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The Spotted or Black-eared Catbird Ailuroedus melanotis complex has recently been proposed to be dismantled into six separate species whereby the population that inhabits the monsoon forests of the Trans-Fly region in New Guinea's southern lowlands is being retained in Black-eared Catbird. Copyright © Fabrice Tortey

Trans-Fly and Wasur National Park

Birding hotspot

Many key birds of the southern lowlands of New Guinea, including Southern Crowned Pigeon Goura scheepmakeri and Greater Bird-of-paradise Paradisaea apoda, can be seen in and around the famed Wasur National Park near Merauke within the so-called Trans-Fly zone. This is an extensive peneplain of seasonally flooded grassland, marshes, reedbeds, savanna, woodland and monsoon forest, bordered by the Digul, Fly and Aramia rivers: in essence, a little piece of Australia, isolated within New Guinea.

Not surprisingly, the Trans-Fly region supports the most distinctive avifauna within New Guinea with four endemic species and heaps of Australian specialties. Wasur is also a globally significant staging and wintering ground for waders and waterfowl both from the Palearctic and Australia.

Trans-Fly endemic birds (4 species)

Spangled Kookaburra Dacelo tyro
Fly River Grassbird Megalurus albolimbatus
Grey-crowned Munia Lonchura evermanni
Black Munia Lonchura stygia

Restricted-range species (2 species)

Painted Quail-thrush Cinclosoma ajax
Greater Bird-of-paradise Paradisaea apoda

Widespread goodies

Southern Cassowary Casuarius casuarius
Black-billed Brushturkey Talegalla fuscirostris
Orange-footed Megapode Megapodius reinwardt
Australian Bustard Ardeotis australis
New Guinea Flightless Rail Megacrex inepta
Brolga Grus rubicunda
Southern Crowned Pigeon Goura scheepmakeri
Collared Imperial Pigeon Ducula mullerii
Barking Owl Ninox connivens
Blue-winged Kookaburra Dacelo leachii
Little Corella Cacatua sanguinea
Yellow-streaked Lory Chalcopsitta scintillata
Red-winged Parrot Aprosmictus erythropterus
Flame Bowerbird Sericulus ardens
Fawn-breasted Bowerbird Chlamydera cerviniventris
Black-backed Butcherbird Cracticus mentalis
Southern Variable Pitohui Pitohui uropygialis
Trumpet Manucode Phonygammus keraudrenii
King Bird-of-paradise Cicinnurus regius
Crimson Finch Neochmia phaeton
White-spotted Munia Lonchura leucosticta

Related links

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

    Trans-Fly birding facts
  • A little piece of Australia in New Guinea.
  • Four Trans-Fly endemic birds and two restricted-range species.
  • Homeland of the Southern Cassowary, majestic Southern Crowned Pigeon, and Greater Bird-of-paradise.
  • A globally significant staging and wintering area for waders and waterfowl.