Birding Tour West Papua



As a tourist guide, I often organize birding tours in West Papua province of Indonesia. There are several forest regions that I and my clients like to visit. I describe that typical travel plan as follows:

Birdwatching in Manokwari

Higher Montane Forest

We usually start the trip by birding in higher montane forest. Mount Soyti is our destination. It is located in the territory of Kwau village in Arfak mountains. There, the temperature is cool.

Magnificent Bird of Paradise
Magnificent Bird of Paradise in Arfak mountains
We spent around 4 days/ 3 nights walking through paths in the forest to watch such birds as Western Parotia, Vogelkop Bowerbird, Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Long-tailed Paradigala, Black Sicklebill, Western Smoky Honeyeater, Papuan Flycatcher, and a lot more. There is a guesthouse where we stay for several nights. It has got beds, toilets, dining room and lovely flower garden. I hire local villagers to work as porters, and cooks.I buy food materials such as rice, noodles, fish, chicken meat, eggs, cooking oil, salt, sugar, coffee and tea from supermarket in Manokwari city. For fruits, vegetables, and potatoes or sweet potatoes, I buy from villagers.
After that, we will continue our trip to another village and spent one or two more nights there. We will explore its forest to find Masked Bowerbird, Superb Bird of Paradise, Golden Monarch, New Guinea White Eye, Capped White Eye, Papua Mountain Pigeon, and etc.

Lesser Birds of Paradise in rainforest of Manokwari.
Lesser Birds of Paradise in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari

Birding in Lowland and Lower Montane Forest of Manokwari

The lowland and lower montane forest is the habitat of a lot of birds such as Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Rainbow Lorikeet, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Western-crowned Pigeon, Lowland Peltop, Hooded Butcherbird, Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Red-bellied Pitta, Hooded Pitta, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Golden Oriole, and a lot more.
Birding in lower montane forest of Manokwari can be considered as an outdoor adventure trip. We stay in a basecamp the middle of the jungle. There is no guesthouse or hotel. There is no toilet eater. We use a stream that provides water for us to cook our food and clean our body. In the forest, we provide tents, cooking and eating utensils. To watch Lesser Birds of Paradise, we need to wake up early in the morning at 05.00. After having tea or coffee and some snacks, we will start walking to bird watching site which is approximately 10 minutes walk from basecamp. We can watch the birds for 2 or 3 hours and then continue our tour in the forest to watch King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius). Other birds such as Brown Cuckoo Dove, Super Bird of Paradise, Frilled Monarch, Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot, Rusty Pitohui can sometimes be seen in the same forest.

Birding in Raja Ampat Islands

I often travel to Raja Ampat to guide tourists. Our destination will be the tropical rainforest of Waigeo in the south or in the north of the island. The usual duration of the tour is 3-4 days and some times 1 week. The archipelago has got a lot of birding sites. The main targets in the list are Wilson's Bird of Paradise, Red Bird of Paradise, Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Great-billed Parrot, Yellow-faced Myna, Lowland Peltop, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Claret-breasted Fruit Dove, Beach Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Eastern Osprey, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Spice Imperial Pigeon, and a lot more.

watching birds in the sea of Kabui bay
Birding in a karst in Raja Ampat

While birding with tourists in Raja Ampat, I like to explore its karst to see its beautiful scenery and to watch its birds. Kabui bay is a great birding site. We can hop onto a beach and wait for the birds to come to the nearby trees or traveling into the karst formation and watch such birds as Striated Heron, White-breasted Woodswallow, Spangled Drongo, Whimbrel, Little-pied Cormorant, Radjah Shelduck, or Eastern Osprey. To explore this karst, we need a motorized outrigger boat or speed boat.