West Papua has become a major destination for any serious world birder. Part of the recent increase in birding activity is due to improved road and air connections and better site information. West Papua is now included in the itineraries of a handful of prominent birdtour companies. These days, independent birders have the opportunity to follow a well-established birding circuit around the region and employ competent local guides in their quest for avian rarities.
This report chronicles a trip to West Papua that included the three major mainland areas visited by birders: (1) Habema Trek in the Wamena Highlands, (2) Nimbokrang in the northern lowlands, (3) the Arfak Mountains. We also visited endemic-rich Biak Island in the Geelvink Bay. The islands of Batanta and Salawati equally feature on most birders’ itineraries. However, the endemics of Batanta can all be found on Waigeo– in addition to a spectacular endemic brush-turkey – and the relevant sites on Waigeo will soon be accessible to independent birders. Therefore, I opted to revise my itinerary, skip Batanta and instead invest the time into visiting the Fakfak Peninsula, a little-known area that harbors undescribed avian endemism.
Most birding sites have been previously covered by excellent trip reports available for free online. Foremost amongst these is a trip report by Nick Brickle from early 2008, two trip reports by Charles Davies and a very recent one by Michel de Boer, whose trip took place at the same time as ours, and whom we ran into a couple of times. This trip report is therefore not trying to repeat previous information, but to add details that have not been covered by older trip reports. More interestingly perhaps, I am documenting my birding exploits on the Fakfak Peninsula, which has – to my knowledge – not been visited since David Gibbs’s trip more than a decade ago, and which may host several undescribed taxa to science.
25-28 June 2008 Gunung Gede (Java; en route to Papua) on my own
Three and a half days of daytime birding and a total of two taxing and sleepless nights of owling while staying based at “Pak Freddy’s” produced a number of goodies, most notably a single Javan Cochoa near the hot springs, a flock of Spotted Crocias mixed in with Rufous-fronted Laughingthrushes halfway between the waterfall and hot springs as well as a Salvadori’s Nightjar at the rightmost waterfall, the Green Lake and at the trailhead each. Both Chestnut-bellied Partridge and Pink-headed Fruit-Dove were seen on about four occasions, the former across a range of elevations, the latter just below the hot springs. Two pairs of the elusive Javan Serin were seen feeding on the seeds of a peculiar bush with white elongated flowers halfway between the hot springs and the waterfall, as well as on a flowering tree around the hot springs. An early morning at the fortunately deserted campground above the hot springs produced three Horsfield’s Thrushes and a single Tawny-breasted Parrotfinch. The night-birding did yield a Collared Scops Owl and a Javan Frogmouth near the trailhead, but Javan Scops Owl remained elusive even though the calls of seven individuals were elicited by tape, and a pair called unsolicited at around HM 10. Similarly, Dusky Woodcock was only heard but never seen at around 5 a.m. near the waterfall trail junction. A week later, I returned to this site for two nights of night-birding with Filip Verbelen, but nothing new was seen.
29 June 2008 Jakarta (en route to Papua)
morning: mangroves east of Jakarta in the company of James Eaton and others
evening: Muara Angke on my own
I spent a morning at some remnant mangrove an hour east of Jakarta in the pleasant company of James Eaton and his BTA tour group consisting of Ron, Dollyann, Magnus and Eja. Munia flocks in the rice paddies included our target White-capped Munia (more unequivocally called Lonchura ferruginosa, as English names of this bird seem to vary), besides the more widespread Javan and Scaly-breasted Munias. A nesting Javan Plover provided some distraction on the way to the mangroves, where we soon bagged two flocks of the rare Javan White-eye. Bidding farewell to the others at lunch, I headed to Muara Angke in the afternoon, where Black-winged Mynahs of the very light western Javan race were seen against a backdrop of wetlands that yielded two crake species, a lot of Australasian Reed Warblers, 1-2 surprising Black Bitterns, wintering Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoos from Australia as well as – at last – a single Javan Coucal showing up in the last 15 minutes before dusk. The trees around the wetlands hosted Spot-breasted and Sunda Pygmy Woodpeckers.
List for Gunung Gede and Jakarta environs
1. Chestnut-bellied Partridge – 4 occ. Gede
2. Sunda Teal – Jakarta (both sites)
3. Common Moorhen – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
4. Black-backed Swamphen – Muara Angke (Jakarta) 2
5. White-breasted Waterhen – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
6. Ruddy-breasted Crake – 1-2 Muara Angke (Jakarta)
7. White-browed Crake – 2 Muara Angke (Jakarta)
[Dusky Woodcock – heard only Gede]
8. Black-winged Stilt – 2 in mangroves east of Jakarta
9. Javan Plover – 1 in mangroves east of Jakarta
10. Little Egret – Jakarta
11. Intermediate Egret – mangroves east of Jakarta
12. Grey Heron – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
13. Purple Heron – Jakarta (both sites)
14. Javan Pond-Heron – Jakarta (both sites)
15. Striated Heron – Jakarta (both sites)
16. Black-crowned Night-Heron – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
17. Black Bittern – 1-2 Muara Angke (Jakarta)
18. Darter – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
19. Pink-headed Fruit-Dove – c. 4 occ. Gede
20. Pink-necked Green Pigeon – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
21. Spotted Dove – Jakarta (both sites)
22. Island Collared Dove – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
23. Sunda Cuckoo – Gede
24. Plaintive Cuckoo – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
25. Rusty-breasted Cuckoo – Gede
26. Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
27. Sunda Coucal – 1 Muara Angke (Jakarta)
28. Collared Scops Owl – Gede 1
[Javan Scops Owl – heard only in Gede on 8 occasions, lowest at HM10]
29. Javan Frogmouth – Gede 1
30. Salvadori’s Nightjar – 2 Gede
31. Linchi Swiftlet – Gede, Jakarta (both sites)
32. Edible-nest Swiftlet – mangroves east of Jakarta
33. Javan Trogon – Gede 1
34. Fire-tufted Barbet – Gede
35. Brown-throated Barbet – Gede
36. Orange-fronted Barbet – Gede
37. Blue-tailed Bee-eater – mangroves east of Jakarta
38. Small Blue Kingfisher – mangroves east of Jakarta
39. Sacred Kingfisher – mangroves east of Jakarta
40. Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
41. Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker – Jakarta (both sites)
42. Checker-throated Woodpecker – Gede
43. Striated Swallow – Gede
44. Pacific Swallow – mangroves east of Jakarta
45. Sunda Minivet – Gede
46. Orange-spotted Bulbul – Gede
47. Sunda Bulbul – Gede
48. Yellow-vented Bulbul – mangroves east of Jakarta
49. Sooty-headed Bulbul – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
50. Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo – Gede
51. Ashy Drongo – Gede
52. Racket-tailed Treepie – Muara Angke (Jakarta) 2
53. Large-billed Crow – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
54. Common Iora – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
55. Pied Triller – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
56. Cinereous Tit – Gede, Muara Angke (Jakarta)
57. Blue Nuthatch – Gede
58. Lesser Shortwing – Gede
59. Horsfield’s Babbler – Gede
60. Chestnut-backed Scimitar-Babbler – Gede
61. Pygmy Wren-Babbler – Gede
62. Eye-browed Wren-Babbler – Gede
63. Crescent-chested Babbler – Gede
64. White-bibbed Babbler – Gede
65. Spotted Crocias – Gede, one flock of c. 5
66. Javan Fulvetta – Gede
67. Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush – Gede
68. White-browed Shrike-Babbler – Gede
69. Chestnut-fronted Shrike-Babbler – Gede
70. Sunda Blue Robin – Gede
71. Lesser Forktail – Gede
72. Javan Cochoa – 1 Gede
73. Javan Whistling-Thrush – Gede
74. Horsfield’s Thrush – 3 Gede
75. Sunda Warbler – Gede
76. Mountain Leaf-Warbler – Gede
77. Javan Tesia – Gede
78. Bar-winged Prinia – Gede, Jakarta (both sites)
79. Plain Prinia – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
80. Yellow-bellied Prinia – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
81. Mountain Tailorbird – Gede
82. Ashy Tailorbird – Jakarta (both sites)
83. Zitting Cisticola – mangroves east of Jakarta
84. Clamorous Reed Warbler – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
85. Golden-bellied Gerygone – Jakarta (both sites)
86. Indigo Flycatcher – Gede
87. Snowy-browed Flycatcher – Gede
88. Little Pied Flycatcher – Gede
89. Rufous-tailed Fantail – Gede
90. Pied Fantail – Jakarta (both sites)
91. White-breasted Wood-Swallow – mangroves east of Jakarta
92. Black-winged Mynah – Muara Angke (Jakarta) c. 8
93. Javan Myna – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
94. White-flanked Sunbird – Gede
95. Olive-backed Sunbird – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
96. Blood-breasted Flowerpecker – Gede 1
97. Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker – Muara Angke (Jakarta)
98. Oriental White-eye – Gede
99. Javan White-eye – two small flocks in mangroves east of Jakarta
100. Javan Dark-eye – Gede
101. Tawny-breasted Parrotfinch – 1 Gede
102. Tree Sparrow – Gede, Jakarta
103. Scaly-breasted Munia – mangroves east of Jakarta
104. Javan Munia – mangroves east of Jakarta
105. White-capped Munia (L. ferruginosa) – mangroves east of Jakarta
106. Javan Serin – 2+2 Gede
Biak Island 14-17 July 2008
in the company of Filip Verbelen, Bram Demeulemeester and Robert Hutchinson
Biak Island has an impoverished avifauna compared to the mainland, but it attracts birders in pursuit of Geelvink Bay endemics. Lacking only a couple of species-level Geelvink endemics that are restricted to tiny Numfoor, it is by far the most endemic-rich island in the whole bay. Its southerly neighbor Yapen, though similar in size, has been connected to the mainland during glacial periods and lacks any Geelvink endemism, while Biak teems with unique species. Being a local hub in air transportation, getting to Biak is easy – even from Jakarta. Hotels are finite and frequently overbooked, and we struggled to find appropriate accommodation in town. Good food is hard to come by as well.
The island has a very poor rocky soil. Forests are often somewhat stunted and take much longer than elsewhere to regenerate. Unfortunately, the logging spree that passed through the eastern lowlands of the island in the last few decades has left few patches intact, so most of this area is now covered by a scrub-like habitat with only a remote semblance of true forest. Some of the forest endemics (most notably the Biak Monarch) have accordingly become very rare.
Nick Brickle recently posted an excellent Surfbirds trip report with Google Earth images of the best remaining patches of forest in the eastern half of the island, and not much else can be added to his information in this report. For getting around, forget about public transport. We employed the same driver as Nick Brickle (using the same mobile phone number). Hiring him for a full day was quite expensive even by Papuan standards and amounted to US$ 70 per day, so it may be worth shopping around for other drivers if you are not in a big group.
We spent most of our time at the two sites mentioned in Nick Brickle’s report, although we also invested a whole day into an area of coastal hills on the north coast in the fruitless pursuit of a certain Phylloscopus warbler. The north coast site was along the coastal road that goes towards Supiori, passes a famous but disappointing waterfall (see Lonely Planet) and eventually enters some of the most impressive forest we’ve ever seen. Having spent the previous days in scrubby patches in the eastern lowlands, we were blown away by the mere girth of these trees. Unfortunately, this coastal hill forest was completely dead in terms of birds during the time of our visit.
Many of the island’s specialties are easy and can readily be found in a morning’s birding in one of the better patches (see Nick’s report). Others are tough and may well be missed on a short visit. We were lucky in seeing all the currently recognized endemics and most other specialties. As an exception, I did not have a definite sighting of the scrubfowl (some others apparently had brief flushed views of one), which is sometimes recognized as a distinct species and at other times not even given the rank of a race.
• Raptors: The only Gurney’s Eagle of the trip was seen soaring above an area of poor scrub close to Biak Town near the coast on the first day. Other raptors included Osprey, Long-tailed Buzzard, Pacific Baza and Gray-headed Goshawk.
• Pigeons: While Claret-breasted Fruit-Dove is the commonest member of its genus on the island, we did not struggle to see the infinitely more beautiful Yellow-bibbed Fruit-Dove either, but sightings remained rare within 3 full days. An area of poor scrub near Biak Town was where we saw a small flock of Torresian Imperial-Pigeons flying past, which remained the only one of our trip. The Spice Imperial-Pigeon of the distinct and unspectacular Geelvink race (surely a potential split) was seen only a few times, mainly after tracking down their vocalizations. Overland driving produced a couple of poor fly-by sightings of Stephan’s Ground-Dove.
• Parrots: Red-fronted Lorikeets finally afforded good views at a flowering tree on the second day, while Biak Red Lories were frequently seen flying past and – less commonly – perched. Geelvink Pygmy-Parrot was probably the trickiest psittacid endemic, but we all finally got one or two good perched views.
• Biak Coucal is possibly the second hardest endemic (after the monarch). Though it calls regularly in better patches of forest, it is not very responsive to playback. Persistence paid off as we all got good looks of this species on two occasions.
• The Biak Paradise-Kingfisher is very common once its call is learned.
• Nightbirds and swifts: Biak Scops-Owl took some work to get good views of, and we were probably all indebted to Rob’s persistence for getting a look at all. The birds like better patches of forest (see Nick Brickle’s report) and sound identical to Moluccan Scops-Owls, so it would be intriguing to see whether they are genetically different at all. Papuan Frogmouth and Large-tailed Nightjar were both common by voice and seen at least a couple of times. Both Uniform and New Guinea Glossy Swiftlets were common throughout.
• Pittas: The Hooded Pitta race on Biak is very interesting because of its vocal and plumage distinctness from other races, including those on the Papuan mainland. We tracked down about three of them by playback.
• The Cicadabird is likewise interesting on Biak, differing from mainland birds in female coloration. It is quite common in good patches.
• These days, Biak Gerygone is mostly split off from the mainland Large-billed Gerygone, which is unsurprising, considering that it is completely yellow on the underparts while the mainland one is white. We ran into it a number of times, but it helps to know beforehand what you’re looking for, since it can be rather inconspicuous.
• Another species that looks quite different on Biak (compared to the mainland) is the dark island race of Northern Fantail. We only saw it about three times during our stay, so it may not be common.
• Myiagra flycatchers: Biak Black Flycatcher and Shining Flycatcher display a complex pattern of local interaction on the island. We found the Shining Flycatcher in the poorest of scrub, while Biak Black Flycatcher seemed to replace it in the better patches of forest in the eastern lowlands. Surprisingly then, we exclusively encountered Shining Flycatchers in the lush and impressive hill forests on the north coast (see above). It would probably take a full-fledged field study to illuminate their patterns of replacement on Biak.
• Golden Monarchs were the commonest members of canopy mixed flocks in better forest patches in the eastern lowlands, but such flocks were extremely hard to come by, and some days would only produce a couple of sightings. The local subspecies is said to differ greatly from mainland birds, but we did not find these differences to be as spectacular as made out in some trip reports.
• The best bird on the island, and one of the top-5 contenders for best bird of the trip, is the Biak Monarch. Most of us had accepted defeat on our last day, preparing to join the many birders that have recently dipped on this species. But Rob hung on in there, following up on every chip and chirp in the forest, and finding us a fantastic mixed flock that included about 3 adult and 2 juvenile Biak Monarchs besides other species such as Golden Monarch, Little Shrike-Thrush etc. The juveniles have a quite distinct pattern that is not illustrated in any book and that reminded us of Spectacled Monarchs. The illustration of the adults in Birds of New Guinea is also somewhat misleading, as their light facial stripe is really quite wide and may extend to form a proper cheek patch.
• The endemic we struggled most with (even more than with the monarch) is the Biak White-eye. It took us a concerted effort, including tape playback and a serious analysis of potential habitat preferences, to finally see this one in poor scrub on the last day (see Nick Brickle’s report for site details). We suspect, though, that we had just been unlucky or not talented enough on previous days, as most people stumble on this species without any problems.
• The Dusky Myzomela on Biak is not just a weird geographical outlier, it is also mildly distinct in plumage and well worth seeing. We only found two of them during our stay, mostly in association with flowering trees.
• Starlings and drongos: Long-tailed Starling was eventually seen well, but it is far outnumbered by Metallic Starlings on the island. The Spangled Drongos here on Biak are apparently considered a part of the mainland subspecies, though we thought them quite distinct in vocalizations and well worth seeing.
19 – 30 July 2008 Lake Habema Trek
in the company of Filip Verbelen, Bram Demeulemeester and Robert Hutchinson
The famous trek down the Habema Valley in the Wamena Highlands must rate as one of the world’s greatest and toughest birding experiences. These days, a road leads all the way up to Lake Habema at the timber line, so the trek can be done one-way – preferably downhill. The necessity of porters, cooks and big tents makes this experience rather expensive. Expect to pay around US$ 1000 per person for an 8 to 12 day trek these days. Guides and porters are easy to come by in Wamena, and they readily approach incoming tourists at the airport. Nevertheless, it is worth using people that are geared towards your birding needs. We were struggling to decide between a local guide known as Skorpio (who is used by most bird tour companies these days) and Pak Jonas, but we eventually decided to go with Jonas for reasons of itinerary (see below). Both are in the same general price range, and both may be roughly equally recommendable. Skorpio, whom Bram has used on previous tours, is said to be very good on food issues (e.g. regular meals and snacks in the field), while Pak Jonas needed occasional reminding of lunch provisions, but this may have been due to his relative inexperience with birders at that point, and he will certainly have learned a lot by now. To do this trek, it is necessary to bring a good tent and alpine clothing for night-time temperatures below zero.
Lake Habema and surrounding alpine habitat; photo by F. Verbelen and B. Demeulemeester
Good maps of the Wamena Trek can be found in previous trip reports on the internet. We were especially inspired by Charles Davies’s latest report on the possibility of including a four-day extension from Lake Habema to Mount Trikora (=Mt Wilhelmina), the second highest mountain in West Papua. Including this extension was part of the reason to choose Pak Jonas as a guide, since he is very familiar with this hike from previous trips with mountain-climbers. The only good birding reason for this extension is the possibility of seeing Snow Mountain Robin, a bird restricted to alpine scree that can otherwise only be seen on the even higher Carstensz Peak (=Gunung Jaya). With a new road being paved from Lake Habema to neighboring unconnected valleys, it is possible that the lower elevational boundary of the Snow Mountain Robin may – one day – become accessible by vehicle, but this could be a long time from now. Meanwhile, the Trikora Trek is the easiest known way of seeing this species.
Note that Charles Davies did the Trikora Trek from another direction and by-passed Lake Habema and – indeed – the whole Habema Valley. Pak Jonas confirmed that the valley he took Charles Davies to had equally good if not better forest than the Habema Trek. Nonetheless, we decided to stick to the Habema Trek, because we favored the idea of having site information for some of the tougher species, rather than no info at all.
The Trikora trek took us three nights and about four full days (from/to Pondok Tiga at the timberline), and it is fair to say that the only species of note seen during this time was the Snow Mountain Robin. We did chance upon other good species, such as Papuan Harrier, Alpine Pipit, Island Thrush, Western Alpine Mannikin, White-winged Robin, Brown-breasted Gerygone, Short-bearded and the ever-common Belford’s Melidectes, Smoky and Orange-cheeked Honeyeater, McGregor’s Honeyeater-of-Paradise, Lorentz’s Whistler, Papuan Thornbill, Crested Berrypecker and Snow Mountain Quail, but all of these species were readily seen again at Lake Habema or below, so none of them would have warranted a 4-day hike. The area where we saw our four Snow Mountain Robins was at 4700 m and particularly higher than where Charles Davies spotted his. We were gasping breathless, hoping at each step that a sighting of this bird would finally put us out of our miseries. The species does seem to go up or down the mountain quite a bit, and on bad (=sunny!) days you may have to climb very high indeed to find it. At the highest point we reached on this trek, we had awesome views of an Australian Kestrel hovering around the peak of Mount Trikora. The local breeding population is thoroughly isolated from the lowland form on the Australian continent.
Orange-cheeked Honeyeater is one of the commonest species in the alpine vegetation
around Lake Habema; photo by Filip Verbelen and Bram Demeulemeester
It is worth adding that confusion surrounds the legality of doing the Trikora Extension. Special permits have to be (and were) acquired by Pak Jonas to obtain the officials’ consent for this trek, which enters areas that are usually off-limits to foreigners. Nevertheless, the whole issue is in a legal gray zone as there is no clarity on which officials are entitled to grant such a permit. While at Pondok Tiga on our ascent, we met a commercial group of other birders, and their jealous leader – disappointingly – decided to go down the path of dobbing us in with the Wamena police. However, on the occasion of visiting the police office in Wamena on account of an unrelated theft issue, we were glad to see that the officers were thoroughly unconcerned by our previous “intrusion” into the Trikora area, which attests to the veracity of the permit acquired by our guide. I urge any birders who wish to attempt this trek to be sure they are on the legal side of things as we were.
Lake Habema Area:
The lake is set in a fascinating timberline landscape of dwarf trees, bushes, grassland and small protected pockets of higher forest. Salvadori’s Teal can be found without much of a problem by scanning through the Eurasian Coots on the lake. Spotless Crake inhabits the marshes around the lake margin, and it took some serious tape efforts to see it well. The open grasslands and bush groves around the lake were good for most of the species listed under the Trikora Extension, and this is also the best area for Sooty Melidectes, a quite scarce bird that we did not see elsewhere. Other good species seen around here and in the Pondok Tiga Area include Painted Tiger-Parrot, Gray-streaked and Black-throated Honeyeater, Fan-tailed Berrypecker, Mountain Firetail, Papuan Grassbird and the spectacular Splendid Astrapia.
This honeyeater species was my favorite at Lake Habema; can you find it in your field
guide? Photo by Filip Verbelen
There are two birds that we only ever saw on the occasion of brief roadside stops on the way up from Wamena to Pondok Tiga: Alpine Robin (=Mountain Robin) and Goldie’s Lorikeet. Judging from other trip reports, these two birds seem to be hard to see on the trek itself and are mainly found along the road, so make sure you stop frequently when driving up to Pondok Tiga. The Pondok is a small hut at the junction between the road and the trail that goes down into the Habema Valley. It makes for a great base, as it is situated within sight distance from the lake, though the four kilometers are quite a tough hike in this thin air. From Pondok Tiga, the trail drops precipitously into good forest, and the big clearing at the upper end of the trail, just 100-200 m from the Pondok, is one of the best areas for morning bird activity (Orange-billed, Yellow-billed and Plum-faced Lorikeet) and for New Guinea Woodcock and Archbold’s Nightjar at dusk. The woodcock only ever afforded brief views, but the nightjar even came to within 3 m after tape playback. This is also the area where we were phenomenally lucky to have minute-long close views and make sound recordings of two Greater Ground-Robins. The latter feat involved crawling through the moss into the thickest tangles of elfin forest, but it paid out splendidly. We probably would not have succeeded in finding this rare and elusive species without the help of a recording procured by Rob after diligent enquiries with his many birding friends.
The 10-minute photo session during which this picture was taken might have been the
first occasion the Greater Ground-Robin has ever been photographed in the wild; photo
credit goes to Bram Demeulemeester and Rob Hutchinson
Upper Habema Trek from Pondok Tiga to Yabogima:
As you descend from Pondok Tiga, you soon enter magical moss forest that has some of the best birding potential of the whole trek. We spent more than a whole day at a particular forest section about 300 – 400m down from Pondok Tiga, where we had excellent sightings of such gems as Lesser Melampitta (several), a pair of Chestnut Forest-Rail, an intricate female Crested Bird-of-Paradise, a pair of New Guinea Logrunner, a male and a separate female Wattled Ploughbill, our first Large Scrubwrens and Rufous-naped Whistler. Filip also had an Ifrita here on his own while the rest of us were doing the four-day Trikora Extension. As you descend further, the trail gets steeper and less conducive to birding until you hit a stream that you follow for a little bit. We had fly-by views of the trip’s only Torrent Lark here. The trail soon leaves the stream and verges right, where it becomes good for birding again. The good forest along this section from the stream down to Yabogima is where we had several flocks of the busy Black Sitella, a female Loria’s Bird-of-Paradise, a male Black Pitohui, a male Garnet Robin, a few Gray Gerygones and our first Papuan Treecreepers, Blue-gray and Black-throated Robins, Mountain Mouse-Warblers, Canary Flycatchers and Black-breasted Boatbills. This is also the best area for Lesser Ground-Robin, which was common by voice but extremely tough to see well in only a narrow elevational band above Yabogima. Large Scrubwrens become increasingly uncommon around here and get replaced by Papuan Scrubwrens, which differ in their smaller and – on average – less rufous bodies as well as a more Phylloscopus-like facial expression with a well-developed supercilium.
Yabogima is the local name of a hut in a clearing that is often used as a shelter by local and non-local travelers. The clearing is at about 500 m down from the main trail along two difficult and indistinct side-trails that can be taken depending on whether one is coming from the valley or from the lake. These days, there is also a second clearing with a wooden platform positioned along the main trail not far downhill from where the valley-bound Yabogima side-trail verges off. This latter clearing seems to be preferred by larger commercial tour groups, though we set up camp in the cozier clearing off the main trail as the porters preferred to have a roof over their heads. The Yabogima area is worth two or three nights for such avian delights as Brown Sicklebill, which is reasonably common around here, and King-of-Saxony Bird-of-Paradise, which reaches its upper elevational limit here but becomes a bit commoner below Yabogima. The greatest specialty in this area is the shy Archbold’s Bowerbird, which has a peculiar preference for open and pandanus-rich ridge-top groves in poor edaphic conditions. Some people see this exquisite rarity much further up at the big clearing below Pondok Tiga, while we had ours down here below the platform clearing along the main trail. The same poor-soil forest patch around the platform clearing also harbored isolated pairs of Lorentz’s Whistlers deep within the elevational band of Regent Whistlers. Yabogima is the area where Buff-faced Scrubwrens become quite abundant, though Papuan can still be seen joining the flocks. Other birds that were predominantly seen around Yabogima include White-breasted Fruit-Dove, Papuan Mountain-Pigeon, Papuan Lorikeet, Brehm’s Tiger-Parrot (only 1), Rufous-throated Bronze-Cuckoo (also only 1), Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Great Wood-Swallow and Mountain Peltops.
The Canary Flycatcher is reasonably common above and below Yabogima; this individual
was photographed by Filip Verbelen.
Closed forest quickly runs out at about 500 m below Yabogima and is gradually replaced by orchard groves and finally open fields near the village of Habema. The lowest reaches of good forest are the only area where we found Yellowish-streaked Honeyeater and Black-bellied Cuckooshrike. The degraded groves just above Habema resound with the outlandish vocalizations of displaying Superb Birds-of-Paradise, which are not too hard to see if you give it some time. Also around here is the area where we first stumbled upon the peculiar Papuan race of Golden Whistler – doubtless a future split for its distinct vocalizations. The grasslands below Habema were characterised by a lack of avian highlights, though Black-breasted Mannikins, White-shouldered Fairywrens and Pied Chats provided some distraction. A couple of villages down from Habema, the main trail passes through a relatively small patch of forest, and we arranged to spend our last night next to it so as to be able to bird it in the early morning. The surroundings of this forest provided one last species boost to our trekking experience, with a single Short-tailed Paradigalla, another pair of Wattled Ploughbill, eight Tit Berrypeckers, a Mountain Kingfisher, a couple of Red-breasted Pygmy-Parrots, Island Leaf-Warblers, Western Mountain White-eyes, one to two flocks of Varied Sitella, Black Fantails and exquisite Slaty-chinned Longbills. Further down, Torrent Flycatchers were seen along a fast-flowing stream beside the trail at an elevation where Ornate Melidectes becomes the predominant honeyeater.
1 – 11 August 2008 Nimbokrang
For the first few days, I was in the company of Filip Verbelen, Bram Demeulemeester and Robert Hutchinson.
The transmigration settlement of Nimbokrang is a true modern birding phenomenon: When David Gibbs staked the place out in the 80s, he was led around by a local transmigration settler – Pak Jamil – who went on to become one of the most knowledgeable local bird guides in Papua. Nowadays, few birders skip this place in their Papuan itinerary. Although there is little that sets the hill-forest and lowland swamp forest habitat in Nimbokrang apart from neighbouring areas, and although habitat quality might even be better elsewhere in northern lowland Papua, birders come here because Pak Jamil can show them the specialties they so desire to see.
Nimbokrang is only 90 – 150 min from the airport town of Sentani. You do not need to go to the capital Jayapura, since Nimbokrang is in the opposite direction from the airport. As in many other Papuan places, Sentani’s six hotels are frequently booked out. I was forced to stay with local people one night for lack of a reservation. On arrival in Sentani, we followed other birders’ advice and called a local taxi driver by the name of Pak Rustan to take us directly to Pak Jamil’s house in Nimbokrang (+62-85244493000). However, we later found that this was an unnecessary act of luxury, as the rate charged by Rustan (c. US $ 70) is about ten times as much as what you would pay if you went by public transport. Busses that go directly to Nimbokrang do exist but are scarce. On the other hand, you can catch one of the many vehicles going to another town (ask around for its name) and get off three quarters of the way, where a number of inexpensive moto-taxis can take you the remaining 5 km to Nimbokrang. Equally, on your way back you can ask to be taken to this same intersection and catch public transport from there. Accommodation in Nimbokrang is with local people only. Needless to say, the vast majority of birders have stayed with Pak Jamil, who may even offer you his bed if there aren’t many other birders around. Chances are, however, that you will have to camp in his frontyard.
Nimbokrang is some of the toughest birding on earth. It is situated in an area of alluvial swamp forest with some of the highest densities of mosquitoes imaginable. The local incidence of malaria is one of the highest in Australasia, and you are well advised to pop those pills and apply repellants. Much of the birding has to be conducted in rubber boots, wading through ankle-high water while fending off clouds of mosquitoes around your face. To see some of the tougher species such as cassowaries and the like (see below), it is necessary to walk off-trail at high speeds to stand a better chance of bumping into one. The swamp forest has a lot of spiky plants that love to rip through your clothes and skin, and the great heat throughout most of the day does not help to make your experience more pleasant. Bird activity was appalling at the time of our visit, especially after 8am, though Pak Jamil and other trip reports suggest that it can be better during other weeks of the year. Yet despite all this, Nimbokrang boasts some of the most spectacular birds on earth.
Local knowledge is essential for finding some of these special birds. Not surprisingly, therefore, Pak Jamil is in huge demand by birders these days. Guiding rates have accordingly risen, although we still found his fixed rates for birding parties of certain group sizes to be extremely reasonable. He is struggling to find a viable successor and/or partner in guiding people around, though he has started to train a relative and a native Papuan from a neighboring village. The months of July and August are high season in Nimbokrang, and birders are well-advised to let Pak Jamil know about their arrival ahead of time to avoid a conflict of interest with other groups. As of January 2009, Pak Jamil has email access (firstname.lastname@example.org), but he may not be able to check regularly. Write in Bahasa Indonesia or in very simple English, although he may only be able to understand dates and numbers if you opt for the latter. We were unlucky in that Pak Jamil was already guiding a small Dutch-American group of three birders when we arrived, so we lost a few days that would have been much better spent with him than with his son-in-law whose bird knowledge was only just in its developing stages. This meant either missing out on a few species, and/or (for some of us) having to spend more time here to see them.
If enough time is available, a trip to Nimbokrang should include three different sites: (a) famous Jalan Korea, an old logging track, (b) a trek into the northern swamp forests for cassowary and crowned pigeon, (c) the hill forest around KM 8.
Jalan Korea (= Korean Road) is a logging track that was built by a Korean company to harvest timber around Nimbokrang. Forest along here is strongly degraded throughout most parts, and although the company has long left, local villagers have resumed logging operations in some patches. Despite the low forest quality, Pak Jamil knows places for a number of specialties along Jalan Korea and its side-tracks. Today’s stake-outs become deserted tomorrow, so it is useless to give directions in the face of ever-changing conditions on the ground, and it is best to consult Jamil directly. The slow day-time activity during our stay meant that it usually took an entire day’s investment to chase a single target bird. For instance, I was taken to an active mound one morning where a three-hour wait produced two Brown-collared Brush-Turkeys. Two Wallace’s Fairywrens in a canopy flock were a surprise find at this same site. On another occasion, Jamil and I spent a whole morning searching through a small secondary forest patch en route from Nimbokrang to Jalan Korea to look for Shovel-billed Kingfisher. A male finally showed up just in time before we were close to giving up, and other goodies included a Hook-billed Kingfisher (difficult to see, though commonly heard) as well as Coroneted Fruit-Dove, Black-sided Robin and Jobi Manucode. The latter species was seen on approximately 7 occasions and far outnumbered its open-habitat replacement Glossy-mantled Manucode.
Opportunistic sightings at other sections of Jalan Korea or close to town included the desirable Pale-billed Sicklebill, a displaying male Twelve-wired Bird-of-Paradise, male and female Lesser and King Birds-of-Paradise, White-eared Catbird, a tame Dusky Scrubfowl, Zoe and Pinon Imperial-Pigeons, Western Black-capped Lory, Palm Cockatoo, Buff-faced Pygmy-Parrot (at its nest), Beautiful Fruit-Dove, Common Paradise-Kingfisher, Variable Dwarf-Kingfisher, Yellow-billed Kingfisher. Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Papuan Frogmouth, Papuan Spine-tailed Swift, Emperor Fairywren, Yellow-bellied Gerygone, Mimic Meliphaga, Long-billed Honeyeater, White-bellied Thicket-Fantail, Rufous-collared Monarch, Hooded and Golden Monarch, Grey-headed Whistler, Little Shrike-Thrush, Rusty Pitohui, Cicadabird, Brown Oriole, Black-browed Triller and Golden Cuckooshrike. Jalan Korea’s degraded habitat structure produced a number of birds rarely seen in primary habitat, such as Gray-headed Goshawk, Brown Falcon, Variable Goshawk, Great-billed Heron, Whistling Kite, Long-tailed Buzzard, Orange-bellied Fruit-Dove, a single Glossy-mantled Manucode, Plain Honeyeater and Meyer’s Friarbird. Properly logged sections were the home of Brown Quail, King Quail, Grey Crow, Lesser Black Coucal and Streak-headed Mannikin.
Dubbed by Filip Verbelen the most beautiful bird in the world, this male
King Bird-of-Paradise was photographed by him and Bram Demeulemeester near Jalan Korea
The Cassowary Hike:
The swamp forest in the flatlands north of Jalan Korea provides truly horrific birding conditions, but a hike into the depths of unspoiled forest – away from the hunting pressure around Jalan Korea – is necessary to stand a chance of glimpsing two of the local avian highlights: Victoria Crowned Pigeon and Northern Cassowary. The hunt for these two species is more like a mammal quest. It requires random off-trail walking at relatively high speeds, mostly through ankle-deep water. Pak Jamil is the man to show you most birds in Nimbokrang, but even he admits that he is helpless when it comes to cassowaries and crowned pigeons, and he will send you out with one of his local Papuan hunter friends. The issue is that you need to have an inbuilt GPS in your brain to know where you’re going and to avoid getting lost in the swamp forest while running through it. Jamil’s local Papuan hunter friends may not know much about the smaller birds (and frankly they do not have a lot of interest in them either), but they are the ones to show you a cassowary. It may be worth noting that Pak Jamil is currently considering purchasing a real GPS himself so he can take people to see cassowary on his own, because there have been numerous issues concerning punctuality and reliability with his hunter friends.
As soon as you leave behind Jalan Korea on your walk north, you enter swamp forest that teems with the excrements and footprints of cassowary. Jamil first took us to a place that is a full day’s hike north of Jalan Korea, because he wanted to check its potential for cassowary. We camped here for 2 nights, and eventually all of us had great looks at a Victoria Crowned Pigeon. Other good birds around here that we would not see elsewhere in Nimbokrang included a Blue Jewel-Babbler, a family of Brown-headed Crow, a single New Guinea Bronzewing, Wompoo and Pink-spotted Fruit-Doves, Sooty Thicket-Fantail, Collared and Purple-tailed Imperial-Pigeons, Greater Black Coucal, Blue-black Kingfisher, Brown Lory and Boyer’s Cuckooshrike. Most of us (but not myself) were at the right place at the right time to see a group of juvenile cassowaries led around by their parent. Therefore, I decided to wait until all the others had left Nimbokrang and ask Jamil and his hunter friends to take me into the northern swamps a second time to try again. That second quest for cassowary only took us a few kilometers north from Jalan Korea, but involved river crossings and more high-speed forest walking than before. It was a thoroughly exhausting day, but it ended on a positive note with a spectacular sighting of a single adult Northern Cassowary.
Hill forest at KM 8:
South of Nimbokrang, hilly country marks the beginning of higher mountains further inland. A road gives access to some of the villages in these hills, and has been used by birders in search of avian specialties. Good forest is hard to come by in the immediate vicinity of the road, but existing trails (or those that Jamil can make for you) can take you all the way to better habitat and good birds. A spot that Jamil takes people to is KM8 along this road, where a 2-hour trek can take you far enough to see Vulturine Parrot (a pair in our case). This species is a true phylogenetic relict whose range has gradually receded over the years in response to hunting pressure. Other good birds we saw in hill forest include Rufous-backed Fantail, Black Cuckooshrike, Black Berrypecker, Spot-winged Monarch, Yellow-bellied and Pygmy Longbills, Golden and Yellow-faced Mynahs, Rufous Babbler, Magnificent Bird-of-Paradise, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Bush-hen, Great Cuckoo-Dove, Superb Fruit-Dove and Dwarf Koel. A Cinnamon Ground-Dove and a number of Salvadori’s Fig-Parrots seen here constituted the best sightings of these species, although they were also glimpsed previously on the cassowary hikes.
13 – 26 August 2008 Arfak Mountains
On about half of the days, I was in the company of Bram Demeulemeester and Filip Verbelen
The Arfaks count as one of the world’s birding highlights. Made famous by David Attenborough’s documentary about birds-of-paradise, numerous birders have since made the pilgrimage to Mokwam Village to meet up with renowned Zeth Wonggur, who can show you the birds of the Arfaks like no-one else. Zeth’s guiding abilities have become legendary, and even though he is grooming a legion of young village boys to replace him as a guide, he is still the best bet when it comes to finding a number of elusive and rare local specialties that you will struggle to see otherwise. These days, Mokwam is connected to Manokwari and the coast by road. Even so, public transportation is not straightforward and most birders opt to hire an expensive local jeep to get there. I must have been the first birder to attempt the journey by motor-bike, and my driver was close to dumping me off along the way, as his machine was hardly powerful enough to make the journey. Consequently, I ended up walking much of the way, so I cannot recommend this transportation option at the present time.
Mokwam Village has seen its fair share of “Orang Bule” (=Westerners) looking for birds, and there is now a wooden house with simple sleeping facilities called Rumah Turis ( = tourist house, but bring sleeping bags). Nevertheless, camping is necessary at all the sites apart from Rumah Turis, and even Mokwam itself still lacks such basic facilities as a proper store to buy provisions etc. For the undemanding, it is not necessary to bring food from Manokwari, as villagers can sell you rice, noodles, sardines, coffee, vegetables, fruit and the occasional cake. However, if you feel like having a treat once in a while, it would be wise to buy those treats in Manokwari before heading up here. With time, it is Zeth’s hope that the two local kiosks will stock up on some of the items so dearly desired by foreign birders, such as oatmeal, chocolate, meat and tea. Zeth also told me about ambitious plans to build a hotel for visiting birders with the help of three foreign investors, but it may take them another few years yet to make this dream come true.
Needless to say, Mokwam gets very crowded with birders in July and August, and Zeth has a lot of commitments with tour companies that sometimes hire him not just for their Arfak leg, but also for additional sites. Rates for birding groups and porters are now standardized and displayed in the logbook, and even though they are much higher now than just a couple of years ago, they are still very reasonable. You would be wise to check beforehand if Zeth is available during your stay. As pointed out in other trip reports, there are conventional channels to get into contact with Zeth through the Papuan Bird Club, but in our conversations, he confirmed that he would soon create his own email address and make sure to check it every two weeks in Manokwari. Zeth also confirmed that he has not signed up as a permanent guide with any tour company despite erroneous rumours to the contrary, and that he is available for guiding any private groups time permitting. Write to him in simple English or in Bahasa Indonesia.
During our stay, we got into an inconvenient conflict of interest again with the Dutch-American group that we had previously run into at Nimbokrang. This time, we were the ones arriving here first, but they had contacted Zeth beforehand, and he honored his commitment to guide them. As a consequence, we lost a crucial number of days that would have been necessary to go with Zeth in pursuit of some of the rarer species. In hindsight, I spent about three unnecessary days waiting for Zeth to become available while seeing few new birds around Mokwam village, and consequently missing out on a number of tricky species that can best be seen with Zeth’s assistance, such as the shy Buff-tailed Sicklebill, which often requires a sprint through the mountain forest after you hear its distant vocalizations, or the elusive White-striped Forest-Rail whose specialized stake-outs were not known to other local people. Waiting for Zeth to become available also subtracted crucial days that would have been vital later on in the itinerary. As a conclusion, I cannot over-emphasize the importance of making pre-arrangements with Zeth.
Several online trip reports contain good maps of the area, foremost one written by Nick Brickle and another one by Charles Davies. Several sites around Mokwam need to be visited to see a good cross-selection of specialties.
The “tourist house” lies at the upper end of Sioubri, a part of Mokwam that has the status of a village itself. Habitat around the village is mostly secondary or logged. From Rumah Turis, there is a maze of local trails going up the mountain and giving access to orchards and secondary groves. Most people spend a day or two around here before hiking up to “Rumah Kebun” (see below). The best birds I saw around those trails near Rumah Turis include 3-4 Blue-faced Parrotfinches accompanied by 1-2 Papuan Parrotfinches, the shy Vogelkop Melidectes, Black-billed Cuckoo-Dove, a female Mottled Whistler and Green-backed Robin. Other birds most common here (but also seen elsewhere) include Island Leaf-Warbler, Rusty Mouse-Warbler, Brown-breasted Gerygone, Mountain Meliphaga, Yellow-bellied and the rarer Dwarf Longbill, the common Western Smoky Honeyeater, Black Monarch (up to Rumah Kebun), Western Mountain White-eye and Blue-gray Robin. The secondary habitat just below town produced Mountain Red-headed and a male Red Myzomela.
One of the trails going up from Rumah Turis leads all the way to a house in a garden clearing at about a 90 min walk. The “Garden House” (=Rumah Kebun) or “Lemon House” is the base for exploring the montane forests of Gunung Indon further up, but its surroundings boast an impressive avifauna themselves. Just 200 m from the house is a group of hides that have become world-renowned through Attenborough’s documentary. The parotia hide allows easy views of male Western Parotias in the morning (female-colored birds are common throughout), and if you’re lucky, you may even witness their courtship display. A bowerbird hide provides views of an active bower, though the owner is not always present. However, the inornate Vogelkop Bowerbird can sometimes be seen far away from their hides during regular birdwatching. On one occasion, we all heard a Red-billed Brush-Turkey around these hides – a bird that seems to be encroaching on the Wattled Brush-Turkey from further up the hill – and Filip saw what could have been one the next day. The garden clearing is the only place where most of us saw a Feline Owlet-Nightjar, a Mountain Owlet-Nighhtjar, Black-mantled Goshawk, Sooty Owl and Long-tailed Paradigalla, though the local guides have other stake-outs for the latter species further down the valley near Rumah Turis. The general vicinity of Rumah Kebun was also the best area for White-eared Bronze-Cuckoo, Garnet Robin, Regent Whistler (down to Rumah Turis), Orange-crowned Fairywren, Fan-tailed Berrypecker, Black-breasted Boatbill, Lesser Ground-Robin and the omnipresent Black and Friendly Fantails. Vogelkop Scrubwren, the one that behaves like a Phylloscopus but lacks a distinct supercilium, was common from here down to Rumah Turis and up to Camp Jepang.
Two species of owlet-nightjar occur at day roosts in the immediate vicinity of
Rumah Kebun; guess which is which! Photos by Bram Demeulemeester and Filip Verbelen
Another 90 min’s ascent from Rumah Kebun is Camp David. No-one remembers whether this camp derives its name from Attenborough or Gibbs, both of whom stayed here in the early days of Arfak birdwatching. The ascent to Camp David is through proper beautiful montane forest that yielded such delights as Ashy Robin, Black Pitohui, Tit Berrypecker, Rufous-naped Whistler, Cinnamon-browed Melidectes, Papuan Treecreeper, a male Bronze Ground-Dove on its nest and Spotted Jewel-Babbler (the latter also down to Rumah Turis). Camp David itself had a pair of New Guinea Harpy Eagles and a number of Black Sicklebills on show, though the latter could also be seen as far up as Camp Jepang. The whole area is covered by excrements of the Dwarf Cassowary, though we were told that seeing this bird is another matter entirely.
Camp Jepang (=Japanese Camp) marks the highest point most birders visit. Named after a Japanese film crew that founded the camp, it is about another 60 – 120 min above Camp David, walking through beautiful mossy forest. Sicklebills become more common up here, and it is the only place where you stand a chance of seeing the rare endemic Arfak Astrapia. It took me two mornings to finally lay my eyes on a beautiful young male of this spectacular species as it fed in a fruiting tree in the mist. Other good birds around Camp Jepang not seen elsewhere in the Arfaks included a group of Varied Sitella and a number of Large Scrubwrens – identified by their treecreeper behaviour, large size and distinct supercilium. On the other hand, Modest Tiger-Parrot, Papuan and Yellow-billed Lorikeet, Plum-faced Lorikeet, Mountain Mouse-Warbler, Rufous-sided Honeyeater and Dimorphic Fantail (here less common than in Wamena) were also seen further down the hill.
From Camp Jepang, there is a tough trail leading up the slope to the peak of Gunung Indon, but after seeing the astrapia, few birders feel the necessity of doing the 2-hour walk. I was drawn here by rumours about a distinct Lichenostomus honeyeater at the top of Gunung Indon, but the birds I saw at the peak just looked like regular Black-throated Honeyeaters to me. Nevertheless, the hike was interesting, even if just for the views of stunted trees and dwarf shrubs. The near endemic Smoky Robin replaces Blue-gray Robin somewhere above Rumah Kebun, but it only becomes really conspicuous along this trail from Camp Jepang to Gunung Indon and you may miss it if you don’t go higher than Camp Jepang. Similarly, I saw my only Black-throated Robin in the Arfaks along here. A flushed brush-turkey was not seen well enough, but should have been Wattled due to elevation.
There are two strategies to see lower-elevation birds around Mokwam village: either roadside birding (see below) or a one-day hike to a forest tract called Ciraubri past the village of Kwao. Before the road was built, the trail to Kwao and Ciraubri was part of the path that connected Mokwam with the coast, but in the last few years the trail below Kwao has overgrown somewhat due to infrequent use. The habitat is all degraded and logged from Mokwam (1450 m) past Kwao to the bottom of the valley (850 m), but there is a great patch of flat forest just before the river crossing at the lowest point. From the river, the trail re-ascends steeply to the clearing of Ciraubri (1100 m), where there is a wooden hut for accommodation. From here, the best birding is along the trail that continues up the hill all the way up to sicklebill elevations. During my three nights here, I concentrated on the lower elevations around Ciraubri itself to avoid overlap with the birds I had seen between Mokwam and Gunung Indon.
One of the prime specialties around Ciraubri is Flame Bowerbird, which prefers the large trees 200 m below the hut and was represented by 4 females during my stay. A second specialty is the Northern Scrub-Robin, two or three of which I saw in good forest close to the clearing. Other good species included three different sightings of the rare White-rumped Robin, another three sightings of the fascinating Wallace’s Fairywren, two brief sightings of Crested Pitohuis, many Hooded Pitohuis, Lesser and Magnificent Birds-of-Paradise, a few Trumpet and Crinkle-collared Manucodes, many White-faced Robins, two Red-bellied Pittas, a Yellow-legged Flycatcher, Pale-billed Scrubwrens, Dwarf Whistlers (also occasionally up to Rumah Turis), Mountain Peltops (also elsewhere in Mokwam), a Mimic Meliphaga (here overlapping with Mountain Meliphaga), Tawny-breasted Honeyeater, Boyer’s Cuckooshrike, Mid-mountain Berrypecker, Black-fronted White-eye, Chestnut-bellied Fantail, Little Shrike-Thrush, Fairy Gerygone, Gray-headed Whistler, Gray Crow, Moluccan King Parrot, Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo, Palm Cockatoo, a Superb Fruit-Dove, Rufescent Imperial-Pigeons (also at Camp David) and a Stephan’s Ground-Dove. A peculiar species commonly seen in mixed-canopy flocks around Ciraubri was the odd Vogelkop race of Yellow-bellied Gerygone with its untypical wingbar, reddish upperparts and non-yellow underparts. The birds had me confused for a whole day until I got better views of them. They joined other lowland species, such as Northern Fantail and Green-backed Honeyeater, to give Ciraubri its distinct lowland feel. Another species that was potentially common around Ciraubri (though rarely affording good views) was the confusingly colored Gray-green Scrubwren.
On the hike to Ciraubri, a stop at the river produced a soaring New Guinea Little Eagle, while the forest patch on the Kwao side of the river boasted excellent activity in the form of two Sooty Thicket-Fantails, one Rufous-backed Fantail, a pair of Frilled Monarch, a Black-winged Monarch, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Black and Black-shouldered Cuckooshrikes, Black-browed Triller, two female Mottled Whistlers, two Pygmy Longbills and a female Magnificent Riflebird. Hiking back up towards Kwao on the way back, I saw large groups of Ornate and Claret-breasted Fruit-Doves as well as Double-eyed Fig-Parrots in a fruiting tree, besides Long-billed Honeyeater, Streak-headed Mannikin, a lone Lemon-bellied Flycatcher and Scrub White-eared Meliphaga in secondary habitat.
The Magnificent Bird-of-Paradise is not uncommon at and
below Mokwam and in Ciraubri. However, most individuals
seen are female-colored, and easy views of displaying males
are probably restricted to the Mokwam hide, where Filip
Verbelen and Bram Demeulemeester took this picture.
Soiti is the name of a forest tract dissected by the newly paved track that joins Mokwam with the main road. Although similar in elevation to Mokwam and the area around Rumah Turis, Soiti harbours a number of species that are largely absent from other areas around Mokwam, not least the Buff-tailed Sicklebill and the White-striped Forest-Rail, two elusive local specialties I heard but failed to see on this trip. My time investment in Soiti was very limited because it was the last Mokwam site visited, but I did end up seeing species here that had eluded me elsewhere, such as Grey Gerygone. Sclater’s Whistler turned out to be a rare species only seen here and in Ciraubri. The best bird at Soiti was without a doubt one male and two female-colored Spotted Berrypeckers seen engaging in a weird courtship display.
KM14 along the road:
Roadside birding en route to Mokwam can be very rewarding. For many birders who don’t have the time or perseverance to hike to Ciraubri, it may indeed be the only easy way to see lower-elevation species around here. My plan had been to see most targets in Ciraubri and skip roadside birding, since I did not have my own vehicle. However, it so happened that I missed out on unequivocal sightings of one confusingly colored key species, Vogelkop Whistler. Consequently, I decided to walk down the road part of the way on the last day for a better chance of this species. Zeth told me many birders just “tick” their Vogelkop Whistler around the parotia hide near Rumah Kebun, i.e. far within the elevational range of Regent Whistler. The actual elevational range of Vogelkop Whistler should not extend above Rumah Turis at 1450m, but even here I saw unequivocal male Regent Whistlers on several occasions. Below Rumah Turis, habitat becomes degraded, and where good forest picks up again below Kwao, I only happened to see male Sclater’s Whistlers and female whistlers that I did not want to label at the time.
Walking down the road on the last morning, I chanced upon an area of great activity around KM14 (counting from below), where there was an unequivocal pair of Vogelkop Whistlers. Having studied their plumage pattern and voice in detail, I was finally convinced that one of the whistlers I had previously seen at Ciraubri must also have been a Vogelkop Whistler, though others at Ciraubri were definitely Sclater’s. The roadside patch at KM14 also yielded two Mountain Drongos, a Marbled Honeyeater and a number of good species seen elsewhere (such as Mountain Red-headed Myzomela). A single female Flame Bowerbird afforded great views a few kilometers further up from here.
29 August – 6 September 2008 Fakfak
on my own
The Fakfak Peninsula has become a veritable ornithological fairy land, after Jared Diamond visited the area decades ago and discovered bird taxa undescribed to science. David Gibbs followed his footsteps a few years later and gained access to the same mountain range where Diamond had operated before. Both Diamond and Gibbs reported on the existence of an undescribed paradigalla, intermediate in tail length between the two described species and aberrant in the color of its bare facial patch. Furthermore, they provided details of a Ptiloprora honeyeater similar to Gray-streaked from the Central Range, but adjacent to the distribution of Rufous-sided. Another undescribed Fakfak honeyeater, akin to the group of Smoky Honeyeaters, more closely resembles the newly-described bird from the Foja Mountains than the adjacent Western Smoky Honeyeater. Last but not least, the two researchers noted that local populations of the Vogelkop Bowerbird were characterized by a different nest structure from that found in the Arfak Mountains. The two ornithologists offered the conclusion that the Fakfak Mountains may be characterised by a high level of undescribed avian endemism. The immense ornithological interest of this area notwithstanding, there have been no subsequent visits by birders to my knowledge.
The Vogelkop Bowerbird is characterized by its spectacular breeding behavior, in which objects of peculiar shape and color are neatly arranged around the nest structure. This nest was photographed by Filip Verbelen and Bram Demeulemeester in the Arfak Mountains. The nests of Fakfak populations of this species are said to differ, though I am not aware of any detailed documentation of these differences.
The long journey to Fakfak:
One of my foremost aims during this Papua trip was to gain access to the mountains of Fakfak to search for these undescribed endemic taxa and find out for myself just how different they really are. Despite carrying a tent and everything else needed for a lengthy expedition, I was not as well-prepared as I could have been – lacking any access to David Gibbs’s detailed report about his visit to the Fakfak Mountains. Worse still, I had made a copy of the summary of Gibbs’s report in Nigel Wheatley’s site guide, but this summary went missing under unbelievably mysterious circumstances earlier during the trip. In the end, I was lucky in that a bunch of nice fellow birders I met in Mokwam provided me with their copy of Wheatley’s Papua chapter, so I could at least find out where the starting point for any trek to the Fakfak Mountains would have to be.
The flight from Manokwari to Fakfak included a stop-over in Kaimana, where the runway held Australian Pratincoles and an unidentified Latham’s/Swinhoe’s Snipe. Fakfak Town turned out to be a pleasant surprise with its clean and modern lay-out and high-standard accommodation. After having bought food for a provisional 7-day expedition with several porters, I left for Waserat, the town that was the starting point for Gibbs’s expedition into the Fakfak Mountains, and which used to be near where the “lane” connecting the helipads joined the coast at the time when the oil companies were still around.
Waserat no longer needs to be accessed by boat, as there is now a coastal track connecting it with Fakfak via a 3-4 hour drive. In Waserat, I asked the mayor (“kepala desa”) to accommodate me for a night, because it took me quite some time to negotiate the conditions of such an expedition. The atmosphere in Waserat was unusually subdued for a Papuan village, bordering hostile. The reasons must probably be sought in the villagers’ and especially the kepala desa’s frustration with certain political issues. Despite my constant efforts to direct the topic towards innocent items such as birds, conversation between me and the locals would always revolve around the political reality of Papua and other countries’ inability or reluctance to change it. When I presented my birding intention to the villagers, there was little enthusiasm for assisting me with my project. The oil company has been gone from Waserat for a decade or more, trails are overgrown, and people have not been inland for many years. In the end, I did find a single senior person who was old enough to have made the trek to the helipads at the time of the oil era, and who could be persuaded to join me on an expedition to the mountains around Helipad 5 (after I had offered an excellent daily rate for guiding and porter services). This person – Pak Wimpi – was to act as my guide for the next few days, while a group of three youths selected by him (Neles, Helon and Naptali) were to act as our porters. The approximate time it was going to take to arrive at Helipad 5 was estimated at 3-5 days, plus half that for the way back.
We set out the next morning and soon left behind the narrow coastal belt of degraded habitat, entering spiny forest on razor-sharp limestone rocks where we would cut our own paths for want of pre-existing ones. Pak Wimpi always talked about cutting through the first row of hills to join the “len” (=lane?) that connects the series of helipads, but whenever we found anything resembling a trail, it soon petered out and left us guessing where to go next. The pace during the first two days was rather fast, with no birding time at all in between. Heavy showers interrupted pathfinding activities every afternoon, as we would struggle to keep our goods dry while setting up camp. We had a compass and I repeatedly suggested we abandon our quest for the “len” and walk a straight line towards where we thought Helipad 5 would be. However, Pak Wimpi insisted we must find the lane first, or else we may ascend the wrong ridge and struggle to find our way around. Without a GPS and the exact coordinates of Helipad 5 at hand, it seemed wise to follow Pak Wimpi’s advice, as the area resembles a maze of rocky hill complexes that all look identical. I had previously hoped that seeing the Fakfak endemics was just a matter of reaching a high-enough elevation, but now the difficulty lay precisely in finding a way to get above 1000 m.
Thus we found ourselves at the top of a ridge at an elevation of 750 m on the eve of the second day – the land sloping down in all four directions, and distant hill tops all looking of equal height. We did not know which way to descend, and – not having seen a single helipad yet – I decided to split up the group the following morning. Pak Wimpi and the boys spread out in different directions to look for the “len” or for any sign of an overgrown helipad, while I was waiting in camp and doing my first proper birdwatching. Later that day, Pak Wimpi and the boys returned empty-handed. Pak Wimpi conceded that he was probably not able to find the lane, as no-one has been using it for more than a decade and it may have overgrown beyond recognition. I was facing the prospect of staying on and continuing our search for an overgrown trail, thereby wasting another half week, or returning to the coast to salvage at least some of the time wasted on this trek and invest it into more promising lowland birding. On the evening of the third day, I decided to abort the whole expedition and return to Waserat as fast as possible.
The sprinting through the forest, the razor-sharp rocks, the cuts and bruises, the complete absence of streams, the sparse trickles of drinking water from bamboo shoots, the heat and the spines… all these things combined to make the Waserat trek one of the most traumatic bird-watching experiences of my life. The only notable birds I saw during the entire first two days were a fortuitous Olive-banded Robin and a displaying male Magnificent Riflebird somewhere at 450 m elevation. On the third day, I had almost a whole day around our camp at the top of a ridge at 750 m elevation, where bird activity was limited to a few moments in the morning, with the best birds being Olive Flyrobin, Pale-billed Scrubwren, Fairy Gerygone, Island Leaf-Warbler, Chestnut-bellied Fantail, Frilled and Spot-winged Monarchs, Variable Pitohui, Gray-headed Whistler, Little Shrike-Thrush, Magnificent Bird-of-Paradise and Tawny-breasted Honeyeater. I also managed another few sightings of the peculiar Vogelkop race of Yellow-bellied Gerygone, which looks so unlike the widespread Papuan subspecies. However, local birds here differed from those seen in the Arfak Mountains in having a less conspicuous wingbar, or none at all.
Lowland birding around the village of Woos:
With half a week left in the area after my return from the Waserat debacle, I decided to give the Fakfak lowlands a shot. Albeit coastal, Fakfak Town is nestled on precipitous slopes that quickly rise to a few hundred meters. However, a new road to Bomberai cuts across this coastal ridge and gives access to a vast flat expanse of great lowland rainforest on the northern side of the peninsula. About three quarters along the way to Bomberai and an 8-hour drive from Fakfak, the village of Woos (pronounce: Woss) appeared to be as good a base as any to explore the local lowland rainforest. For two full days, I found accommodation in the house of Pak Yoel. The first day was invested into roadside birding in the company of Pak Yoel, while the second day was spent along forest trails and cross-country (with machetes) in the distinguished company of Pak Dominggus, a hunter with great fieldcraft who showed me an amazing variety of large birds.
Woos had some of the most astonishing bird activity I have ever encountered anywhere in the Australasian realm. Despite spending only two full days around here, I saw a comparable amount of species and individuals as during 10 days in Nimbokrang. Flocks were encountered all-day, and the dawn chorus extended well into the afternoon. Birding remained exciting all day long, and limbs got tired after so many hours of stretching your arms and neck. Woos was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. It was an adequate compensation for the catastrophic success of my previous Waserat trek.
Some of the best bird sightings at Woos I owe to Pak Dominggus, hunter extraordinaire. Having heard Talegalla brush-turkeys all over the place, he managed to flush one onto a tree, where it presented itself to me for more than an hour. To my immense surprise, the bird turned out to be not a Red-billed Brush-Turkey, as expected by distribution, but a Black-billed Brush-Turkey. I still regret not having taken a camera along that day, as the bird would have made for a great photo shot. The surprising element about this sighting is not only the fact that it constitutes a considerable range extension (to the best of my knowledge), but also that the bird had bright orange legs – contra the descriptions and illustrations in the field guide. Intriguingly, the leg color of this bird is more akin to that of Red-billed Brush-Turkeys. According to the field guide, Red-billed and Black-billed Brush-Turkey do overlap in south-west New Guinea, where they segregate along elevational lines (with Black-billed being lower). Pak Dominggus has caught and eaten dozens of these brush-turkeys over the years, and confirmed that all of them have this same bright leg color, and none of them look like Red-billed Brush-Turkeys in the book. Therefore, the Fakfak brush-turkeys probably constitute an isolated western population that may deserve taxonomic recognition. Alternatively, it may form the westernmost extension of the distribution of Black-billed Brush-Turkey, with leg colors gradually becoming paler towards the east.
Woos had more mega-birds in store. An adult Southern Cassowary that briefly appeared on the trail would have almost passed for a distant human, if it had not been for the fact that I suddenly remembered that Pak Dominggus should be behind me, not in front of me. With suspicions aroused, I played the drumming of a cassowary, and the bird returned onto the trail to check me out, affording good views in the process. Not long afterwards, we had intriguing but unsatisfactory looks at a Western Crowned Pigeon on the forest floor, and it would have stayed at that if Pak Dominggus had not pursued it and flushed it onto a nearby tree, where it gave good views for two minutes. Other edible birds at Woos included the Orange-legged Scrubfowl, which I saw on two occasions, and a New Guinea Bronzewing on the nest at only a few meters above the ground.
The avifauna at Woos constituted a fascinating mix of western and southern Papuan birds, with affinities divided evenly. Having anticipated a predominant Vogelkop element in the lowland birds of the Fakfak peninsula, I was surprised to see that some bird groups were represented by more easterly species or subspecies, such as Ornate Fruit-Dove (ssp gestroi, not ornatus), which – in itself – seems to be a good record at 50 m above sea level, as well as Orange-breasted Fig-Parrot (ssp fuscifrons) and Tawny-breasted Honeyeater (local race has a more distinct facial pattern than Vogelkop’s flaviventer). On the other hand, some bird groups did show up in “Vogelkop format”, such as the distinct race of Yellow-bellied Gerygone (see Waserat above). The local Black Lories have much red in their wing and a red streak in the face. The southern race of Coroneted Fruit-Dove (ssp coronulatus) stood in interesting contrast to the northern form I had previously seen at Nimbokrang.
Mixed flocks here at Woos provided an exciting diversity of birds within the span of a minute, comprising such delights as Rufous-backed and Chestnut-bellied Fantails, Tawny Straightbill, New Guinea Babbler, Large-billed Gerygone, Frilled and Spot-winged Monarchs, Golden and Hooded Monarchs, Gray-headed Whistler, Little Shrike-Thrush, Black-sided Robin, Black Berrypecker, Variable Pitohui, Twelve-wired Bird-of-Paradise (including males), Magnificent Riflebird and King Bird-of-Paradise (including males), while other good forest-interior birds included Yellow-capped Pygmy-Parrot (Dominggus caught one with his hands!), Hooded Pitta and several sightings of all three species of thicket-fantail. Roadside birding produced Green-backed and Silver-eared Honeyeaters, Long-billed Honeyeater, Scrub White-eared Meliphaga, Lowland Peltops, Emperor Fairywren, White-bellied and Boyer’s Cuckooshrikes, Black Cuckooshrike, Brown Oriole, Golden and Yellow-faced Mynas, Spangled Drongo, Metallic Starling, Lesser Birds-of-Paradise (including males), Black and Hooded Butcherbirds, Grey Crow, Beautiful and Pink-spotted Fruit-Doves, Orange-bellied Fruit-Dove, Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove, Zoe and Pinon Imperial-Pigeons, Little and Yellow-billed Kingfishers, Common Paradise-Kingfisher (common indeed!), Greater Black Coucal, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Papuan Spine-tailed Swift, Red-flanked and Rainbow Lorikeets, Palm Cockatoo, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Large Fig-Parrot (ssp intermedia) and Moluccan King-Parrot.
Hill birding at “Taman Anggrek”:
A ridge of hills divides the lowlands around Woos from the south coast at Fakfak Town. At its highest point – at only 45 min from Fakfak City – the road ascends to 950 m on its way across this ridge. Visibility is good at some points and indicates that neighboring hills are barely higher than the ones along the roadside, so it is probably not possible to find a way to higher elevations from here. Nevertheless, I wanted to spend my last field day in Papua at the highest point along this road, in the vague hope that this elevation may be high enough for some of the montane Fakfak endemics and that the habitat may be adequate for Greater Melampitta. Reported as locally common by Diamond, but not encountered at all by Gibbs, the melampitta inhabits a highly specialized limestone habitat in a narrow elevational band.
The highest section of road is dotted by frequent work camps housing Javan lumber jacks fully equipped for their logging operations. The sound of chain saws is a constant companion around these elevations. A derelict government building that used to be a tree nursery (Taman Anggrek) is now occupied by native Papuan villagers who have successfully made a legal claim to the land along this road and employ the Javan immigrants to exploit the timber of their own land. This ironic situation is a sad reminder that the empowerment of local people and nature conservation are really two different issues; one is as morally binding as the other, and the two can often be reconciled with each other. However, there are other times when they clash.
A full day and a morning along the road at the former Taman Anggrek failed to produce sightings of melampittas or of any of Jared Diamond’s “new” Fakfak taxa. In the case of the former, the species may be here, although I suspect the habitat is not adequate. In the case of the latter, I assume elevations are still too low. On the other hand, not all effort was lost at Taman Anggrek, and despite the brief duration of the dawn chorus and the lack of activity afterwards, some good birds did manage to show up in the end, most notably a Rusty Whistler.
Pitohuis are the most conspicuous aspect of Taman Anggrek’s avifauna. Uncommon or shy elsewhere, the Hooded Pitohui is a common garden bird here, but even more surprisingly, it occurs in syntopy with the grey-headed race of Variable Pitohui. The two species can be seen in the same trees and chasing each other around. Their plumage similarities and different elevational preferences would have suggested to me that they replace each other, but this is clearly not the case at Taman Anggrek. Similarly, the shy Crested Pitohui is common by voice (I also saw an injured bird hopping around a hut in heavy rain), while I also had a single positive sighting of a Rusty Pitohui, which must have been at the far upper end of its distribution. Again the two species look similar to the point that you would erroneously assume they replace each other in elevation.
Two sightings of Perplexing Scrubwren were based on the observation of brownish-colored scrubwrens with black-and-white markings on the shoulder, a Phylloscopus-like appearance in the face (with a supercilium) and the habit of a treecreeper. Meliphagas at Taman Anggrek were extremely confusing; a number of birds associated with flowering trees and had all the field marks of Mimic Meliphagas, while others were almost certainly Forest White-eared Meliphagas, but the identification cannot be regarded as unequivocal (see list).
The biggest blunder at Taman Anggrek was the fact that I managed to miss Chestnut-backed Jewel-Babbler, a bird whose vocalisations were common all around. Similarly, a calling New Guinea Harpy Eagle eluded my scanning eyes despite a search effort of half an hour. In contrast I did manage to see two Gray-headed Goshawks, Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove, Superb Fruit-Dove, Black-shouldered and Black Cuckooshrike, Fairy Gerygone, Island Leaf-Warbler, Rusty Mouse-Warbler, Pale-billed Scrubwren, Black Monarch, Black-winged and Spot-winged Monarchs, Mountain Peltops, Gray-headed Whistler, Little Shrike-Thrush, Black Berrypecker (this high!), Black-fronted White-eye, Red Myzomela, Yellow-bellied Longbill, Tawny-breasted Honeyeater, Magnificent Bird-of-Paradise and Crinkle-collared Manucode.
c. – approximately
5x – 5 times/occasions
cm – common
imm. – immature
ad. – adult
juv. – juvenile
min – minimum / at least
ind’ – individual(s)
h/o – heard only
Hab – Lake Habema Trek (Wamena)
Bk – Biak Island
Nk – Nimbokrang (1-11 Aug 08)
Mk – Mokwam Area (13-26 Aug 08)
Mk-GI – Gunung Indon
Mk-CJ – Camp Jepang (Japanese Camp)
Mk-CD – Camp David
Mk-RK – Rumah Kebun (Garden House, Lemon House)
Mk-RT – Rumah Turis (Tourist House), Sioubri
Mk-St – Soiti
Mk-Ci – Ciraubri
Mk-KM14 – KM 14 along road from coast to Mokwam
Fk – Fakfak Area (28 Aug – 6 Sep 08)
Fk-Wa – Waserat Trek (from 0 to 750m; 28-31 Aug 08)
Fk-Wo – Woos lowland birding at 10-30m (2-4 Sep 08)
Fk-TA – “Taman Anggrek” along Fakfak-Kokas Road at 850-890m (4-6 Sep 08)
1. Northern Cassowary - Casuarius unappendiculatus: 1 ad. Nk
a. [Dwarf Cassowary – Casuarius bennetti: Mk-CD excrements and distant vocalizations]
2. Southern Cassowary – Casuarius casuarius: Fk-Wo 1 ad.
3. Brown-collared Brush-Turkey – Talegalla jobiensis: Nk 2 ad. at nest and 1-2 flushed ind’s, commonly heard
a. [Red-billed Brush-Turkey – Talegalla cuvieri: h/o Mk up to RK]
4. Black-billed Brush-Turkey – Talegalla fuscirostris: Fk-Wo 1 ad. seen well for 30min and many heard, apparently new taxon with orange legs
a. [Wattled Brush-Turkey – Aepypodius arfakianus: non-countable flushed views of 1 ind’ at Mk-GI/CJ]
5. Orange-legged Scrubfowl – Megapodius reinwardt: Fk-Wo 1+1
6. Dusky Scrubfowl – Megapodius affinis: Nk 1 ad.
7. Snow Mountain Quail – Anurophasis monorthonyx: Hab c. 8x
8. Brown Quail – Coturnix australis: Nk 2-3
9. King Quail – Coturnix chinensis: Nk 1 female
10. Salvadori’s Teal – Anas waigiuensis: Lake Habema c. 5
11. Great-billed Heron – Ardea sumatrana: Nk 1
12. Little Black Cormorant – Phalacrocorax sulcirostris: Fk-Wo
13. Little Pied Cormorant – Phalacrocorax melanoleucos: Lake Habema; Fk-Wo
14. Osprey – Pandion haliaetus: Bk 1
15. Grey-headed Goshawk – Accipiter poliocephalus: Bk 1 imm.; Nk 1 ad.; Fk-TA 1+1
16. Variable Goshwak – Accipiter hiogaster: Nk several
17. Black-mantled Goshawk – Accipiter melanochlamys: Mk-RK 1 imm.
18. New Guinea Harpy Eagle – Harpyopsis novaeguineae: Mk-CD 1; also h/o Mk-Ci & Fk-TA
19. Whistling Kite – Haliastur sphenurus: min 2 Nk
20. Brahminy Kite – Haliastur Indus: Bk, Nk, Mk, Fk
21. Long-tailed Buzzard – Henicopernis longicauda: Bk 1, Hab 1, Nk 1, Mk-RT 1
22. Papuan Harrier – Circus spilothorax: Hab c. 5x; Sentani (Jayapura) 1 male
23. Pacific Baza – Aviceda subcristata: Bk c. 5x
24. Gurney’s Eagle – Aquila gurneyi: Bk 1
25. New Guinea Little Eagle – Hieraaetus weiskei: Mk-Ci 1, Mk-KM14 1 ad.; distinct from Australian H. morphnoides following Bunce et al. (2005) Ancient DNA provides new insights into the evolutionary history of New Zealand's extinct Giant Eagle. PLoS Biol 3(1): e9.
26. Brown Falcon – Falco berigora: Hab 1, Nk 2
27. Australian Kestrel – Falco cenchroides: Hab 1 at 4500m
28. Rufous-tailed Bush-hen – Amaurornis moluccana moluccana: Nk
29. Buff-banded Rail – Rallus philippensis: Hab
30. Chestnut Forest-Rail – Rallina rubra: Hab 2+2
a. [White-striped Forest-Rail – Rallina leucospila: h/o Mk-St]
31. Spotless Crake – Porzana tabuensis: 1 Hab
32. Eurasian Coot – Fulica atra: Hab
33. Dusky Moorhen – Gallinula tenebrosa: several Sentani (Jayapura)
34. Papuan Woodcock – Scolopax rosenbergii: Hab 1
35. Australian Pratincole – Stiltia Isabella: Kaimana Airport c. 3 (27 Aug 08)
a. [Latham’s/Swinhoe’s Snipe – Gallinago spec.: 1 unidentified Kaimana Airport (27 Aug 08)]
36. New Guinea Bronzewing – Henicophaps albifrons: Nk min 1; Fk-Wo 1 on nest (3 Sep 08)
37. Stephan’s Ground-Dove – Chalcophaps stephani: Bk min 1x; Mk-Ci 1
38. Cinnamon Ground-Dove – Gallicolumba rufigula: Nk 1+1+1
39. Bronze Ground-Dove – Gallicolumba beccarii: Mk 1 male on nest at CD, c.5 more flushed all over
40. Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove – Macropygia amboinensis: Bk; Hab; Mk-Ci several; Fk-Wo/TA
41. Black-billed Cuckoo-Dove – Macropygia nigrirostris: Mk-RT several
42. Great Cuckoo-Dove – Reinwardtoena reinwardtii: Nk
43. Torresian Imperial-Pigeon – Ducula spilorrhoa: Bk c. 5
44. Spice Imperial-Pigeon – Ducula myristicivora geelvinkiana: Bk c. 3x
45. Zoe Imperial-Pigeon – Ducula zoeae: Nk several; Fk-Wo
46. Purple-tailed Imperial-Pigeon – Ducula rufigaster: Nk 2 seen, more heard; h/o Fk-Wo
47. Rufescent Imperial-Pigeon – Ducula chalconota: Mk 1 at CD & 1+1 at Ci
48. Collared Imperial-Pigeon – Ducula muellerii: Nk 1
49. Pinon Imperial-Pigeon – Ducula pinon: Nk cm; Fk-Wo cm
50. Papuan Mountain-Pigeon – Gymnophaps albertisii: Hab 1; Mk cm
51. Victoria Crowned Pigeon – Goura victoria: Nk 1
52. Western Crowned Pigeon – Goura cristata: Fk-Wo 1
53. Yellow-bibbed Fruit-Dove – Ptilinopus solomonensis: Bk min 1 male
54. White-breasted Fruit-Dove – Ptilinopus rivoli: Hab 1 male; Mk cm
55. Claret-breasted Fruit-Dove – Ptilinopus viridis: Bk several; several Mk-Ci & below
56. Beautiful Fruit-Dove – Ptilinopus pulchellus: Nk 1+1; Fk-Wo
57. Wompoo Fruit-Dove – Ptilinopus magnificus: Nk c. 2-3x
58. Pink-spotted Fruit-Dove – Ptilinopus perlatus: Nk 1+1+1; Fk-Wo several
59. Ornate Fruit-Dove – Ptilinopus ornatus: [gestroi] Fk-Wo 2-3, [ornatus] several at fruiting tree below Mk-Ci
60. Orange-bellied Fruit-Dove – Ptilinopus iozonus: Nk cm; Fk-Wo
61. Coroneted Fruit-Dove – Ptilinopus coronulatus: [coronulatus] Fk-Wo 1+1, [geminus] Nk 3x
62. Superb Fruit-Dove – Ptilinopus superbus: Nk c. 5x; Mk-Ci 1-2; Fk-TA
63. Papuan Lorikeet – Charmosyna papou: [papou] red phase only, cm above Mk-CD, [goliathina] black phase only, cm along lower Hab trek
64. Red-fronted Lorikeet – Charmosyna rubronotata: Bk c. 6
65. Red-flanked Lorikeet – Charmosyna placentis: Fk-Wo several
66. Goldie’s Lorikeet – Trichoglossus goldiei: Hab, flocks at one low locality
67. Rainbow Lorikeet – Trichoglossus haematodus: Bk cm, Nk cm, Fk-Wo
68. Plum-faced Lorikeet – Oreopsittacus arfaki: Hab cm; Mk above CD but also KM14
69. Yellow-billed Lorikeet – Neopsittacus musschenbroekii: Hab cm; Mk above CD
70. Orange-billed Lorikeet – Neopsittacus pullicauda: Hab cm
71. Western Black-capped Lory – Lorius lory: Nk several
72. Biak Red Lory – Eos cyanogenia: Bk cm
73. Brown Lory – Chalcopsitta duivenbodei: Nk 3
74. Black Lory – Chalcopsitta atra insignis: Fk-Wo several
75. Eclectus Parrot – Eclectus roratus: Bk cm, Nk cm, Fk cm
76. Red-cheeked Parrot – Geoffroyus geoffroyi: Bk cm, Nk cm, Fk-Wo/Wa
77. Moluccan King Parrot – Alisterus amboinensis: Mk-Ci 1+1; Fk-Wo several
78. Geelvink Pygmy-Parrot – Micropsitta geelvinkiana: Bk c. 2x
79. Red-breasted Pygmy-Parrot – Micropsitta bruijnii: Hab 1-2
80. Buff-faced Pygmy-Parrot – Micropsitta pusio: Nk 2 seen well, more fly-by’s
81. Yellow-capped Pygmy-Parrot – Micropsitta keiensis: Fk-Wo 2+1
82. Salvadori’s Fig-Parrot – Psittaculirostris salvadorii: Nk several
83. Large Fig-Parrot – Psittaculirostris desmarestii intermedia: Fk-Wo several
84. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot – Cyclopsitta diophthalma: Nk several; Mk several near Kwao; Fk-Wo several
85. Orange-breasted Fig-Parrot – Cyclopsitta gulielmitertii fuscifrons: Fk-Wo several
86. Modest Tiger-Parrot – Psittacella modesta: Mk 1 RK & 1 CJ
87. Brehm’s Tiger-Parrot – Psittacella brehmii: Hab 1
88. Painted Tiger-Parrot – Psittacella picta: Hab c. 4x
89. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo – Cacatua galerita: Bk cm, Nk cm, Fk cm
90. Palm Cockatoo – Probosciger aterrimus: Nk 1; Mk-Ci 1; Fk cm
91. Vulturine Parrot – Psittrichas fulgidus: Nk 2
92. Little Bronze-Cuckoo – Chrysococcyx minutillus misoriensis: Nk 3-4
93. Rufous-throated Bronze-Cuckoo – Chrysococcyx ruficollis: Hab 1
94. White-eared Bronze-Cuckoo – Chrysococcyx meyerii: Mk several
95. Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo – Cacomantis castaneiventris: Mk 1 ad. Ci & 1 ad. KM14; several imm.’s at RT either this or next species; cm by voice in Mk, but voice difficult to distinguish form next species; above RT presumably replaced by next species
96. Fan-tailed Cuckoo – Cacomantis flabelliformis: Hab c. 4x
97. Brush Cuckoo – Cacomantis variolosus: Bk cm; Nk; Mk seen at Kwao & heard elsewhere; Fk-Wo
98. Dwarf Koel – Microdynamis parva: Nk 1-3 seen, more heard
99. Channel-billed Cuckoo – Scythrops novaehollandiae: Bk c. 4; Sentani (Jayapura); Fk-Wo
100. Biak Coucal – Centropus chalybeus: Bk min 1+1
101. Lesser Black Coucal – Centropus bernsteini: Nk cm
102. Greater Black Coucal – Centropus menbeki: Nk 2 seen, more heard; Fk-Wo 2; Fk-TA 1 at 500m
103. Biak Paradise-Kingfisher – Tanysiptera riedelii: Bk cm
104. Common Paradise-Kingfisher – Tanysiptera galatea: Nk 1 seen, more heard; abundant Fk-Wo; h/o Fk-Wa
105. Mountain Kingfisher – Halcyon megarhyncha: Hab 1
106. Yellow-billed Kingfisher – Halcyon torotoro: Nk 1 seen & more heard; Fk-Wo 1 seen & more heard; also h/o at Fk-Wa to 750m & Fk-TA to 900m
107. Sacred Kingfisher – Halcyon sancta: Bk, Nk; Fk cm
108. Variable Dwarf-Kingfisher – Ceyx lepidus solitarius: Nk only 1 seen well
109. Little Kingfisher – Alcedo pusilla: Fk-Wo 1
110. Blue-black Kingfisher – Todiramphus nigrocyaneus quadricolor: Nk 1 seen
111. Hook-billed Kingfisher – Melidora macrorrhina: Nk 1 see & more heard; h/o Fk-Wo
112. Shovel-billed Kingfisher – Clytoceyx rex: Nk 1 male
113. Rufous-bellied Kookaburra – Dacelo gaudichaud: Nk several; Fk-Wo several
114. Dollarbird – Eurystomus orientalis: Bk; Nk cm; Fk cm
115. Blyth’s Hornbill – Rhyticeros plicatus: Bk 2; Nk cm; Mk-Ci cm; Fk cm
116. Rainbow Bee-eater – Merops ornatus: Bk, Nk
117. Biak Scops-Owl – Otus beccarii: Bk 1
a. [Papuan Boobok – Ninox theomacha: heard only Mk-RK]
118. Sooty Owl – Tyto tenebricosa: Mk-RK 1
119. Papuan Frogmouth – Podargus papuensis: Bk 1+1; Nk 1+1; h/o Mk & Fk-Wo
a. [Marbled Frogmouth – Podargus ocellatus: h/o Nk]
120. Large-tailed Nightjar – Caprimulgus macrurus: Bk, Nk
121. Mountain Nightjar – Eurostopodus archboldi: Hab 2
122. Feline Owlet-Nightjar – Aegotheles insignis: Mk-RK 1
123. Mountain Owlet-Nightjar – Aegotheles albertisi: Mk-RK 1; distinct from taxon salvadorii from the Central Ranges according to Dumbacher et al. (2003) Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 29: 540–549
124. Uniform Swiftlet – Aerodramus vanikorensis: Bk
125. Mountain Swiftlet – Aerodramus hirundinaceus: Hab
126. Papuan Glossy Swiftlet – Collocalia nitens: Bk, Hab, Nk, Mk, Fk; distinct from Oriental Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta according to Moyle et al. (2008) Bull. B.O.C. 128(2): 94-100
127. Papuan Spine-tailed Swift – Mearnsia novaeguineae: Nk; Fk-Wo several
128. Moustached Treeswift – Hemiprocne mystacea: Bk, Fk-Wo
129. Great Woodswallow – Artamus maximus: Hab
130. Pacific Swallow – Hirundo tahitica: Hab, Bk
131. Tree Martin – Hirundo nigricans: Nk cm
132. Hooded Pitta – Pitta sordida: [rosenbergii] Bk 3; [novaeguineae] Fk-Wo 1 seen & more heard
133. Red-bellied Pitta – Pitta erythrogaster: [mackloti] Mk-Ci 1+1; h/o Fk-Wo & Fk-Wa at 750m; heard only at Nk (latter record referable to ssp habenichti)
134. Blue Jewel-Babbler – Ptilorrhoa caerulescens: Nk 1
a. [Chestnut-backed Jewel-Babbler – Ptilorrhoa castanonotus: heard only Fk-TA several]
135. Spotted Jewel-Babbler – Ptilorrhoa leucosticta: Mk 3-4 above RT, also heard elsewhere at Mk
136. Island Thrush – Turdus poliocephalus versteegi: Hab cm
137. Lesser Ground-Robin – Amalocichla incerta: Hab 1 seen & several heard; Mk cm by voice & 2-3 seen well above RT
138. Greater Ground-Robin – Amalocichla sclateriana: Hab 2 seen
139. Lesser Melampitta – Melampitta lugubris: c. 4 Hab; h/o Mk-CD
140. New Guinea Logrunner – Orthonyx novaeguineae dorsalis: Hab 1 pair; distinct species from Australian O. temminckii and maybe even from Arfak O. [novaeguineae] novaeguineae according to Joseph et al (2001) Emu 101: 273–280
141. Northern Scrub-Robin – Drymodes superciliaris: Mk-Ci 2-3
142. Black-bellied Cuckooshrike – Coracina montana: Hab c. 2 pairs
143. Boyer’s Cuckooshrike – Coracina boyeri: Nk 1 group; Mk-Ci several; Fk-Wo; Fk-Wa at 750m
144. Black-shouldered Cuckooshrike – Coracina morio: several below Mk-Ci; Fk-TA several
145. White-bellied Cuckooshrike – Coracina papuensis: Fk-Wo; Fk-Wa at 0m
146. New Guinea Black Cuckooshrike – Coracina melas: Nk 2-3 pairs; several below Mk-Ci; Fk-Wo/TA
147. Golden Cuckooshrike – Campochaera sloetii: Nk 3
148. Cicadabird – Coracina tenuirostris: [meyeri] Bk, [muelleri] Nk
149. Black-browed Triller – Lalage atrovirens: Bk cm; Nk; several below Mk-Ci
150. Brown Oriole – Oriolus szalayi: Nk; Fk-Wo cm
151. Wallace’s Fairywren – Sipodotus wallacii: Nk 2; Mk-Ci 3+2+1
152. Emperor Fairywren – Malurus cyanocephalus: Bk cm; Nk; Fk-Wo
153. White-shouldered Fairywren – Malurus alboscapulatus: Hab; Nk; Mk cm
154. Orange-crowned Fairywren – Clytomyias insignis: Mk-RK 2-3
155. Tawny Grassbird – Megalurus timorensis alpinus: Hab cm
156. Golden-headed Cisticola – Cisticola exilis: Nk
157. Biak Gerygone – Gerygone hypoxantha: Bk several
158. Large-billed Gerygone – Gerygone magnirostris: Fk-Wo several
159. Brown-breasted Gerygone – Gerygone ruficollis: Hab cm; Mk cm
160. Grey Gerygone – Gerygone cinerea: Hab 1+5; Mk-St 2
161. Yellow-bellied Gerygone – Gerygone chrysogaster: [chrysogaster] Nk; [notata] Mk-Ci, very distinct taxon (!); [dohertyi] Fk-Wo & Fk-Wa at 750m, resembles taxon notata but wingbar apparently less distinct
162. Fairy Gerygone – Gerygone palpebrosa palpebrosa: Mk cm Ci & below; Fk-Wa at 750m, Fk-TA
163. Island Leaf-Warbler – Phylloscopus poliocephalus: [giulianetii] Hab cm along lower trek; [poliocephalus] Mk cm RT & below; [ssp?, potentially unnamed] Fk-TA, Fk-Wa at 750m
164. Papuan Thornbill – Acanthiza murina: Hab along higher trek
165. Mountain Mouse-Warbler – Crateroscelis robusta: [sanfordi] Hab several; [peninsularis] Mk-CD several
166. Rusty Mouse-Warbler – Crateroscelis murina: cm by voice but rarely seen at Mk-RT & below; Fk-TA; h/o Fk-Wo/Wa
167. Papuan Scrubwren – Sericornis papuensis meeki: Hab, most elevations along trek, though commoner lower down; facial expression very Phylloscopus-like (with supercilium)
168. Large Scrubwren – Sericornis nouhuysi: [nouhuysi] Hab mostly along higher trek; [cantans] Mk-CD/CJ 2-3x; has a treecreeper habit, large size, often rufous coloration, supercilium (-> Phylloscopus appearance)
169. Buff-faced Scrubwren – Sericornis perspicillatus: Hab trek, mostly below Yabogima; distinct coloration
170. Vogelkop Scrubwren – Sericornis rufescens: cm Mk-RT & above; leaf-warbler behavior, indistinct supercilium
171. Perplexing Scrubwren – Sericornis virgatus virgatus: Fk-TA 2+3; treecreeper behavior and Phylloscopus-like face with supercilium, black-and-white markings on shoulder; may also have been seen at Mk-RT and Mk-Ci on 1-2 occasions based on these same traits, but views too poor
172. Grey-green Scrubwren – Sericornis arfakianus: Mk-Ci to Mk-RT, possibly quite a few, but only 1-2 reliable close views of this shy species
173. Pale-billed Scrubwren – Sericornis spilodera spilodera: Fk-TA, Fk-Wa at 750m; Mk-Ci 2+3
174. Dimorphic Fantail – Rhipidura brachyrhyncha: Hab cm; several above Mk-CD
175. Black Fantail – Rhipidura atra: Hab along lower trek; Mk cm
176. Rufous-backed Fantail – Rhipidura rufidorsa: Nk 1+1; 1 below Mk-Ci; Fk-Wo 2-3
177. Northern Fantail – Rhipidura rufiventris: [kordensis] Bk c. 3; [gularis] Nk cm, Mk-Ci several, Fk-Wo, Fk-Wa at 750m
178. Friendly Fantail – Rhipidura albolimbata: Hab cm; cm Mk-RT & above
179. Chestnut-bellied Fantail – Rhipidura hyperythra: cm Mk-Ci & below; Fk-Wo (at sea level!), Fk-Wa at 750m
180. Black Thicket-Fantail – Rhipidura maculipectus: Fk-Wo 2
181. Sooty Thicket-Fantail – Rhipidura threnothorax: Nk 1+1+1; 2 below Mk-Ci; Fk-Wo 2-3
182. White-bellied Thicket-Fantail – Rhipidura leucothorax: Nk 2 seen & more heard; Fk-Wo cm
183. Willie Wagtail – Rhipidura leucophrys: Bk cm; Nk
184. Shining Flycatcher – Myiagra alecto: Bk cm; Nk cm; Fk cm
185. Biak Black Flycatcher – Myiagra atra: Bk several
186. Mountain Peltops – Peltops montanus: Hab several, Mk several, Fk-TA 2
187. Lowland Peltops – Peltops blainvillii: Fk-Wo cm
188. Biak Monarch – Monarcha brehmii: Bk c. 3 ad. & 2 juv.
189. Golden Monarch – Monarcha chrysomela: [kordensis] Bk several; [aurantiacus] Nk cm; [melanonotus?/aruensis?] Fk-Wo 1
190. Spot-winged Monarch – Monarcha guttula: Nk 1+1; Fk-Wo/TA; Fk-Wa at 750m
191. Hooded Monarch – Monarcha manadensis: Nk 1+1; Fk-Wo cm
192. Black-winged Monarch – Monarcha frater: 1+1 Mk-Ci & below; Fk-TA 1+1
193. Black Monarch – Monarcha axillaris: several Mk-RK & below; Fk-TA 2-3
194. Rufous-collared Monarch – Arses insularis: Nk cm
195. Frilled Monarch – Arses telescophthalmus telescophthalmus: 1 pair below Mk-Ci; Fk-Wo, Fk-Wa at 750m
196. Olive-yellow Robin – Poecilodryas placens: Fk-Wa 1 at 450m
197. Black-sided Robin – Poecilodryas hypoleuca: Nk only 1; Fk-Wo cm
198. Black-throated Robin – Poecilodryas albonotata: Hab cm (though not often seen); Mk-GI 1
199. Ashy Robin – Poecilodryas albispecularis albispecularis: Mk commonly heard, less commonly seen between RK & CJ
200. Mountain Robin – Petroica bivittata: Hab 2
201. Snow Mountain Robin – Petroica archboldi: Hab 4
202. Blue-grey Robin – Peneothello cyanus: cm Hab; several Mk-CD & below
203. Smoky Robin – Peneothello cryptoleucus: Mk 2-3 above CJ
204. White-winged Robin – Peneothello sigillatus quadrimaculatus: Hab several along higher trek
205. White-rumped Robin – Peneothello bimaculatus: Mk-Ci 1+1+1
206. Green-backed Robin – Pachycephalopsis hattamensis: Mk-St/RT several
207. Garnet Robin – Eugerygone rubra: Hab 1 male; Mk-RK 2-3x
208. White-faced Robin – Tregellasia leucops leucops: Mk-Ci cm
209. Pied Chat – Saxicola caprata: [aethiops] Sentani (Jayapura); [belensis] Hab c. 2
210. Black-breasted Boatbill – Machaerirhynchus nigripectus: Hab cm, Mk several above RT
211. Yellow-breasted Boatbill – Machaerirhynchus flaviventer: several Mk-Ci & below
212. Torrent Flycatcher – Monachella muelleriana: Hab 3
213. Canary Flyrobin – Microeca papuana: Hab cm; Mk several between RT & CJ
214. Lemon-bellied Flyrobin – Microeca flavigaster: Mk 1 near Kwao
215. Yellow-legged Flyrobin – Microeca griseoceps: Mk 1 above Ci
216. Olive Flyrobin – Microeca flavovirescens: Fk-Wa 1-2 at 750m
217. Alpine Pipit – Anthus gutturalis: Hab cm along higher trek
218. Golden Whistler – Pachycephala pectoralis: Hab cm along lower trek
219. Regent Whistler – Pachycephala schlegelii: Hab cm at mid-elevations; cm Mk-RT & above
220. Lorentz’s Whistler – Pachycephala lorentzi: Hab cm along higher trek, including forest in patches of poor edaphic conditions well within the elevational range of Regent Whistler
221. Sclater’s Whistler – Pachycephala soror: Mk-St/Ci several
222. Vogelkop Whistler – Pachycephala meyeri: Mk-KM14 2; Mk-Ci 1
223. Rusty Whistler – Pachycephala hyperythra: Fk-TA 1
224. Grey-headed Whistler – Pachycephala griseiceps: Nk 1; several Mk-Ci & below; Fk-TA/Wo/Wa
225. Rufous-naped Whistler – Pachycephala rufinucha: Hab several; several above Mk-RT
226. Mottled Whistler – Rhagologus leucostigma: Mk-RT 1 female; 2 females below Mk-Ci
227. Pachycare – Pachycare flavogrisea: cm Mk-RT & below
228. Little Shrike-Thrush – Colluricincla megarhyncha: [melanorhyncha] Bk 2-3; [hybridus] Nk few seen; [megarhyncha] cm below Mk-RT, Fk-Wo/Wa/TA
229. Black Pitohui – Pitohui nigrescens: Hab 1 male; several above Mk-RK
230. Rusty Pitohui – Pitohui ferrugineus: Nk cm; Fk-TA 1 at 980m and in syntopy with Crested Pitohui
231. Crested Pitohui – Pitohui cristatus: Mk-Ci 1+1; Fk-TA 1 seen & more heard
232. Hooded Pitohui – Pitohui dicrous: Mk-Ci/KM14/St cm; Fk-TA cm
233. Variable Pitohui – Pitohui kirhocephalus decipiens (gray-headed race): Fk-Wa/Wo; Fk-TA cm and in same trees as black-headed Hooded Pitohui
234. Wattled Ploughbill – Eulacestoma nigropectus: Hab 1 male + 1 female + 1 pair
235. Red-crowned Flowerpecker – Dicaeum geelvinkianum: [misoriense] Bk; [diversum] Nk; [centrale] Hab
236. Olive-crowned Flowerpecker – Dicaeum pectorale pectorale: Mk cm, Fk cm
237. Crested Berrypecker – Paramythia montium: Hab cm
238. Tit Berrypecker – Oreocharis arfaki: Hab 8 along lower trek; several above Mk-RK
239. Fan-tailed Berrypecker – Melanocharis versteri: Hab several; Mk cm RT & above, 1 also Ci
240. Mid-mountain Berrypecker – Melanocharis longicauda: several Mk-Ci & below
241. Black Berrypecker – Melanocharis nigra: [unicolor] Nk 1 male; [nigra?/chloroptera?] Fk-Wo 1 imm. male, Fk-TA 2 males at 900m
242. Spotted Berrypecker – Rhamphocharis crassirostris: Mk-St 1 male & 2 females, also 3 more brief sightings at Mk-RT
243. Western Mountain White-eye – Zosterops fuscicapillus: Hab cm along lower trek; cm Mk-RT & above
244. New Guinea Black-fronted White-eye – Zosterops minor chrysolaemus: cm below Mk-RT; Fk-TA
245. Biak White-eye – Zosterops mysorensis: Bk 2
246. Black Sitella – Neositta miranda: Hab several flocks
247. Varied Sitella – Neositta chrysoptera: [papuensis] Mk-CJ 3-4; [toxopeusi] Hab 1-2 flocks along lower trek
248. Papuan Treecreeper – Cormobates placens: Hab several; several above Mk-RK
249. Olive-backed Sunbird – Cinnyris jugularis frenatus: Nk, Fk-Wo
250. Black Sunbird – Leptocoma aspasia: Nk, Fk-Wo
251. Slaty-chinned Longbill – Toxorhamphus poliopterus: Hab 3-4 along lower trek
252. Yellow-bellied Longbill – Toxorhamphus novaeguineae: Nk 1; Mk several; Fk-Wo/Wa/TA
253. Pygmy Longbill – Oedistoma pygmaeum: Nk 1; 2 below Mk-Ci
254. Dwarf Longbill – Oedistoma iliolophus: Mk several
255. Grey-streaked Honeyeater – Ptiloprora perstriata: Hab cm
256. Yellowish-streaked Honeyeater – Ptiloprora meekiana: Hab 2-3
257. Rufous-sided Honeyeater – Ptiloprora erythropleura: cm Mk-RK & above
258. Dusky Myzomela – Myzomela obscura rubrobrunnea: Bk 1+1
259. Red-collared Myzomela – Myzomela rosenbergii: Hab cm, Mk cm
260. Mountain Red-headed Myzomela – Myzomela adolphinae: Mk-KM14/RT several
261. Red Myzomela – Myzomela cruentata: 1 male below Mk-RT; Fk-TA several
262. Green-backed Honeyeater – Glycichaera fallax: Mk-Ci 1+1; Fk-Wo 1-2
263. Tawny Straightbill – Timeliopsis griseigula: Fk-Wo 1 flock
264. Black-throated Honeyeater – Lichenostomus subfrenatus: Hab several; Mk-GI 1
265. Orange-cheeked Honeyeater – Lichenostomus chrysogenys: Hab cm along higher trek
266. Western Smoky Honeyeater – Melipotes gymnops: Mk cm
267. Common Smoky Honeyeater – Melipotes fumigatus: Hab cm
268. Vogelkop Melidectes – Melidectes leucostephes: Mk cm between RT & St/RK
269. Cinnamon-browed Melidectes – Melidectes ochromelas: cm above Mk-RK
270. Belford’s Melidectes – Melidectes belfordi: Hab abundant
271. Short-bearded Melidectes – Melidectes nouhuysi: Hab several along higher trek
272. Sooty Melidectes – Melidectes fuscus: Hab c. 4 high up
273. Ornate Melidectes – Melidectes torquatus: Hab cm along lower trek
274. Long-billed Honeyeater – Melilestes megarhynchus: Nk 1+1; several Mk-RT & below; Fk-Wo
275. Plain Honeyeater – Pycnopygius ixoides: Nk few
276. Marbled Honeyeater – Pycnopygius cinereus: Mk-KM14 1
277. Tawny-breasted Honeyeater – Xanthotis flaviventer: [flaviventer] Mk-Ci several; [ssp?] Fk-Wo/Wa/TA, this race has more distinct facial pattern than flaviventer
278. Silver-eared Honeyeater – Lichmera alboauricularis: Fk-Wo 2
279. Meyer’s Friarbird – Philemon meyeri: Nk few
280. Helmeted Friarbird – Philemon buceroides novaeguineae: Nk cm; Fk-Wo
281. Mimic Meliphaga – Meliphaga analoga: Nk cm; Mk-Ci 1; Fk-TA c. 2
a. [Meliphaga spec. – repeated poor sightings of Meliphagas with large yellow ear patches in mid-stratum of forest interior near sea level in Fk-Wo might have been attributable to Puff-backed M. aruensis rather than Mimic, but not seen well enough]
282. Mountain Meliphaga – Meliphaga orientalis: Mk cm between Ci & RT
a. [Meliphaga spec. – repeated good sightings of a Meliphaga with small yellow ear patch (not Puff-backed or Mimic) at 750 m in forest interior at Fk-Wa in mid-stratum; this elevation is quite low for Mountain Meliphaga; nevertheless most likely attributable to this species since rictal streak was not particularly pronounced and bill (seen poorly) did not appear as slender as in Yellow-gaped Meliphaga flavirictus]
283. Scrub White-eared Meliphaga – Meliphaga albonotata: Mk 1 below Kwao; Fk-Wo 1-2
a. [Meliphaga spec. – repeated good sightings of Meliphagas (single or in groups of two) at Fk-TA at c. 850m; large-bodied with strong bill, brownish-olive upperparts, small ear spot and moderate rictal streak; sightings robust and potentially countable as Forest White-eared Meliphaga montana, but several issues need to be checked: (1) when seen in good light, color of ear patch of one ind’ white and the other apparently with yellowish sheen; rictal area looked white on both (my thoughts in the field: “How white can an ear patch look?”); check if yellow sheen could be juvenile trait, which would also explain association of 2 ind’s; (2) Beehler et al say “solitary, shy, doesn’t visit flowering trees”; these two seemed to stay around a bit; how stringent is this behavioral rule?; (3) underparts definitely had moderate mottling, but Beehler et al say “heavily mottled”; how heavy is mottling in photos/illustrations?]
284. Mountain Firetail – Oreostruthus fuliginosus: Hab c. 8x 1-2 ind’s high up
285. Western Alpine Mannikin – Lonchura montana: Hab cm high up
286. Black-breasted Mannikin – Lonchura teerinki: Hab along lower trek
287. Streak-headed Mannikin – Lonchura tristissima: Nk several flocks; Mk-RT/Kwao
288. Papuan Parrotfinch – Erythrura papuana: 1-2 above Mk-RT
289. Blue-faced Parrotfinch – Erythrura trichroa: 3-4 above Mk-RT
290. Spangled Drongo – Dicrurus bracteatus carbonarius: Nk, Fk-Wo; Bk (this ssp?)
291. Mountain Drongo – Chaetorhynchus papuensis: 2 Mk-KM14
292. Long-tailed Starling – Aplonis magna: Bk several
293. Metallic Starling – Aplonis metallica: Bk cm, Nk cm, Fk-Wo
294. Yellow-faced Myna – Mino dumontii: Nk, Fk-Wo
295. Golden Myna – Mino anais: Nk; Fk-Wo; Fk-Wa at sea level
296. Torrent Lark – Grallina bruijni: Hab 1
297. Hooded Butcherbird – Cracticus cassicus: Bk cm; Nk; Fk-Wo
298. Black Butcherbird – Cracticus quoyi: Fk-Wo 1
299. New Guinea Babbler – Pomatostomus isidorei: Nk 1 flock; Fk-Wo several groups
300. White-eared Catbird – Ailuroedus buccoides: Nk 2-3 seen & more heard
a. [Spotted Catbird – Ailuroedus melanotis: h/o Mk & Fk-TA]
301. Brown-headed Crow – Corvus fuscicapillus: Nk 1 family party at nest
302. Grey Crow – Corvus tristis: Nk; 3 below Mk-Ci; Fk cm
303. Archbold’s Bowerbird – Archboldia papuensis: Hab 1 at mid-elevation
304. Flame Bowerbird – Sericulus aureus aureus: Mk-Ci 4 females; 1 female Mk-KM14
305. Vogelkop Bowerbird – Amblyornis inornatus: several above Mk-RT
306. Western Parotia – Parotia sefilata: Mk cm, though males only seen above Ci & RT
307. Crested Bird-of-Paradise – Cnemophilus macgregorii: Hab 1 female along higher trek
308. Loria’s Bird-of-Paradise – Cnemophilus loriae: Hab 1 female at mid-elevation
309. Brown Sicklebill – Epimachus meyeri: Hab several
310. Black Sicklebill – Epimachus fastuosus: cm above Mk-CD (incl males), 1 at RT
311. Pale-billed Sicklebill – Epimachus bruijnii: Nk seen 1+1, more heard
a. [Buff-tailed Sicklebill – Epimachus albertisi: h/o Mk-St]
312. Splendid Astrapia – Astrapia splendidissima: Hab cm
313. Arfak Astrapia – Astrapia nigra: 1 imm. male below Mk-CJ
314. Superb Bird-of-Paradise – Lophorina superba: Hab cm along lower trek
315. King-of-Saxony Bird-of-Paradise – Pteridophora alberti: Hab 2 males & several females
316. Twelve-wired Bird-of-Paradise – Seleucidis melanoleuca: several (incl males) at Nk and at Fk-Wo
317. King Bird-of-Paradise – Cicinnurus regius: cm (incl males) at Nk and Fk-Wo
318. Magnificent Bird-of-Paradise – Cicinnurus magnificus: Nk 3 females; Mk-Ci cm (only females); Fk-Wa/TA (only females)
319. Short-tailed Paradigalla – Paradigalla brevicauda: Hab 1
320. Long-tailed Paradigalla – Paradigalla carunculata: Mk-RK 1
321. Lesser Bird-of-Paradise – Paradisaea minor: Nk cm (also males); Mk-Ci several; Fk-TA 1 female; Fk-Wo cm (incl 1 male)
322. Macgregor’s Honeyeater-of-Paradise – Macgregoria pulchra: Hab several high up
323. Magnificent Riflebird – Ptiloris magnificus magnificus: 1 female below Mk-Ci; Fk-Wo 1 female; Fk-Wa 1 male; h/o Nk & Fk-TA
324. Glossy-mantled Manucode – Manucodia atra: Nk min 1
325. Jobi Manucode – Manucodia jobiensis: Nk c. 7x
326. Trumpet Manucode – Manucodia keraudrenii: several Mk-Ci & below
327. Crinkle-collared Manucode – Manucodia chalybata: Mk-Ci 1+1; Fk-TA c. 4
12-14 September 2008 Cameron Highlands (after Papua Tour)
1. Mountain Peacock-Pheasant (1+1, both males)
a. [Malayan Partridge: heard only]
2. Lesser Yellownape (1+1)
3. Greater Yellownape (2+1)
a. [Bay Woodpecker: heard only]
4. Fire-tufted Barbet
5. Golden-throated Barbet
a. [“Oriental Cuckoo”: 1 unidentified to taxon]
b. Malkoha: 1 unidentified to taxon
6. Glossy Swiftlet
7. House Swift
a. [Collared Owlet: heard only]
8. Spotted Dove
a. [Little Cuckoo Dove: heard only, plus sightings of unidentified cuckoo-dove]
9. Crested Serpent-eagle
10. Black Eagle (1)
11. Orange-bellied Leafbird
12. Long-tailed Shrike
13. Common Green Magpie
14. Large-billed Crow
15. Black-and-crimson Oriole (1 imm.)
a. [Javan Cuckooshrike: heard only]
16. Grey-chinned Minivet
17. Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo
18. Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike
19. White-throated Fantail
20. Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher
21. Snowy-browed Flycatcher (1+1)
22. Little Pied Flycatcher
23. Large Niltava
24. Pygmy Blue Flycatcher (1+1+1)
25. Oriental Magpie-Robin
26. White-tailed Robin (1 ad.+1 imm.+1 imm.)
27. Slaty-backed Forktail (1)
28. Common Myna
29. Everett’s White-eye
30. Black-crested Bulbul
31. Yellow-vented Bulbul
32. Mountain Bulbul
33. Mountain Tailorbird (common)
34. Mountain Leaf-Warbler (3 occ.)
35. Yellow-breasted Warbler (c. 7 occ.)
36. Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush
37. Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush (3 occ.)
38. Streaked Wren-Babbler (2 occ.)
39. Pygmy Wren-Babbler
40. Golden Babbler
41. Grey-throated Babbler
42. Cutia (c. 4 in mixed flock)
43. White-browed Shrike-Babbler
44. Black-eared Shrike-Babbler (2 occ.)
45. Blue-winged Minla (common)
46. Chestnut-tailed Minla (in 2 mixed flocks)
47. Rufous-winged Fulvetta
48. Mountain Fulvetta (common)
49. Long-tailed Sibia
50. Silver-eared Mesia (common)
51. Fire-breasted Flowerpecker
52. Black-throated Sunbird
53. Streaked Spiderhunter
54. Grey Wagtail
55. Tree Sparrow
56. Scaly-breasted Munia
57. White-rumped Munia