Raja Ampat islands are located in the eastern region of Indonesia. There are hundreds of islands which visitors can choose to watch birds such as Palm Cockatoo, Red Bird of Paradise, Wilson's Bird of Paradise, Eclectus Parrot, Willie Wagtail, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Sacred Kingfisher,and Beach Kingfisher.
I often visit some of the islands of Raja Ampat when I organize snorkeling and island hopping trip for some foreign tourists. We visit Waigeo, Kri, Mansuar, Gam island, Arborek, Fam islets, Fish Lagoon, and Kabui bay. After snorkeling and sightseeing, we usually continue our adventure by exploring the forest to see its vegetation and wildlife. Because most of the villages in Raja Ampat are coastal ones, birding can actually be done along the beaches and through the roads of the villages where a lot of tropical trees still stand.
For instance, from my personal experience, just by doing walking tour in Sopen village, I was able to see Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Black-capped Lory, Glossy Starling, Lowland Peltop, Yellow-bellied Sunbird, Radjah Shelduck, Brahminy Kite, Pacific Swallow, Coconut Lorikeet and a lot more. On my recent birding trip at the beach of Paradisea Dive Resort of Waigeo island, I could see female Red Bird of Paradise, Blyth's Hornbill, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Frigate bird, Yellow-faced Myna and other birds that I already mentioned above.
Not all of the visitors who go to Raja Ampat bring a proper birding equipment. Perhaps, their main goal of visiting the archipelago is snorkeling and diving. Soon, they realize that the birdlife and wildlife of Raja Ampat are so unique and interesting so, they request a birding tour from local tour operators and tourist guides. I highly suggest that visitors bring a good pair of binoculars such as the ones manufactured by Swarovski, Leica, Nikon, and Zeiss. I personally use a pair of 10x42 mm Visionking binocular. It is not the best birding gear available on the market but it is good enough to enhance my birding experience. In addition to binoculars, serious birders often bring spotting scope. I used to guide a group of French birders who bring an ATX Swarovski spotting scope. It was a very powerful scope that produces clear view of birds that sit on the brances or twigs of distant trees. So, next time if you plan to visit Raja Ampat, whether it is for scuba diving or snorkeling, don't forget to also bring a pair of binoculars and if possible a spotting scope.
How to get there
- You can fly from your country to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia). After that, take a domestic flight to Sorong city by domestic airline such as Garuda, Sriwijaya, Batik Air, Lion and Nam Air.
- Another alternative to reach to travel to Raja Ampat is by flying to Singapore. There are regular flights between Singapore and Manado city. After reaching Manado, take a domestic flight to Sorong city which is the main gate to Raja Ampat.
- I could meet you at Sorong airport and organize your tour to Raja Ampat.
If you are interested in taking the birding tour in Raja Ampat or other places such as Numfor island, Manokwari lowland forest and Arfak range, Tambrauw Mountains, and Sorong regency, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.