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Birding in Papua New Guinea

Listed under Birdwatching in Papua New Guinea.

  • Photo of Birding in Papua New Guinea
  • Photo of Birding in Papua New Guinea
  • Photo of Birding in Papua New Guinea
Photo of Birding in Papua New Guinea
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With something like 400 endemic birds on the islands as a whole, and the epicentre for the amazing Birds of Paradise, though kingfishers and pigeons and doves are not too far behind. It is possible to visit leks for both Raggiana and Greater Birds of paradise and to see these incredible species dancing and moon-walking as they frantically try to interest the watching females, and show off to the young males. The red or orange-yellow flank plumes are held up in great colourful feather fountains, and the raucous calls resonate through the forest, seeing them in full cry is just unforgettable. Astrapias are the high-altitude species of the family, and two superb ones are found only in PNG- the Ribbon-tailed was only discovered in 1948, from feathers in a tribesman's head-dress, and the metre long white tail plumes are one of the most amazing sites in birding, whilst Princess Stephanie's has a long slightly decurved tail with rounded dark plumes and an iridescent green head with copper chest band. A tour here may see around 20 species of this family, and the supporting cast can include the huge turkey-sized blue and maroon Southern Crowned Pigeon, with its Cleopatra-eye make-up and absurd laterally fanned filamentous crest. Paradise-kingfishers are aptly named and several species are likely despite them being shy dwellers of the forest sub-stage. Ambua Lodge in the Southern Highlands in a great destination, or there are back-packer versions at nearby Warili or over at Kumul Lodge near Mt. Hagen. Kiunga in remote Western Province is another great centre, with a river trip up the imposingt Fly and Elevala Rivers going into excellent wild monsoon and vine forest habitat. You should also not miss out on the lovely Varirata National Park near the capital of Port Moresby, one of the only capital cities that is not connected by road to the rest of the country due to the impassable mountain ranges and riverine swamps that surround it. The drive up to the park goes through some superb scenery with strange composite rocks formed by an ancient volcanic blast, through Australian style eucalypt savannas and then into rain forest along the spectacular escarpment. The people of the country are also part of the attraction, with a huge array of distinct cultures and languages and a still surprisingly intact and functioning rural network despite the inevitable drift to the cities. Visiting a sing-sing with it's wonderful array of tribal dress and colourful head dresses made from parrot and bird of paradise plumes is a great photographic opportunity, and the people make you feel welcome, pleased that you are interested in their culture.

Written by  Phil Gregory.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

We would like to go to Papua New Guinea.

We want to vist the tribes and learn about the culter and do photograph these wonderful tribes. We are interested in going in 2011 August and seeing the Mt. Hagan & Goroka show's. Is this something you do? How much and how many days? Is 12 to 16 days too long. Thank you for your time.

Barbara Pessel

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