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Papua & Wallacea Trips

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[Papua Itinerary] [Sulawesi-Halmahera Itinerary]

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Introducing PAPUA, Indonesia, World birder's Eden

Indonesia, with over 17.000 islands, makes this "island nation" the fourth richness country in the world, in terms of numbers of bird species and number one country in terms of bird species endemism. Today, IdOU's (Indonesian Ornithology Union) bird checklist compiles 1.595 (about 16% of the world’s total) recorded species in Indonesia. One of very important islands that supports Indonesian birds' habitat is the island of Papua (Irian-Jaya).

Papua, Indonesian New Guinea or Irian-Jaya, is one of the four main big islands in Indonesia. It shares the western half part of the whole New Guinea Island with its sister country Papua New Guinea (PNG) on the east part. Papua covers a total area of 416.000km2.

Papua is 810km away from North Australia and 3,520 km from Indonesian capital city, Jakarta. It is an undiscovered world of pristine tropical rainforest with its eternal snow capped mountain ridges of more than 5,000 meter high.

The various topography of New Guinea area reflects the complex patterns of the bird distribution. From the some 725 species recorded (Beehler, Pratt & Zimmerman's Birds of New Guinea, 1986), 101 are endemic to New Guinea, where 39 are at West Papua part (Jepson & Ounsted, Birding Indonesia, 1997).

Papuan Birding Hotspots

1. Sorong and its neighboring islands: Batanta, Salawati, Waigeo, Misool and Kofiau Islands are the western most islands of New Guinea. Kofiau marked as the southeast border island of Wallace Line boundary. 5 endemics are homed into these 5 islands. The Red Bird of Paradise, Paradisaea rubra, theWilson's Bird of Paradise, Cicinirus respublica (Batanta & Waigeo Islands), Waigeo Brush-turkey, Aepipodius bruijnii (Waigeo Island only), Kofiau Monarch, Monarcha julianae and Kofiau Paradise-Kingfisher, Tanysiptera ellioti (Kofiau Island). Other highlights of the area includes: Western Crowned Pigeon, Goura cristata, Pheasant Pigeon, Otidiphaps nobilis, Glossy-mantled Manucode Manucodia atra, Palm Cockatoo Probosciger aterrimus, Moluccan Red Lory, Eos scuamata, Moluccan King-Parrot, Alisterus ambionensis, Great-billed Parrot, Tanygnathus megalorynchos, Brown-headed Crow, Corvus fuscicapillus.

2. Biak-Supiori and Numfor Islands: Biak and Supiori Islands or the Geelvink Islands are originally oceanic islands, located above the 'bird neck' (Cendrawasih Bay) of the New Guinea Island. The areas support at least 13 accepted endemic species: Biak Megapode Megapodius geelvinkianus, Biak Red Lory Eos cyanogenia Geelvink Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta geelvinkiana, Biak Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera riedelii, Biak Scoop Owl Otus beccarii,  Biak Coucal Centropus chalybeus, Biak Monarch, Monarcha brehmii, Biak Golden Monarch Monarcha kordensis, Biak Flycatcher Myiagra atra, Biak Gerygone Gerygone hypoxantha,  Biak White-eye Zosterops mysorensis  (The thirteenth one,  Biak Willie Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys has just discovered last year). In addition to birding interest here are: Numfor Paradise-KingfisherTanysiptera carolinae, Long-tailed Starling Aplonis magna, Victoria Crowned Pigeon Goura victoria, Elegant Imperial Pigeon Ducula conicinna.

Long-tailed Paradigalla/Paradigalla carunculata

3. Manokwari, the Arfak Mountains: The striking Arfak Mountains located on far east corner of the Vogelkop (bird’s head) peninsula and ascended steeply behind the coastal town of Manokwari. The array of these Vogelkop Mountains is probably the most important and arguably the best West Papua's birding spot. Arfak rises to an elevation of 2.200m and because of its isolation, the area harbors 3 endemic species of Birds of Paradise (Arfak Astrapia Astrapia nigra, Long-tailed Paradigalla Paradigalla carunculata and Western Parotia Parotia sefilata), an endemic of Bowerbird (Vogelkop Bowerbird Amblyornis inornatus), 2 endemics of Honeyeater (Western Smoky Honeyeater Melipotes gymnops and Vogelkop Melidectes Melidectes leucostephes), another endemic species of Rallidae (White-striped Forest-Rail Rallina leucospila), 1 endemic species of Berrypecker (Obscure Berrypecker Melanocharis arfakiana), 1 endemic species of Warblers (Vogelkop Scrub-wren Sericornis rufescens), 1 endemic species of Mannikin (Grey-banded Mannikin Lonchura caniceps) and 1 endemic species of Whistler (Vogelkop Whistler Pachycephala meyeri). Plus four other species of Birds of Paradise (Black Sicklebill Epimacus fastuosus, Buff-tailed Sicklebill Epimacus albertisi, Superb Bird of Paradise Lophorina superba and Magnificient Bird of Paradise Cicinnurus magnificus) and other limited range species of the non Birds of Paradise such as Greater Melampitta Melampitta gigantea, Modest Tiger Parrot Psittasella modesta, Archbold's Nightjar Eurostopodus archboldi, Rufous-sided Honeyeater Ptiloprora erythropleura, Smoky Robin Peneothello cryptoleucus, Olive-crowned Flowerpecker Dicaeum pectorale.. Other specialties include: Black-mantled Goshawk Accipiter melanochlamys, Papuan Treecreeper Cormobates placens, Varied Sittella Daphoenossita chrysoptera, Red Myzomela Myzomela cruentata, Papuan Parrot-Finch Erythrura papuana and Spotted Catbird Ailuroesdus melanotis, Tit Berrypecker Oreocharis arfaki.  

4. The Northern flatland: Nimbokrang is a transmigration settlement, some 65km west of Jayapura, the provincial city of West Papua. It lies at the base of Cyclops Mountains with its immense lowland alluvial forest that supports an exceptional variety of northern flatland species. Notable records include: Pale-billed Sicklebill Epimachus bruijnii, Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise Seleucidis melanoleuca, Magnificent Riflebird Ptiloris magnificus, Lesser Birds of Paradise Paradisaea minor, and King Bird of Paradise  Cicinnurus regius. Some other specialties are: Jobi Manucode Manucodia jobiensis, Brown Collared Brush-turkey Talegalla jobiensis, Papuan Frogmouth Podargus papuensis, Pesquet’s Parrot Psittrichas fulgidus, Salvadori's Fig-Parrot Parrot Psittaculirostris salvadorii, Buff-faced Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta pusio,  Hook-billed Kingfisher Melidora macrorrhina, Blue-black Kingfisher Todirhamphus nigrocyaneus,  Meyer’s Friarbird Philemon meyeri, Victoria Crowned-Pigeon Goura victoria, Golden Cuckooshrike Campochaera sloetii, Forest Bittern Zonerodius heliosylus, New Guinea Scrubfowl Megapode affinis, Golden Myna Myno anais, Blue Jewel-Babbler Ptilorrhoa caerulescens, Brown-headed Crow Corvus fuscicapillus.

Cyathea atrox

5. Lake Habema, the snow mountain regions. Lake Habema of the Grand Baliem Valley, situated just below 4.743m of the snow caped Wilhelmina and Carstensz Mountains, with its various high altitude motane vegetation, upholds a splendid selection of the highland species. Some endemics, especially among high mountain forms are Snow Mountain Quail Anurophasis monorthonyx, Short-bearded Melidectes Melidectes nouhuysi, Orange-cheecked Honeyeater Oreornis chrysogenys and Papuan Whipbird Androphobus viridis. Other restricted snow mountain species include: Snow-mountain Robin Petroica archboldi, Snow-mountain Munia Lonchura montana, Lorentz's Whistler Pachycephala lorentzi, Splendid Astrapia Astrapia splendidissima and Archbold's Owlet-Nightjar Aegotheles archboldi. Additional extremely high demanding species are: Brown Sicklebill Epimachus mayeri, Ribbon-tailed Astrapia Astrapia mayeri, King of Saxony Bird of Paradise Pteridophora alberti and  Macgregor's Bird of Paradise Macgregoria pulchra. Other novelties: Salvadori's Teal Anas waigiuensis, Painted Tiger-Parrot Psittacella picta, Brehm's Tiger-Parrot Psittacella brehmii, Red-breasted Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta bruijnii, Orange-billed Lorikeet Neopsittacus pullicauda, Crested Berrypecker Paramythia montium, Rufous Woodcock Scolopax saturata, Stout-billed Cuckoo-shrike Coracina caeruleogrisea, Papuan Scrub-wren Sericornis papuensis, Large Scrub-wren Sericornis nouhuysi, Buff-faced Srcub-wren Sericornis perspicillatus, Lesser Ground-Robin Amalocichla incerta, Greater Ground-Robin Amalocichla slateriana, Mountain Robin Petroica bivittata, White-winged Robin Peneothello sigillatus,  Black Sittella Daphoenossita miranda, Western Alpine Mannikin Lonchura montana, New Guinea Thornbill Acanthiza murina, Alpine Pipit Anthus gutturalis,  Blue-caped Ifrit Ifrita kowaldi, Belford's Melidectes Melidectes belfordi and, Sooty Melidectes Melidectes fuscus


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