About the birdlife of West Papua
West Papua foremost is home for a rich and exquisite humid forest avifauna. Exactly 704 bird species have now reliably been recorded from the territory, out of some 780 for the entire New Guinea or Papuan avifaunal region. Knowledge of the birdlife of West Papua remains far less comprehensive than that for adjacent Papua New Guinea, however, and taken in tow by Papua Expeditions you will experience firsthand that the intrepid and careful observer is bound to make significant observations just about anywhere.
The breeding land- and freshwater avifauna that adorns West Papua with a nearly mythical status amounts to 588 species. This total includes 289 regional New Guinea endemics and up to 54 recognized species who's distribution is entirely confined to West Papua alone. Species richness is high, lowland forest habitats typically supporting close to 200 different resident breeding birds. New Guinea forest bird communities differ markedly from elsewhere, however, in featuring an unusually high proportion of fruit- and nectar-eaters as well as ground-dwellers, but no wood-borers. Australasian passerines including fairywrens Maluridae, honeyeaters Meliphagidae, warblers Acanthizidae, whistlers Pachycephalidae, monarchs Monarchidae, and robins Petroicidae radiated to fill all niches. Of paramount interest naturally, are the 25 species of bird-of-paradise that occur in West Papua, six of which occor only here and nowhere else on Earth. Among these, the Wilson's Bird-of-paradise Diphyllodes respublica stands out as 'a wanton waste' of extreme beauty (just to use the epic words that the celebrated 19th century naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace bequeathed us), and may well rank among Earth's greatest avian treasures.
Well over 100 Palearctic and Australian migrants and vagrants have also been recorded from West Papua, and its southeastern Trans-Fly zone, which includes the famed Wasur National Park, is a globally significant staging and wintering ground for waders and waterfowl.
Papuan bird families
The seven New Guinea endemic bird families (Satinbirds Cnemophilidae, Berrypeckers, Longbills Melanocharitidae, Painted Berrypeckers Paramythiidae, Berryhunter Rhagologidae, Ploughbill Eulacestomatidae, Melampittas Melampittidae, and Ifrita Ifritidae) are represented in West Papua, as are the eight families shared with Australia (Cassowaries Casuariidae, Bowerbirds Ptilonorhynchidae, Australasian Treecreepers Climacteridae, Australasian Wrens Maluridae, Australasian Babblers Pomatostomidae, Logrunners Orthonychidae, Whipbirds, Jewel-babblers and Quail-thrushes Psophodidae, and Australo-Papuan Bellbirds Oreoicidae.
West Papua endemic bird species
The following 54 bird species may only be seen in West Papua and nowhere else on Earth:
Bruijn's Brushturkey Aepypodius bruijnii
Browse our check-list of the birds of West Papua.
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