17 - 31 July 2023
by Mark Van Beirs
The focus of this tour was the magical avifauna of the Vogelkop (the Bird’s Head), which constitutes the far western peninsula of the island of New Guinea. The main mountain range, the Arfaks, holds a magnificent range of superb endemics and the humid lowland forests are rich in localized goodies. Our adventure ended on the Rajah Ampat island of Waigeo, where we looked for its two endemic Birds-of-paradise next to a good variety of specialities. The bird of the tour was the gaudy Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise, which we were able to admire in detail at its dance court, where two males and two females showed extremely well. Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise definitely is one of those must see birds and surely ranks amongst the best birds in the world. The exquisite Western Crowned Pigeon was another favourite that allowed perfect scope views. We were also lucky enough to be able to admire the fabulous dervish dance of a male Western Parotia and the extraordinary display of both Magnificent and Lesser Birds-of-paradise. Another much-wanted bird was the more modestly-plumaged Mottled Berryhunter, mainly because of its unique family status.
The group got together in the early afternoon at a hotel in the seaside town of Manokwari, where we were welcomed by old and dear friends, who we knew, would take very good care of us. After an introductory lunch we were on our way into the famous Arfak Mountains. We soon arrived at our mid-mountain accommodation in a modest village, got organised and started birding along the nearby road. We picked up Papuan Mountain Pigeon, Black-billed Cuckoo Dove, Mountain Swiftlet and Red Myzomela, but then it started to rain, a not uncommon occurrence here.
Before dusk we were already sitting in a spacious hide overlooking the dance court of a male Western Parotia. We didn’t have to wait very long till he started to clean his display area by tossing leaves away and not much later we were able to admire his fantastic dance as a couple of females came to inspect his performance. What an incredible show. The total change from a “normal” bird into a cape-wearing, head-tossing dervish dancer must be one of the most amazing display performances in the bird world. A Cinnamon Ground Dove was glimpsed and a Green-backed Robin gave excellent views. Our slow return walk through the montane forest produced a female Mountain (White-bibbed) Fruit Dove on its nest, Friendly and Black Fantails, Vogelkop Scrubwren, Slaty Robin and two extraordinary bowers of the Vogelkop Bowerbird. In the afternoon we first had a look at a Mountain Owlet Nightjar which had been found on its roost. Another fabulous bird. Afterwards we went into two different hides to admire the antics of Magnificent Birds of Paradise and we were not disappointed as the males cleared their courts and showed off very nicely. Yet another cracker of a bird. Both Green-backed and White-faced Robins visited the court too. The rain then started, so we had to call it a day.
The following morning started with a lovely White-eared Bronze Cuckoo that Shita had found sleeping under the roof of the kitchen. After a terrific breakfast we were picked up by our Syaubri vehicle and were dropped off at Zeth’s guesthouse. Soon we started our walk up to the higher reaches, first through gardens, and then through beautiful mid-montane and splendid cloud forest. Regular stops on the way gave us excellent looks at a very localized Long-tailed Paradigalla feeding in a fruiting tree. This rarely-observed bird-of-paradise is one of the jewels of the Arfak mountains. We also picked up Arfak Honeyeater, Grey-green Scrubwren, Lesser Ground Robin and Capped White-eye. We arrived at the German camp in late morning where Zeth, the famous local, eagle-eyed guide, welcomed us. We got organised in the spacious hut, where we would spend the night. In the afternoon we explored the surroundings and found goodies like Papuan Treecreeper, Rufous-sided Honeyeater, Mountain and Red-collared Myzomelas, Mid-mountain Berrypecker and Black-breasted Boatbill. We heard the distinctive call of a male Black Sicklebill and after a bit of cross forest walking, we obtained fair views of this large and impressive Bird of Paradise. A session in a hide at the marvellous bower of a Vogelkop Bowerbird didn’t produce anything.
Early next morning we were already sitting in a hide overlooking the display stub of a male Black Sicklebill, but sadly nothing happened. The bird was calling in the distance, so we walked up to a viewpoint at higher altitude, where we spent a delightful three hours surrounded by marvels like Rufescent Imperial Pigeon, Papuan Mountain Pigeon, Tit Berrypecker, Mountain Peltops, Regent Whistler and Smoky and Garnet Robins. The highlights were the gorgeous Arfak Astrapias that foraged high in the canopy and the magnificent Black Sicklebills that inspected mossy growths in the crown of the forest giants. We played a bit with a Spotted Jewel-babbler, which showed all too briefly. After a sober lunch we made our way down the mountain and found Brehm’s Tiger Parrot, Yellow-billed Lorikeet, Sclater’s Whistler and the much-wanted Mottled Berryhunter. We arrived in late afternoon at our guesthouse.
Another morning in the mid-montane forest gave us much better looks at up to four Mottled Berryhunters and another Long-tailed Paradigalla. A female Arfak Astrapia was a nice surprise and a female Crescent-caped Lophorina visited a fruiting tree. We also found Orange-crowned Fairywren, Vogelkop Scrubwren and Island Leaf Warbler. We then said goodbye to Zeth’s valley and drove to our base in Minggre where a fantastic lunch was very much appreciated. In the afternoon we made our way deeper into the Arfak Mountains and visited the Anggi Lakes where we connected with the lovely, very localized Grey-banded Mannikins. This Arfak endemic showed beautifully in the scope along the edge of the track while a couple of Brown-breasted Gerygones were feeding nearby. At the lake itself we observed Pacific Black Duck, Tricolored Grebe, Brahminy Kite and Australian Reed Warbler.
Next morning, before dawn we were already sitting cosily in a hide overlooking a display log of a Crescent-caped Lophorina (ex Superb Bird-of-paradise). We didn’t have to wait long till the male showed himself in full glory as he danced for a visiting female. Great stuff. We then moved to a hide at the bower of a Vogelkop Bowerbird and within minutes of arriving the modestly-plumaged bird was already busy organizing his amazing collection of plastic cutlery, which he had obviously nicked from the nearby village. Cups, plates and toys were wonderfully positioned in a for him pleasing way. How utterly marvellous. Our walk through the mid-montane forest also yielded Vogelkop Whistler and a nice cooperative Ashy Robin. A quick visit to the hide overlooking a feeder offering fruit gave us excellent views of a cracking female Western Parotia. In the afternoon we walked along the road, but after a short time the heavens opened up and the rain didn’t stop till the evening. A short nightwalk was sabotaged by the continuous dripping.
A dawn hide session at another fruit feeding station at lower altitude produced excellent views of a female Crescent-caped Lophorina, a female Pacific Koel and a female Lesser Bird-of-paradise. On our walk through the forest, we played with White-striped Forest Rail and obtained very nice views of this very localized endemic. Yellow-bellied Longbill, Black-bellied Cuckooshrike, Drongo Fantail and Black Monarch were also noted. We spent the late morning and a good part of the afternoon at different viewpoints overlooking the forested slopes of the mid altitude Arfaks, where the highlight was without a doubt a cracking male Masked Bowerbird. He was a bit distant, but the scope views were really good. Yet another exquisite species! Other birds that showed included Blyth’s Hornbill, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Papuan Lorikeet, White-shouldered Fairywren, the lovely Goldenface, Hooded Pitohui and Black-fronted White-eye.
A predawn owling session sadly didn’t produce anything because of high winds. We then spent an enjoyable hour in a hide watching the action at a ripe pandanus fruit. Females of Western Parotia and Crescent-caped Lophorina came in regularly to pick morsels while a Black-billed Sicklebill was calling in the canopy above us. Suddenly a spectacular female Black Sicklebill stole the show as she sat for minutes in full view. A Lesser Ground Robin and a Spotted Jewel-babbler obliged all too briefly and an Ashy Robin showed beautifully. It was time to leave the hospitality of Minggre, so we packed up, took photos, said our goodbyes and drove slowly towards Manokwari. We made several stops and added Dwarf Koel, Dwarf Fruit Dove, Pygmy Eagle, Tawny-breasted Honeyeater, Fairy Gerygone, Boyer’s Cuckooshrike, Black-browed Triller, Northern Variable Pitohui, Black-winged Monarch, Olive-crowned Flowerpecker and Olive-backed Sunbird to the list. In mid-afternoon we arrived at our hotel for a major clean up session and some well-deserved Häagen-Dazs icecream.
A smooth flight took us to Sorong, the hub of the northwest corner of the Vogelkop Peninsula. We then drove to a nice stretch of lowland rainforest where it only took a few minutes to get to grips with the once virtually unknown Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher. We obtained excellent, prolonged scope views of two birds only a short distance away. Magical moments. A Black Thicket Fantail also showed quite well here. And then it was time to walk to our base at Malagufuk. Since my last visit a beautiful boardwalk has been built, so the walk was a doddle. We connected with several species like Oriental Dollarbird, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Papuan Eclectus, Red-cheeked Parrot, Grey-headed Cuckooshrike and Spangled Drongo. François was lucky enough to find a New Guinea Bronzewing, but it got away before any of us could get on it. A trio of very localized Black Lories performed well in the canopy of a forest giant. But best of all was a gorgeous Wallace’s Owlet-nightjar that our local guides showed us roosting in a broken off tree stump. Another great and much appreciated bird. We spent the final hour of the day around the village clearing where Purple-tailed Imperial, Pinon’s Imperial and Zoe’s Imperial Pigeons, Coconut Lorikeet, Brown Oriole, Metallic Starling and Golden Myna showed. The final bird of the day was a cracking Papuan Frogmouth that responded very well to the tape.
Long before dawn we started walking as we wanted to be at the display spire of a male Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradise at the right moment. We arrived a little early and a Marbled Frogmouth was calling above us, so we encouraged it a little and soon had cracking looks at this strange species. Minutes after the sun was struggling with the horizon the male Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradise appeared and started calling while hopping about on his spire. As the light got better, we were able to discern the 12 thin wires and the lovely butter yellow colour of his belly. After this excellent experience we walked further inland and stood under the display trees of several male Lesser Birds-of-paradise, which we also admired at length. Females visited on a regular basis, so the males were really showing off. We then slowly returned to base picking up goodies like Wompoo Fruit Dove, Zoe Imperial Pigeon, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Papuan Dwarf Kingfisher, Arafura Shrikethrush, Frilled Monarch, Shining Flycatcher, Trumpet Manucode (glimpse), Black-sided Robin and Yellow-faced Myna. Best of all was a fantastic male Blue-black Kingfisher that allowed perfect scope views, although the cooperative Papuan Pitta was also much appreciated. We regularly encountered the dinosaur-like footprints and droppings of Northern Cassowaries. In the afternoon we visited a display tree of a male King Bird-of-paradise and obtained fair views of this colourful species as it hopped about in the dense subcanopy. Scope views of a gorgeous Common Paradise Kingfisher were good fun and at dusk a Papuan Nightjar showed briefly.
The one bird-of-paradise that we were still missing was the Magnificent Riflebird. We had heard its far carrying calls on a regular basis but hadn’t seen the bird yet. Before dawn we walked to a known display vine, but the bird was only seen swooshing over us, sadly. A Hooded Pitta gave good looks and a Red-billed Brushturkey was glimpsed. A bit of scanning in the clearing gave us a pair of colourful Large Fig Parrots and two Channel-billed Cuckoos. Then it was time to pack and walk slowly back along the nice boardwalk to the trailhead. We saw Black-capped Lory, Moluccan King Parrot, Black Cicadabird, Northern Fantail and a flyby Glossy-mantled Manucode. We said goodbye to our eagle-eyed guides and drove straight to the ferry in the harbour of Sorong. A Long-tailed Honey Buzzard was noted on the drive. The more than two-hour boat trip gave us a variety of seabirds, including Great Crested, Bridled, Black-naped and Common Terns, Lesser Frigatebirds and an Osprey. Upon arrival at the island of Waigeo, we transferred to our dive resort. A short stop on the way gave us a displaying trio of marvellous Beach Kingfishers and also Moustached Treeswift, Pacific Golden Plover, Grey-tailed Tattler, Striated Heron, a flyby Palm Cockatoo, White-breasted Woodswallow, Pacific Swallow and Singing Starling.
Before walking up to the display area of the Red Bird-of-paradise we tried to find a Papuan Boobook, but we didn’t get any response. At the display trees of our target, it was blowing a minor gale, so the males Red Birds-of-paradise were calling from within dense vegetation lower down and only occasionally ventured up higher in the trees to show off. We did obtain good views through the scope but would have liked to see a bit more action. A short drive later found us at a hide overlooking the display court of a Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise. He was calling high up in a neighbouring tree but wouldn’t show. After a couple of hours, we changed hide and there, within minutes, we could admire one of the most amazing birds of the world in all his glory. The male Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise is a truly magnificent species and to be able to observe it at such close quarters was a unique experience. Pure magic and lots of smiling faces. A Brown-headed Crow flew over when we came out of the forest. In late morning we boarded a small boat and made our way to one of the small islets situated to the southwest of Waigeo. Not much was moving at sea, and we got a bit wet, but once on land we amassed a nice list of specialities. Several Moluccan Starlings were foraging in the casuarinas, Spice Imperial Pigeons were calling from the treetops, a Sacred Kingfisher posed, a pair of Violet-necked Lories obliged, several Island Whistlers showed and Arafura Fantails flitted about in the beach vegetation. An impressive White-bellied Sea Eagle flew over. Once inside the forest we found Lemon-bellied White-eyes and Moluccan Fruit Doves (a split in the White-bibbed Fruit Dove complex). A rare Great-billed Parrot screeched overhead and unobtrusive Olive Honeyeaters were feeding in the flowers of a Cocos Palm. Another island gave us several Varied Honeyeaters and hundreds of Great Flying Foxes. At sea we found an amazing gathering of at least 120 Lesser Frigatebirds, with several Great Frigatebirds hiding amongst them.
The day started with a fabulous performance of two male Wilson’s Birds-of-paradise vying for the attention of a couple of females. They sure did their best to show off and to outdo each other. It is not unusual to find two males Wilson’s BoPs at the same dance court. A terrific experience. We then wandered through the forest trying to track down some of the remaining goodies. We connected with Rajah Ampat Pitohui, saw Waigeo Shrikethrush and Yellow-bellied Gerygone and hawk-eyed Martine found a perched Hook-billed Kingfisher that offered scope views. In the afternoon we returned to the forest and concentrated on finding the much-wanted Western Crowned Pigeon. Our team did a lot of checking of suitable forest patches, but couldn’t find anything, so, in the end we decided to just walk the old logging road and keep our fingers crossed and our eyes open. It took quite a while and then suddenly we heard the distinctive, loud wing slaps as a bird flushed from the forest floor. It didn’t take long to find the bird on a mid-canopy branch and the resulting scope views were splendid. A truly mega bird. After this success, we waited till dusk and fairly soon had good looks at a Papuan Boobook high in the canopy of a forest giant. Upon arriving at the dive resort, we saw a Northern Common Cuscus walking on a utility wire, allowing nice views.
On the final morning of the tour, we stayed in the resort area, which gave us excellent views over the nearby forest, coastline and sea. We finally obtained outstanding looks at a magnificent Palm Cockatoo, both in flight and perched. Several Spice Imperial Pigeons sat up and White-bellied Sea Eagles and Eastern Ospreys patrolled the waters. At least 20 Dollarbirds were busily catching insects just after dawn. Two scarce Great-billed Parrots screeched past and a couple of Glossy-mantled Manucode perched up for nice scope views. We also noted Great Cuckoo-Dove, Claret-breasted Fruit Dove (glimpses only), Pied Imperial Pigeons, Brown Noddy and a pair of Violet-necked Lories. After an early lunch we made our way to the harbour, picking up several smart Moustached Treeswifts, Little Bronze Cuckoo, Little Egret and a Grey-headed Goshawk for the first vehicle. We boarded the ferry and were able to position ourselves strategically. The sea was almost like a mirror which allowed us to get good looks at, at least, 16 Matsudaira’s Storm Petrels next to regular fare like Great Crested and Black-naped Terns. In late afternoon we arrived in the harbour of Sorong where the tour ended.
SYSTEMATIC LIST OF SPECIES RECORDED
Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa
Red-billed Brushturkey ◊ Talegalla cuvieri Glimpsed and heard at Malagufuk. Endemic to West Papua.
Dusky Megapode ◊ (B Scrubfowl) Megapodius freycinet Heard-only
Papuan Nightjar ◊ Eurostopodus papuensis Brief looks at Malagufuk.
Marbled Frogmouth ◊ Podargus ocellatus Perfect views at Malagufuk.
Papuan Frogmouth ◊ Podargus papuensis Scope views at Malagufuk.
Wallace’s Owlet-nightjar ◊ Aegotheles wallacii Outstanding scope looks at Malagufuk.
Mountain Owlet-nightjar ◊ Aegotheles albertisi Great looks on its day roost in the Arfaks.
Moustached Treeswift ◊ Hemiprocne mystacea
Glossy Swiftlet (White-bellied S) Collocalia esculenta
Mountain Swiftlet ◊ Aerodramus hirundinaceus
Uniform Swiftlet Aerodramus vanikorensis
Ivory-billed Coucal ◊ (Greater Black C) Centropus menbeki Heard only
Black-billed Coucal ◊ (Lesser Black C) Centropus bernsteini Heard only
Dwarf Koel ◊ (Black-capped Koel) Microdynamis parva Nice scope views in the Arfak foothills.
Pacific Koel ◊ Eudynamys orientalis A female showed well at a feeder in the Arfak Mountains.
Channel-billed Cuckoo ◊ Scythrops novaehollandiae Two were seen in flight at Malagufuk.
White-eared Bronze Cuckoo ◊ Chrysococcyx meyerii Good looks at a roosting bird in the Arfaks.
Little Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus
White-crowned Cuckoo ◊ (W-c Koel) Cacomantis leucolophus Heard only
Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo ◊ Cacomantis castaneiventris Heard only
Brush Cuckoo Cacomantis variolosus
Sultan’s Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia doreya
Bar-tailed Cuckoo-Dove ◊ (Black-billed C-d) Macropygia nigrirostris
Great Cuckoo-Dove ◊ Reinwardtoena reinwardti
Stephan’s Emerald Dove Chalcophaps stephani
New Guinea Bronzewing ◊ Henicophaps albifrons Non leader. François had nice looks at one at Malagufuk.
Cinnamon Ground Dove ◊ Gallicolumba rufigula One showed briefly at the dance court of the Western Parotia in the Arfaks.
Pheasant Pigeon ◊ (Green-naped P P) Otidiphaps [nobilis] nobilis Heard only.
Western Crowned Pigeon ◊ Goura cristata Perfect scope views of this beauty on the island of Waigeo. Endemic to West Papua.
Wompoo Fruit Dove ◊ Ptilinopus magnificus
White-bibbed Fruit Dove ◊ (Moluccan F D) Ptilinopus [rivoli] prasinorrhous Good looks at male and female on an islet near Waigeo.
White-bibbed Fruit Dove ◊ (Mountain F D) Ptilinopus [rivoli] bellus
Claret-breasted Fruit Dove ◊ Ptilinopus viridis
Orange-bellied Fruit Dove ◊ Ptilinopus iozonus
Dwarf Fruit Dove ◊ Ptilinopus nainus
Spice Imperial Pigeon ◊ Ducula myristicivora Good looks at this speciality on Waigeo.
Purple-tailed Imperial Pigeon ◊ Ducula rufigaster All too brief looks at Malagufuk.
Rufescent Imperial Pigeon ◊ Ducula chalconota Scope views high up in the Arfaks.
Pinon’s Imperial Pigeon ◊ Ducula pinon
Zoe’s Imperial Pigeon ◊ Ducula zoeae
Pied Imperial Pigeon ◊ Ducula bicolor
Papuan Mountain Pigeon ◊ (Bare-eyed M-P) Gymnophaps albertisii
White-striped Forest Rail ◊ Rallicula leucospila Excellent views of a male in the Arfaks. Endemic to the Vogelkop.
Pale-vented Bush-hen ◊ (Rufous-tailed B) Amaurornis moluccana Heard only
Tricolored Grebe Tachybaptus tricolor Nice looks at one at the Anggi Lakes.
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva
Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes
Brown Noddy Anous stolidus
Greater Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii
Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus
Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana
Common Tern (Eastern C T) Sterna [hirundo] longipennis
Matsudaira’s Storm Petrel ◊ Hydrobates matsudairae 16 were seen from the ferry which took us from Waigeo to Sorong. Several showed very well.
Great Frigatebird Fregata minor At least two amongst many Lesser Frigatebirds off Waigeo.
Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel Common in the Waigeo area.
Striated Heron (Little H) Butorides striata
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Osprey (Eastern O) Pandion [haliaetus] cristatus Several showed well on Waigeo.
Long-tailed Honey Buzzard ◊ (L-t Buzzard) Henicopernis longicauda
Pygmy Eagle ◊ (Little E) Hieraaetus weiskei Good looks in the Arfak foothills.
Variable Goshawk ◊ (Varied G) Accipiter hiogaster
Grey-headed Goshawk ◊ Accipiter poliocephalus
Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus
White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster Several showed well along the Waigeo coast.
Greater Sooty Owl ◊ Tyto tenebricosa Heard only
Papuan Boobook ◊ Ninox theomacha
Blyth’s Hornbill ◊ (Papuan H) Rhyticeros plicatus
Oriental Dollarbird (Common D) Eurystomus orientalis
Hook-billed Kingfisher ◊ Melidora macrorrhina Scope views of this often devilishly hard to see bird on Waigeo.
Common Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera galatea Scope views at Malagufuk.
Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher ◊ Tanysiptera nympha One of the prizes of this tour!! Perfect scope views in lowland forest near Sorong.
Rufous-bellied Kookaburra ◊ Dacelo gaudichaud Regular sightings of this beauty.
Blue-black Kingfisher ◊ (Black-sided K) Todiramphus nigrocyaneus Another mega bird that showed perfectly in the scope at Malagufuk.
Beach Kingfisher ◊ Todiramphus saurophagus Regular observations on Waigeo.
Sacred Kingfisher Todiramphus sanctus
Yellow-billed Kingfisher ◊ Syma torotoro Nice looks at Malagufuk. Often heard.
Papuan Dwarf Kingfisher ◊ Ceyx solitarius
Palm Cockatoo ◊ Probosciger aterrimus This impressive species showed very well on Waigeo.
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita
Pesquet’s Parrot ◊ (Vulturine P) Psittrichas fulgidus Flight views in the Arfak foothills.
Moluccan King Parrot ◊ Alisterus amboinensis
Papuan Eclectus ◊ Eclectus polychloros
Red-cheeked Parrot ◊ Geoffroyus geoffroyi
Great-billed Parrot ◊ Tanygnathus megalorynchos Three sightings of this increasingly rare species on Waigeo.
Brehm’s Tiger Parrot ◊ Psittacella brehmii A gaudy male showed very well high up in the Arfaks.
Modest Tiger Parrot ◊ Psittacella modesta Non leader. Martine saw one in the Arfaks.
Papuan Lorikeet ◊ Charmosyna papou
Yellow-billed Lorikeet ◊ Neopsittacus musschenbroekii
Black-capped Lory ◊ (Western B-c L) Lorius lory
Black Lory ◊ Chalcopsitta atra Three birds were scoped at Malagufuk. A West Papuan endemic.
Violet-necked Lory ◊ Eos squamata Nice sightings on Waigeo and on a neighbouring islet.
Coconut Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus
Large Fig Parrot ◊ Psittaculirostris desmarestii A pair showed beautifully at a nest hole at Malagufuk.
Papuan Pitta ◊ Erythropitta [macklotii] macklotii Scope views of this beauty at Malagufuk.
Hooded Pitta ◊ (Papuan H P) Pitta [sordida] novaeguineae Fair looks at Malagufuk.
Arfak Catbird ◊ Ailuroedus arfakianus Heard only. A West Papua endemic.
Vogelkop Bowerbird ◊ Amblyornis inornata Fantastic views of this West Papua endemic at its amazing bower high up in the Arfak Mountains.
Masked Bowerbird ◊ Sericulus aureus Scope views of a fairly distant male in the Arfak foothills. A gorgeous species.
Papuan Treecreeper ◊ Cormobates placens Regular observations in the Arfaks.
White-shouldered Fairywren ◊ Malurus alboscapulatus
Orange-crowned Fairywren ◊ Clytomyias insignis Brief looks at this skulker in the Arfaks.
Rufous-sided Honeyeater ◊ Ptiloprora erythropleura Endemic to West Papua. Regular in the Arfaks.
Arfak Honeyeater ◊ (Western Smoky H) Melipotes gymnops Endemic to West Papua. Regular nice observations.
Marbled Honeyeater ◊ Pycnopygius cinereus Heard only
Streak-headed Honeyeater ◊ Pycnopygius stictocephalus
Ruby-throated Myzomela ◊ (Red-t M) Myzomela eques
Red Myzomela ◊ Myzomela cruentata
Mountain Myzomela ◊ (Mountain Red-headed M) Myzomela adolphinae
Red-collared Myzomela ◊ Myzomela rosenbergii
Meyer’s Friarbird ◊ Philemon meyeri
New Guinea Friarbird ◊ Philemon novaeguineae
Tawny-breasted Honeyeater ◊ Xanthotis flaviventer
Olive Honeyeater ◊ Lichmera argentauris Several showed well on an islet off Waigeo.
Puff-backed Honeyeater ◊ (P-b Meliphaga) Meliphaga aruensis
Mountain Honeyeater ◊ (M Meliphaga) Microptilotis orientalis Heard only
Mimic Honeyeater ◊ (M Meliphaga) Microptilotis analogus Heard only
Varied Honeyeater Gavicalis versicolor Good views on an islet off Waigeo.
Vogelkop Melidectes ◊ Melidectes leucostephes Heard only. Endemic to West Papua.
Ornate Melidectes ◊ Melidectes torquatus Heard only
Goldenface ◊ (Dwarf Whistler, Pachycare) Pachycare flavogriseum
Rusty Mouse-warbler ◊ Origma murina
Vogelkop Scrubwren ◊ Aethomyias rufescens Several nice observations in the Arfaks. A West Papua endemic.
Grey-green Scrubwren ◊ Aethomyias arfakianus
Brown-breasted Gerygone ◊ Gerygone ruficollis
Yellow-bellied Gerygone ◊ Gerygone chrysogaster
Green-backed Gerygone ◊ Gerygone chloronota Heard only
Fairy Gerygone ◊ Gerygone palpebrosa
Mid-mountain Berrypecker ◊ Melanocharis longicauda Nice looks in a fruiting tree in the Arfak Mountains.
Yellow-bellied Longbill ◊ Toxorhamphus novaeguineae
Tit Berrypecker ◊ Oreocharis arfaki A male showed very well in the Arfak Mountains.
Spotted Jewel-babbler ◊ Ptilorrhoa leucosticta Brief looks at two high up in the Arfak Mountains.
Blue Jewel-babbler ◊ Ptilorrhoa caerulescens Heard only
Chestnut-backed Jewel-babbler ◊ Ptilorrhoa castanota Heard only
Black-breasted Boatbill ◊ Machaerirhynchus nigripectus Repeated good looks in the montane forests of the Arfak Mountains.
White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorynchus
Mountain Peltops ◊ Peltops montanus A few in the Arfak Mountains. Always nice.
Black Butcherbird ◊ Melloria quoyi Heard only.
Hooded Butcherbird ◊ Cracticus cassicus
Mottled Berryhunter ◊ Rhagologus leucostigma An important bird for the family hunters! Excellent looks at several foraging birds in a fruiting tree in the mid montane forest of the Arfak Mountains.
Boyer’s Cuckooshrike ◊ Coracina boyeri
Black-bellied Cuckooshrike ◊ Edolisoma montanum
Grey-headed Cuckooshrike ◊ Edolisoma schisticeps
Black Cicadabird ◊ Edolisoma melas
Black-browed Triller ◊ Lalage atrovirens
Rufous-naped Bellbird ◊ Aleadryas rufinucha Heard only
Black Pitohui ◊ Melanorectes nigrescens Heard only
Island Whistler ◊ Pachycephala phaionota Excellent looks at several on an islet off Waigeo.
Vogelkop Whistler ◊ Pachycephala meyeri Several sightings. A West Papua endemic.
Sclater’s Whistler ◊ (Hill Golden W) Pachycephala soror Seen well in the Arfak Mountains.
Regent Whistler ◊ Pachycephala schlegelii Super looks at this smart species in the Arfak Mountains.
Rusty Pitohui ◊ Pseudorectes ferrugineus Heard only
Arafura Shrikethrush ◊ Colluricincla megarhyncha Good looks in the forest at Malagufuk.
Waigeo Shrikethrush ◊ Colluricincla affinis Seen well in the forest on Waigeo. A West Papua endemic.
Northern Variable Pitohui ◊ Pitohui kirhocephalus Nice looks at Malagufuk. This is one of those famous poisonous birds, whose feathers and skin contain homobatrachotoxin, a powerful poison of the batrachotoxin group. These poisons were previously considered to be restricted to neotropical poison-dart frogs of the genus Phyllobates. However, it seems (inexplicably) that not all individuals or indeed populations of pitohuis are poisonous and the reason for the presence of these toxins has not yet been discovered.
Raja Ampat Pitohui ◊ Pitohui cerviniventris Nice views of several on Waigeo. Another poisonous bird and a West Papua endemic.
Hooded Pitohui ◊ Pitohui dichrous Several good observations in the lower Arfak Mountains.
Brown Oriole ◊ Oriolus szalayi Regular observations.
Spangled Drongo Dicrurus bracteatus
Willie Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys
Northern Fantail ◊ Rhipidura rufiventris
Black Thicket Fantail ◊ Rhipidura maculipectus One showed well at the Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher site.
Black Fantail ◊ Rhipidura atra
Chestnut-bellied Fantail ◊ Rhipidura hyperythra Heard only
Friendly Fantail ◊ Rhipidura albolimbata
Arafura Fantail ◊ Rhipidura dryas
Drongo Fantail ◊ (Pygmy Drongo, Mountain D) Chaetorhynchus papuensis Seen and heard in the lower montane forest of the Arfak Mountains.
Black Monarch ◊ Symposiachrus axillaris
Black-winged Monarch ◊ Monarcha frater
Golden Monarch ◊ Carterornis chrysomela
Frilled Monarch ◊ Arses telescopthalmus Regular good looks at Malagufuk and on Waigeo.
Shining Flycatcher (S Monarch) Myiagra alecto
Brown-headed Crow ◊ Corvus fuscicapillus Several observations of this very localized species on Waigeo.
Grey Crow ◊ (Bare-eyed C) Corvus tristis
Torresian Crow (Australian C) Corvus orru
Glossy-mantled Manucode ◊ Manucodia ater Scope views on Waigeo and also seen at Malagufuk.
Trumpet Manucode ◊ Phonygammus keraudrenii Glimpsed and heard at Malagufuk.
Long-tailed Paradigalla ◊ Paradigalla carunculata Several very nice encounters in the Arfak Mountains. A rarely observed, localized West Papua endemic.
Arfak Astrapia ◊ Astrapia nigra Good looks at male and female in the higher reaches of the Arfak Mountains. Endemic to West Papua.
Western Parotia ◊ Parotia sefilata The fantastic performance of a dancing male was one of the highlights of this tour. Another West Papua endemic.
Crescent-caped Lophorina ◊ Lophorina niedda We were able to witness the unique display of this recent split in the Superb Bird-of-paradise complex. Endemic to West Papua.
Magnificent Riflebird ◊ Ptiloris magnificus Seen and regularly heard at Malagufuk. Sadly, no display was observed.
Black Sicklebill ◊ Epimachus fastosus Excellent looks at male and female in the higher reaches of the Arfak Mountains.
Black-billed Sicklebill ◊ (Buff-tailed S) Drepanornis albertisi Heard only
Magnificent Bird-of-paradise ◊ Diphyllodes magnificus Mega looks at two males on their display courts in the Arfak Mountains.
Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise ◊ Diphyllodes respublica The bird of the trip!!! Outstanding views of displaying males at their court in the forest on Waigeo. The scientific epithet refers to the “republic”. In naming this species Prince Bonaparte expressed his disenchantment with the French republic, ensuring that since there could not be a paradisean republic, there should at least be a republican bird of paradise. Endemic to West Papua.
King Bird-of-paradise ◊ Cicinnurus regius Good looks, eventually, at this tiny bird-of-paradise in the forest at Malagufuk.
Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradise ◊ Seleucidis melanoleucus Terrific scope views of a male on his display spire at Malagufuk.
Lesser Bird-of-paradise ◊ Paradisaea minor We were able to witness some very nice display at Malagufuk. Several males and females gave an excellent performance.
Red Bird-of-paradise ◊ Paradisaea rubra Nice views of several males in the forest on Waigeo, but because of high winds the birds didn’t really display, sadly. Endemic to West Papua.
White-faced Robin ◊ Tregellasia leucops Seen well in the lower reaches of the Arfak Mountains.
Smoky Robin ◊ Peneothello cryptoleuca Cracking views of this West Papuan endemic high up in the Arfak Mountains.
Slaty Robin ◊ (Blue-grey R) Peneothello cyanus A couple of very nice sightings in the Arfak Mountains. A regularly heard voice.
Black-sided Robin ◊ Poecilodryas hypoleuca Perfect looks at several in the lowland forest at Malagufuk.
Black-throated Robin ◊ Plesiodryas albonotata Heard only
Ashy Robin ◊ Heteromyias albispecularis Very good looks in the cloud forest of the Arfaks. The Central ranges population is now usually split off as a separate species: Black-capped Robin H. armiti. A West Papuan endemic.
Garnet Robin ◊ Eugerygone rubra Frustrating looks at a male high in the canopy in the Arfak Mountains.
Green-backed Robin ◊ Pachycephalopsis hattamensis Repeated excellent views in the Arfak Mountains.
Lesser Ground Robin ◊ Amalocichla incerta Brief looks at this skulker in the Arfak Mountains.
Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica
Island Leaf Warbler ◊ Phylloscopus poliocephalus
Australian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus australis
Lemon-bellied White-eye Zosterops chloris Several showed well on an islet off Waigeo.
Black-fronted White-eye ◊ Zosterops chrysolaemus
Capped White-eye ◊ (Western Mountain W-e) Zosterops fuscicapilla
Metallic Starling (Shining S) Aplonis metallica
Singing Starling ◊ Aplonis cantoroides
Moluccan Starling ◊ Aplonis mysolensis Only seen on a tiny island off Waigeo.
Yellow-faced Myna ◊ Mino dumontii
Golden Myna ◊ Mino anais
Olive-crowned Flowerpecker ◊ Dicaeum pectorale
Black Sunbird ◊ Leptocoma aspasia Heard only
Olive-backed Sunbird (Yellow-bellied S) Cinnyris jugularis
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (introduced) Passer montanus
Grey-banded Mannikin ◊ Lonchura vana Excellent looks at this very localized West Papua endemic near the Anggi Lakes.
Northern Common Cuscus Phalanger orientalis A single animal showed well at our dive resort on Waigeo.
Great Flying Fox (Bismarck F F) Pteropus neohibernicus 100+ were roosting on an offshore islet near Waigeo.
Green Tree Python Morelia viridis This beautiful snake was seen very well on Waigeo.