West Papua, Indonesia: Numfor Island and Arfak Mountains - August 27- September 07 2007

Published by Donald Rehn (rehn.d AT telia.com)

Participants: Henrik Lind, Donald Rehn


Photos with this report (click to enlarge)

Numfor Paradise Kingfisher
Numfor Paradise Kingfisher

The purpose to visit the island of Numfor was to take pictures and tape the calls of the endemic Numfor Paradise Kingfisher, seen and heard by few birders.

The trip was, excellent - organised by Mrs Shita Valentina, Papuan Bird Club, and an extension of the 27 day long West Papua trip organised by the Papuan Bird Club. Mrs Valentina arranged accommodation in the village of Amberimasi on NW Numfor Island, where the Rumbruren family has a losmen (guesthouse). There are very few guesthouses on the island - to our knowledge there are only two more.

The flight Biak – Numfor – Biak runs twice a week and the small airplane is often overbooked. It is not possible to book the return flight Numfor – Biak at departure in Biak, only at the airport in Numfor. This means that you are not sure about the date of return when you are booking tickets in Biak. We planned nine days in Numfor to be sure to see the Numfor Paradise Kingfisher, however we managed in three days.

From Amberimasi we birded one afternoon in rain and one whole day in better conditions. The three day expedition to Numfor became rather inexpensive, 50 £ each, including the airfares to and from Biak.

Using the spare days after the Numfor trip we went from Biak to Manokvari in the Vogelkop Peninsula. In a strong four-wheel jeep we went up to the Arfak Mountains and the village of Syobrig where the bird guide Mr Zeth Wongor lives. Mr Wongor has constructed several different blinds. From one of them you can watch Magnificent Bird of Paradise and from two others you can see Western Parotias in full glorious display at a distance of 2-8 meters. The Vogelkop Bowerbird can be seen from an additional blind as well. There are also sites, where you can watch Feline and Mountain Owlet Nightjar during the day, as well as the distinctive northern race of the Flame Bowerbird and the Buff-tailed Sicklebill. Black Sicklebill and other special species we had already seen during the previous visit in Arfak, thus we did not spend time on them here.

Mr Zeth Wongor is the world famous guide behind the BBC’s TV program “Attenbourogh in Paradise”. Mr Wongor guides almost all bird trips in the Arfak. We birded with him and visited his blinds several times. Thus the list below reflects the fact that we had seen most birds in the area previously, therefore the list is not too extensive. Our aim was to get good views of specific species. Due to the excellent guide mr Zeth Wongor and Papua Bird Club’s Mrs Shita Valentina this tour worked out well for us, we got all the targets we wanted. For one week in Arfak we paid not more than 400 £ each, all inclusive from Manokwari.

Henrik Lind, Sweden (henriklind@spray.se) Birdlist
Donald Rehn, Sweden (rehn.d@telia.com) Photos

For contact use Papuan Bird Club’s new homepage. You will be able to contact the Rumbruren family and Mr Zeth Wongor through mrs Shita Valentina as an agent and organiser. info@papuabirdclub.com

Species Lists


Observed species on Numfor Island, Geelvink Bay
27-29 August 2007

Lesser Frigatebird 1 Amberimasi.
Variable Goshawk 1 Amberimasi.
Brahminy Kite 1-2 adults close to the Airport.
Biak Megapode 2 seen Amberimasi.
Superb Fruit-dove Nest building pair at Amberimasi.
Claret-breasted Fruit-dove >10 probably common, Amberimasi.
Torresian Imperial Pigeon 2 pairs in the evenings at Amberimasi.
Spice Imperial Pigeon About 15, much like birds we have seen in Biak. Probably same race.
Stephans Ground Dove One pair emerged in response to playback. Amberimasi.
Great Cuckoo-dove 1 pair Amberimasi.
Rock Pigeon About ten close to the Airport.
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo 3-5 seen at the Airport and in Amberimasi.
Eclectus Parrot 3-4 in Amberimasi.
Biak Red Lory Probably more common then in Biak? A total of 20. One caged bird seen. Papuan Frogmouth Heard Amberimasi.
Uniform Swiftlet About 10 seen Amberimasi.
Moustached Treeswift 1 seen Amberimasi.
Sacred Kingfisher 3 individuals in Amberimasi.
Beach Kingfisher 2 seen at the reef catching crabs in Amberimasi.
Numfor Pardise Kingfisher 4 seen including advanced juvenile plumage and 4 more heard in 4 different locations at Amberimasi. The call typically starts with 3 upslurred whistles followed by a trill much like the trill of the Common Paradise Kingfisher.
Rainbow Bee-eater 1 Amberimasi.
Dollarbird 3-4
Common Sandpiper, 2 in Amberimasi,
Pacific Swallow 10 around the Airport.
Yellow -eyed Cuckoo-shrike 1 Amberimasi.
Willy Wagtail Breeding out on a poole on reef temporary flooded in Amberimasi.
One individual at the Airport had a white sub mallar stripe, seen with a normal individual.
Shining Flycatcher 1 female Amberimasi.
Hooded Butcherbird Heard only Amberimasi.
Papuan Flowerpecker Common. Males with prominent red crown and breast like eastern race.
Black Sunbird A couple of birds in Amberimasi.
Olive-backed Sunbird Common Amberimasi.Metallic Starling Common. More so then Long-tailed Starling. Amberimasi.
Long-tailed Starling Probably as common as in Biak. 10-15 seen. Amberimasi.
Spangled Drongo More then 10, 6 in one flock Amberimasi.
Eurasian Treesparrow 3 at the Airport.


Observations from the village Syobrig-area, Guide Zeth Wonggor
30 August - 6 September

Little Eagle 1 seen stunningly well at the Garden House.
New Guinea Harpy Eagle Calling heard once at dawn Garden House.
Long-tailed Buzzard 2 Syobrig .
Black-mantled Goshawk One young did show off with prolonged close views.
Collared Sparrowhawk A close flyby was all this time.
Brahminy Kite 1 adult in Syobrig was seen at 1500 m over see-level.
Black-billed Cuckoo Dove Seen every day in small numbers.
Brown Cuckoo-dove Most common Cuckoo-doves.
Cinnamon Ground Dove One visited the Magnificent BoP display arena.
Bronze Ground Dove Leader only as only Zeth saw this one.
Stephans Ground Dove One or two noted.
Papuan Mountain Pigeon Flocks of 5-10 most days.
White-breasted Fruit-dove We saw a few most days.
Pesquet` Parrot A close flyby by a pair showing off their beautiful red wingpattern.
Red-breasted Pygmy Parrot A male seen well by woodpecker-like hole excavated in big and fresh tree.
Sulphure-crested Cockatoo Seen up to more then 1500 m over see-level.
Plum-faced Lorikeet Only flyby flocks darting trough.
Orange-billed Lorikeets Same as above.
Common Koel Very vocal individual refused to show.
White-eared Bronz Cuckoo A red-fronted beauty seen seriously well with her mate. Commonly heard.
Blyth Hornbill One male seen at 1500 m above see-level.
Sooty Owl One The "incomming bomb"-call heard repeatedly at the Garden House
Papuan Boobook Heard only. Garden House.
Feline Owlet Nightjar This beauty was admired in the day close to Garden House. The three tone call was heard at night in the higher reaches of Syobrig too
Mountain Owlet Nightjar This stunner was seen in daytime close to Garden House. The species also have a three tone call heard at the same location.
Glossy Swiftlet
Blue Grey Robin Common in the area.
Green-backed Robin Seen at 3 to 4 locations including one young bird very close.
Ashy Robin We wanted to see it but we only heard it. Only one egg in a nest.seen.
Mountain Peltops A couple of birds in Syobrig.
Black-breasted Boatbill Commonly seen.
Canary Flycatcher A truly good bird seen close.
Rufous-naped Whistler A common species in the Syobrig area.
Sclaters Whistler Males seen are stunners.
Vogelkop Whistler Needs to be seen well to be identified. We saw 2.
Dwaft Whistler Only bad views once of this species.
Black Berrypecker One close male of distinctive arfak race nigra with grey (not black) underside.
Western Mountain White-eye
Papuan Flowerpecker Not common on this altitude but seen. Western race lumped again.
Dwarf Honeyeater Common.
Mountain Meliphaga All though seen well not a very distinct bird.
Western Smokey Honeyeater Common.
Vogelkop Melidictes Seen well this common bird has a special head and neck pattern.
Papuan Treecreeper A male close to Attenbouroghs Old Campsite at 1700 m.
Spotted Catbird Only heard this time.
(Northern) Flame Bowerbird Male and female seen in fruiting tree 5 km from Mokwam ,Zeths site payed off...A very likely split!
Vogelkop Bowerbird May look less colourful but this bird is something else! The bower, mimic "songs" and the other stunts makes this a top bird.
Long-tailed Paradigalla A target bird and Zeth showed one very close. The blue and the yellow of the bill seen well. But no red! A young one?
Trumpet Manucode One bird seen briefly when mobbed by Western Smokey Honeyeaters.
Superb Bird of paradise Adult male and female and young males in fruiting tree.
Magnificent Bird of Paradise Male and female in full display action from Zeths blind.
Western Parotia Full display by several adult males at both blinds. Several females and young males also involved in the close by action.
Buff-tailed Sicklebill One male seen flying and dashing through tangles. After a lot of hard work. The wimbrel-like call easy to id, often heard in Syobrig.