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Yellow-bibbed Fruit Dove Ptilinopus solomonensis is a widespread Northern Melanesian species that only marginally penetrates into the New Guinea or Papuan avifaunal region, notably on the Geelvink Islands. Copyright © Aniket Sardana

Geelvink Islands : Biak, Supiori, Numfor

Birding hotspot

Of truly oceanic origin, the twin islands of Biak and Supiori, only separated from one another by a narrow mangrove-lined channel, harbor the most highly endemic avifauna of any singular land area in the entire New Guinea region, with up to 15 endemic taxa variously treated at species level. And Numfor Island, approximately 60 kilometers to the southwest, further boasts its own endemic kingfisher and warbler.

Biak Coucal Centropus chalybeus, Biak Scops Owl Otus beccarii, Biak Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera riedelii, Biak Lorikeet Trichoglossus rosenbergii, Biak Gerygone Gerygone hypoxantha, Biak Triller Lalage leucoptera, Biak Monarch Monarcha brehmii, Biak Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus misoriensis, and Biak White-eye Zosterops mysorensis, occur only on Biak-Supiori and nowhere else on Earth. Biak Megapode Megapodius geelvinkianus, Geelvink Imperial Pigeon Ducula geelvinkiana, Geelvink Pygmy Parrot Micropsitta geelvinkiana, Black-winged Lory Eos cyanogenia, Biak Black Flycatcher Myiagra atra, and Long-tailed Starling Aplonis magna are being shared with Numfor Island, which further boasts the single-island-endemic Numfor Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera carolinae and Numfor Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus maforensis. Only the highly mobile Eos ranges further to Meos Num Island due northwest of the large land-bridge island of Yapen. Additionally, another staggering 20, often morphologically highly distinctive, endemic subspecies exist on the islands.

Such an extraordinary high degree of endemism, both at the species and subspecies level resulted in Biak-Supiori being united with Numfor and Meos Num into an Endemic Bird Area: Geelvink Islands.

Geelvink endemic birds (17 species)

Biak Megapode Megapodius geelvinkianus
Geelvink Imperial Pigeon Ducula geelvinkiana
Biak Coucal Centropus chalybeus
Biak Scops Owl Otus beccarii
Biak Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera riedelii
Numfor Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera carolinae
Geelvink Pygmy Parrot Micropsitta geelvinkiana
Black-winged Lory Eos cyanogenia
Biak Lorikeet Trichoglossus rosenbergii
Biak Gerygone Gerygone hypoxantha
Biak Triller Lalage leucoptera
Biak Monarch Symposiachrus brehmii
Biak Black Flycatcher Myiagra atra
Numfor Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus maforensis
Biak Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus misoriensis
Biak White-eye Zosterops mysorensis
Long-tailed Starling Aplonis magna

Restricted-range species (4 species)

White-bibbed Fruit Dove Ptilinopus rivoli
Moluccan Fruit Dove Ptilinopus prasinorrhous
Yellow-bibbed Fruit Dove Ptilinopus solomonensis
Island Whistler Pachycephala phaionotus

Widespread goodies

Long-tailed Honey Buzzard Henicopernis longicauda
Gurney's Eagle Aquila gurneyi
Nicobar Pigeon Caloenas nicobarica
Victoria Crowned Pigeon Goura victoria
Moustached Treeswift Hemiprocne mystacea
Papuan Frogmouth Podargus papuensis
Beach Kingfisher Todiramphus saurophagus
Red-fronted Lorikeet Charmosyna rubronotata
Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida
Emperor Fairywren Malurus cyanocephalus
Dusky Myzomela Myzomela obscura

Related links

Read on about our birding walk on Biak Island.

Read on about our short birding break to the Geelvink Islands.

Read on about our Best of West Papua birding expedition visiting Biak Island.

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

Recommended itineraries

Geelvink Islands endemics

Numfor Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera carolinae occurs only on Numfor Island in western New Guinea's fabled Geelvink or Cenderawasih Bay and hence is a West Papua endemic. Copyright © Aniket Sardana

5 days/4 nights
No less than 17 endemic bird species, including two fabulous paradise kingfishers, plus heaps of highly distinct yet almost 'forgotten' endemic subspecies await us on this birding adventure covering the islands of Biak and Numfor in West Papua's fabled Geelvink or Cenderawasih Bay.

Read more...

    Geelvink Islands birding facts
  • Together, Biak, Supiori and Numfor support the most highly endemic birdlife of the entire New Guinea region.
  • 17 Geelvink endemics, including a megapode, a regionally unique scops owl, two gorgeous paradise kingfishers, and three parrots, are now variously accepted at the species level.
  • An additional 20, often highly distinct, endemic subspecies occur.
  • Generally, an impoverished avifauna, comprising in excess of 80 resident land and fresh water species only.