons: We had superb views of a male and a brief appearance by a female at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise Cicinnurus respublica: A major highlight of the trip was watching a dazzling male at very close range on Waigeo. Endemic WP.
Magnificent Bird-of-paradise Cicinnurus magnificus: Two males were seen at Nimbokrang. We were treated to amazing close looks at a male and two females from a hide at Mokwam. Endemic NG.
Red Bird-of-paradise Paradisaea rubra: We had several close encounters with this handsome BoP on Waigeo, including several cavorting males at a display tree on a ridge above our homestay. Endemic WP.
Lesser Bird-of-paradise Paradisaea minor finschi: Several nice encounters at Nimbokrang, included displaying males at a traditional site. Endemic NG.
Lesser Melampitta Melampitta lugubris: Some great looks were to be had along the Yogabema trail. Heard and glimpsed in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Greater Ground Robin Amalocichla sclateriana occidentalis: Two were seen along the Yogabema trail. Endemic NG.
Lesser Ground Robin Amalocichla incerta: One was seen above the Yogabema trail. Also, we had several close encounters in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Yellow-legged Flycatcher Microeca griseoceps occidentalis: One was seen in the Arfaks.
Papuan Flycatcher Microeca papuana: Two singles were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Garnet Robin Eugerygone rubra rubra: Heard, with a couple seen briefly, in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Subalpine Robin Petroica bivittata caudata: At least five were seen at the pass above Lake Habbema. Endemic NG.
White-faced Robin Tregellasia leucops leucops: Two were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Black-chinned Robin Poecilodryas brachyura brachyura: Heard in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Black-sided Robin Poecilodryas hypoleuca: After some effort one was seen at Nimbokrang. Another, presuamably an immature, was seen on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Black-throated Robin Poecilodryas albonotata albonotata: Four were seen in the upper Arfaks. Endemic NG.
White-winged Robin Peneothello sigillata quadrimaculata: Several of these attractive robins were seen at the pass above Lake Habbema and along the Yogabema trail. Endemic NG.
Smoky Robin Peneothello cryptoleuca cryptoleuca: A couple of these unadorned robins were seen in the upper Arfaks. Endemic WP.
Blue-grey Robin Peneothello cyanus cyanus: A few were seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Ashy Robin Heteromyias albispecularis: This confiding robin was commonly seen or heard in the upper Arfaks. Endemic WP.
Green-backed Robin Pachycephalopsis hattamensis hattamensis: A pair was seen in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica: One was seen on Biak. Up to 60 were seen at Nimbokrang.
Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica frontalis: A few were seen in Manokwari.
Tree Martin Petrochelidon nigricans: One was seen at Nimbokrang.
Sooty-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus aurigaster: A few were seen in towns and open country on Biak. Introduced.
Leaf Warblers and allies
Island Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus maforensis poliocephalus: A few were seen between Wamena and the pass above Lake Habbema and along the Yogabema trail. Small numbers were seen in the Arfaks.
Island Leaf (Biak Leaf) Warbler Phylloscopus maforensis misoriensis: One was seen briefly on Biak (DC & DB). Endemic WP.
Grassbirds and allies
Tawny (Papuan) Grassbird Megalurus timoriensis macrurus: Heard in the scrubby habitat around Lake Habbema.
Cisticolas and allies
Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis diminutus: We had some nice looks at this understated bird at Nimbokrang and near Lake Sentani.
Black-fronted White-eye Zosterops minor chrysolaemus: A few were seen in the Arfaks.
Biak White-eye Zosterops mysorensis: A flock of about ten was noted on just one occasion whilst on Biak. Endemic WP.
Capped White-eye Zosterops fuscicapilla fuscicapilla: At least ten were seen above Wamena and a few were noted in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Old World Flycatchers
Grey-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa griseisticta: A few singles were seen in the Arfaks and on Waigeo.
Pied Bush Chat Saxicola caprata belensis: Two were noted near Wamena.
Island (Jayawijaya) Thrush Turdus poliocephalus versteegi: Commonly seen at Lake Habbema.
Metallic Starling Aplonis metallica: Small noisy flocks were a common feature whilst birding the forest on Biak. Small numbers were seen at Nimbokrang.
Long-tailed Starling Aplonis magna magna: Small numbers of these attractive starlings were seen on Biak. Endemic WP.
Singing Starling Aplonis cantoroides: A few were seen at the ferry docks on Waigeo.
Yellow-faced Myna Mino dumontii: Up to 70 were noted at Nimbokrang. Three were seen on Waigeo. Endemic NG.
Olive-crowned Flowerpecker Dicaeum pectorale: Small numbers were seen in the Arfaks and on Waigeo. Endemic WP.
Red-capped Flowerpecker Dicaeum geelvinkianum: Small numbers were seen on Biak. A few were noted at Nimbokrang. Endemic NG.
Black Sunbird Leptocoma sericea: Small numbers were seen on Biak and at Nimbokrang and Waigeo.
Olive-backed (Yellow-faced) Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis frenatus: A few were seen in open country whilst on Biak. Commonly seen at Nimbokrang and on Waigeo.
Wagtails and Pipits
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea: A few were noted (mostly flushed from roads) in the Arfaks.
Alpine Pipit Anthus gutturalis wollastoni: This attractive pipit was commonly seen at Lake Habbema, where both adults and juveniles were studies at close range. Endemic NG.
Old World Sparrows, Snowfinches
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus: Commonly seen in towns on Biak and at most mainland sites.
Waxbills, Munias and allies
Mountain Firetail Oreostruthus fuliginosus pallidus: A few were seen rather briefly along the Yogabema trail. Endemic NG.
Blue-faced Parrotfinch Erythrura trichroa sigillifer: One was seen between Wamena and the pass near Lake Habbema. Another was seen in the Arfaks.
Streak-headed Munia Lonchura tristissima: Up to four were seen at Nimbokrang. A flock of 15 was seen at Mokwam in the Arfaks. Endemic NG.
Grand Munia Lonchura grandis: Commonly seen (at least 50) in the rice fields at Nimbokrang. A few were seen near Lake Sentani. Endemic NG.
Hooded Munia Lonchura spectabilis: At least three were seen in the rice fields at Nimbokrang and six were noted near Lake Sentani.
Chestnut-breasted Munia Lonchura castaneothorax: At least 20 were seen in the rice fields at Nimbokrang.
Black-breasted Munia Lonchura teerinki: A nest building pair was seen near Wamena. Endemic WP.
Snow Mountain Munia Lonchura montana: This attractive munia was commonly seen in small flocks at Lake Habbema. Endemic WP.
Systematic list of mammals
Habbema Dasyure Micromurexia habbema: At least two (assumed to be this species) were seen quite well at the pass near Lake Habbema.
Common Spotted Couscous Spilocuscus maculatus: One was seen briefly at night as some of us were watching a Papuan Bookook in the upper Arfaks.