Highlands of Papua New Guinea Aug 24—Sep 05, 2005
Posted by Dion Hobcroft
The jungles of New Guinea, with their fascinating birds and diversity of tribal cultures and languages, have lured biologists and anthropologists for centuries. Here one can step back in time and be enthralled by the biological treasures encountered.
This was an outstanding trip that focused almost entirely on the incredible Tari Valley—home of the Huli Wigmen and over a dozen birds-of-paradise. We observed many of New Guinea’s most charismatic and bizarre bird species; our bird list is testimony to our time in the field in sometimes difficult conditions. However, the rewards kept coming, and I am sure we will always look back on this trip with fond memories and adventuresome tales to share with our friends.
The birds we found were amongst some of the most elusive this fascinating country can offer. Highlights included Radjah Shelduck, Salvadori’s Teal, New Guinea Harpy-Eagle, Yellow-legged Brush-Turkey, Chestnut and Forbes’s forest-rails, Orange-fronted Fruit-Dove, Little Red Lorikeet, Painted Tiger-Parrot, Sooty Owl, Barred Owlet-Nightjar, Brown-headed Paradise-Kingfisher, Papuan Logrunner, Spotted Jewel-Babbler, Blue-capped Ifrita, Lesser Ground-Robin, Mottled Whistler, Rufous-naped Whistler, Wattled Ploughbill, Black Sittella, Olive Straightbill, Papuan Parrot-Finch, Torrent-Lark, and Macgregor’s and Archbold’s bowerbirds to mention a few. There were many more stunning birds to enjoy including comet-like Papuan Lorikeets, boisterous and noisy melidectes, tame Mountain Peltops, and an abundance of insectivores and nectar feeders.
Then there were the birds-of-paradise. We observed 14 species with remarkable views of nearly all, and males of all but one species. I especially enjoyed our encounters with the enigmatic Lesser Melampitta, elusive Crested Bird-of-paradise, Loria’s Bird-of-paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Ribbon-tailed Astrapia, Superb Bird-of-paradise, Lawes’ Parotia, King-of-Saxony Bird-of-paradise, Raggiana Bird-of-paradise, and the unforgettable Blue Bird-of-paradise.
I would like to thank tour participants Carrie Glenn, Al Milch, Robert “Larry” Lehrman, Jill Sadler, and Dr. Stewart Summers for helping to make this a special and successful tour. I would also like to thank my friends Joseph Tano, Benson, Paul, Maraboy, and Andrew for helping immensely to make this trip so successful.