Tropical Birding Tours in West Papua

Birding sites in Arfak mountains
Arfak mountains in Manokwari
There are several sites in the rainforest of West Papua which I recommend for tourists who are interested in taking tropical birding tours. Some of them are listed below:

  • Susnguakti Forest - This lower montane area of Arfak mountains is the natural habitat of Lesser Birds of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, King Bird of Paradise, Hooded Pitta, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Papuan Dwarf Kingfisher, Hooked Bill Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Black-capped Lory, Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot, Northern Variable Pitohui, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Superb-Fruit Dove, Great-cuckoo Dove, and etc.
  • Mbenti Forest - This higher elevation forest of Arfak range is the usual site for watching Vogelkop Bowerbird, Black Sicklebill, Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Western Parotia, and Long-tailed Paradigalla. There are also a lot of other birds such as Vogelkop Melidectes, Hooded Pitohui, Ornate Melidectes, Black-breasted Boatbill, Mottled Berryhunter, Fan-tailed Berryhunter, Garnett Robin, Varied Sittella, Friendly Fantail, Papuan Flycatcher, Pygmy Drongo, Cinnamon Ground Dove, and a lot more. Most of the trails are steep. Visitors who want to go to this forest have to be physically fit. However, there are places where birding is easy. These places are unpaved roads that connect Mbenti and other villages around the area. Birding along the sides of these roads will open more chances for birders to see Plum-faced Lorikeet, Mountain Mouse Warbler, Vogelkop Whistler, Olive-crowned Flowerpecker, Green-backed Robin, Blue Grey Robin, Mountain Fruit Dove and Papua Mountain Pigeon. 
  • Ases Valley - This is  a remote but one of the best forests in Tambrauw mountains and a very nice place to watch birds that usually live in lower montane forest of West Papua. Some of them include New Guinea Vulturine Parrot, Palm Cockatoo, Coconut Lorikeet, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Little-pied Cormorant, Hooded Butcherbird, Spangled Drongo, Black-browed Triller, Papua Mountain Pigeon, Golden Monarch, Dollarbird, Grey Wagtail, Blyth's Hornbill, various species of paradise birds, and etc. Ases valley, located in the middle of Tambrauw mountains, is also a highly recommended site for watching wild animals such as Cuscus Possum, deer, wildboar, tree kangaroo, snake, soa-soa lizard, and even cassowary.
  • Syugrar Forest - This is another rainforest of Tambrauw that is very good for birding. Grey Crow, Moluccan King Parrot, King Bird of Paradise, Lesser Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Red-cheeked Parrot, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Rusty Pitohui, New Guinea Harpy Eagle, Papuan Blyth's Hornbill, Black Sunbird, Masked Bowerbird.
  • Sorong regency - There are a lot of birding sites in Sorong. A lot of lowland birds can be seen here including Blue-black Kingfisher, King Bird of Paradise, Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise, Shovel-billed Kingfisher, Lowland Peltop and a lot more.
  • Sarembon Forest - This forest is located in north-east region of Waigeo island. It is a nice place to watch Papuan Black Myzomela, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Hooded Butcherbird, Eclectus Parrot, Palm Cockatoo, Amboyna Cuckoo Dove, Shining Flycatcher. The coastal area is the place for watching Olive-backed Sunbird, Coconut Lorikeet, Beach-stone Curlew, Striated Heron, Wimbrel, Beach Kingfisher, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Bridled Tern, Lesser-crested Tern, Lesser Frigate Bird, Eastern Osprey, Radjah Shelduck and a lot more. 
  • Raja Ampat has got a lot of birding sites too including Saporkren, Warduwer beach, Kabui bay and Gam karst. There, we could see Great-billed Parrot, White-breasted Woodswallow, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Claret-breasted Fruit Dove, Spice Imperial Pigeon, Pied Imperial Pigeon, White- bellied Sea Eagle, Red-bird of Paradise, Wilson's Bird of Paradise, Eastern Reef Egret, Pacific Swallow, Stephans Emerald Dove, Moustached Treeswift, Sooty Tern, Mimic Meliphaga, Puff-back Meliphaga, and Dusky Scrubfowl.
Because I spend most of my guiding works in Raja Ampat and Sorong, I can guide tourists to these regencies. If you are interested in traveling to Raja Ampat and Sorong for birding, and want me to organize your trip, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Beautiful Fruit Dove

The first time I saw Beautiful Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus pulchellus) was in lowland forest of Manokwari in 2011. I was guiding 2 Dutch tourists - Thomas (father) and Sandra (daughter) at that time. A trap set-up by local hunters caught the bird. I asked them to release the bird after taking some pictures of the bird and checking its species name in field guide book Birds of New Guinea. 
Beautiful Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus pulchellus)
My first picture of Beautiful Fruit Dove

Birdwatching trip to Indonesia
Beautiful Fruit Dove in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat
Since then I have seen the bird in a lot of my birding trips from Manokwari to Tambrauw, Sorong and Raja Ampat. It is a small but very beautiful dove that likes to eat berry fruits. The first picture was taken from very close range using Nikon Coolpix P500 and the second one was made in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat using Canon 200D and Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens. The dove was in a branch of a tree several meters above my head.
Although point and shoot camera such as the Nikon P500 has got much smaller sensor, its zoom lens often can easily reach birds in distant branch of a tree. For a D-SLR cameras, they need expensive lens to reach the target bird. D-SLR cameras produce high quality photographs but if they cannot reach birds or other wild animals that are far from the photographers, they can be considered as useless.
The newest products of the super zoom camera at the moment are Nikon Coolpix P900, P1000 and Canon SX70HS. These are the types of cameras that are used by birdwatchers who do not want to carry heavy photographic devices.
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Birding in Susnguakti Forest with 2 French Tourists

I have just returned from Susnguakti forest this afternoon. I and some local villagers guided two French tourists on a 4 day/ 3 night hiking, camping, bird and wildlife tour. They were Geoffrey and Jessica. Susnguakti forest is a lower montane forest in the south of Manokwari city. We went hiking in the mornings and in the afternoons to find birds of paradise. They were able to watch Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, and Magnificent Riflebird.
Hiking, camping in Manokwari
Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)

Tropical Birding Tours in Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat islands are important destinations for tourists who like birdwatching. There are a lot of species of rainforest and sea birds that birdwatchers can see in the regency. From the most popular Wilson's Bird of Paradise and Red Bird Paradise to the beautiful singer Hooded Butcherbird, visitors can watch them when they travel across the big and small islands of Raja Ampat.
Wilson's Bird of Paradise

Mambruk Bird

Burung Mambruk is the common name of bird that people in West Papua use to refer to Crowned-Pigeon. In field guide book Birds of New Guinea by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce Beehler, there are 3 species of them, i.e. Western-crowned Pigeon, Victoria-crowned Pigeon and Southern-crowned Pigeon.
Bird tour in West Papua with Charles Roring
Western-crowned Pigeon shot by a friend of mine Kostan Magablo

Birding in Sonder of Minahasa

Sonder is a highland district in Minahasa. It has got tens of sites that are suitable for birdwatching. In the rice field, river banks, and ponds, we can see such birds as Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Sulawesi Crow, Black-headed Munia, Scaly-breasted Munia, Black-faced Munia, and Collared Kingfisher. When we walk through the alleyways of the small town that have got trees on both of their sides, we could see Sooty-headed Bulbul, Olive-back Sunbird, Grey-headed Imperial Pigeon, White-eyed Spangled Drongo, Sulawesi Spangled Drongo, and Crimson Sunbird and Grey-sided Flowerpecker.
I also explore the farmland and secondary forest of Sonder. There, I see Sulawesi Malkoha, Sulawesi Scops Owl, Black-naped Oriole and Pale Blue Monarch.
Birdwatching, sightseeing, cultural tour in Minahasa regency of North Sulawesi
Birdwatching in Kecamatan Sonder of Minahasa regency the Province of North Sulawesi