Paradise birds live in the forest of West Papua province of the Republic of Indonesia. You can watch most of them if you spend around 2 weeks of traveling from Wasior town in Wondama Bay to Arfak mountains in Manokwari, Weyos beach in Tambrauw and Waigeo island in Raja Ampat. Birds of Paradise are beautiful avifauna that have got unique behaviour. They like dancing and mating. To watch them birdwatchers need to bring binoculars, camera with telephoto lens.
|Lesser Birds of Paradise in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari|
- The first destination which visitors should go is Manokwar city. This is the entrance gate to Arfak mountains. The steep slopes of higher elevation forest of Arfak mountains are the natural habitat of Long-tailed Paradigala, Western Parotia, Black Sicklebill, Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Crescent-caped Lophorina. There are a lot of other interesting birds as well such as Masked Bowerbird, Vogelkop Bowerbird. The lower montane forest of Arfak mountains such as the Susnguakti forest is the habitat of Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Glossy-mantled Manucode, Magnificent Bird of Paradise. The forest is also the destination for visitors who want to watch Hooded Butcherbird, Red-bellied Pitta, Hooded Pitta, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Papuan Dwarf Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot.
- Your next destination should be Wasior town in Wondama bay regency. The Wondiboy mountains is one of the centers of endemism in New Guinea. There are Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, and Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise. For Glossy-mantled Manucode, and Trumpet Manucode, they can be watched there too. The higher elevation forest of Wondiboy mountains is another center of endemism in West Papua. Its slopes are steep making it very difficult for avid birdwatchers to reach it. Along its mountain ridge, visitors will be able to find rare birds such as Black Sicklebill, Western Parotia, Crescent-caped Lophorina, and perhaps the Arfak Astrapia. Further avifauna studies need to be conducted in Wondiboy mountains to assess whether millions of years of speciation process have created new species of birds in this isolated mountain range. Wasior town which is the entrance gate for visitors who want to watch birds in Wondiboy mountains and lowland forest of Wondama regency is a great destination to visit. Visitors can enjoy swimming and snorkeling at the beach to see colorful reef fish and beautiful corals of the sea.
- Another important site for finding lowland and lower montane birds of paradise is Weyos beach in Tambrauw regency. Visitors could go there by motorized boat. Lesser BoP, King BoP, Twelve-wired BoP, Magnificent Riflebird, Glossy-mantled Manucode, Trumpet Manucode, Crinkle-collared Manucode live in this forest.
|Weyos beach in Tambrauw regency|
- Weyos and its surrounding beaches are the nesting ground of Leatherback, Olive Ridley, Green and Hawksbill turtles that swim across the Pacific ocean to lay eggs there. Actually, Weyos can be considered as the vocal point of birding and wildlife watching in West Papua.
- For higher elevation forest in Tambrauw, the recommended destination will be Mount Vitakur. The entry point to go there can be Manokwari city. Visitors can go by small passenger plane, Cessna Caravan 208 to Kebar and then continue their trip to District Miyah. In Ayapokiar village, there is local guide named Amo, and in Siakwa village, there is Paul Warere. They can guide visitors to find not only the Lesser Birds of Paradise, Magnificent Birds of Paradise, Masked Bowerbird and Vogelkop Bowerbird but also the Western Parotia, Crescent-caped Lophorina and Black Siklebill.
- Sorong regency has got several birding sites. The famous one is Malagufuk. I introduced it for the first time to the outer world in late 2014. Years later, it has become an important birding site in West Papua.
- Waigeo, together with some islands in its surroundings, of Raja Ampat is the habitat of Red Bird of Paradise and Wilson's Bird of Paradise. People go there to enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving. If they have time, they want to see the paradise birds.
|Some Birds of Paradise from the forest of West Papua|
|Orchid Flower in the forest of West Papua|