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ULTIMATE PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Friday 22nd August - Thursday 11th September 2014

Chris Kehoe

Blue-capped Ifrit (Chris Kehoe)

Blue-capped Ifrit (Chris Kehoe)

For birders PNG is virtually synonymous with Birds-of-paradise (Bops) and our recent tour amassed a fantastic total of 22 species including such delights as Blue, King, Superb, Magnificent and King-of-Saxony Bops, Queen Carola’s and Lawes’s Parotias, Short-tailed Paradigallas and Princess Stephanie’s and Ribbon-tailed Astrapias, many showed extremely well including several that are often hard to get good views of such as Black Sicklebill and the rarely encountered Black-billed Sicklebill. PNG has many other avian marvels of course and with several species and groups recently elevated to family status the lure for family collectors is stronger than ever. We found representatives of each of the seven New Guinean endemic families, especially memorable being exceptional encounters with Blue-capped Ifrits and Wattled Ploughbill – both now placed in monotypic families. Especially notable too were a Barred Owlet-nightjar peering from its roost hole, Salvadori’s Teals, Papuan Harriers, Papuan Logrunners, Forbes’s Forest Rail and Lesser Melampitta right out in the open, amazing Southern Crested Pigeons and a wealth of Fruit-doves and parrots including great scope views of the amazing Pesquet’s (or Vulturine) Parrot. On the extension to New Britain we found a fine selection of the Bismarck specialities such as New Britain Boobook, White-mantled Kingfisher, Black-capped Paradise Kingfisher (two of 13 species of kingfishers seen on the tour) and Melanesian Megapodes. By PNG standards the tour logistics ran very smoothly, in particular there were no hiccups with flights. However, we did suffer more than our fair share of inclement weather with lots of rain and virtually no completely dry days; some mornings and afternoons (but thankfully never both on the same day) were completely rained off. Nevertheless, with patience and perseverance and a fair bit of shower dodging we managed to connect with a great many interesting and spectacular species. In fact the rainy conditions sometimes acted in our favour when, on several occasions, the rain stopped and there was a sudden flurry of bird activity.

Brown Sicklebill (Chris Kehoe)

Brown Sicklebill (Chris Kehoe)