Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Birds of Paradise Raja Ampat

Paradise birds such as Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra) and Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica) can be watched in Waigeo, Gam and Batanta islands. Glossy Manucode (Manucodia ater), another species of bird of paradise whose feather is plain black, lives in the whole territory of Raja Ampat. They are not considered as important target by birdwatchers. Visitors usually choose Waigeo because they can easily go by fast passenger ferry that go back and forth between Sorong city and Waisai town twice a day. 
Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra) is watched in the coastal area. I often see the male and female birds at Warduwer beach where they eat fruits especially in the mornings and late afternoons (before sunset). For Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica), it lives deeper in the rainforest. We must wake up early in the morning, usually at 04.00, and do long trip into the forest to reach its dancing site or display ground.
Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra) in southern region of Waigeo island
Red Bird of Paradise
Wilson's Bird of Paradise in Waigeo island
Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica)
Several places have become an important birdwatching destinations in Raja Ampat. Saporkren is the famous one. For me, personally, I organize my tours to rainforest close to Kabui bay. I combine this rainforest birding trip to this site with snorkeling and sightseeing tours by boat. There is no road that we can use to reach the birding ground. So, we use motorized boats. I also organize birding trips to eastern and north-eastern regions of Waigeo. Usually, the birdwatching trips to this places are combined with village tour, riverwalk tour, swimming, and turtle watching activities. Tourists like them because they could  meet local people, watch birds and enjoy the beautiful nature of Raja Ampat.
Dutch lady was enjoying snorkeling to see coral reef and tropical fish.
Snorkeling in Raja Ampat
For other species such as Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor); Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise (Seleucidis melanoleucus); and King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius), they can be found in Salawati and Misool islands. However, because these birds can be found in mainland West Papua, most tourists watch them in the mainland. 

Birdwatching in Mainland West Papua
From Sorong city, tourists can take a 4WD car to Klasow valley and enjoy birdwatching in the villages of Klatomok, and Malagufuk. Klatomok is more suitable for elderly people or those who cannot walk for hours in the jungle because it is a roadside village. Because birding activity is carried out in rainforest, I cannot fully guarantee that visitors will be able to see all the target birds that I mention above. There are other birds that live in Klasow valley including Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Northern Cassowary, Lowland Peltop, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Blyth's Hornbill, and a lot more.
Another alternative is Tambrauw regency which is located further to the east. It takes around 5 hours to reach Fef which is the capital of the regency. I highly recommend that tourists go birding accompanied by birding guides who really know the areas. Ayapokiar village located deeper in Tambrauw mountains is the destination for avid birders.

Tambrauw is a great destination for birdwatching. Visitors should travel in a group of three to four people to share the cost of transportation.  Another alternative of traveling to Ayapokiar is by plane from Manokwari city to Kebar, tourists need to continue overland to District Senopi and then by 4wd car from Senopi to Ayapokiar. Susi Air operates Cessna Caravan 208 between Manokwari and Kebar several times a week. Tickets can be bought at the airport. There is a good guesthouse in Ayapokiar so visitors could stay in the village for several days and do day tours to the forest. The road in this remote mountainous region is empty. It is a very nice birdwatching site.

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