Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Where to watch Birds of Paradise

According to Wikipedia, there are 42 species of birds of paradise that are known to science. Most of them live in tropical rainforest of New Guinea (i.e. Papua New Guinea + West Papua). Some species can be found in Halmahera, Aru islands and Australia. Their population is experiencing serious pressures due to hunting, ilegal logging, conversion of their natural habitat into human settlements, roads, mono-culture palm oil, cocoa, and coffee plantations and a lot more. 

Birdwatching tourism is still considered as one of the most viable solutions for the protection of birds of paradise and other wild animals in the forest, as well as the preservation of rainforest as a whole.

Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor) in rainforest
Lesser Birds of Paradise
European tourists in rainforest of West Papua
Visitors from Poland were walking in Tambrauw mountains to watch birds and other wild animals

In West Papua region (the provinces of Papua and Papua Barat) of Indonesia, the birdwatching tourism attracts thousands of visitors from abroad and inside the country. There are a number of villages and forest areas which tourists can visit to watch birds. Here are some of them:

Birding in Wondama Bay Regency

  • Yoppangar Village
  • Aisandami Village


  • Susnguakti forest
  • Dopi river
  • Mesirokow forest
Arfak mountains
The forests in the villages of Syioubri, Kwau, Maibri, and Mbenti are important birding sites because they are the habitat of a lot of endemic paradise birds such as Long-tailed Paradigala, Black Sicklebill, Western Parotia, Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise; and other tropical birds such as Vogelkop Melidectes, Masked Bowerbird, Vogelkop Bowerbird, and etc.

Sorong regency
  • Klatomok Village in Klasouw Valley
  • District of Klayeli
  • Sorong's ridge forest of Batu Lubang village
  • Mangrove forest
Tambrauw Mountains

  • Weyos Beach
  • Ases Valley and Mount Sakofsiah
  • Ayapokiar village
  • Fef
For Raja Ampat, the endemic birds of paradise are Red Bird of Paradise and Wilson's Bird of Paradise which can be watched in Waigeo, Gam and Batanta. However, islands such as Misool, and Salawati also have got some species of birds of paradise that are the same as the ones in lowland and lower montane forest of mainland West Papua. 
Most birders will bring a pair of binoculars (famous brands such as Swarovski, Nikon, Zeiss are their preferred choice), and a field guide book. In a group of birdwatchers, a leader will bring a spotting scope. 
Birdwatching tourism enables indigenous people to generate income from the forest that they have through the selling of services, and goods. They can work as guides in the forest, porters, sellers of fuits, and vegetables to visitors, homestay owners and handicraft makers. 
Male Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata)
A Male Western Parotia
When the indigenous people get the positive benefits from rainforest, they will protect their precious environment. They cannot easily be tempted by investors who want to buy their land for mining concession or massive palm oil plantation. This is written by Charles Roring. 

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