Friday, March 6, 2020

Raja Ampat Birds

I have just completed a birding and snorkeling tour in Raja Ampat islands where I guided a visitor from the United States. It was a successful trip because we were able to watch our main targets which were the Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra) and the Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus respublica). We watched them in southern region of Waigeo island that was at the entrance way to Kabui bay. During this birdwatching and snorkeling tours we used a motorized boat to explore islets both for its rainforest and marine lifes. Those who want to read about my snorkeling reports can visit my other blog:
Wilson's Bird of Paradise in Waigeo island
Wilson's Bird of Paradise
We visited a small island in the bay early in the morning to watch Spice Imperial Pigeon, Moustached Treeswift, Eastern Osprey, Eclectus Parrot, Black-capped Lory, Beach Kingfisher, Singing Starling, Lesser Frigate Bird and White-bellied Sea Eagle. From my previous trip to the island, I saw Stephan's Ground Dove and Brahminy Kite too. 
Wilson's Bird of Paradise lived in deeper area of southern Waigeo's rainforest. To watch it, we needed to wake up at 03.40 for making preparations and started our trip at 04.00, first by boat, and later on foot. In the same forest, a lot of species of birds could be seen including Hook-billed Kingfisher, Papuan Blyth's Hornbill, Common Paradise Kingfisher.
Red bird of paradise photo by Charles Roring
Male Red Bird of Paradise was trying to attract his female partner for mating in a
courtship dance
In the same region, I watched Red Bird of Paradise. Perhaps, I heard the call of Glossy Manucode but I was not so sure about it. At its beach, I used to see Striated Heron, Pacific Swallow. In addition to islands and beaches of Waigeo and Gam at the entrance site of Kabui, I also organized birding trip in the karst groups inside the bay. There I saw Eastern Reef Egret, Rainbow Bee-Eater, Great-billed Parrot, Black Sunbird, Little Pied Cormorant, Black Sunbird.
A visit to a small islet in the south of Mansuar island, allowed me to see Arafura Fantail, Lemon-bellied White Eye, and Violet-necked Lory.
For the Great-billed Parrot, I used to see it in the hill forest on the west or Waisai's airport. That forest was the natural habitat of such birds as Yellow-faced Myna, Dollarbird, White-breasted Woodswallow. The coastal area near the airport was the place where I saw Wimbrel, Radjah Shelduck, Eastern Reef Egret, Sacred Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra and Yellow-faced Myna. Its birds were similar to the ones that I saw at Warduwer beach.
Birding tour in Raja Ampat with Charles Roring
Pied Imperial Pigeon
However, because the beach had more open spaces, I was able to see more birds there including Pied Imperial Pigeon, Helmetted Friarbird, Spangled Drongo, Hooded Butcherbird, Dusky Scrubfowl, Red-cheeked Parrot, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Eclectus Parrot, Coconut Lorikeet, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Torresian Crow, Willie Wagtail, Plover, Bridled Tern, Shining Flycather, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Beautiful Fruit Dove, Spangled Drongo.
Hooded Butcherbird in Raja Ampat islands if Indonesia
Hooded Butcherbird
Trans Waigeo road from Waisai to Mayalibit area was a good site to see Azure Kingfisher, Cattle Egret, Palm Cockatoo, Hooded Butcherbird, and Brown-headed Crow.
Last year, I visited the north east region of Waigeo island. It was a nice trip. I went hiking to Mount Sarembon where I saw some interesting birds including Papuan Black Myzomela, Amboina Cuckoo Dove, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Radjah Shelduck, Beach Thick Knee, Eastern Yellow Wagtail and Sacred Kingfisher. I visited two small islands in east Waigeo including Waim and Mamiaef. There, I saw Wandering Tattler, Black Sunbird, Lesser-crested Tern.
As a matter of fact, this part of the island is an excellent destination for birdwatchers who want to explore the forest and beaches of Waigeo which are not regularly visited by tourists. Its coast is very good for watching coastal birds. Its rainforest birds can be explored by walking along the banks of rivers.
Rufous-bellied Kookaburra
Rufous-bellied Kookaburra

I used to visit Kofiau islands. The most favorite targets were Kofiau Monarch and Kofiau Paradise Kingfisher. During my trip to the archipelago, I saw Sacred Kingfisher, Moluccan Starling, Black Sunbird, Little Pied Cormmorant, Dollarbird, Eastern Reef Egret, Spotted Whistling Duck,
Well, I don't mention all the birds that I saw in every place that I visit. I only mention the ones that I consider attractive for me.

Birding Gear
When I guide tourists on a birding tour in Raja Ampat, I usually bring some equipment. Some of them include:
  • 10×42 mm Visionking binoculars
  • 20-60×60 mm Spotting scope that is mounted on an aluminum tripod
  • Laser pointer
  • Field guide book Birds of New Guinea written by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce Beehler.
  • Tablet that contains records of bird sounds
  • Bluetooth loudspeaker
  • I also brought flashlight for night birding. 
Birdwatching Tour in Raja Ampat
I run birding tour in Raja Ampat for visitors who are interested in watching tropical birds, enjoying snorkeling, interacting with local people, and sightseeing. If you are interested in taking a birdwatching tour in Raja Ampat that is combined with sightseeing, and snorkeling and want me to be your guide, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by E-mail to: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Google Map of Raja Ampat

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