Sunday, February 13, 2022

Bird watching in Sorong regency's Forest of Indonesia

Sorong is a city in West Papua province of Indonesia. It is also a regency that has got beautiful tropical forest. Tourists who go to Raja Ampat for snorkeling or scuba diving will need to fly to Sorong. 

Related Posts:

There are forest areas, villages and town in the east of Sorong city that I and my clients like to visit for birdwatching and wildlife watching. Some of them include Mangrove forest of Sorong city, Ridge forest of Sorong, Sausapor town, Klabili village and Malagufuk village. They can be reached by cars. 

In Mangrove forest of Sorong city, we could see interesting birds such as White-bellied Cuckooshrike, Orange-fronted Fruit Dove, Olive-backed Sunbird (now also called Sahul Sunbird) and Orange-fronted Fig Parrot (Cyclopsitta gulielmitertii). 

There is something interesting about the Orange-fronted Fig Parrot. The word Cyclop in Greek Mythology is a race of giants from Sicily having but one eye in the middle of their foreheads. The word psittakos in Greek means parrot. Second part of the name is Gulielmitertii. In Latin Gulielmus means William and Tertius mens The Third. According to wikipedia Gulielmus Tertius or William III (Dutch: Willem Alexander Paul Frederick Lodewijk) was King of the Netherlands and the Grand Duke of Luxembourg from 1849 until his death in 1890.

Orange-breasted Fig Parrot

There, visitors can walk along the sides of the road, go hiking up the slopes or explore the forest of Klasouw calley to watch such birds as Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Sacred Kingfisher Western-crowned Pigeon, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Red-cheeked Parrot, Black Lory, Coconut Lorikeet, Blyth's Hornbill, Blue and Black Kingfisher, Shining Flycatcher, Boyer's Cuckooshrike, Lowland Peltop, Red-bellied Pitta (now also called Papuan Pitta), Hooded Pitta, Hooded Butcherbird, Black Butcherbird,  Northern Cassowary, and a lot more. 

Blyth's Hornbill (Rhyticeros plicatus)
Blyth's Hornbill

There are also King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, and a few other species of birds of paradise which visitors can see if they explore the forest of Klatomok village thoroughly. 

Location of Klatomok village in Sorong regency of Indonesia
Location of Klatomok village in Sorong regency of West Papua

Actually, Klatomok village is not only attractive for bird watchers but also nature lovers. They can see various kinds of plants, and animals. There are insects, mammals, reptiles in the forest. Visitors can join local villagers who go to the forest to cut a sago tree for extracting its flour or do night walk to find wallaby, bats, possum and deer.

Mothers can show how to make sleeping matrass and bags using pandanus leaves or other natural fiber.

There are flights that connect Sorong and big cities in Indonesia including Manado, Ambon Makassar, Denpasar and Jakarta. They are served by Garuda, Lion Air, Sriwijaya Air, and Batik Air. 

rainforest tour in Indonesia
A homestay in Klatomok village of Sorong regency

Accommodation

Visitors can stay in homestays that are owned by villagers. It is a basic accommodation, so the price is affordable. Buying foods and drinks in Sorong city prior to the trip is highly recommended. But villagers can also enjoy local food such as sweet potatoes, bananas, and vegetables prepared by the villagers. 

After spending time in Klatomok village, visitors can go back to Sorong city to continue their trip to Raja Ampat to enjoy snorkeling or another birdwatching trip, or taking a trip to  Sausapor or Fef town located in Tambrauw mountains for another rainforest tour in West Papua. 

Activities in Sorong City

Returning to Sorong, visitors can stay in one of the many hotels and explore other attractions such as visiting traditional markets, going to Doom island,  having lunch and dinner in various eating houses in town, and etc.

Also read

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Birdwatching in Indonesia

Indonesia has got thousands of big and small islands between Asia and Australia. These islands attract the attention of naturalists, biologists and birdwatchers to come and study the flora and fauna of this country. According to field guide book Birds of Indonesia by James Eaton, et al., there are 1,417 species of birds in Indonesia (not including New Guinea).

For birds in New Guinea region, readers can study them by reading such field guide books as Birds of New Guinea by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce Beehler, et al.; and Birds of New Guinea (including Bismarck Archipelago and Bougainville) by Phil Gregory who said that there are 943 species of birds that are known to occur in New Guinea. Key highlights include: Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Wilson's Bird of Paradise and Red Bird of Paradise, Hooded Butcherbird, Palm Cockatoo, Yellow-faced Myna, Black Lory, Orange-breasted Fig Parrot, Large Fig Parrot, Hooded Pitta, Papuan Pitta and a lot more. For birding sites, Sausapor town, Klabili village, Gauksuak beach as well as Waigeo island in Raja Ampat are the ones that can easily be accessed from Sorong city.

Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus(
A Female Eclectus Parrot in her nest in West Papua's forest

With this abundant species of birds, Indonesia has now become the most important destination for birding visitors. From all the islands in this archipelago, I highly recommend 2 destinations, i.e. Sulawesi and West Papua. Sulawesi island is located in the transitional zone between the continents of Australia and Asia. The endemicity of birds in Sulawesi is the highest in Indonesia. For West Papua, the main attractions for visitors will be its Birds of Paradise. 

Although most of the islands in Indonesia have got birds that are different from New Guinea, for the islands such as Halmahera and Seram that are closer to West Papua province, they share some species with New Guinea. Some of them include Eclectus Parrot, Beach Kingfisher, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Sacred Kingfisher, Great Cuckoo Dove, Blyth's Hornbill, and the migratory ones such as - Rainbow Bee-eater and Common Dollarbird. 

I personally have guided tourists to visit some interesting rainforest sites in Mount Kerinci and Way Kambas National Park in Sumatra,  for Sulawesi island: Ramang-Ramang, Karaenta, Lore Lindu, Tangkoko, Mount Mahawu, Mount Ambang, and Tambun. Islands further to the east that include Ternate and Halmahera are also good destinations for birding. 

Inter-insular Trading and Introduced Bird Species

Inter-insular trading in Indonesia allows ships to carry people and goods between the islands. Birds are originally from Java, Sumatra, Borneo and the Malayan peninsula such as White-rumped Shama and Spotted Dove have now reached cities in West Papua. Some birds escape to the nearby forest. Black-capped Lory, Coconut Lorikeet from West Papua have also reached Sulawesi and Java. However, they will not survive innthe forest because much of the forests in Java have been badly damaged. The introduced birds from West Papua may not be able to compete with local birds in Java in finding food inside the ever shrinking forest of the island. 

Birding in West Papua

Birding in West Papua is more challenging than birding in other islands of Indonesia. The birding sites in West Papua are often located in remote forest far from cities. Most often, birdwatchers need to use 4WD pick-up cars to reach them. Birdwatchers do not have a lot of choices for accommodation either. That's why, on the average, the cost of birding tours in West Papua is higher than in other islands of Indonesia. The target birds include Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Large Fig Parrot, Orange-breasted Fig Parrot, Amboyna Cuckoo Dove, Palm Cockatoo, White-bellied Cuckooshrike and a lot more. 

bird of new guinea
Palm Cockatoo

Birdwatching in Sulawesi

As the island with the highest endemism of avifauna, Sulawesi is a highly recommended destination for birdwatching visitors. Some of the unique birds which can be watched include:

  • Sulawesi Pygmy Woodpecker (Picoides temminckii)
  • Gray-sided Flowerpecker 
  • Yellow-sided Flowerpecker
  • Citrine Canary Flycatcher
  • Turquoise Warbling Flycatcher
  • Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon 
  • Sulawesi Cuckoo Dove (Macropygia albicapilla)
  • Green Imperial Pigeon
  • Black-naped Fruit Dove
  • White-faced Cuckoo Dove
  • Sulawesi Scops Owl 
  • Speckled Boobook
  • Barred Rail
  • Ruddy-breasted Crake
  • Isabeline Bush Hen
  • White-browed Crake
  • Eastern Yellow Wagtail
  • Sooty-headed Bulbul
  • Black-crowned White-eye
  • Mountain (Warbling) White-eye
  • Pale Blue Monarch
  • Eastern Cattle Egret
  • Little Egret
  • Great-billed Heron
  • Gray Heron
  • Pacific Reef Heron
  • Purple-winged Roller
  • Sulawesi-crested Myna
  • Finch-billed Myna
  • White-browed Crake 
  • Chestnut Munia, 
  • Scaly-breasted Munia
  • Black-faced Munia
  • Sahul Sunbird 
  • Crimson Sunbird
  • Rusty-backed Thrush
  • Collared Kingfisher
  • Lilac-cheeked Kingfisher
  • Sulawesi Dwarf Kingfisher
  • Scaly-breasted Kingfisher
  • Ruddy Kingfisher 
  • Green-backed Kingfisher
  • Great-billed Kingfisher
  • Brush Cuckoo
  • Sulawesi Pygmy Hornbill
  • Knobbed Hornbill
  • Blue-tailed Bee-eater
  • Slender-billed Crow
  • Gray-rumped Treeswift
  • and etc.

birwatching in minahasa
Black-naped Oriole, Sulawesi Pymy Woodpecker, Pale Blue Monarch, Sultan's Cuckoo Dove

Booking

If you are interested in traveling to Indonesia to enjoy birdwatching, and you want me to organize your trip, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by whatsapp to +6281332245180 or by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com. 

Also read: