Birding Tour West Papua: Arfak and Waigeo Birding Expedition 2018

Duration: 12 days

New Guinea is a geographic, rather than political term that refers to the main island in the region. The western half of the island of New Guinea comprises the Indonesian provinces of West Papua (Papua Barat) and Papua, collectively once called West Irian or Irian Jaya; the eastern half of the main island of New Guinea comprises the country of Papua New Guinea. We will be based in West Papua for this birding adventure.

Aside from the large landmass of New Guinea, the New Guinea region includes numerous small islands on the continental shelf or verges thereof (some part of Indonesia and others part of Papua New Guinea), and we will visit one of these areas: Waigeo, part of the Raja Ampat Archipelago in West Papua (also known as the Northwestern Islands).

Approximately 680 bird species have been recorded from West Papua, from slightly more than 700 for the whole New Guinea region. Some 550 species are considered breeding residents, with 279 New Guinea endemics (found in Indonesia and/or Papua New Guinea) and at least an additional 42 endemics found only in West Papua. There are also over 115 Palearctic and Australian migrant species and a range of seabirds to be found spending some of their time in West Papua.

This Arfak and Waigeo tour will begin in the town of Manokwari, situated on the north-eastern tip of West Papua’s Bird’s Head, (or Vogelkop) Peninsula. From here we will travel to the nearby Arfak Mountains, where we will search for a fabulous series of birds, renowned in birders’ circles as the “Vogelkop Endemics”, such as Vogelkop Bowerbird, Western Parotia, Arfak Astrapia, Long-tailed Paradigalla, Black Sicklebill, Magnificent Bird-of-paradise, and Spotted Jewel-babbler.

The second and final leg of our tour takes us to Sorong, on the opposite side of the Bird’s Head Peninsula, and then to one of the Raja Ampat Islands, Waigeo. Here we will search for endemic Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise, Red Bird-of-paradise, and Western Crowned Pigeon. Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise is often considered one of the ‘best-looking’ birds on the planet, and so we’ll look forward to making our own judgments on this.

This tour can be combined with our Birding Tour Indonesia: Sulawesi and Halmahera 2018 (29 October – 15 November 2018) to explore Indonesia’s avian fauna in both the Indomalayan and Australasian ecozones.

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