Monday, July 8, 2019

Raja Ampat Birding

Red Birds of Paradise in Waigeo
Red Bird of Paradise
I have just returned from an early morning birding walk in the forest of Waigeo island. I guided two American tourists Paige and Bruce. We left Raja Ampat Dive Resort at 04.50 for a coast in the southern area of Waigeo by a small motorized boat. After that we continued our trip on foot to the lek of Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra). It was still dark and we were walking under the trees of Raja Ampat's rainforest. We used some flashlights. A long the path, we saw millipede and toad. It took around 1 hour 30 minutes for us to reach our birding ground. The sun began to appear in the east providing more light for us.
Courtship dance of paradise bird
Male Red Bird of Paradise was performing courtship dance
We heard the sounds of thunders above us. Soon the rain started to fall. Because we were determined to watch the paradise birds, we decided to stay at the birding platform. After waiting for around 30 minutes we could see the male birds of paradise jumped to the dry branches and danced up and down the near vertical branches of a tree in front of us. Sometimes they only sat on the horizontal branches or flew to palm trees in the surrounding area.
The rain fell again for another 30 minutes and the birds stopped dancing. Because they did not leave their tree, we did not leave our benches either. Soon after the rain stopped, two female Red Bird of Paradise showed up. The male ones jumped to their "poles" and began performing their courtship dance again. The cloudy weather made it dificult for me to capture this important moment by camera. I was able to take some pictures of the paradise birds. Some were quite sharp but the rest were blurry.
Palm Cockatoo
After watching birds of paradise, we walked down the slope again to the beach. We saw Moluccan King Parrot, Beautiful Fruit Dove, Claret-breasted Fruit Dove, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Mimic Meliphaga, Hooded Butcherbird, and Blyth's Hornbill. We heard the sounds of Common Paradise Kingfisher but we did not see the birds.
When we set our foot again on the beach of Raja Ampat Dive Resort, we saw some leftovers of catappa fruits falling on to the ground in front of us. When we looked up, there was a Goliath Palm Cockatoo in the tree. He walked on the branch of the tree trying to find delicious fruits for his breakfast.
If you are interested in taking a birding tour in Raja Ampat, and Sorong regency of West Papua, please, contact me by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 or by email to:
 -written by Charles Roring
Also read:
Birds in Raja Ampat
Birdwatching in Raja Ampat Karst

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