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This restricted-range Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera nympha is mysteriously absent from many seemingly suitable forested localities within the Bird's Head or Vogelkop lowlands, and could be the highlight of a birding excursion around Sorong. Copyright © Kriangkrai Suwannaphak

Vogelkop lowlands

Birding hotspot

The lowlands of the Vogelkop or Bird's Head Peninsula still support extensive tracts of alluvial and foothill forest, inhabited by a wonderfully varied and colorful avifauna. The region is home to eight restricted-range species, including the delightful Western Crowned Pigeon Goura cristata, the gorgeous Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera nympha, the Black Lory Chalcopsitta atra, and the mysteriously distributed Painted Quail-thrush Cinclosoma ajax. A whopping seven widespread lowland bird-of-paradise species can also be seen, out of which the Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradise Seleucidis melanoleuca perhaps stands out as particularly sought-after.

The Vogelkop lowlands are most easily visited from the regency town of Sorong on the western tip of the Bird's Head Peninsula. Here large tracts of foothill forest survive less than 45 minutes driving out of the town's center.

Restricted-range species (8 species)

Red-billed Brushturkey Talegalla cuvieri
Western Crowned Pigeon Goura cristata
Elegant Imperial Pigeon Ducula concinna
Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera nympha
Black Lory Chalcopsitta atra
Painted Quail-thrush Cinclosoma ajax
Banded Yellow Robin Poecilodryas placens
Olive-crowned Flowerpecker Dicaeum pectorale

Widespread goodies

Northern Cassowary Casuarius unappendiculatus
Orange-footed Megapode Megapodius reinwardt
Forest Bittern Zonerodius heliosylus
New Guinea Eagle Harpyopsis novaeguineae
Gurney's Eagle Aquila gurneyi
Cinnamon Ground Dove Gallicolumba rufigula
Dwarf Fruit Dove Ptilinopus nainus
Long-billed Cuckoo Chrysococcyx megarhynchus
Papuan Boobook Ninox theomacha
Marbled Frogmouth Podargus ocellatus
Papuan Frogmouth Podargus papuensis
Papuan Nightjar Eurostopodus papuensis
Papuan Spine-tailed Swift Mearnsia novaeguineae
Hook-billed Kingfisher Melidora macrorrhina
Common Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera galatea
Blue-black Kingfisher Todiramphus nigrocyaneus
Palm Cockatoo Probosciger aterrimus
Pesquet’s Parrot Psittrichas fulgidus
Orange-fronted Hanging Parrot Loriculus aurantiifrons
Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot Micropsitta keiensis
Dusky Lory Pseudeos fuscata
Moluccan King Parrot Alisterus amboinensis
Orange-breasted Fig Parrot Cyclopsitta gulielmitertii
Double-eyed Fig Parrot Cyclopsitta diophthalma
Large Fig Parrot Psittaculirostris desmarestii
Papuan Pitta Erythropitta macklotii
Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida
White-eared Catbird Ailuroedus buccoides
Plain Honeyeater Pycnopygius ixoides
Streak-headed Honeyeater Pycnopygius stictocephalus
Papuan Babbler Garritornis isidorei
Blue Jewel-babbler Ptilorrhoa caerulescens
Yellow-breasted Boatbill Machaerirhynchus flaviventer
Golden Cuckooshrike Campochaera sloetii
Northern Variable Pitohui Pitohui kirhocephalus
Southern Variable Pitohui Pitohui uropygialis
Frilled Monarch Arses telescophthalmus
Glossy-mantled Manucode Manucodia atra
Trumpet Manucode Phonygammus keraudrenii
Magnificent Riflebird Ptiloris magnificus
Magnificent Bird-of-paradise Diphyllodes magnificus
King Bird-of-paradise Cicinnurus regius
Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradise Seleucidis melanoleuca
Lesser Bird-of-paradise Paradisaea minor
Golden Myna Mino anais
Streak-headed Munia Lonchura tristissima

Related links

Read on about our birding walk in Sorong lowlands.

Read on about our birding walk in Manokwari lowlands.

Read on about our Best of West Papua birding expedition visiting Sorong lowlands.

Read on about our other prolonged birding expeditions visiting Sorong lowlands.

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

Recommended itineraries

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.

Read more...

Manokwari lowlands

The celebrated 19th century naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace described the King Bird-of-paradise Cicinnurus regius as a wanton waste of extreme beauty. Copyright © Dubi Shapiro

0.5 or 1 day
This Manokwari birding walk takes us to a large tract of foothill forest that supports a well-diversified and colorful lowland forest avifauna including the restricted-range Red-billed Brushturkey, Western Crowned Pigeon, and Painted Quail-thrush plus six species of bird-of-paradise.

Read more...

    Vogelkop lowlands
    birding facts
  • Harbor eight restricted-range birds including Western Crowned Pigeon, Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Black Lory, and Painted Quail-thrush.
  • Homeland of avian delights as Northern Cassowary, Magnificent Riflebird, and Magnificent, King, Twelve-wired and Lesser Bird-of-paradise.