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ULTIMATE PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Friday 12th June - Thursday 2nd July 2015

Chris Kehoe

Stella's Lorikeet (tour participant Charles Davies)

Stella's Lorikeet (tour participant Charles Davies)

Our recent tour to Papua New Guinea produced an outstanding collection of often astonishing birds. As ever, Birds-of-Paradise (Bops) featured prominently and we encountered 21 species including such delights as displaying Twelve-wired and Greater Bops, scope views of male Queen Carola’s Parotias, King-of-Saxony, King, Blue and Magnificent Bops, stunning Ribbon-tailed Astrapias and both Brown and Black Sicklebills. However, it is a testament to the quality of the other birds that only two Bops made it into the top five birds of the trip, the stunning Southern Crowned Pigeon actually winning quite comfortably. After recent taxonomic adjustments New Guinea is now home to seven endemic families and we found representatives of each; of these the remarkable male Wattled Ploughbill took top billing but almost as popular were vivid Crested Satinbirds, radiant Blue-capped Ifrits and dapper Crested Berrypeckers. Amongst the numerous other highlights were day-glo Flame Bowerbirds, nine species of gorgeous Fruit Doves, both Forbes’s and Chestnut Forest Rails, Gurney’s Eagle, Papuan Eagle, Papuan Harrier, Barred Owlet-Nightjar and even a brief Southern Cassowary. An extension to New Britain gave us a fine selection of island endemics and Melanesian specialities with Black Honey Buzzard, White-mantled Kingfisher, Black-capped Paradise Kingfisher and New Britain Boobook especially notable. The weather during the tour was generally good and apart from a couple of modest flight delays the tour logistics ran very smoothly.

Brown Sicklebill (tour participant Jean Florent Mandelbaum)

Brown Sicklebill (tour participant Jean Florent Mandelbaum)