Thursday, February 20, 2020

Tropical Birds in Sorong Forest

Sorong regency is the main gate to Raja Ampat. Visitors need to fly from their country to Jakarta, Denpasar or Manado and then continue their trip by taking domestic flight to Sorong city before continuing their trip by fast ferry boats or speed boats to tropical islands in Raja Ampat. Airlines such as Garuda, Sriwijaya Air, Batik Air, and Lion Air provide daily flights from the above major cities in Indonesia to Sorong. Sorong itself is located in western tip region of West Papua province and is a great destination for tourists who want to see rainforest.
Large Fig Parrot (Psittaculirostris desmarestii) in tropical rainforest of Sorong regency, Indonesia
Large Fig Parrot in the forest of Sorong regency

Tropical Birds of New Guinea

There are a lot of tropical birds which visitors can watch when exploring the lowland and ridge forest of Sorong regency. Some of them include Papuan Blyth's Hornbill, Helmetted Friarbird, Dollarbird, Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Large Fig Parrot, Eclectus Parrot, Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot, Black Lory, Black-capped Lory, Grey-headed Goshawk, Variable Goshawk, Black-sided Robin, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Western-crowned Pigeon, Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Great Cuckoo Dove, Amboyna Cuckoo Dove, Beautiful Fruit Dove, Black-browed Triller, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Blue-black Kingfisher, Hook-billed Kingfisher, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Sacred Kingfisher, Azure Kingfisher, Golden Myna, Yellow-faced Myna, Moustached Tree Swift, Metallic Starling, Shining Flycatcher, Black Sunbird, King Bird of Paradise, Lesser Birds of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise, Glossy Manucode, and etc.
Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)
A Male Lesser Birds of Paradise

Where and How to watch these birds?

Well, it is easy to watch the tropical birds of New Guinea in Sorong forest. There are several good places which we can go to see them. Some of them include Sorong ridge forest located north of Sorong city, mangrove forest and Klatomok forest.  Most birdwatchers know the equipment which they need to bring. Some of them include binoculars, spotting scope (mounted on a tripod), laser pointer, bluetooth loudspeaker and records of bird sounds stored in cell phones, field guide book Birds of New Guinea written by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce Beehler.
Olive-backed Sunbird in ridge forest of Sorong city, West Papua province of Indonesia
Sahul Sunbird (Cynniris jugularis) in Sorong ridge forest
We are now in rainy season. It comes quite late compared to previous years. Intensive rain starts in February. So, in the next three months, i.e. March, April, and May, we will see more rainy days. After that the intensity of the rain gradually decreases. People often say, rainy season is bad for birdwatching. I don't think so. Usually after the rain, birds and other forest animals come out of their hiding places to dry their feather, fur or skin. The next day, when the sun shines brightly, we can see more birds in trees. That's the natural phenomenon that I have seen since my childhood. 
Forest Bittern (Zonerodius heliosylus)
Forest Bittern in rainforest of Sorong
During rainy season, the forest floor in Sorong regency is muddy. There are also leeches. So, I suggest that tourists wear anti-leech socks and hiking or wellington boots.

Guided Birding Tour

I personally have guided a lot of tourists from 2010 on birding tours in West Papua especially from Manokwari to Sorong, Tambrauw mountains, and Raja Ampat. So, I am familiar with the tropical birds in the forest of Sorong. Usually, we will stay in a homestay that belongs to local villagers and then do birding walks in the mornings, afternoons and evenings.
Although the tour is called birding, we may also see other animals as well such as wallaby, soa-soa lizard, butterflies and beetles.

Cost of the Birding Tour

The cost of the birding tour depends on the number of days and the number of participants which visitors need to spend in Sorong forest. It the tour in Sorong is combined with the tour in Manokwari or Raja Ampat, the cost will also be different. 
So, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 to get more info on customized tours and their costs.

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