Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Birding Tour in West Papua

West Papua a great destination for birding visitors. This is the name of the western half region of New Guinea (the largest tropical island in the world). West Papua has got two provinces at the moment, Papua Barat and Papua.
Tropical rainforests that cover the mainland and the satellite islands of West Papua are the natural habitat of hundreds of species of birds that are attractive to be watched.

As a tourist guide, I often accompany birdwatchers on various trips along the coastal and mountainous areas to watch birds and other wildlife. There are a lot of places that are suitable for birdwatching and wildlife watching. Some of them are listed below:
Wondama Bay
This is a regency in West Papua province of Indonesia that is very important for tourists who like to watch birds in rainforest, along the coast and in the islands. Most of the territory of the regency is inside the National Park of Cendrawasih Bay. The regency of Teluk Wondama is a highly recommended site for birdwatchers. Visitors need to fly to Manokwari city and continue their trip by fast ferry boat or by a small turboprop aircraft if they want to enjoy birdwatching in that region.
Mesirrokow - The Lowland Forest of Manokwari
This forest is located in the northwest area of Manokwari regency. It is a good place to watch Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Brahminy Kite,V Goshawk, Little-ringed Plover, Large-tailed Nightjar, Eclectus Parrot, Black-capped Lory, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Little Egret, and Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Lowland Peltop, and etc.

Susnguakti - The Lower Montane Forest of Manokwari
There is a forest in lower montane are of Arfak mountains. Its name is Susnguakti. A lot of tourists have visited it to watch Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Glossy-mantled Manucode, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Hooded Pitta, Red-bellied Pitta, Frilled Monarch, Hooded Butcherbird, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot, and etc.
Higher Montane Forest of Arfak mountains
This is the vocal point of all birding sites in West Papua. A lot of highland birds can be seen in Mokwam region especially in Mount Soyti - in the territory of Kwau village including Vogelkop Bowerbird, Vogelkop Melidectes, Western-smoky Honeyeater, Long-tailed Paradigala, Western Parotia, Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Black-siklebill, Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise, Masked Bowerbird,  Green-backed Robin, Blue Grey Robin,  Papuan Flycatcher, Spectacled Longbill, Plum-faced Lorikeet, Feline Owlet Nightjar, a lot more.
Mount Sakofsiah and Ases Valley
This is another important birding site in West Papua located deep in Tambrauw Mountains. New Guinea Vulturine Parrot, Golden Myna, Dwarf Cassowary, Papua Flycatcher, Long-tailed Buzzard, Black-browed Triller, Golden Cuckooshrike, Oriental Dollarbird, Coconut Lorikeet, Red-flanked Lorikeet, Great Cuckoo Dove, Little-pied Cormorant can be found here. Much of the forest in Mount Sakofsiah and Ases Valley haven't been explored. They are important destination for wildlife watching too. When I guided 2 American tourists last year to this area, we saw deer, sugar glider, soa-soa monitor lizard, big frogs, fresh water fish, and a lot more.
Weyos Beach and Rainforest
This is a coastal area of Tambrauw regency that can only be accessed by motorized boat. Coastal birds such as Lesser Frigatebird, Willy Wagtail, Sacred Kingfisher, as well as Lesser Birds of Paradise, and Magnificent Riflebird can be seen here. Actually, Weyos is the most recommended site for nature lovers who are interested in wildlife watching. There is coral reef, nesting site for sea turtles, and various species of mammals in Weyos. Its isolated location is the ideal condition for wildlife to thrive without disturbances from human activities.
Malagufuk Village
This is important birding site in West Papua  especially for lowland birds. I and Nico Nauw were the first local guides to explore the forest of Malagufuk in 2014. Malagufuk and the nearby Klatomok village are places for watching Western-crowned Pigeon, Yellow-faced Myna, Black Lory, Northern Cassowary, Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Blue Black Kingfisher, Black-capped Lory.
Although the forest in around this village has got a lot of leeches, it is still considered as an attractive destination for tourists who are very fond of birding.
Klatomok Village
This also another birding site in Klasow valley that is very nice for watching birds. This village is the natural habitat of Magnificent Riflebird, Large Fig Parrot, Golden Myna, Coconut Lorikeet, Oriental Dollarbird, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, White-bellied Cuckooshrike, Lowland Peltop, Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Brown Cuckoo Dove and etc. Klatomok village is also located in Klasow valley and is very suitable for elderly tourists or anyone who cannot walk long distances. Birdwatching activity can be carried out along the roadside and also along the paths into the forest. There are homestays in Klatomok for visitors who want to spend a few days birding in the village.
Raja Ampat
I often go to Raja Ampat to guide tourists on various birding and snorkeling trips. There are 2 important sites for birding. One in the south which is the forest around Kabui bay and one in the north which is the forest along Warebar beach. Birdwatchers who go to Raja Ampat put Red Bird of Paradise and Wilson's Bird of Paradise in the list of targets that they want to see. Actually, Raja Ampat offers other important birds as well including Beach Kingfisher, Eastern Osprey, Eclectus Parrot, Purple-naped Lory, Spice Imperial Pigeon, White-breasted Woods- Claret-breasted Fruit Dove, Mimic Melidectes, Olive-backed Sunbird, Lowland Peltop, White-bellied Sea Eagle, and a lot more.

Birding Optics

In general, birders need to bring binoculars, field guide book Birds of New Guinea, super zoom camera, and spotting scope (optional).
On the average, it takes around 4 weeks to cover most of the above birding sites. Some tourists spend around 2 weeks to explore some of them.
As a birding guide, I offer tours to these sites. If you are interested in taking a birdwatching and wildlife watching tour to West Papua and want me to organise your trips, please, contact me, Charles Roring, by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 or by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com.

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