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ULTIMATE PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Wednesday 30th May - Wednesday 20th June 2018

Dani Lopez-Velasco

Golden Masked Owl (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

Golden Masked Owl (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

Our first tour to Papua New Guinea –including New Britain- in 2018 was a great success and delivered a high number of quality birds. A total of 21 species of Birds-of-paradise (BoPs) - undoubtedly one of the most extraordinary, and “out of this world” bird families in the world-, were recorded, perhaps most memorable being a superb male Blue BoP, seen at close range near Kumul for as long as we wished. Just as impressive though were spectacular performances by displaying Raggiana and Greater BoPs in excellent light, stunning males King and Twelve-wired BoPs in the Kiunga area, a cracking adult male Growling Riflebird at Varirata, several amazing King-of-Saxony BoPs, waving their incredible head plumes like some strange insect antennae in the mossy forest of Tari Valley, great sightings of both Princess Stephanie´s and Ribbon-tailed Astrapias with their ridiculously long tail feathers, superb scope studies of Black –doing full display!- and Brown Sicklebills, uttering their machine-gun like calls, and so on. While Birds-of-paradise are certainly the signature family in PNG, there is of course plenty more besides, and this year the cracking and little-known Wallace´s Fairywren was awarded bird of the trip, ahead of BoPs, crowned pigeons and owlet-nightjars! We recorded a grand total of 33 species of pigeons and doves, -they reach their greatest diversity here in New Guinea, as do kingfishers-, including 11 Fruit Doves, and, during the extension, the rare Eastern Bronze Ground Dove. Skulking and always highly sought-after Blue, Chestnut-backed and Spotted Jewel-babblers showed well, with an amazing show provided by the former for some of the group, and we also saw no less than 18 species of Kingfishers, including the rare Shovel-billed Kookaburra and both Papuan and New Britain Dwarf Kingfishers. 31 Parrots and 35 Honeyeaters were good too. Another great success was seeing the 7 recognized New Guinea endemic families, with both Painted Berrypeckerss (Paramythiidae), Berrypeckers and Longbills (Melanocharitidae), both Satinbirds (Cnemophilidae), the monotypic Mottled Berryhunter (Rhagologidae), Lesser Melampitta (Melampittidae), the monotypic Wattled Ploughbill (Eulacestomatidae) and the monotypic Blue-capped Ifrit (Ifritidae), all seen very well, with particularly memorable sightings those of a pair of Mottled Berryhunters and Wattled Ploughbills in the highlands.

Wallace's Fairywren (Dani Lopez-Velasco)

Wallace's Fairywren (Dani Lopez-Velasco)