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If you are an avid birder, if you have done birding tours all around the world, then this is your holy grail! Birding does not get more exotic than West Papua. A remote island in the Indian ocean, the western side is the province of west papua of Indonesia, the eastern side is a country called Papua New Guinea. This entire island is full of exotic birds and wildlife, and most notably the legendary birds of paradise, which are the most colorful displaying birds on the planet. There are about 40 of them recorded so far. The West Papua side which lies in Indonesia has its fair share of Birds of Paradise and other birds. This birding tour takes you through some of the most bird-rich areas of West Papua like the Arfak mountains, Waigeo, Klasow Valley etc and gives a chance to spot many exotic birds including the Wilson’s Bird of Paradise, Red Birds of Paradise, Magnificent Bird of Paradise among others.
The West Papua birding tour begins on the first morning at Manokwari situated on the western shore of the Geelvink Bay which is on the northern coast of West Papua. You'll also have your overnight at the same place. Some exploration can be carried in the afternoon time.
On the next day, you will drive from Manokwari to the village of Mokwam. The village is situated at a height of 1600m on the Arfak mountains. Two of the following nights will be used for camping high in the mountains but you will also spend a few nights in the buildings of the local villages.
|Days 3 - 7||
On the seldom visited mountains of New Guinea, we will find many species of birds including some very less known bird species on the trip to see the birds of Paradise. The scarce Black-billed Sicklebill and the Arfak Astrapias can be found on the high ridges. The less known Long-tailed Paradigalla which is hardly spotted by birders also attracts them by its monotone whistle. The endemic Western Parotia can also be easily spotted around by spotting an adult male of this species is a hard thing. Hides have been built for the birders to take a look at the natural habitat of the birds at various places as well.
One of the amazing species of birds found here is the Vogelkop Bowerbird which can imitate the songs of almost all the other species around. The birds of these species build dazzling Bowers decorated with fruits, mushrooms, and colorful flowers as well.
After climbing these mountains, you will reach a clearing on the slopes of Gunung Nadim which offers a splendid view of the lowlands. Eventually, you will reach the summit where the Black Sicklebill sings melodious songs. Ashy Robins and Orange-crowned Fairy-wren can be spotted around the ridge.
In the night time, you will be looking for the Papuan Boobook and will also keep an eye out for the rare Papuan Eagle. Mammals such as the Red-bellied Marsupial Shrew can be spotted around as well.
Mountains of New Guinea
On this day of the West Papua birding tour, you will return to Manokwari for refreshing yourself and will have an overnight stay. The day will be utilized to spot birds along the road which fly at lower elevations such as the fluorescent Masked Bowerbird.
On the 9th day, you will depart for the island of Waigeo in either a flight or a ferry as per circumstances. You will stay at Waigeo for a total of four nights and while on your way to Waigeo, you will have plenty of opportunities to spot birds.
|Days 10 - 12||
The island of Waigeo is very scarcely populated and has a dense cover of the forest. This makes it a perfect place for the hundreds of species of birds to make a home. Thus this is a paradise to birders. Species such as the Red Birds of Paradise, Pheasant Pigeons, Purple tailed Imperial Pigeons, Yellow capped Pygmy parrot and many more can be spotted in here. One of the afternoons, you will also travel by boat to look out for the Violet necked Lory, Great-billed Parrots, and other bird species.
Birding at Waigeo
While returning to Sorong via a ferry, you will have a chance to look out for Lesser Frigatebird, Greater Crested Tern, Black-naped Tern, and many more seabirds. After lunch, you will continue in the eastern direction to the Klasow Valley where the overnight stay will be planned in the village huts. The village situated in the middle of the forest has very polite locals and you will have a chance to interact with them on your stay.
On day 14, you will go birding and look out for the Giant Northern Cassowaries which can be easily spotted. The Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher which is a rare species can also be very easily spotted around in the forest. The other common species of birds that can be spotted here are the Fig Parrot, Cinnamon Ground-Dove, Wompoo, Pink-spotted, Dwarf, Claret-breasted, Beautiful and Orange-bellied Fruit Doves, Purple-tailed Imperial Pigeon, Ivory-billed Coucal, Papuan Spine-tailed Swift, Long-billed and Plain Honeyeater, Papuan Babbler, Rusty Pitohui, Sooty, and White-bellied Thicket Fantail, Dwarf Koel, Scrub Meliphaga, Ruby-throated Myzomela, White-eared Catbird, Grey Crow, Olive Flyrobin and Emporer Fairywren.
In the Forest
The last birding of the trip to see the birds of Paradise will be at Sorong where the rare Blue-black Kingfisher is quite common to spot. The stretch of mangroves also houses many other species such as the Orange-fronted Fruit Dove, Brown-backed Honeyeater, Pale-vented Bush hen, and many others. Spotting these birds is possible in the early dawn time only and as soon as the Sun rises, it becomes very difficult to spot the birds. This is where the West Papua birding tour will end and you will be transferred back to the airport through the hotel.