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Wilson's Bird-of-paradise Diphyllodes respublica is among 54 bird species that occur only in West Papua and nowhere else on Earth. It is entirely confined to the Raja Ampat islands of Waigeo and Batanta off New Guinea's western tip. Copyright © Roland Hilgartner

Best of West Papua

Birding expedition

We begin our West Papuan birding adventure with two relaxed introductory excursions outside the town of Sorong, situated on the westernmost tip of New Guinea's Bird's Head or Vogelkop Peninsula. Next morning, we set off on a four days' pilgrimage to the avian delights of Waigeo Island in the fabled Raja Ampat archipelago off Sorong. On the return journey to Sorong, we shall spend ample time on a tiny atoll in Dampier Strait in pursuit of regional small island specialists. We then shift our attention to the Arfak Mountains near Manokwari, on the opposite side of the Bird's Head, where we shall be based for four nights in search of an entire suite of so-called 'Vogelkop' endemics. Next we move to the northern lowlands near Jayapura. Upon arrival here, we will first be birding in open country around Lake Sentani where we foremost hope to find two rare and localized grassland finches. Early next morning, we set out to our secluded Muaib jungle camp in pristine alluvial lowland forest for a five days' exploration of its rich and colorful lowland forest avifauna. A man-sized cassowary, two megapodes, seven dazzling forest kingfishers, a profusion of parrots, the world's largest pigeon, and a whopping six species of bird-of-paradise await the intrepid and careful observer here. The final leg of our birding adventure takes us to the oceanic island of Biak in Papua's famed Geelvink or Cenderawasih Bay, where on our two nights' stay we stand an excellent chance of finding all 15 so-called 'Geelvink' endemics present on the island. This is West Papuan birding at its best!


Possible year-round, but most certainly best from June to November.

Scheduled departures

Please enquire for details on our upcoming departures.

Physical effort

Reasonable physical fitness and good agility are required for this tour which plies some challenging terrain.

Tour summary

Day 1 > Sorong and Sorong lowlands.
Day 2 > Sorong and Waigeo Island.
Day 3-4 > Waigeo Island.
Day 5 > Waigeo Island, Dampier Strait atoll and Sorong.
Day 6 > Sorong, Manokwari and Arfak montane forests.
Day 7-9 > Arfak montane forests.
Day 10 > Arfak montane forests and Manokwari.
Day 11 > Manokwari, Sentani and Lake Sentani.
Day 12 > Sentani and northern lowlands.
Day 13-15 > Northern lowlands.
Day 16 > Northern lowlands and Sentani.
Day 17 > Sentani, Kota Biak and Biak Island.
Day 18 > Kota Biak and Biak Island.
Day 19 > Kota Biak.

Tour description

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Related links

Read on about the birdlife of the Vogelkop lowlands.

Read on about the birdlife of Waigeo Island.

Read on about the birdlife of the Arfak Mountains.

Read on about the birdlife of the northern lowlands of New Guinea.

Read on about the birdlife of the Geelvink Islands.

Browse our terms and conditions.

Browse our check-list of the birds of West Papua.

Recommended extensions

Rumba Boo Islets

The strange Beach Stone-curlew Esacus magnirostris could well be the highlight of a birding excursion to the Rumba Boo Islets off Salawati Island in the Raja Ampat archipelago of eastern Indonesia.

0.5 or 1 day
The Rumba Boo Islets lie off the northeast coast of Salawati Island in the Raja Ampat archipelago, just half an hour's boat ride away from Sorong. These sandy atolls are an excellent place to come to grips with a variety of waders and wetland birds, besides sporting a number of so-called 'supertramps'.


Sorong lowlands

Yellow-breasted Boatbill Machaerirhynchus flaviventer is one of 245 widespread residents in West Papua that always is a thrill to see. Copyright © Myron Tay

0.5 or 1 day
This Sorong birding walk covers a heterogeneous mix of secondary lowland forests that support a well-diversified and colorful lowland forest avifauna including the restricted-range Red-billed Brushturkey, Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher and Black Lory, plus seven species of bird-of-paradise.


19 days/18 nights

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The year 2013 was as wonderful as busy for us. The highlight certainly is our marriage in summer and the following honeymoon. What great places we could visit and what breathtaking animals we could see. Therefore we would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything you have done to arrange our trip to West Papua and contributing with that significantly to a felicitous and memorable vacation. It has been a pleasure to spend that time with you.
Roland and Romina Eberli, Switzerland