Recommended Birding Sites in West Papua

I have been guiding international birdwatchers on various birding trips in West Papua for years now. During those trips I saw various species of birds that are endemic to New Guinea island. There are several birding sites that I highly recommend to visitors:

tropical birds from rainforest of West Papua
Birds from Tropical Rainforest of West Papua.

Wondama Regency

The lowland and hill forests of Wondiboy nature reserve are the habitat of Blyth's Hornbill, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Rainbow Lorikeet, Spangled Drongo, Red Myzomella, Red-bellied Pitta, Hooded Pitta, Grey Crow, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Western-crowned Pigeon and a lot more.

Palm Cockatoo in rainforest of West Papua
Palm Cockatoo from rainforest of West Papua

Wondama has got beautiful beaches with pristine coral reef environment. There are various colorful fish such as Striped-surgeonfish, Convict Surgeonfish, Moorish Idol, Lemon Damsel, Humphead Wrasse, parrotfish and a lot more. Coral reef is "the rainforest of the sea". It has got very high marine biodiversity.

Wondama regency is located in West Papua province of Indonesia. More than half of its territory is now the National Park of Cendrawasih Bay. It can be reached by ferry boats or small passenger plane from Manokwari city (which is the capital of West Papua province).

Lowland Forest of Manokwari

There is a river in northwest region of Manokwari. Its name is Mesirrokow. It is covered by tropical rainforest that has become the natural habitat of a lot of species of birds such as eclectus parrot, sulphut crested cockatoo, palm cockatoo, blyth's hornbill, coconut lorikeet, yellow capped pygmy parrot, pink spotted fruit dove and many others.

European birdwatchers in rainforest of Manokwari
European tourists from Spain and France were watching birds of paradise in Suanguakti forest

Susnguakti Forest

There are paradise birds in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari. Some of them include: Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, and Magnificent Riflebird. Common Paradise Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Blyth's Hornbill, Hooded Butcherbird can also be seen in the forest. As a matter of fact, birds are not the only animals visitors can watch in the forest. There are also cuscus possum, Papuan dragon lizard, snakes, Large Ground Skink, bandicoot, and colorful butterflies, fireflies that could be watched in this lower montane forest of Arfak range. Tourists who want to go to this forest have to be physically fit.

Mount Soyti

This is a famous birding site in Arfak mountains. A lot of tourists go there to watch Birds of Paradise that live in higher montane and cloud forest areas such as Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Western Parotia, Black Sicklebill, Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise, Long-tailed Paradigala, and a lot of other endemic birds of Arfak mountains. There are good guesthouses such as Lorikeet guesthouse, as well as other ones in Syioubri village operated by Zeth Wonggor or another one in Mokwam village operated by local people.

Tambrauw Mountains

It is located between the regencies of Manokwari and Sorong. Most of the mountains are covered by pristine rainforest that is the natural habitat of a lot of species of tropical birds such as paradise birds, parrots, fruit doves, kingfishers, pigeons. The regency of Tambrauw can be reached through Manokwari city and Sorong city. Because the cost of traveling to Tambrauw mountains is expensive, I highly recommend that tourists come to this region in a group of at least 3, 4 or more people to share the cost.

Klasow Valley

This is the name of a huge valley in Sorong regency. Visitors can go to Klatomok village, Klalik village, and Malagufuk village to watch birds such as Cassowary, Hooded Butcherbird, Yellow-faced Myna, Golden Myna, Red-cheeked Parrot, Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, and etc. For those who cannot walk long distances, the recommended site will be Klatomok village. Cars can bring visitors from Sorong city directly to the village. There are homestays in Klatomok village where tourists can stay for several days or even a few weeks. The forest here is good not only for birding but also for wildlife watching. Insects, mammals, and reptiles can be seen in the forest of Klatomok village.

birdwatchers usually bring binoculars, laser pointer, spotting scope and digital camera
British tourists were watching birds in West Papua

Birding and Wildlife Watching Equipment

There are some equipment that visitors can bring in order to enhance their birding and wildlife watching experience. In general, birders bring binoculars. From my personal view, a pair of Swarovski EL 8.5×40 or Swarovski SLC 10×42 WB binoculars produces sharp and crisp images of birds, wild animals and unique wild flowers that we see through them. There are also Nikon Monarch 5 10×42, and the very affordable Visionking 10×42 mm binoculars.

Sometimes I see birders bring spotting scopes. I used to try a Swarovski ATX 30-70×95. It was a very powerful birding gear. However, it is also expensive.

How to get to these birding sites?

To reach this hill, read the following instructions:

If you still need detailed information about rainforest tours and birdwatching trips in Tambrauw, you can still contact me at e-mail address. I am sure that you will have a great adventure in West Papua's rainforest. written by Charles Roring