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ULTIMATE WEST PAPUA

Sunday 23rd June - Friday 19th July 2013

Mark Van Beirs

The best bird in the world? Wilson's Bird-of-Paradise (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

The best bird in the world? Wilson's Bird-of-Paradise (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

The bird of the trip on our recent West Papua tour was the stunning Wilson’s Bird of Paradise (maybe the best bird in the world?) and other close contenders included the mind-boggling Western Parotia, the brilliant Masked Bowerbird, the outstanding Macgregor’s Honeyeater (sadly not a bird of paradise anymore), the grotesque Victoria and Western Crowned Pigeons, the magnificent Numfor Paradise Kingfisher, the cracking Magnificent Bird of Paradise and the fabulous Feline Owlet Nightjar. The main attraction of this tour is the chance to get very close to some members of the most beautiful, spectacular and enigmatic bird family in the world: the Birds of Paradise (BoPs for the aficionados). The heartwarming display of several species was witnessed at minimal range. We also observed a great selection of kingfishers, pigeons and parrots. New Guinea is home to three endemic bird families: the berrypeckers, the painted berrypeckers and the satin birds as well as some strange creatures of ‘uncertain affinities’ such as the beautiful Blue-capped Ifrit, Wattled Ploughbill and the shy melampittas. We managed to see species of all these guilds on our wanderings. But, our West Papua tour is one of our toughest trips through a combination of some rather basic camping, several hard and long hikes on slippery, muddy and steep trails, hot and sticky or cold and damp weather, the potential for lots of rain and the sometimes shaky logistics. The birding can be extremely frustrating because of the many shy and skulking species. We birded a wide variety of habitats, including hot and sticky lowlands, montane grasslands and moss forests, primary forest on offshore islands and rich hill forest. Our international party of keen and intrepid birders recorded 334 species of birds and 10 mammals

MacGregor's Bird-of-Paradise (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

MacGregor's Bird-of-Paradise (Dani Lopez-Velasco)