Photos with this report (click to enlarge)
LEADER: Phil Gregory www.sicklebillsafaris.com
GROUP MEMBERS: Barbara Horn, Sheryl Keates, Brian and Lyn Reid, Maurice & Liz Southworth
We met up at Cairns Airport for the early flight to POM, and duly checked into our hotel and had lunch before we went off on a tour of the city, a bit circumscribed by demonstrations against the PM (who is up on corruption charges) but not affecting us beyond PNG Art being shut, though we did still score Silver-eared Honeyeater here as the first endemic! Lesser Frigatebirds off Ela Beach and nice Yellow-tinted Honeyeaters and Fawn-breasted Bowerbird by the national Museum were good though we could not get access to Parliament House today.
Next day was our first Varirata day, and as always this is a great introduction, though sadly the Raggiana lek was not active and we had to content ourselves with young birds and a distant male early on. The old faithful Barred Owlet-nightjar was still in his hole despite a branch having fallen right into it, and there was another nearby for good measure, then we had brief views of 2 Pheasant Pigeons on the trail. Red-cheeked and Eclectus parrots, an immature Brown-headed Paradise-Kingfisher, Barred Cuckooshrike, Black Cicadabird, Frilled, Black-faced and Spot-winged Monarchs and Crinkle-collared Manucode were other nice finds, then we went to a hot and dry PAU where Papuan Frogmouth, the local race of Australian Figbird, Fawn-breasted Bowerbird plus bower and Pied Heron were useful finds. A second day up here gave Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Buff-faced Pygmy-Parrot, White-bellied Whistler, White-faced Robin and Black-winged Monarch.
Next day was over to Tabubil, where luckily we were able to land despite lots of cloud being around, and a trip to Ok Menga that afternoon gave nice looks at Salvadori’s Teal, Pygmy Eagle, Papuan Hanging-Parrot, Blyth’s Hornbill, unexpected Emperor Fairywren and Torrent Flyrobin. Dablin Creek next morning was quite productive despite the loss of the tall forest by the track- a male Carola’s Parotia was a great find, then we had Torrent-lark, Mountain Peltops and a fine perched Long-tailed Honey-Buzzard plus an unexpected Brown Falcon flying high overhead, with some of us seeing a male Mag BoP too. Ok Menga was much quieter but we did hear Greater Melampitta calling loudly near the tunnel.
Dablin again gave Black-shouldered Cicadabird, whilst Little Ringed Plover of the odd local race showed well at Km 120 next day, but Km 17 was very quiet in the heat with Streak-headed Honeyeater the highlight. The boat trip next day was in fine conditions, and we had lovely looks at Southern Crowned Pigeon, Palm Cockatoo, Collared Imperial-Pigeon, more Blyth’s Hornbills and a Great-billed Heron being mobbed by noisy Sulphur-crested Cockatoos. Kwatu Lodge gave me my annual exposure to fried spam, plus magnificent Orange-breasted Fig-Parrots from the deck, and a Lowland Peltops similarly. A night-time boat foray began in starlight with a bright moon, and ended in heavy rain just after we got onto Wallace’s Owlet-nightjar at the new lodge upstream, neatly sabotaging my hopes of Starry Owlet-nightjar once more. The river was amazingly high and many of the usual spots were deep underwater, the Flightless Rail hide had the trackway logs floating and basically cost us the bird as it was simply too wet, but we did get a simply wonderful Pesquet’s Parrot perched, I would have got a cracking photo if I’d realised my lens cap was still on before it flew! Twelve-wired Bop was displaying to a female near the lodge.
Back down river we hit a fairly heavy shower, but did get Common Paradise-Kingfisher which had hitherto eluded us, and next day at Km 14 was terrific- Red-flanked Lorikeet, Orange-bellied, Pink-spotted, Ornate and Beautiful Fruit-Doves, Pinon’s and Zoe Imperial-Pigeon, Dwarf Koel, Long-billed Cuckoo, a great flyby of a stunning male Flame Bowerbird, Plain Honeyeater, all 3 manucodes and White-spotted Mannikin made for a stimulating few hours. Red-backed Buttonquail at the airstrip was good too. The lek was fairly subdued that afternoon but we did see and hear Raggiana’s, Greater and hybrid birds there, as well as very good male King Bop high in a vine tangle.
Mercifully Airlines PNG behaved themselves and we got to Mount Hagen more or less on schedule, ready for an exciting afternoon around the lodge- Brehm’s Tiger-Parrot, Brown Sicklebill, a male Ribbon-tailed Astrapia sans tail, Archbold’s Bowerbird and great looks at Sooty Melidectes down at Max’s orchid garden. Next morning down at Kopia saw the usual complications with landowners regarding access, duly paid off, and giving us displaying Lesser Bop’s, a male Magnificent Bop, Goldie’s Lorikeet and New Guinea White-eye. We went afterwards up to Pigites on the new track here, and this was brilliant with male King-of Saxony, a gorgeous male of the new endemic family Wattled Ploughbill, Blue-capped Ifrita (another new endemic family), Black-breasted Boatbill, Loria’s Satinbird and Rufous-throated Bronze-Cuckoo. A good mammal back at Kumul was the rare Calaby’s Pademelon that showed very well, and I think we all caught up with Bronze Ground-Dove at some stage, plus Crested Berrypecker and Crested Satinbird for most. Mountain Owlet-nightjar was heard pre-dawn both days but as ever stayed out of sight, but a Black-tailed Antechinus was another nice mammal here, and the new family Blue-capped Ifrita showed very well from the deck, whilst Rufous-naped Bellbird (ex-whistler) was seen eventually plus a lovely male Mountain Firetail.
Over to Rondon Ridge next and the first prolonged adverse weather of the trip, with misty and rainy days making for bad light, slippery trails and hard viewing in the forest. Still we persevered and did get Black Pitohui, Yellowish-streaked Honeyeater, Fan-tailed, Mid-mountain and the rare Streaked Berrypecker, MacGregor’s Bowerbird (eventually), Blue-faced Parrotfinch and then a great male Superb Bop plus Yellow-breasted Bowerbird as we were leaving.
The clouds lifted enough for us to leave Hagen and get into Tari not too far off schedule, where there was some flooding in the valley after two weeks of very heavy rains and low cloud. A Black-winged Kite en route to the Lodge was my first here for some years, and the fruiting tree by chalet 7 gave Tit-Berrypecker, MacGregor’s Bowerbird and Loria’s Satinbird. A drive up to the Gap gave Papuan Grassbird, then a wonderful male Ribbon-tailed Astrapia complete with a rather worn, frayed metre long tail.
Our full day began slowly with not much beyond Lawes’s Parotia at the fruiting tree, and the Blue-Bops simply not calling below the lodge, but we did get a nice male Princess Stephanie’s Astrapia (also sans tail), later had a fine subadult Black-mantled Goshawk sat out for ages, then had great time on the moss forest track where we got an unusually co-operative male Papuan Logrunner plus a female Lesser Melampitta, yet another new endemic family and seen nicely too. Papuan Lorikeet was a treat back by the road, and the King-of Saxony was back on his perch as we came down, although barely calling. The afternoon saw us go down to Alukambe for Sooty Owl, not at the usual site but instead thankfully at a new one quite close by, with an entertaining walk with the very helpful Alia and the local lads through muddy trails and a flooded sort of tunnel.
Amazingly enough I found a female Blue Bop sat up drying out too, a great score of a species I feared we would dip on this quick visit, and a fine feeding Great Cuckoo-Dove rounded off a very enjoyable and productive visit.
Next day it was time to head out, with a bonus Great Cormorant as we went to Tari airport and with Air Niugini not too late today, then the amazing Germany 7 Brazil 1 soccer score at Jackson’s Airport before the flight back to Cairns and our farewells, delayed by the Reids being held over for weevil smuggling…...
My thanks to the group for making it a fun and good-humoured trip, with diverse interests including butterflies and orchids adding nicely to the mix. Thanks to Sue and Rowan at Sicklebill Safaris for setting it all up so well, and to the excellent local guides Daniel, Samuel, Jimmy, Edmund, Max, Wilson, Joseph and Thomas who added a lot to the trip with their spotting skills and local knowledge. Thanks also to Barbara and Lynn and Brian for donating binoculars, they will be much appreciated.
Follows IOC 4.3 taxonomy; IBC = Internet Bird Collection of video, sound and photographic shots of birds; XC = xenocanto website for sound recordings
Species which were heard but not seen are indicated by the symbol (H).
[Species for which signs were seen but not the bird itself, are bracketed.]
Species endemic to New Guinea (and small satellite islands) are in bold face.
(I) denotes Introduced species
[Dwarf Cassowary Casuarius bennetti
Recent droppings found at Varirata on the Gare’s Lookout Trail, my first sign of the
species here for some time and by far the hardest to find of the Varirata birds.]
Wandering Whistling Duck Dendrocygna arcuata
About 40 resting by the PAU pools.
Salvadori’s Teal Salvadorina waigiuensis
A fine adult sat on a rock below the weir at Ok Menga.
Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa
About 30 at the PAU pools.
Black-billed Brush-turkey Talegalla fuscirostris
Good views of two on our first day at Varirata were a lucky sighting, then a single next day, both quite near their huge nest mounds, then often heard around Kiunga.
Brown Quail Coturnix australis
One over the road at the PAU for some of us, then a couple of sightings from below Kumul and at Rondon for Brian and others.
Australasian Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae
Three seen at the Pacific Adventist University (PAU).
Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana
One along Ketu Creek, also heard calling a deep guttural bark as it was being mobbed by Sulphur-crested Cockatoos
Great White Egret Egretta alba
One or two seen around PAU and the Elevala River.
Pied Heron Egretta picata
10+ seen at the PAU.
Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia
One or two seen at the PAU.
Eastern Cattle Egret Egretta (ibis) coromandus
Up to 50, at the PAU and around the Port Moresby vicinity.
Little Egret Egretta garzetta nigripes
A single at the PAU.
Nankeen (Rufous) Night-Heron Nycticorax caledonicus
A couple at the PAU.
Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel
A couple over Ela Beach harbour, a good site for them.
Frigatebird sp. Fregata sp.
A couple over Ela Beach and Simpson’s Harbour were too distant to identify.
Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris
About 50 perched beside the ponds at PAU.
Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos
Scattered singles at PAU and around Kiunga.
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo novaehollandiae
One flying high over by the first bridge below Ambua, a new record for me from here. I think this species may be colonizing the highlands as we also see it below Kumul occasionally.
Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus
One down in the Tari Valley was my first here for some years.
Crested Hawk (Pacific Baza) Aviceda subcristata
One in forest at Varirata, then seen most days around Kiunga, with 5 together at Km 92.
Long-tailed Buzzard Henicopernis longicauda
One seen soaring at Ok Menga, with the very distinctive fingered wings and long tail, then a fabulous perched bird at Dablin (see photo on IBC) and several sightings upriver from Kiunga.
Black Kite Milvus migrans affinis
Just one seen near the airport at Moresby, but common <20 around Mt Hagen and Kumul Lodge.
Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus
One or two seen at the PAU.
Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus
Up to four seen most days around PAU, Varirata and Kiunga, and a couple of birds below Ambua.
White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster
One adult along the Fly River on two days.
[Papuan Harrier (Eastern Marsh Harrier) Circus spilothorax
One harrier that was probably this species was seen by Liz at Jackson’s Airport]
Variable Goshawk Accipiter hiogaster
Singles seen at Boystown Road and very nicely near Mt Hagen.
Grey-headed Goshawk Accipiter poliocephalus
Good views of one from the boat along the Elevala, an uncommon species. Photo on IBC.
Black-mantled Goshawk Accipiter melanochlamys
One subadult perched nicely above Ambua Lodge, seen again later as it was drying out after heavy rain, photos posted to IBC.
Gurney’s Eagle Aquila gurneyi
Maurice saw one from Gare’s lookout, then we got what is probably the same bird along the approach road where it circled overhead for some great looks, a rare species that is very erratic and hard to find.
Pygmy Eagle Hieraaetus weiskei
A very nice soaring bird at Ok Menga, now split from Little Eagle as morphologically and genetically quite distinct.
Chestnut Forest Rail Rallicula rubra (H)\
One calling late pm at 7-corner, but despite going in twice we could not him out, largely taped out here these days.
Forbes’s Forest Rail Rallicula forbesi
Lynn saw one just below Kumul Lodge, a very good sighting of an elusive species, and a couple of us saw two Rallicula sp. dash cross the track below the lodge.
Buff-banded Rail Rallus philippensis
One briefly near Tabubil, and another just below Ambua Lodge which sat still for a while.
Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa
About 6 around the ponds at PAU.
Purple Swamphen (Purple Gallinule) Porphyrio porphyrio melanotus
About 10 of the black backed race (or species) melanotus around the ponds at PAU, where they were very tame.
Red-backed Buttonquail Turnix maculosa
One female flushed at the Kiunga airstrip was a good sighting, the rich buff underparts showed very well.
Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles
Just a couple at the PAU and one at Jackson’s Airport
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius dubius
Four birds at the old Oilmin site at Km 120, no doubt happy to have their gravel site back now the buildings have gone. Very different to the western race curonicus from Europe, with a very distinct call, a pink base to the bill and no non-breeding plumage in New Guinea birds.
Comb-crested Jacana Irediparra gallinacea
Two on the ponds at PAU.
Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii
One off Ela Beach.
Feral Pigeon Columba livia (I)
A few birds at the Ela Beach flourmill, may be established in Port Moresby, and probable racing pigeons at Mt Hagen.
Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove (Brown Cuckoo-Dove) Macropygia amboinensis
Seen at Varirata and Kiunga, with one or two seen perched in the scope.
Bar-tailed (Black-billed) Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia nigrirostris
Seen near Mt Hagen and flying by at Tabubil and Ambua.
Great Cuckoo-Dove Reinwardtoena reinwardti
Heard at Rondon, and then a fly-by at Ambua before another feeding on Schefflera down at Alukambe – a great bird!
Stephan's Ground-Dove Chalcophaps stephani
One flew across the Elevala, flying as usual at head-height.
Bronze Ground-Dove Gallicolumba beccarii
One elusive bird at the Kumul Feeders was I think see by all at various times, and Maurice got a nice video of it.
Peaceful Dove Geopelia striata
One at PAU.
Bronze Ground-Dove Gallicolumba beccarii
Great views of one around the feeder at Kumul, Maurice got an excellent video clip of what is one tough bird to see well.
Southern Crowned Pigeon Goura scheepmakeri
Two singles perched by the Elevala River, then one found perched in late afternoon next day with another along Ketu Creek, one fantastic bird.
Wompoo Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus magnificus
Seen by Liz and Maurice at Gare’s Lookout, and more heard calling at Kiunga and Varirata.
Pink-spotted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus perlatus
Very few this trip, heard at Varirata and seen on several days at Kiunga.
Ornate Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus ornatus
Barbara found us a couple of perched birds at Km 14, a good pick-up of a scarce species that is more usually in the hills.
Superb Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus superbus (H)
Heard at Varirata and Kiunga.
Dwarf Fruit Dove Ptilinopus nainus (H)
Heard from the boat up river along the Elevala but way back.
Beautiful Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus pulchellus
Lovely views at Boystown Road Km 14 and heard at all the lowland sites.
[White-breasted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus rivoli
A lone female in the fruiting tree at Ambua was only identified when Phil looked at his photos later!]
Orange-bellied Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus iozonus
One or two seen perched in tree-tops on several dates, with a great look at Km 14 and Kwatu, pic on IBC.
Purple-tailed Imperial-Pigeon Ducula rufigaster
Several poor views of this species around Kwatu, where we heard it, also heard at Varirata.
Pinon Imperial Pigeon Ducula pinon
A couple of flybys upriver, then a lovely view of one at Km 14 from the mound there.
Collared Imperial Pigeon Ducula mullerii
About 50 seen on the upriver journey at Kiunga, and about 30 the next afternoon – this species roosts in treetops along large rivers and is very tied to riparian forest.
Zoe Imperial Pigeon Ducula zoeae
Several seen in flight and one found perched at Kiunga.
Papuan Mountain Pigeon Gymnophaps albertisii
Commoner than usual at Ok Menga with <200 flying over late pm, and also seen perched, but otherwise flying high overhead at Dablin, Kiunga and Ambua.
Greater Black Coucal Centropus menbeki (H)
Heard calling several times along the Elevala River.
Lesser Black Coucal Centropus bernsteini
Glimpsed by some at Dablin and then Km 17.
Pheasant Coucal Centropus phasianinus
One along the Varirata approach road.
Dwarf Koel Microdynamis parva
A fine male sat out for ages along the Boystown Road at Km 14, pic on IBC. Host species unknown but presumably this is a parasite.
Australian Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus cyanocephala (H)
Heard around Kiunga and along the Elevala River.
Brush Cuckoo Cacomantis variolosus
One imm. seen at Varirata approach the Boystown road and another at Tari.
Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo Cacomantis castaneiventris
One seen at Ok Menga
Fan-tailed Cuckoo Cacomantis flabelliformis excitus (H)
One heard in the rain at Rondon.
Little Bronze-Cuckoo (Malay Bronze-Cuckoo) Chrysococcyx minutillus (H)
One calling at Kwatu.
Shining Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx lucidus
One along the Varirata approach took ages to track down but eventually showed well, it’s a winter migrant here and quite scarce.
Rufous-throated Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx ruficollis
One seen calling at Pigites, and heard at Ambua. Another where the host is still unknown.
White-eared Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx meyeri (H)
Heard at Ok Menga and then by Ambua Lodge where heavy rain precluded our seeing it. Another where the host is still unknown.
Long-billed Cuckoo Rhamphomantis megarhynchus
One calling and then flying over us at Km 14, a rather scarce species with the host still unknown.
Channel-billed Cuckoo Scythrops novaehollandiae
3 flew calling over the river at Kwatu.
Sooty Owl Tyto tenebricosa arfaki
None at the usual site, but another tree not too far away held a bird and we saw it rocket out of the hole as the lad climbed up the vines.
Papuan Boobook Ninox theomacha (H)
We were unlucky not to see one at Ambua Lodge, it is really taped out there these days.
Wallace’s Owlet-nightjar Aegotheles wallacei
One came in to my tape at the new lodge above Kwatu, just as the rain began, but we got pretty good looks at it. I will post the video on the IBC site.
Barred Owlet-nightjar Aegotheles bennettii
Wonderful daytime views in Varirata, at two holes, the long-time traditional one still occupied despite a branch having speared into it.
Mountain Owlet-nightjar Aegotheles albertisi (H)
Hear around 0530 at Kumul both mornings but not really interested in the tape.
Papuan Frogmouth Podargus papuensis
Two seen at PAU after a careful search, remarkably well hidden!
Marbled Frogmouth Podargus ocellatus (H)
Heard at dawn at Kwatu.
Moustached Tree-Swift Hemiprocne mystacea
Just 3 seen perched from the Elevala River – a terrific bird!
Uniform Swiftlet Collocalia vanikorensis
Common around Kiunga and also seen at Varirata.
Mountain Swiftlet Collocalia hirundinacea
Seen most days above Ambua and Kumul, often around the lodge.
Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta
A few seen at Varirata but common around Tabubil and Ambua where it flies low over the trees even in pouring rain. Note how this species is absent from Kiunga.
Papuan Spine-tailed Swift Mearnsia novaeguineae
Just a few in the Kiunga area, flying very low along the roads and up above Ketu Creek.
Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis
Another Australian migrant with up to 20 each day along the Elevala River, and a few at Kiunga.
Common Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera galatea
Good views of a flying bird as we came back down the Elevala and finally found some calling ones, they had been very quiet hitherto.
Brown-headed Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera danae
Singles seen on each visit to Varirata, the first a dull immature – another stunningly beautiful bird.
Hook-billed Kingfisher Melidora macrorrhina (H)
Heard up the Elevala and above Kwatu, always very hard to see.
Rufous-bellied Kookaburra Dacelo gaudichaud
Seen well at Varirata, Boystown and the Elevala River.
Blue-winged Kookaburra Dacelo leachii
Two birds seen nicely in the savanna up at Varirata.
Forest Kingfisher Todiramphus macleayii
One seen nicely in the savanna below Varirata.
Sacred Kingfisher Todiramphus sancta
A couple along the Elevala River and one at Ambua.
Yellow-billed Kingfisher Syma torotoro
Seen very well at Varirata – always a special bird and it came in without calling.
Mountain Kingfisher Syma megarhyncha (H)
Heard from Ambua but way off.
Dwarf Kingfisher (Variable D K) Ceyx lepidus (H)
Heard in Varirata but always difficult to find.
Azure Kingfisher Alcedo azurea
One along the stream in Varirata.
Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus
Very few birds seen, just at Varirata and Tari.
Blyth's Hornbill Rhyticeros plicatus
A pair at Ok Menga, then about 40 along the Elevala River – always a fantastic bird and with some great calls and noisy wingbeats!
Australian Hobby Falco longipennis
One over the approach road at Varirata just before the Gurney’s Eagle was a nice find.
Brown Falcon Falco berigora
One flying high N over Dablin Creek was unusual, and also seen below Kumul.
Palm Cockatoo Probosciger aterrimus
Several seen very nicely around Kiunga, mostly from the river. A quite ridiculous comical bird.
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita
Several seen around Kiunga, and a couple at Varirata, this race triton has a blue periopthalmic ring and a different voice to the Aussie birds.
Pesquet’s (Vulturine ) Parrot Psittrichas fulgidus
Heard at Dablin, then a wonderful sighting of a perched female bird at the new lodge above Kwatu, with others heard later, what I shame I missed the shot which I know several others got nicely. A rare and declining species, one of the birds of the trip.
Orange-fronted (Papuan) Hanging Parrot Loriculus aurantiifrons
A terrific male was sat up for ages on a snag at Ok Menga, and we heard one shoot over at Km 14, a hard bird to see well, what a shame it did hang upside-down as they do sometimes.
Greater Streaked Lory Chalcopsitta scintillata
Nice views of a couple by the entrance road to Varirata, with pairs or small groups seen flying over around Kiunga
Coconut (Rainbow) Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus
Rather scarce, with small numbers seen in the lowlands of Port Moresby and Kiunga. The barred chest is quite distinctive, and the species is now split from Rainbow Lorikeet T. moluccanus.
Goldie’s Lorikeet Trichoglossus goldiei
Seen very well at Kopia below Kumul with 5 birds landing and showing nicely.
Western Black-capped Lory Lorius lory
Pairs were seen flying over various sites at Kiunga.
Red-flanked Lorikeet Charmosyna placentis
Seen nicely at Boystown Km 14 with up to 9 birds.
Papuan Lorikeet Charmosyna papou
One of the best! Several seen perched, feeding in Schefflera flowers below Tari Gap, and a fine melanistic morph near Makara Lodge.
Plum-faced (Whiskered) Lorikeet Oreopsittacus arfaki (H)
Only heard at Kumul and at Rondon this time.
Yellow-billed Lorikeet Neopsittacus musschenbroekii
Five flying over at Dablin Jun 28 were unusual at just 850m, this is usually a highland species. Also seen around Ambua.
Buff-faced Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta pusio
Good views of one at Gare’s Lookout at Varirata – the world’s smallest parrot and seen very nicely.
Yellow-capped Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta keiensis
A few flyby dots from the Boystown mound and Km 17 at Kiunga, always hard to see well.
Orange-breasted Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta gulielmitertii
Wonderful views of this beautiful bird behind Kwatu lodge. photos on IBC, and seen also at Km 14.
Double-eyed Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta diopthalma
Several seen flying and perched around Kiunga, especially from the Boystown mound.
Large Fig-Parrot Psittaculirostris desmarestii
One of this always rare species was heard calling up the Elevala River and seen by a couple of folks
Brehm's Tiger-Parrot Psittacella brehmii
Up to 5 at Kumul in the usual array of confusing plumages, and both left and right-footed when feeding.
Tiger-Parrot Psittacella sp.
A small one at Rondon was either Madarasz’s or Modest but the mist and light was too bad to be able to tell!
Red-cheeked Parrot Geoffroyus geoffroyi:
The common small parrot at Varirata and Kiunga, usually flying over but one or two found in the telescope and with an amazingly varied voice.
Blue-collared Parrot Geoffroyus simplex
Heard giving the lovely chiming call at Dablin on both days and at Ok Menga, and some folks got a quick look at a flock of 12 flying high up as always.
Eclectus Parrot Eclectus roratus
Small numbers in the lowlands and hills, mostly males as always.
Papuan King Parrot Alisterus chloropterus
3 at Varirata were calling well, and there was a quick flyby of a single at Km 14 at Kiunga where it is unusual.
Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida (H)
Heard along the Ketu Creek, and several others heard in the Kiunga area.
Red-bellied Pitta Pitta erythrogaster (H)
Heard along the Ketu Creek.
Spotted Catbird Ailuroedus melanotis (H)
One heard at Km 17 at Kiunga. Quite why catbirds are so shy in New Guinea yet so obtrusive in Queensland is unknown.
Archbold's Bowerbird Archboldia papuensis:
One female at the Kumul feeders, a nice series of sightings of this rare and usually shy species.
MacGregor’s Bowerbird Amblyornis macgregoriae
Hard to see in the poor weather at Rondon but we got one eventually, though the bower is much better than the bird, we saw one under reconstruction not far away! Then one came into the fruiting tree at Ambua for good scope views.
Flame Bowerbird Sericulus aureus
A male was seen in flight by Sheryl near Gusiore village, then luckily we all got onto a nice flight view of a male at Km 14, amazing that we were all looking the right way after so long there! One fabulous bird.
Fawn-breasted Bowerbird Chlamydera cerviniventris
One or two seen most days in savanna around Port Moresby and at Varirata, including a nice bower at the PAU.
Yellow-breasted Bowerbird Chlamydera lauterbachi
Anis our TNT driver proudly took us to his home village area at Wurub en route to Rondon, and we had brief looks at this elusive bird that day, with another next day in the afternoon at Rondon for Sheryl, Barbara and I, before one for everyone next day as we came down.
Wallace’s Fairywren Sipodotus wallacei
Heard along the Gare’s Lookout trail but as ever it proved elusive, it’s quite an arboreal fairywren and often hard to see.
Emperor Fairy-Wren Malurus cyanocephalus
Brief views of a pair at Ok Menga for a few of us, not usually seen here.
White-shouldered Fairy-Wren Malurus alboscapulatus
One by the Varirata approach, then seen well at Rondon-race lorentzii with females having much white below, with a white supercilium and black upperparts. Also seen above and below Ambua flitting elusively in kunai grass thickets, the sexes are the same here. The researcher at Kiunga was studying the birds there which have brown and white females, a very odd situation.
Papuan Black Myzomela Myzomela nigrita
One seen along Varirata approach road as we were leaving.
Red-collared Myzomela Myzomela rosenbergii
A few seen around Rondon, high in flowering trees.
Mountain Myzomela Myzomela adolphinae
A female at Rondon for some of us, and Brian later saw a male.
Ruby-throated (Red-throated) Myzomela Myzomela eques
One at Km 14 at Boystown was unexpected here, an uncommon mainly hill forest species.
Green-backed Honeyeater Glycichaera fallax
A single seen well at Varirata, giving great views of this easily-overlooked species.
Yellowish-streaked Honeyeater Ptiloprora meekiana
Elusive at Rondon but I think most of us eventually got a look at this very scarce and tricky bird that generally stays quite high up; the pale flank stripe is a good field character and the voice gives it away. Rondon is a very good locality for it.
Rufous-backed Honeyeater Ptiloprora guisei
Seen below Kumul and above the lodge at Ambua.
Grey-streaked (Black-backed) Honeyeater Ptiloprora perstriata
Seen at higher altitudes at Ambua.
Streak-headed Honeyeater Pycnopygius stictocephalus
Seen well at Km 17 one afternoon, a friarbird mimic with a distinctive small bill.
Marbled Honeyeater Pycnopygius cinereus (H)
One heard by the second Superb Bop as we came down from Rondon.
Plain Honeyeater Pycnopygius ixoides
Good views at the Boystown mound at Km14, I got a nice photo which is now posted on the IBC. Their only other photo was actually of a Tawny-breasted Honeyeater and not this species! Also seen up at Varirata at the fruiting fig.
Silver-eared Honeyeater Lichmera alboauricularis
Our stop at PNG Art gave us several of this very local endemic feeding in the flowering trees next door, the very first endemic of the trip.
Spotted Honeyeater Xanthotis polygrammus
Sheryl saw one up at Dablin, a distinctive and uncommon species.
Tawny-breasted Honeyeater Xanthotis flaviventer
Heard at Varirata and seen at Ok Menga, Dablin and along the Boystown Road.
Meyer's Friarbird Philemon meyeri (H)
Heard in a treetop at Boystown mound.
New Guinea (Helmeted) Friarbird Philemon (novaeguineae) buceroides: Common in the lowlands of Varirata and Kiunga. Either considered an endemic species or lumped with the Helmeted Friarbird of Australia. The race jobiensis that we saw near Mt Hagen is equally distinct and another likely split.
White-throated Honeyeater Melithreptus albogularis
Several with the White-bellied Whistler in savanna at Varirata.
Long-billed Honeyeater Melilestes megarhynchus
Seen nicely at Ok Menga after a brief view at Dablin Creek. Several heard at Km 14 also.
Common Smoky Honeyeater Melipotes fumigatus
Seen every day at Kumul and Ambua, this is the one that blushes the facial skin from yellow to red.
Rufous-banded Honeyeater Conopophila albogularis
A few at the PAU and heard at Kiunga where it is a quite recent arrival.
Black-throated Honeyeater Caligavis subfrenatus (H)
One heard above Ambua.
Obscure Honeyeater Caligavis obscurus (H)
Heard singing from the Boystown Road.
Sooty Melidectes Melidectes fuscus
One immature in the forest below Kumul Lodge, and then a fine dark adult with yellowish facial skin feeding on the ground among the grass at Max’s garden! A species I seldom see, but does seem to be good here these days
Belford's Melidectes Melidectes belfordi
Common, obtrusive, obstreperous, gaudy but rather attractive at higher levels at Kumul and Ambua!
Yellow-browed Melidectes Melidectes rufocrissalis
Small numbers around Rondon and Ambua Lodge and in the gardens below.
Ornate Melidectes Melidectes ornatus
One at Dablin for Barbara and I, and then a nice one at Kopia below Kumul that was much more obliging.
Yellow-tinted Honeyeater Ptilotula flavescens germana
Several at the Port Moresby museum site.
Mountain Honeyeater (Meliphaga) Meliphaga orientalis
One at Kopia near the Mag Bop site.
Scrub Honeyeater (Meliphaga) Meliphaga albonotata
Seen at Dablin Creek
Mimic Honeyeater (Meliphaga) Meliphaga analoga
One showing characters of this species at Varirata, but separation from Puff-backed Meliphaga is problematic.
Yellow-gaped Honeyeater (Meliphaga) Meliphaga flavirictus
Two seen very well at Kwatu, the pinkish legs and quite bright yellowy-green wings plus the prominent gape stripe make it fairly distinctive.
Dwarf Whistler Pachycare flavogrisea
Two calling well and being hard to find on our last day at Varirata. An odd and elusive smart bird which is not a true whistler at all, but seemingly an Acanthizid. Sound cut on XC.
Rusty Mouse-warbler Crateroscelis murina (H)
One on the first day at Varirata was not very obliging, nor was one singing on the Boystown Road and at Dablin.
Mountain Mouse-warbler Crateroscelis robusta (H)
Heard at Kumul and above Ambua, and no easier to see than the previous species.
Pale-billed Scrub-Wren Sericornis spilodera (H)
Heard on the first visit to Varirata.
Large Scrub-Wren Sericornis nouhuysi
Seen most days at Kumul, Rondon and around Ambua.
Buff-faced Scrub-Wren Sericornis perspicillatus
Seen quite well at Rondon, the wide buff eye-ring is distinctive.
Papuan Scrub-Wren Sericornis papuensis
Quite common at higher elevations above Ambua, they start to sing late pm.
Brown-breasted Gerygone Gerygone ruficollis
Good views at Kumul and above Ambua.
Large-billed Gerygone Gerygone magnirostris (H)
Heard at the Kwatu landing area.
Yellow-bellied Gerygone Gerygone chrysogaster
One to three seen on several days at Kwatu, Kiunga and Varirata, a core member of mixed flocks.
Ashy (Mountain or Grey) Gerygone Gerygone cinerea
Four seen at Rondon, a scarce species, now suggested to be a thornbill, which I find impossible to believe as the song is so like that of Brown-breasted Gerygone.
Green-backed Gerygone Gerygone chloronotus
Heard quite often and seen at Varirata and Dablin. Barbara is going to get it at Darwin!
Fairy Gerygone Gerygone palpebrosa
One seen on each visit to Varirata.
New Guinea (Rufous) Babbler Pomatostomus isidorei
A flock of these engagingly sociable birds beside the Elevala River were particularly difficult to see, but another flock near the lek at Km17 were slightly more obliging.
New Guinea Logrunner Orthonyx novaeguineae
One male seen at close range at 7-corner. The New Guinea birds have recently been shown to be a separate species from the Australian birds – they are also much shyer!
Crested Bird of Paradise Cnemophilus macgregorii
A female was seen twice near Kumul Lodge, the second was perched on a power line along the approach track and showed very well. Formerly classed with Birds of paradise but makes much better sense as its own family group.
Loria's Bird of Paradise Cnemophilus loriae
Three females and a male seen at the Ambua fruiting tree, and a reasonable view of a perched male at Pigites. We actually saw or heard 6 out of 7 of the NG endemic families this day around Kumul! Formerly classed with Birds of paradise but makes much better sense as its own family group.
Obscure Berrypecker Melanocharis arfaki (H)
Heard up at Dablin Creek.
Black Berrypecker Melanocharis nigra
Several males seen at Varirata and heard up the Elevala River.
Fan-tailed Berrypecker Melanocharis versteri
One or two seen most days at Kumul, including a male from Pigites.
Mid-mountain Berrypecker Melanocharis longicauda
One at Rondon was the only sighting, quite a local and tricky to identify species.
Streaked Berrypecker Melanocharis striativentris
One seen nicely at Rondon, sat at eye-level shaking its wings with a buffy eye-ring and quite broad darker streaks on the underparts, plus a short stubby bill. I’d only seen this once before, from Dablin where it was identified on the bill shape basically.
Yellow-bellied Longbill Toxorhamphus novaeguineae
Brief views of one in forest near Kwatu and hear at each site around Kiunga where it is common but hard to see well.
Dwarf Honeyeater Oedistoma iliolophus (H)
Heard at Varirata and Dablin, I even taped a flight call here.
Pygmy Honeyeater Oedistoma pygmaeum (H)
Heard at Varirata on the lower slopes of the Gare’s Lookout trail.
Tit Berrypecker Oreocharis arfaki
Good scope views of both sexes in the fruiting tree at Ambua
Crested Berrypecker Paramythia montium
Great views of this fantastic species near the cabins at Kumul.
Blue Jewel-Babbler Ptilorrhoa caerulescens (H)
Heard at Km 14.
Chestnut-backed Jewel-Babbler Ptilorrhoa castanonota
On the Gare’s Lookout trail, one was seen by some as I taped it close, and later a pair dashed across the path and were seen by most.
Painted Quail-Thrush Cinclosoma ajax (H)
Heard at Varirata, always exceedingly hard to see.
Yellow-breasted Boatbill Machaerirhynchus flaviventer
A couple seen nicely in mixed flocks in Varirata.
Black-breasted Boatbill Machaerirhynchus nigripectus
Seen nicely at Pigites and around Ambua - a very attractive (and vocal) bird.
Lowland Peltops Peltops blainvillii
One at Kwatu and one seen at Km 14. Peltops are another New Guinea genus of unknown taxonomic affinity, probably a good family.
Mountain Peltops Peltops montanus
One at Ambua around the lodge, and first seen at Dablin Creek.
Hooded Butcherbird Cracticus cassicus
Seen on most days at Kiunga and Varirata.
Black-backed Butcherbird Cracticus mentalis
One at the POM museum on the first day, then in Varirata and at the PAU. A savanna bird, also found in Cape York.
Black Butcherbird Cracticus quoyi
Heard at Varirata and Dablin where some folks saw it, and then seen at Ambua. They call differently to Australian birds and are a likely split.
White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorhynchus
Several seen in the first three days around Port Moresby.
Great Woodswallow Artamus maximus
A huddle in the tree at Ambua were quite engaging, and I was interested to watch them stretching out their wings to bathe in the heavy rain one afternoon. They massacre the moth populations up here.
Yellow-eyed (Barred) Cuckooshrike Coracina lineata axillaris
Good views of one in a mixed flock on our first day at Varirata. The call is quite distinct to the Australian birds.
Boyer's Cuckooshrike Coracina boyeri
Pairs and small groups were seen several times at Varirata and Kiunga.
White-bellied Cuckooshrike Coracina papuensis
One at the PAU, and at Varirata and a couple near Rondon.
Hooded Cuckooshrike Coracina longicauda
Heard at Ambua Lodge, and Phil saw 3 on arrival day in the far distance.
Cicadabird Edolisoma tenuirostris (H)
Heard at the Raggiana lek at Varirata.
Grey-headed Cuckooshrike Edolisoma schisticeps
A fine pair at Dablin, photo of the male on the IBC.
Black Cicadabird (Cuckooshrike) Edolisoma melaena
A pair and a single female seen at Varirata.
Black-shouldered (Papuan) Cicadabird (Cuckooshrike) Edolisoma incerta
A calling male at Dablin showed quite well, this species has a plethora of different names!
Black-bellied Cuckooshrike (Cicadabird) Edolisoma montana
One small flock of 3 birds at Pigites and 4 flybys at Ambua.
Golden Cuckoo-Shrike Campochaera sloetii
Seen nicely at Dablin and Km 17, a delightful and odd bird quite unlike other cuckooshrikes.
Varied Triller Lalage leucomela (H)
Heard at Varirata and Kiunga.
Papuan (Varied) Sittella Daphoenositta (chrysoptera) papuanus
Ten at Kopia below Kumul were unexpected and my first record from the area, sometimes split from Australian Sittellas as an endemic to montane NG.
Black Pitohui Melanorectes nigrescens
A female at Rondon was a good find, this is still classed as a pitohui and retained in whistlers for the moment, but it is a very odd heavy-billed bird. Hard to find.
Brown-backed Whistler Pachycephala modesta
One at Rondon in the mist, and a single at Ambua, this species is a PNG endemic.
Grey Whistler Pachycephala simplex
Two seen at Varirata and also up near Kwatu.
Sclater’s Whistler Pachycephala soror
One female seen on the Gare’s Lookout trail at Varirata, then a male at Rondon.
Regent Whistler Pachycephala schlegelii
Males and females at Kumul and a female above Ambua.
White-bellied Whistler Pachycephala leucogaster
A male flew into the tree by the road in the Varirata savanna. This is now split as a New Guinea endemic from the Rufous Whistler Pachycephala rufiventris of Australia, and is vocally and morphologically much more like Black-headed Whistler (P. monacha).
Black-headed Whistler Pachycephala monacha
A fine male at Wurub near Mt Hagen, and another at the Alukambe owl site.
Little Shrike-Thrush Colluricincla megarhyncha
A few seen on each visit to Varirata and singles near Kiunga, Rondon and Ambua. This complex is likely to be split into about 6 species, with 2 in Australia.
Grey Shrike-thrush Colluricincla harmonica
One singing and showing well by the Varirata turn-off.
White-bellied Pitohui Pseudorectes incertus (H)
Heard by the Elevala River and Ketu Creek, with one flock around the boat too elusive to see.
Rusty Pitohui Pseudorectes ferrugineus
Brief views of two twice in mixed flocks at Varirata and on the Elevala River.
OREOICIDAE Australasian Bellbirds
Rufous-naped Bellbird (Rufous-naped Whistler) Aleadryas rufinucha
Two seen on the last morning at Ambua. Formerly placed with pitohuis in the whistler family but now recognized as an ancient Tertiary origin family including the Crested Bellbird (Oreoica) of Australia.
Crested Bellbird (Crested Pitohui) Ornorectes (Pitohui) cristatus (H)
A singing bird heard near the picnic site at Varirata. Formerly placed with pitohuis in the whistler family but now recognized as an ancient Tertiary origin family including the Crested Bellbird (Oreoica) of Australia.
Wattled Ploughbill Eulacestoma nigropectus
One fine male at Pigites complete with pink paddles, if only my battery hadn’t then chosen to die! A genus until this year of unknown taxonomic affinities, sometimes placed with Whistlers but now recognized as an ancient Tertiary origin endemic family.
Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach stresemanni
Good views below Kumul and at Wurub near Mt Hagen, this distinctive montane taxon is endemic to PNG and is I suspect a good species.
Variable Pitohui Pitohui kirhocephalus
One of these brown-headed birds seen at Kwatu, and heard at Km 17 at Kiunga. Now placed in Oriolidae!
Hooded Pitohui Pitohui dichrous
Good views on each visit to Varirata. The famous poison-bird - its feathers are toxic and irritant. Also now placed in Oriolidae.
Brown Oriole Oriolus szalayi
A scatter of birds seen at Varirata and Kiunga, including several seen well in the scope. Apart from the dull red bill, this is a great mimic of the aggressive friarbirds.
Figbird Sphecotheres viridis salvadorii
A few seen at PAU, the males are quite different to Australian birds with grey heads and chests.
Spangled Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus
Small numbers seen most days around Kiunga (Australian birds). New Guinea resident birds have different calls to those in Australia, and some people have suggested that they are split as a separate species.
Papuan Spangled Drongo Dicrurus (h.) carbonarius
Very vocal at Varirata and sounds quite unlike the Oz birds, I reckon it’s a distinct species.
Pygmy Drongo Chaetorhynchus papuensis (H)
One was heard calling up near Gare’s lookout, but stayed out of sight. This is another oddity that is likely to belong in a new family.
Willie Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys
Seen in most areas with grass or gardens, from sea-level to 2800m, very catholic.
Northern Fantail Rhipidura rufiventris
Heard at Dablin Creek, and Sheryl and Barbara saw one below Rondon at about 1900m, a high altitude by seemingly regular here.
White-bellied Thicket-Fantail Rhipidura leucothorax
A brief flyby of one at Km 17, and heard beside the Elevala River whilst we were sat in the boat.
Friendly Fantail Rhipidura albolimbata
A few seen most days around Kumul, Rondon and Ambua.
Dimorphic Fantail Rhipidura brachyrhyncha
One of the orange-tailed phase at Pigites, and heard at Ambua.
Black Fantail Rhipidura atra
An orange-tailed female seen briefly at Ambua.
Chestnut-bellied Fantail Rhipidura hyperythra
About core member of mixed flocks seen at Varirata, the only site we get it.
Rufous-backed Fantail Rhipidura rufidorsa
One seen nicely at the new Kwatu area lodge; this is always an elusive species for a fantail.
Spot-winged Monarch Symposiarchus guttula
Three or four seen most days at Varirata.
Black-faced Monarch Monarcha melanopsis
One seen briefly with a mixed flock at Varirata.
Black-winged Monarch Monarcha frater
One up along the Gare’s Lookout Trail, a hill forest bird that is quite unlike the Australian bird that is supposed to be this species but is actually much more like the previous one.
Golden Monarch Carterornis chrysomela
Good views of a male at Boystown Road, then one at Varirata.
Frilled Monarch Arses telescopthalmus
Great views of about ten birds, mostly at Varirata, but also some around Kiunga.
Torrent-lark Grallina bruijnii
4 birds along the creek at Dablin, a very odd shy species whose call cuts right through the white noise of the rushing streams.
Shining Flycatcher Myiagra alecto
A few along the Fly and Elevala Rivers, an unusual riverine flycatcher.
Leaden Flycatcher Myiagra rubecula
One was seen by some folks along the Varirata approach road.
Grey Crow Corvus tristis
Small groups seen in flight around Kiunga and heard at Varirata.
Torresian Crow Corvus orru
Small numbers around the Moresby area.
Blue-capped Ifrit (Ifrita) Ifrita kowaldi
Two seen in mixed flocks at Pigites and then from Kumul Lodge, a strange bird with deep royal blue iridescent cap, also seen above Ambua by a few. A genus until this year of unknown taxonomic affinities, sometimes placed with Rail Babbler (!) but now recognized as an ancient Tertiary origin endemic family. Also another of the small guild of slightly toxic bird species.
Lesser Melampitta Melampitta lugubris
One dark-eyed female showed itself well in the moss forest at 7-corner, others were heard at Kumul. A genus until this year of unknown taxonomic affinities, sometimes placed with the birds of paradise but now recognized as an ancient Tertiary origin endemic family.
Greater Melampitta Megalampitta lugubris (H)
One heard calling near the tunnel at Ok Menga, always very hard to see and quite likely itself another new family as there is little in common with Lesser Melampitta beyond colour and terrestrial habits.
Glossy-mantled Manucode Manucodia atra
Our first Bop was one of these perched up at Varirata, then we had some good views daily along the Fly and Elevala Rivers and along Boystown Road.
Crinkle-collared Manucode Manucodia chalybeatus
One at Varirata in the forest, then a great look at one at Km14, at one point alongside a Trumpet Manucode. The head bumps are quite distinctive on a good view.
Trumpet Manucode Manucodia keraudrenii jamesii
Seen on most days around Kiunga, with one calling and erecting head tufts as it drooped its wings at Kwatu, and another seen well at Km14.
Magnificent Riflebird Ptiloris magnificus (H)
Heard at Boystown Road but this species is now very difficult to see.
Growling Riflebird Ptiloris intercedens
Some folks had brief views of a female on the first visit to Varirata. Split from Magnificent Riflebird of W PNG and Cape York, with a quite distinct voice.
Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise Seleucidis melanoleuca
Good views of a male displaying to a female across Ketu Creek.
Brown Sicklebill Epimachus meyeri
Great views of a couple of females at Kumul, sadly the male here was killed by an idiot with a catapult earlier this year.
Ribbon-tailed Astrapia Astrapia mayeri:
Many close views of females and young males plus an adult male without a tail at Kumul, and one fully-plumed male at 7-corner with a rather ragged tail lacking black tips. Also several female plumaged birds here and one possible hybrid.
(Princess) Stephanie's Astrapia Astrapia stephaniae
A female seen around Ambua Lodge, another at the former lek site, and great views of a male without a tail feeding at the same site next day.
Superb Bird of Paradise Lophorina superba
A female briefly at Dablin, then a male showing his blue ‘cravat’ below Rondon as we left, with another lower down later, and a female at Ambua Lodge. Liz saw a male at Alukambe too.
Lawes’s Parotia Parotia lawesii
Two females in the fruiting tree by the Lodge at Ambua.
King of Saxony Bird-of-Paradise Pteridophora alberti
A fine male at Pigites, then some saw a female above Ambua and we got another male well above the bridge after several stops there, which was hardly singing at all. The 10 loggings camps between the lodge and here have sadly depleted numbers and my old favourite is now long gone.
King Bird-of-Paradise Cicinnurus regius
The male took some finding, high in a tree near the lek at Km 17, giving nice scope views of this diminutive jewel. Other sites up-river were flooded this time.
Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise Paradisaea raggiana
The males at Varirata were not performing though we saw one distantly. A few females were seen most days at Varirata and a few males and hybrids were mixed with Greaters at Kiunga, whilst upstream we saw and heard females or young birds.
Greater Bird-of-Paradise Paradisaea apoda
Some good views of males, not displaying, on our afternoon at Km17. Thereafter, small numbers seen, mostly in flight, in the Km 14 area.
Blue Bird-of-Paradise Paradisornis rudolphi
A female below Ambua Lodge at Alukambe was a great find, as we had seen none at the Lodge and none were calling below the lodge after so much wet weather and I was fearing a dip here.
Ashy Robin Heteromyias albispecularis (H)
Only heard at Ambua – always a difficult bird to see.
Black-sided Robin Plesiodryas hypoleuca
Brief views of one near Kwatu on two days, always very hard to see well but often heard.
Black-throated Robin Plesiodryas albonotata
A couple of this large grey robin seen nicely but in bad light near Ambua on the last day.
White-winged Robin Peneothello sigillatus
Great views at Kumul as always and up at 7-corner where there was a juv. with an adult.
Blue-grey Robin Peneothello cyanus
Seen above Ambua, with 4 birds at one of the logging depots one day, and heard at Rondon.
White-rumped Robin Peneothello bimaculata (H)
Heard up at Dablin Creek in the dense regrowth there.
White faced Robin Tregellasia leucops
One seen well along the Gare’s Lookout track at Varirata. Sound cut posted on XC.
Torrent Flyrobin (Flycatcher) Monachella muelleriana
Seen at Ok Menga and then along the stream at Kopia, with a very unexpected record of a single up along the Elevala River on Jun 30, my first record from here and a very peculiar habitat as the river was in flood and very high indeed.
Canary Flycatcher Deviocea papuana
Liz saw one at Pigites.
Lemon-bellied Flyrobin (Flycatcher) Microeca flavigaster
A pair found in the savanna woodland at Varirata
Garnet Robin Eugerygone rubra (H)
Heard at Pigites but did not respond.
Papuan (Northern) Scrub-robin Drymodes (superciliaris) beccarii (H)
Heard up at Dablin Creek, vocally and behaviourally quite unlike the Northern Scrub-robin of Cape York.
Lesser Ground-Robin Amalocichla incerta (H)
Heard calling at 7-corner but stayed well away.
Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica
Small numbers were seen occasionally around Port Moresby, Mt Hagen and Kiunga.
Island Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus poliocephalus
Lovely views of a vocal single at Dablin Creek where it is scarce, then in gardens below Kumul and Ambua.
Papuan Grassbird Megalurus macrurus
The endemic Papuan Grassbird, split from Tawny Grassbird as vocally quite distinct and much larger, was seen perched up from the road at Tari Gap and diving into roadside grasses.
Black-fronted White-eye Zosterops atrifrons
One seen well on the first day at Varirata, and 2 were an unusual sighting at Dablin Creek.
New Guinea White-eye Zosterops novaeguineae
Good looks below Kumul and again at Rondon where they were feeding a juvenile, and in the Tari Valley.
Western Mountain White-eye (Capped White-eye) Zosterops fuscicapilla
A vocal flock at Dablin Creek.
Singing Starling Aplonis cantoroides
A few around Port Moresby, the PAU and Mt Hagen.
Metallic Starling Aplonis metallica
Only from around Kiunga, where large flocks were seen up the Fly and Elevala Rivers.
Yellow-eyed Starling Aplonis mystacea
Just two flyovers up the Elevala River, the call quite different to Metallic Starling.
Golden Myna Mino anais
Two pairs flying over the treetops along the Fly and Elevala River.
Yellow-faced Myna Mino dumontii
Small numbers on most days at Varirata, the PAU and around Kiunga.
Island Thrush Turdus poliocephalus erebus
Just a couple at Kumul and beside the road high above Ambua.
Pied Chat (Pied Bushchat) Saxicola caprata
Ones and twos were commonly seen in grassland at Ela Beach, Kumul, Rondon and Ambua.
Red-crowned Flowerpecker (Papuan Flowerpecker) Dicaeum pectorale
About five seen around Kiunga and Ambua, with good views of a male several times.
Black Sunbird Nectarinia aspasia
Males seen well on the Boystown Road and more briefly at Ok Menga.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus (I)
A few around the Moresby airport and Mt Hagen airport, they colonized POM in 1992.
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus (I)
A few at Ela Beach and nearby, a very recent colonist since 2007, also now at Tabubil and Kiunga.
Mountain Firetail Oreostruthus fuliginosus
Beautiful views of a male along the Kumul entrance track and some saw one by the feeder later.
Blue-faced Parrotfinch Erythrura trichroa
The misty wet morning at Rondon did yield pretty good looks at this elusive species in the bamboo, where we saw about 5 birds.
White-spotted Mannikin Lonchura leucosticta
Two down in bushes beside Kiunga airstrip, and about 6 others seen flying by along the Boystown Road at Km 14.
Grey-headed Mannikin Lonchura caniceps
Good views at PAU, then a small flock at the Varirata approach road turn-off and again at Sogeri. Endemic to SE PNG.
Hooded Mannikin Lonchura spectabilis
Some nice sightings below Kumul Lodge, and about 40 near Ambua.
Birds of the trip were as always varied, but Southern Crowned Pigeon, King BoP, King of Saxony, Ribbon-tailed Astrapia, Carola’s Parotia, Pesquet’s Parrot, Blue-faced Parrotfinch and Streaked Berrypecker (Phil) figured large out of a very varied and exciting selection.
PERORYCTIDAE Spiny Bandicoots
Common Echymipera or Long-nosed Echymipera Echymipera kalubu or rufescens
One on the track at Dablin Creek. I got two photos but am not sure how to distinguish these two species.
Calaby’s Pademelon Thylogale calabyi or New Guinea Pademelon T. brownii
One female with a pouched joey was feeding near the feeder at Kumul, we got great looks at this rare animal. I am sending photos off to a mammal expert in the hope of finding out which it is at Kumul.
Greater Flying-fox Pteropus neohibernicus
One camp of this huge flying-fox seen along the Elevala River.
Seen at night along Ketu Creek
Black-tailed Antechinus Antechinus melanurus
One ran along the fence rail at the entrance to Kumul Lodge and we had a good look at it, the black tail is quite conspicuous and it’s a big Antechinus.
Feral Pig Sus scrofa
A female with about 9 piglets stepped onto the Lookout Trail and then fortunately bolted away. They have been feral here a very long time and have reverted to wild types, their diggings were everywhere and they must threaten the eggs in the megapode mounds.
New Guinea Freshwater Crocodile Crocodylus novaeguineae
One small one resting on a small tree in Ketu Creek was good spotting by the boat guys, but most folks missed it.
D’Albertis or White-lipped Python Leiopython albertisii
One quite long and quite thick grey one at the lek at Km 17 had a broad head and seemed good for this species, actually a tick for Phil.
Water Dragon sp.
One along the Elevala River.
© Phil Gregory c/o Sicklebill Safaris, Australia. July 2014
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