Saturday, August 15, 2020

Birds of Paradise in Arfak Range

Arfak mountains have been a must visit destination for birdwatchers and nature lovers for years. Before this Covid-19 pandemic hit the entire globe, I often organized birding tours for visitors to this mountain range.


Usually I started from Susnguakti which was the lower montane forest of Arfak. I and the tourists whom I guided spent 3 to 4 days in a simple base-camp.
Magnificent Riflebird
Magnificent Riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus)

We walked through the forest to watch Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, and Magnificent Riflebird, Glossy Manucode and a lot of other birds. Sometimes, we saw Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Imperial Pigeon, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Blyth's Hornbill, and Hooded Pitta.
Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)
Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)

While staying in Susnguakti forest, I often organized night walking tours in the forest to see cuscus possum, Papua dragon tree lizard, snakes, and various kinds of insects. Sometimes we were quite lucky and able to see Spot-winged Monarch and King Bird of Paradise sleeping on lower branches of trees.
King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius) from rainforest of West Papua
King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius)

This lower montane forest of Arfak range was also a great place to watch Hooded Butcherbird, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra and Yellow-billed Kingfisher.
After spending 3 - 4 days exploring the rainforest of Susnguakti forest, I and the visitors whom I guided continued our exploration of the birds of higher montane forest of Arfak mountains especially in Mokwam region. There were a few villages in Mokwam. We stayed in Lorikeet Guesthouse and did birding walks in the forest of Kwau village. There, we stayed for 4 days/ 3 nights to watch Magnificent Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes magnificus), Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata), Black Sicklebill, Long-tailed Paradigala, and  a lot more.
The ballerina bird - Western Parotia
Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata)

We also had the chance to watch a lot of birds other than paradise species such as Vogelkop Bowerbird, Black-breasted Boatbill, Papuan Flycatcher, Green-backed Robin, Vogelkop Melidectes, Mottled Berryhunter, Masked Bowerbird, Brehm's Tiger Parrot, Feline Owlet-nightjar and etc.
Magnificent Bird of Paradise (Dipyhllodes magnificus)
Magnificent Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes magnificus)

Indonesia government may open this country for foreign tourists next year. It will be a great opportunity for birdwatchers and other nature lovers to visit West Papua not only to see birds, wild animals and the ecosystem of rainforest as a whole but also to meet its friendly people and see their unique cultures.
I can be contacted by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.



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