Perhaps every self-respecting world birder should once in a lifetime undertake the pilgrimage to the Wilson's Bird-of-paradise Diphyllodes respublica on the Raja Ampat Islands of Waigeo and Batanta in eastern Indonesia. Copyright © Dubi Shapiro www.pbase.com/dubisha
Birding break (6 days/5 nights)
We begin our West Papuan birding adventure with two relaxed introductory excursions outside the town of Sorong, situated on the northwestern tip of New Guinea's Bird's Head or Vogelkop Peninsula. Next morning we set out on a four days' pilgrimage to the avian delights of Waigeo Island in the fabled Raja Ampat archipelago off Sorong. The nearly mythical Wilson's Bird-of-paradise and Red Bird-of-paradise here surely are contenders for the title of most beautiful bird on Earth. Add to this a supporting cast of pigeons, kingfishers and parrots in all sizes and colors simply imaginable, and this place has everything to make for an exciting yet relaxed first introduction to New Guinea's exquisite birdlife.
Possible year-round, but most certainly best from June to November.
Please enquire for details on our upcoming departures.
Reasonable physical fitness and good agility are required to bird the at times challenging terrain here.
Day 1 > Sorong and Sorong lowlands.
Day 2 > Sorong and Waigeo Island.
Day 3-4 > Waigeo Island.
Day 5 > Waigeo Island and Sorong.
Day 6 > Sorong.
Day 1 > Sorong and Sorong lowlands Morning arrival at Sorong's DEO Airport on overnight domestic flight from Jakarta or alternative gateway. We will be there to welcome you at the airport, and we shall soon drive out together by chartered vehicle for 30 minutes along a road winding into the surrounding foothills. Here we shall bird the rest of the morning through selectively logged rainforest along the road, making incursions into the forest as necessary in search of our main targets: the West Papua endemic Red-billed Brushturkey and Black Lory and the restricted-range Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher. Other noteworthy species present here include Pacific Baza, Long-tailed Honey Buzzard, New Guinea, Pygmy and Gurney's Eagle, Variable and Grey-headed Goshawk, Collared Sparrowhawk, Wompoo, Pink-spotted, Claret-breasted, Orange-bellied and Dwarf Fruit Dove, Purple-tailed, Pinon's and Zoe's Imperial Pigeon, Greater and Lesser Black Coucal, Dwarf Koel, Little Bronze Cuckoo, White-crowned and Brush Cuckoo, Papuan Spine-tailed Swift, Hook-billed Kingfisher, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Papuan Dwarf Kingfisher, Blyth's Hornbill, Palm and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Pesquet's Parrot, Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot, Moluccan King Parrot, Eclectus and Red-cheeked Parrot, Red-flanked Lorikeet, Black-capped and Dusky Lory, Coconut Lorikeet, Large and Double-eyed Fig Parrot, Orange-fronted Hanging Parrot, Papuan and Hooded Pitta, Wallace's and Emperor Fairywren, Green-backed, Long-billed, Plain and Streak-headed Honeyeater, New Guinea Friarbird, Spotted, Tawny-breasted, Puff-backed, Mimic and Yellow-gaped Honeyeater, Rusty Mouse-warbler, Yellow-bellied, Green-backed and Fairy Gerygone, Papuan Babbler, Black Berrypecker, Dwarf, Pygmy and Yellow-bellied Longbill, Lowland Peltops, Black and Hooded Butcherbird, Boyer's and Golden Cuckooshrike, Grey-headed and Black Cicadabird, Black-browed Triller, Grey Whistler, Arafura Shrikethrush, Southern Variable Pitohui, Brown Oriole, Spangled Drongo, Northern Fantail, Spot-winged, Golden and Frilled Monarch, Shining Flycatcher, Grey Crow, Glossy-mantled and Trumpet Manucode, Magnificent Riflebird, Magnificent, King and Lesser Bird-of-paradise, Metallic Starling, Yellow-faced and Golden Myna, Olive-crowned Flowerpecker, Black and Olive-backed Sunbird, and Streak-headed Munia. We shall enjoy lunch in town and continue our search for some of these more elusive species throughout the afternoon. The final hour of light or so shall see us gathered at an open vantage point to witness evening flights of pigeons, hornbills and parrots, the latter usually including the restricted-range Black Lory. Finally, a nocturnal foray here could produce Rufous Owl, both Papuan Boobook and Hawk-Owl, Marbled and Papuan Frogmouth, and Papuan and Large-tailed Nightjar. Dinner and overnight in Sorong hotel.
Day 2 > Sorong and Waigeo Island After breakfast in our partnering Sorong hotel, we shall set out on the two hours' ride by scheduled public fast boat across Dampier Strait to Waigeo. En route we may be rewarded with sightings of Lesser Frigatebird, Brown Booby, Brown and Black Noddy, Greater and Lesser Crested Tern, Bridled, Black-naped and Common Tern as well as Matsudaira's Storm Petrel, Streaked and Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Bulwer's Petrel, Red-necked Phalarope, and Pomarine Skua in season. We shall then continue overland by chartered 4WD-vehicle to a family-owned guest house located on the beach-front on Waigeo's southwestern shores. Birds we may encounter around the guest house include Pacific Reef Heron, Eastern Osprey, Stephan's Emerald Dove, Claret-breasted Fruit Dove, Spice and Pied Imperial Pigeon, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Beach and Sacred Kingfisher, Palm Cockatoo, Red-cheeked Parrot, New Guinea Friarbird, Mimic Honeyeater, Large-billed Gerygone, Hooded Butcherbird, Willie Wagtail, Shining Flycatcher, Torresian Crow, and Olive-backed Sunbird. We shall enjoy lunch at the guest house and drive out by chartered 4WD-vehicle again along a track winding into the surrounding forested limestone hills, where we shall start our exploration of Waigeo proper. Blyth's Hornbills and colorful parrots, including Palm and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Black-capped Lory and Coconut Lorikeet may fly overhead as we acquaint ourselves with the vocally or behaviorally conspicuous subset of the forest avifauna here: Variable and Grey-headed Goshawk, Sultan's and Great Cuckoo-Dove, Wompoo, Pink-spotted, Superb, Beautiful and Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Pinon's Imperial Pigeon, Brush Cuckoo, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Tawny-breasted Honeyeater, Grey Whistler, Rusty and Raja Ampat Pitohui, Brown Oriole, Spangled Drongo, Northern Fantail, Spot-winged, Golden and Frilled Monarch, Glossy-mantled Manucode, Black-sided Robin, Yellow-faced Myna, and Olive-crowned Flowerpecker. The final hours of light we shall devote to a popular display tree of the fabled Red Bird-of-paradise, taking ample time to observe the up to eight plumed males that normally gather here, interacting with soliciting females. Finally, a nocturnal foray en route back down toward the coast could produce Rufous Owl, Papuan Boobook, Marbled and Papuan Frogmouth, Large-tailed Nightjar, and Wallace's Owlet-nightjar. Dinner and overnight in family-owned guest house.
Thank you all for such a wonderful trip. I can easily say that it surpassed all of my expectations. The relaxed, easy-going nature of the whole expedition was only possible because of a great deal of time and effort going on behind the scenes. It really was lovely to be in such a wonderful place with people who clearly love the area and take such care and attention to show its secrets to others. — Dr. Catriona Wootton, UK
Day 3 > Waigeo Island Following a pre-dawn breakfast, we shall proceed by chartered 4WD-vehicle to an area where a number of display courts of the Wilson's Bird-of-paradise are located in close proximity to one another in a so-called exploded lek configuration. Here we stand an excellent chance of witnessing the full array of display postures and high-intensity male-female interactions in this nearly mythical species at close range from well-appointed hides. Other species often visiting the courts here include Cinnamon Ground Dove, Pheasant Pigeon, Papuan Pitta, Rusty Mouse-warbler, Pale-billed Scrubwren, and Black Butcherbird. We shall then bird the wider vicinity, primarily in search of the Western Crowned Pigeon, which we may stumble upon along the track or flush up with clapping wing beats from the forest floor to alight in nearby tall forest trees. Other goodies we may come to grips with here include Dusky Megapode, Pacific Baza, Long-tailed Honey Buzzard, Pygmy and Gurney's Eagle, Collared Sparrowhawk, Red-necked Crake, New Guinea Bronzewing, Dwarf Fruit Dove, Purple-tailed Imperial Pigeon, Dwarf Koel, Little Bronze Cuckoo, White-crowned Cuckoo, Moustached Treeswift, Hook-billed Kingfisher, Papuan Dwarf Kingfisher, Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot, Moluccan King Parrot, Great-billed Parrot, Orange-fronted Hanging Parrot, White-eared Catbird, Green-backed, Brown-backed and Long-billed Honeyeater, Ruby-throated Myzomela, Spotted and Puff-backed Honeyeater, Yellow-bellied, Green-backed and Fairy Gerygone, Black Berrypecker, Dwarf, Pygmy and Yellow-bellied Longbill, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Lowland Peltops, Barred Cuckooshrike, Common and Black Cicadabird, Waigeo Shrikethrush, Sooty Thicket Fantail, Brown-headed Crow, and Olive Flyrobin. We shall enjoy lunch at the guest house and continue our search for some of these more elusive species throughout the afternoon. Dinner and overnight in family-owned guest house.
Day 4 > Waigeo Island Today there shall be further opportunities to spend potentially rewarding time with the Wilson's and Red Bird-of-paradise, or we could simply bird in the wider vicinity in search of some of the more elusive species already mentioned above. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and overnight in family-owned guest house.
Day 5 > Waigeo Island and Sorong After breakfast there shall be a final opportunity for an observation session at either the Wilson's or Red Bird-of-paradise. Alternatively, we could bird in the wider vicinity in search of some of the more elusive species already mentioned above. Following lunch back at the guest house, we shall then drive out by chartered 4WD-vehicle to catch the public fast boat back to Sorong. Dinner and overnight in Sorong hotel.
Day 6 > Sorong We shall enjoy breakfast in our Sorong hotel and transfer you to Sorong's DEO Airport to check you in for the first morning flight to Jakarta or alternative destination.
❯Read on about the birdlife of the Vogelkop lowlands.
❯Read on about the birdlife of Waigeo Island.
❯Read on about our Easy West Papua birding expedition visiting Waigeo Island..
❯Read on about our other prolonged birding expeditions visiting Waigeo Island.
❯Read on about the first photographs taken of Bruijn's Brushturkey in the wild on Waigeo Island on a PE exploratory bird tour.
❯Browse our terms and conditions.
❯Browse our checklist of the birds of West Papua
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