Participants: Richard Fairbank, Nick Gardner, Jon Hornbuckle, Rod Martins, Malcolm Oxlade and Nick Preston
I had visited West Papua, then known as Irian Jaya, with two friends in 1991, Richard Fairbank and Nick Preston had done a similar trip in 1993. Nick Gardner had spent 3 months birding in PNG a long time ago, and Malcolm and Rod visited PNG more recently. Rich, Nick P and I wanted to return so we put together a three-week itinerary that covered our main priorities and attempted to get some quotes for the whole or individual sections of the trip. This proved difficult and we had to abandon plans to go in summer 2012 when progress was almost non-existent. We tried again in early 2013 and, after dismissing sorting everything out ourselves due to difficulties in contacting the key bird guides, we settled on using Royke Mananta, an Indonesian birder who had his own travel company - Explore Islands of Indonesia: email@example.com , http://www.exploreisoindonesia.com/. Although based in Sulawesi, he was able to confirm the guides we wanted and sort out all logistics on a preparatory visit to West Papua. Nick Gardner, Malcolm and Rod were keen to join us. So we set out on the trip in August, the only time when Nick P, a teacher, could take a lengthy break.
The trip was successful in that we saw nearly all the birds we hoped for, a notable exception being Papuan Hawk-Owl at Nimbokrang. Inevitably we lost some birding time due to rain but the logistics worked well. After bargaining, Royke gave us a lower price than the other operators in this part of the world, and most importantly, was very reliable. He has now birded all the main islands of Indonesia and can book domestic flights and hotel reservations as well as lead and organize birding trips, so we do strongly recommend him. Some strenuous walking was necessary in the Arfaks and Snow Mountains, up and down steep, slippery slopes, but we all survived, with only Rich having an unfortunate nasty fall.
04-Aug Fly from JAKARTA to BIAK via Makassar: 22:45 to 06:25.
05-06 Aug BIAK
07-Aug BIAK to NUMFOR by charter boat: 08.30 to 12.30.
08-Aug NUMFOR 06.00 – 09.00, boat to MANOKWARI 10.30 to 12.30, cars to Sioubri Guesthouse, Mokwam.
09-11 Aug Birding & night at Sioubri.
12-Aug Birding trail to camp Japan. Night at camp Japan or return to guesthouse (NG, JH)
13-Aug Birding near camp Japan a.m., return to Sioubri, or birding near Sioubri. Night at Sioubri.
14-Aug Birding road while driving down from Sioubri to Manokwari. Night at Manokwari (Billy Jaya hotel).
15-Aug Fly Manokwari to Jayapura then drive to NIMBOKRANG. Birding open habitat. Night at Nimbokrang (Jamil’s)
16-17Aug Birding swamp forest near the village. Night at Nimbokrang.
18-Aug Birding near Km 8. Night at Nimbokrang
19-Aug A.m. birding at Jalan Korea, pm drive to Sentani, birding wetland. Night at Sentani (Indah hotel).
20-Aug Flight JAYAPURA Sentani to WAMENA delayed till 12.00, arrive 12.45 then drive to LAKE HABBEMA. Night camping at PONDOK TIGA.
21-Aug Birding Pondok Tiga (morning), rain all afternoon. Night at Pondok Tiga
22-Aug Birding Trail towards Yabogema and road to pass. Night at Pondok Tiga
23-Aug Birding Lake Habbema or trail to Yabogema. Night at Pondok Tiga or Yabogema (RF & NP).
24-Aug Birding Trail from Yabogema to Pondok Tiga or Pondok Tiga area. Night at Pondok Tiga
25-Aug Drive new road to 3550m in mountains beyond lake then birding the road from Pondok Tiga to Wamena. Night at Wamena (Baliem Pilamo hotel)
26-Aug Fly Wamena to Jayapura then to Jakarta or Palu (JH & RM) via Makassar.
5 August. We arrived in Biak slightly late at 7am local time (two hours ahead of Jakarta and 8 from UK). We collected our bags and were met outside the airport by Royke. He had two 4WD vehicles waiting for us and we were driven a short way to the Intsia Beach Hotel where we checked in. We ignored the temptation to lie down for the first time in what seemed like two days and headed to some rather degraded habitat in the east of the island, about 90 minutes drive away. All the accessible habitat seemed trashed in one way or another although it held some good birds including most of the endemics. We birded for several hours and returned to the hotel for a late lunch where Royke landed a bombshell that he’d recently been told the cost of our boat charter to Numfor and Manokwari had increased from IR 7M(7,000,000) to 25M (US$ 700 to 2,500), a real stitch up, and that he'd not got enough to pay for it. We checked out another boat that had been offered him to do the journey for $2,000 but it was much slower and did not have any seats, while flights in the scheduled 12-seater plane left just 3 times a week and would disrupt our itinerary, in the unlikely event that we could all get on them. Somewhat concerned, we went looking for Biak Scops Owl at dusk but failed to hear a call, let alone see one, which did not improve our mood. Our first day had produced Biak Monarch (an orange and black flycatcher that is perhaps the best of the endemics) which we’d missed before, plus 5 Biak Paradise-Kingfishers, Biak Red Lory, Biak Lorikeet, Biak Coucal, Golden Monarch and Biak White-eye.
6 August. We were up before dawn and drove back to yesterday’s area of secondary forest. Most of us stayed out all day, concentrating on another forest trail and the road, while Rod and I went back for lunch and to visit an ATM (with mixed success). New birds seen included Biak Gerygone, Biak Black Flycatcher, a superb Hooded Pitta for some and a Biak Megapode for Nick G. We stayed until after dark hoping again for Biak Scops Owl but although some heard it give one loud call, it did not respond further. On the boat front, the captain agreed to accept IR 22M and rather unhappily we chipped in 2M ($200) each to help fund it, leaving us very short of currency (IR or $).
7 August. We breakfasted, packed and walked down to the harbour 500m away where we loaded our gear onto the speedboat. Powered by two 100 hp Yamaha outboards it took three and a half hours to cross to Numfor where we arrived at noon. We'd definitely got the right boat even if we'd been taken to the cleaners by the captain (Royke had experienced smaller cost increases with the vehicles we'd chartered too, maybe ripping-off tourists was a Biak speciality?). It was a fairly calm crossing but the boat bounced along at speed making it very difficult to see any birds, not that there appeared to be much to see. We arrived at low tide which meant a very careful approach through a reef and disembarking by wading the last 100m or so to the shore. A truck was waiting for us, the only vehicle we saw on the island, and we were soon at our ‘hotel‘ above the Kios Man Armo shop. After quickly off-loading our gear, we piled back onto the truck and headed out of the village to some remnant forest patches. Here we got a response from Numfor Paradise-Kingfisher and were soon watching a superb dark blue bird with a long white tail - perhaps the best of the Paradise-Kingfishers, and we ended up seeing 5. A fruiting tree nearby produced 3 Geelvink Pygmy-Parrots, a bird some of us had been disappointed to miss on Biak. Other good birds were 3 wintering Channel-billed Cuckoos, Claret-breasted Fruit-Doves, Biak Red Lorys and, as we were returning after dark, 2 Tawny Frogmouths over the road. Numfor was well worth the effort!
8 August. We returned to the same forest patches the following morning seeing 3 more Numfor Paradise- Kingfishers, the distinctive Numfor race of Island Leaf Warbler (a proposed split), 4 Geelvink Pygmy-Parrots, Biak Red Lory, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Moustached Treeswift, Shining Flycatcher and Biak Black Flycatchers at a nest. We were taken to Megapode nesting colony, flushing two as we arrived, but although calling, they remained invisible. On the way back to collect our gear from the hotel we diverted to an area of mangroves on the coast where Torresian Imperial-Pigeons roosted but, as expected, all had departed. Two Beach Kingfishers there were a welcome bonus. As the tide was much further in we could board the speedboat with the shortest of wades. Once beyond the reef, it was flat out to Manokwari on the Vogelkop peninsular. The journey took a little over two hours and proved better for birds, just, with poor views of a distant shearwater, presumably Wedge-tailed, 3 Brown Boobys and 8 Lesser(?) Frigatebirds.
The first stage of the trip had gone very smoothly with us all seeing at least five new birds, but one of the more challenging locations, the Arfaks, now awaited.
8 August (continued). Once landed at Manokwari we and our gear were loaded into 2 rugged 4WDs that Royke had arranged to meet us and take us up to Mokwam. After leaving town we ended up taking a very rough road up into the mountains and were pleased to have 4WD for a river crossing and the very muddy track in Mokwam. We had a brief stop on the way for a Gurney’s Eagle but it soon started raining quite hard which put paid to any further birding for the remainder of the day. At Mokwam we were dropped at Seth Wonger’s house where we were given very basic rooms for a night on the floor. The Syoubri Guest House was occupied by a BirdTour Asia group but we’d be moved into it the following morning. We had a chat with Frank Lambert, an old friend and the BTA group leader - their trip had been adversely affected by bad weather and they had not seen several of our target birds - Arfak Astrapia here, Victoria Crowned-Pigeon and Blue-black Kingfisher at Nimbokrang, and only one of the group had seen a displaying Western Parotia. We had a good meal and a decent night’s sleep, in spite of having to sleep on hard floors.
9 August. We were up at 05.30 and making our way down to the Magnificent Bird-of-Paradise display hide. It could only hold three - both groups had an hour in the hide and saw a female-plumaged Mag BoP, presumably an immature male as it was trying out some moves. It was impressive in itself but somewhat disappointing not to be in full male plumage. Outside, we saw Green-backed Robin but failed to find White-striped Forest-Rail at its preferred sites. We returned to Seth’s house as it started raining and helped transfer our gear to Syoubri Guest House, 200m further up the hill. The rain persisted so the rest of the day was spent birding in the clearings above the Guest House where Vogelkop Meledictes was new for most, and a superb Feline Owlet-Nightjar was roosting just below it. The day might have been severely rain-affected but seeing just 14 species was disappointing even if they did include an owlet-nightjar, Mag BoP and Green-backed Robin.
10 August. We were up early again, climbing up towards the Garden House in light rain to an area where there were small hides overlooking a Western Parotia dance-floor and a Vogelkop Bowerbird bower. The hides could hold 3-4 people so we split up but not a lot was going on. Rather depressingly a pool of water covered some of the Parotia’s dancing area and despite clearing some if it away, an hour in the rain watching it fill up again wasn’t encouraging. The bower was also disappointing with no sign of its owner and a clear preference for brightly coloured rubbish. The weather started to improve and a quick look around the Garden House, appearing in danger of collapse (which was why we didn’t stay there), produced a roosting Mountain Owlet-Nightjar. By now the sun was out, and lunch had been brought up to us from Syoubri. Afternoon sessions in the hides were eventually rewarded when a male Parotia appeared and did a few moves, jumping around a bit and stretching - its white frontal shield positively glowing in the gloom - very impressive. We returned to Syoubri as the rain started again, having seen only six species and heard the bowerbird.
11 August. Another early start, today targeting Long-tailed Paradigalla in the mossy forest. Another climb up slippery trails – by now we were all using sticks as support – and another Feline Owlet-Nightjar roosting just off the trail. We spent a couple of hours in the moss forest before Nick G found a Paradigalla along an adjacent spur. A mad panic ensued with only brief views at first but fortunately the bird was soon relocated by Seth back along the main trail. Eventually we all had good views of it climbing up, down and around tree trunks and branches, all black plumage and a very bright yellow shield with a blue edge above its bill, and two small red wattles on its throat, presumably used for display. Lunch again was brought up to us and then most hiked across to the Garden House and hides (which now included a newly built one overlooking a Wattled Brush-Turkey mound). It was a dull afternoon but the rain generally held off. We spent time in the Turkey hide, seeing nothing, while Rich sat in the Mag BoP hide again for two hours before the same immature male came in at 4:45pm. It did some moves including the sky-pointing display posture. He noted a heady 24 species seen today, including Lesser Ground- and Garnet Robins, and Vogelkop Meledictes.
12 August. Back up the trail to the moss forest soon after dawn but this time we were continuing on to Camp Japan and the mountain ridge, a climb from 1400m to 2000m asl in three hours. As luck would have it we saw a Long-tailed Paradigalla as we were walking through the moss forest but other than good views of a Black Sicklebill further up, it was rather quiet. We arrived at Camp Japan to find our bags had already been brought up (by a different route) and a large orange tarpaulin had been spread over some makeshift camping tables. Nick P and Rich decided to camp and squeezed their tent under the tarpaulin, while Malcolm did likewise with his. After lunch we headed up along the ridge, seeing Arfak Astrapia in a regular fruiting tree just off the trail. It was considered to be an immature male with a bright lemon yellow gape its most interesting feature. It flew off after a few minutes and was the only one we saw. Smoky, Ashy and Lesser Ground-Robin were seen near the camp but of the four Spotted Jewel-Babblers heard, all seemingly very close, only one was glimpsed by Nick P. Three more bowers from (or near) the ridge trail were examined including one containing no human rubbish at all, for a pleasant change. A comfortable and not too cold night was had at Camp Japan but rather spoilt for Rich who had nightmares after missing Spotted Jewel-Babbler, even though not a new bird! That’s what happens if you get too addicted to birding.
Having seen our higher elevation targets, Nick G and I decided to head back down to Syoubri to concentrate our efforts lower down. We walked through Camp David (named after either Attenborough or Gibbs, both of whom had reputably stayed there), later learning this was the best site for New Guinea Eagle which we never saw, disappointingly. Another try for Wattled Brush-Turkey was unsuccessful but our spirits were lifted at Syoubri by the sight of a jar-full of warm homemade donuts, most of which we consumed.
13 August. The first three and a half hours along the ridge above Camp Japan were frustrating as close Spotted Jewel-Babblers were heard again without being seen, a Papuan Treecreeper being the only notable bird. Camp Japan was left after breakfast, and a slow walk taken back down to Syoubri. The hoped for Buff-tailed Sicklebill along the first section, where they regularly feed in the palms, did not materialise. Compensation was provided by the final sight of a Spotted Jewel-Babbler as it stopped to feed in leaf litter while crossing the trail below. In the area of the parotia hide good views were had of a Vogelkop Bowerbird coming in three times with 12-15” sticks to add to his bower. After lunch Rich, Nick and Royke waited in the Wattled Brush-Turkey hide. After twenty minutes of seeing nothing Royke spotted a Bronze Ground-Dove walking down his side of the hide; Nick P saw it walk in front of the hide, but it never passed Rich. He decided to leave for the parotia hide where he joined Malcolm. The male had been present and soon returned jumping around quite a bit. Royke also joined them and the parotia became more excited, especially when a female appeared on the scene. He jumped around and repeatedly appeared to chase her away from the dancing ground but she kept returning. He dropped to the ground and started to peck at something, the female returned to look down on him and he adopted the spinning top position with flared ‘skirt’ and started twirling his head, spinning his six-wires vigorously. After a short period of this he moved into the full spinning-top dance, although it only lasted 20-30 seconds before they both flew off, appearing to be disturbed by something. The team returned to Syoubri for our last night in the Arfaks, just before it got dark. What a difference a relatively dry day can make even though the species count for Rich was still only 18 for the day.
Nick G and I went to the hides at 05.45, I to parotia and Nick to turkey. He saw a singing Ashy Robin, I a male Parotia at 08.00 which displayed for some 5 mins. Nick appeared at 08.30 rather noisily so my show was over. We tried for Forest-Rail but no response. I had another look at the Mountain Owlet-Nightjar, then we retired to Syoubri for lunch. At 2 pm we walked down with Elle, Seth’s son, to the Mag BoP area; I went to the hide while Nick looked for the Rail. He was eventually successful and saw a full male Mag BoP in a fruiting tree. I had little success with the BoP except for a brief showing at 3 – 3.30 pm, but did see a Cinnamon Ground-Dove and photo’d a Green-backed Robin. We returned to the lodge in time to greet the others returning with Seth.
14 August. Our vehicles arrived soon after 6 am and we left Syoubri, taking most of the day to slowly drive back to Manokwari with frequent stops on the way. We saw a selection of lower elevation species including Pygmy Eagle, Josephine’s Lorikeet, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Papuan Hornbill, Rusty Mouse-Warbler, Golden Monarch, Masked (Flame) Bowerbird (two males briefly jumping around on dead branches), female Lesser BoP, a male Magnificent Riflebird and best of all, an obliging Black-chinned Robin found by Nick G. We arrived at the Billy Jaya Hotel in Manokwari at about 4.30 pm. It had an impressive entrance but appeared to have seen better days with none of the a/c units in our corridor working. After complaining we were moved to smaller rooms with working aircon. We’d been pretty successful in seeing well most of the birds we wanted in the Arfaks, while the Western Parotia displays exceeded expectations for most of us. It was the first time I had seen any parotia display despite numerous trips to New Guiinea.
15 August. We caught an early Sriwijaya flight from Manokwari to Jayapura Sentani airport where two 4WD vehicles were waiting for us. Initially Royke thought that he needed to go into Jayapura (42 km away) to get our Surat Jalans stamped as we were told of another group that was turned back for not having done so. He was all set to go but it transpired that the other group had not got their Surat Jalan in advance, something Royke had done on his recce visit, so he didn’t need to go. We arrived at Nimbokrang settlement in the heat of the day, seeing Lesser Black Coucal on one of our few stops on route. We met Jamil, who was to be our guide in the lowlands here, and were shown new rooms that were still being added to his house - they had breeze-block walls but only a dirt floor. Still they were better than camping in the forest and gave us more flexibility because one of the vehicles remained with us as it was driven by Jamil’s son. Nails were banged into the walls to order, so we could put up our mosquito nets, although thankfully we were hardly troubled by flying insects. Jamil’s wife produced an excellent lunch and we were shown a nesting Papuan Frogmouth in the garden. I had used Jamil as a guide when I came to Nimbokrang in 1991 – he was quite expensive then so Rich and Nick had not employed him. He showed us his visitors book and there I was, the third entry, following Gibbs and Hatfield in 1991. Later, when it had cooled down a bit, we drove to an open area on the edge of town. Here we saw Spotless and Baillon’s Crakes, Brown Lory, Papuan Spinetail, Australian (Clamorous) Reed Warbler, Crimson Finch and Hooded and Streak-headed Munias.
16 August. Half an hour before dawn we were driven a short distance to the start of a track into the forest. We walked a couple of miles into the forest, firstly along a logging track with old plank-runways for wheeling out tree trunks, past a forest camp with tarpaulins used by bird tour companies, and then down a narrower trail to a small clearing with a fruiting tree that Jamil knew. After a short wait, first a female then a male Pale-billed Sicklebill appeared in the fruiting tree, a new Bird of Paradise for all except me (thanks to Jamil in 1991). The fruiting tree was excellent and soon a male and female King Bird of Paradise and fruit-doves appeared too. We continued towards a wetter area when what sounded like a motorbike with a very erratic engine started up nearby. We were a bit taken aback by this noise, surely not a motorbike or a chain-saw. Dance (Danche), Jamil’s very able assistant, told us it was a Northern Cassowary and led us off after it but despite him imitating a lost chick in the hope it would come in, the opportunity had slipped by. Although we later saw footprints and droppings, this was to be our closest encounter with this rarely seen bird. Continuing, we went to an area where Blue-black Kingfisher had been seen and after some playback one flew in low to give us the once-over, landing momentarily on a branch but then disappearing. An all dark kingfisher with pale blue in the wings was all we could see so a better view was certainly needed (my initials not being TG). Next Jamil showed us a breeding site for Salvadori’s Fig-Parrot, where a female was sitting outside a nest hole, and then a prolonged search was made of an area that was said to be the best for Victoria Crowned Pigeon, but we did not get a sniff of one. Very disappointing as ‘mambruk’ was Rich’s most wanted bird, and being told they were not common and it was a big forest was hardly what we wanted to hear. We cut through some more swampy forest, relatively dry underfoot, and ended up back on the plank-runway. Then back to Jamil’s for a late lunch and another look at the nesting Papuan Frogmouth, followed by a final session at the river on the edge of town where Shovel-billed Kingfisher was heard distantly and another Papuan Frogmouth seen. There were some nice Fruit-Doves today – Beautiful, Superb, Coroneted & Wompoo - but they didn’t make up for the missing mambruk.
17 August. An even earlier start had us walking down the old plank-runways to the forest camp half an hour before first light. We were hoping for Papuan Hawk-Owl that Frank Lambert had heard each evening while in residence with his BirdTour Asia group. We had no success although light drizzle for part of the time probably didn’t help. As it was starting to get light we headed for the Blue-black Kingfisher site, hearing a fairly close Hook-billed on the way which Nick P saw while the rest of us were trying to crack on. Blue-black gave better flight views this time to most of us but remained disappointing. The morning was then similar to yesterday’s but without hearing a cassowary. A male Salvadori’s Fig-Parrot was guarding the nest hole and another area of forest was searched without finding mambruk. A conversation with Dance revealed that he thought an area in the foothills known as Km 8 was probably the best site – somewhere we were going to the next day. We returned for another excellent late lunch and after a bit of a siesta Dance took us back towards the river on the edge of town - Jamil was feeling the pace after an early start! We went to a slightly different area from that visited before and here Dance came into his own by locating a silent perched Shovel-billed Kingfisher, highly desired by most of our group. The 18 species recorded also included a superb Buff-faced Pygmy-Parrot and a male Golden Monarch.
18 August. D day in the quest for mambruk, although I had seen one on my 1991 trip so was more interested in brush-turkeys. We left Jamil’s house before dawn and drove about 8 kms along a road into the foothills, followed by Dance on his motorbike. We walked fairly quickly into the rolling hills for a couple of kms before we came to a brush-turkey mound. Royke (who it turned out had also seen mambruk previously) and I found a view-point overlooking the mound and concealed ourselves while Jamil and Dance led the rest several hundred metres further on. They were left then sitting on a log while J and D searched for mambruk. Rich reports that a tense time ensued until rather casually Dance materialised and indicated that they should follow him as he’d seen three on the forest floor. “We crept after him and after less than ten minutes a Victoria Crowned Pigeon exploded off the forest floor and flew up into a tree about 75m away. It landed out of direct sight but we edged forward and were soon all looking at it as it stood there looking back. My notebook said “flushed high up into a tree and in full view for 30 mins during which time it flew to a second tree about 50m away. Crest amazing, quite thin but very long with grey sub-terminal band and white tips. It pumped its tail slowly when agitated and walked a few paces along the thick branch it had landed on. Red eye, black mask, small head and neck, and longish black bill. Sturdy long greyish legs. Extensive bright maroon breast and pale grey coverts. Brilliant, even without a telescope and no images. A second bird had also flushed up although it only gave a poor flight view.” They rejoined Royke and me – we had successfully seen two Brown-collared Brush-Turkey walking through the undergrowth, and so we all headed back. Nick G trawled for Blue-Black Kingfisher and elicited a response from one, and with Dance’s help, most of us got a decent perched view of this at last. Elated we returned to Jamil’s house for a late lunch and when it had cooled down a bit in the afternoon, ventured back to a similar area to bird along the road. By the time we returned and with uncertain weather we decided not to go to the forest camp to look for Papuan Hawk-Owl, especially as BTA had only heard it, not seen it. This afternoon’s birds seen included Ornate Fruit-Dove, Brown Lory, Dwarf Koel, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra and Lesser Bird-of-Paradise.
19 August. Our last day at Nimbokrang would be along the Jalan Korea (Korean Road). Those of us who had been here before 20 years or more ago were interested to see if they recognised anything but they didn’t - the road seemed narrower and less glaringly white than remembered, with much more grass growing on and along it. Jamil warned us that the forest was now quite badly degraded and sadly it certainly was as we saw no tall trees near the road at all. The road was badly degraded too and so Jamil had arranged for a fleet of motorbikes to take us down it. We met them at its start just as it was getting light. The poor state of the road was soon apparent with two bridges down that would have been impassable even for a 4WD. An entertaining morning followed although in hindsight we might have been better returning to the forest camp as bird activity very soon quietened down as the day quickly heated up. Best birds seen were Pink-spotted and Dwarf Fruit-Doves, a flock of 9 Dusky Lorys flying over, Papuan Spinetail, Lowland Peltops, Large-billed Gerygone, Lesser Bird-of-Paradise and Rufous Babbler for me. We returned to Jamil’s house for an early lunch, packed our things into the 4WDs (the second one having returned), said our goodbyes and headed back towards Sentani looking for suitable grasslands for munias. Our drivers refused to drive down a road to the best looking habitat as apparently aggressive drunks had been encountered there previously. We felt that a visit on a Monday afternoon was likely to be pretty safe and so walked about a mile along the road to the edge of a village. The few people we encountered were friendly and sober. We saw the hoped for Grand Munias along with Hooded and Chestnut-breasted, Fawn-breasted Bowerbird and Brown Quail. In Sentani town we checked into the Hotel Ratna Indah then ate in a restaurant nearby. At Royke’s request they got us a Magnum ice-cream each, a nice touch at this stage of the trip.
20 August. After an early breakfast we drove to Sentani airport, only to find we had been bumped off the first flight to Wamena at 06:30 and put on the third, at 11:30. Trigana Air were giving priority to a backlog of passengers from two cancellations the previous day. We eventually took off and after a short flight arrived in Wamena almost six hours behind schedule. Jonas Wenda and his crew were waiting and soon we were in two 4WDs heading out of town. The road became dirt and a stop at some fields produced Black-breasted Munias with a male Superb Bird of Paradise and a pair of Ornate Melidectes nearby. We had a rather late box lunch of cold rice and continued on the new road up towards Lake Habbema. As warned by Frank Lambert when we saw him in the Arfaks, there was a lot of recent logging activity and settlements along the road - it was hardly the pristine forest we had hoped for. We stopped briefly a couple of times towards the top of the road as first Island Thrush (one of the dullest races) and then White-winged Robin flew across the road. On arrival at Pondok Tiga (Hut Three) we found camp already set up for us – two-man tents under a large tarpaulin. We unpacked and wandered along the road back towards the pass but birding was soon curtailed by low cloud and drizzle. The ground was hard and uneven, and it was pretty cold – a warmer sleeping bag would have been most welcome.
21 August. We spent the morning walking towards Lake Habbema. Initially we spread out across the boggy moorland to look for Snow Mountain Quail and within half an hour Nick G, leading the line, flushed one that gave good views as it flew right past us. Closer in size to a small grouse than a quail, it was new to all. The moorland was hard going so we cut up to the road. Some saw a Macgregor’s Bird of Paradise/Honeyeater feeding in a patch of woodland, leaving me as the only one still to need it. We stopped at a roadside shelter from where we could scan the rather distant lake and shelter from the sharp showers, while eating another cold rice box lunch that had been brought up for us. Two Salvadori’s Teal were picked out by scope on the nearest part of the lake. Rod was the only one keen enough to head down for better views - the route across the moorland to the lake’s edge looked to involve a river crossing so the rest of us opted out, having seen the species in PNG. We chose to slowly return along the road to Pondok Tiga, then venture a short way down the trail from the pass to Yogabema. Increasingly heavy rain put paid to any chance of seeing a Greater Ground-Robin that Nick G had heard calling, despite a vigil under umbrellas. Rod saw 2 Snow Mountain Quail on the road when walking back. The weather did improve before dusk when some of us assembled at the top of the pass hoping to see New Guinea Woodcock. One did eventually fly by calling a couple of times but the view was only of a silhouette against the remaining light in the sky. Nick P and Rich had hoped to go down the following day to Yogabema for a couple of nights as there would be a greater variety of species there and it would be warmer. Unfortunately for them some of the birds around Habbema were playing hard to get so no-one else was interested at this stage and Jonas said he didn’t have enough helpers to split the camp.
22 August. We were up before dawn and on site for another attempt at the Woodcock. There were a couple of flybys and then Nick G got one in torchlight as it flew past. It looked as if it might land, just as Malcolm appeared on the horizon. Walking back for breakfast, I heard a singing Greater Ground-Robin near the camp and we quickly diverted up a small side trail. Here we had superb views of what has been described as the ‘New Guinea Antpitta’ as it circled us in response to playback. It certainly gave that impression with its drab colouration, rotund shape and very long sturdy legs but its long slightly decurved bill gave it a rather more unique character. A second bird appeared and a brief bit of display was witnessed. The rest of the day we did our thing, birding along the road and the upper part of the trail down to Yogabema. After breakfast I returned with Rod to the Robin site to try to photo it but inevitably it was much less cooperative. Rich walked up the road and saw a shy Macgregor’s BoP, then headed to the top of the trail and saw Painted Tiger-Parrot, Crested Berrypecker and Mountain Firetail. Returning to Pondok Tiga, he and Nick P were shown by Royke a Lesser Melampitta that gave stunning views as it circled them near the Ground-Robin site. Rod went to the pass for Alpine Robin and Sooty Melidectes. I waited at the top of the trail for Macgregor’s BoP but no joy – I did see one in flight further down the trail at 1.50 pm. Later I walked to the pass and saw one obliging Alpine Robin and two Painted Tiger-Parrots lower down.
23 August. After another cold night most of us were up before dawn for another woodcock session. This time we very briefly saw it on the ground, although it was off as soon as the torch light was on it. Nick P, Rich and I had another look at the Greater Ground-Robin which performed well. Twice while circling us it stood on a mossy log for half a minute or more, ideal for photography but unfortunately I was partly unsighted. Nick and Rich left me with it and paid another visit to the Lesser Melampitta, which again gave excellent views. They then headed down the trail to Yogabema with two of Jonas’s guys taking their bags – a cook and two guides had already gone down. Nick and Rich slowly made their way down the trail, rather slippery in places, but the forest seemed very quiet, a responsive pair of White-winged Robins being the main exception. After a steep descent they came to the bottom of the valley and followed the river down, firstly along its course and then on the steep hillside above it. Birding got even harder, what with having to watch carefully where to put your feet and not being able to hear anything above the sound of the rushing water. Rich had a flight view of a Torrent Lark further down the river, missed by Nick. They eventually arrived at Yogabema early in the afternoon to find a small clearing with a tent set up next to a hut, and an unappetising lunch awaiting them. In the afternoon they were guided along a trail to a bigger clearing where tour groups sometimes camp. While crossing a fallen tree on the way there Rich slipped off one mossy trunk, landed on his back on another and fell six feet down a gulley, bruising his ribs and fracturing a finger in the process. After that they stopped at the larger clearing and had excellent views of Black-throated Robin and Splendid Astrapia, while back at the camp clearing they saw Mountain Peltops and Papuan Treecreeper. Although there were more birds down there, they were not proving any easier to find, but at the much lower elevation it was easier to sleep being almost balmy at night.
I walked down to the Macgregor’s site but no joy so returned to the trail-head and rechecked the Ground-Robin site. No response here this time but I did record the clicks of a Splendid Astrapia and briefly saw a Lesser Melampitta. Eventually I spotted a female-plumaged Astrapia feeding on the pink fruits of a palm tree by the roadside and watched it for some time. Returning to the camp to tell the others about the tree and get some sustinence, I found neither birders nor food and water so took a nap as it was raining. The others had taken the long walk to the far side of the lake, said to be the best site for the Astrapia. I set off for the lake and eventually met the others coming back. They had seen both Astrapias and Macgregor’s BoP but I still could not find any of the latter. At 4.30 pm two of our helpers arrived with a big bag of food for my lunch, and after eating a little of this I walked back to the camp.
24 August. After breakfast at Yogabema, Nick and Rich decided to slowly head back up the trail. They stopped in an area of more open forest and palms about an hour above Yogabema where one of the guides tracked down a male Brown Sicklebill that was calling intermittently and in the same area a male Splendid Astrapia gave good views. The walk back up to the top of the river was hard going physically and pretty birdless, although Nick did see Torrent Lark this time. During a rest (one of many) at the top of the slope above the river Rich saw a Macgregor’s fly across the valley below, after which they saw another Lesser Melampitta and a male Mountain Firetail. They reached Pondok Tiga mid afternoon then wandered along the road towards the lake for an hour or so, having a good view of a dark-morphed Papuan Lorikeet.
I walked some distance towards the lake with Royke in a desperate last bid to have good views of Macgregor’s BoP. We waited from the grave, where it had been seen before, then climbed up the hillside for a better view-point. Royke spotted one feeding in a bush but only its head was visible. I found a cracking male Astrapia (at last) which responded to play-back by flying closer, showing its gaudy multicoloured breast. Unfortunately, both birds soon disappeared so we eventually struggled over to where they had been. As there was nothing to see we returned to the camp for some lunch. After a short siesta, I returned to the site with Malcolm but nothing was moving.On the way back either we or an approaching local hunter flushed a Snow Mountain Quail from the roadside. Dusk was spent woodcock-ing by us all but we did not improve on earlier views. With clear skies another cold night was in prospect but it would be our last.
25 August. One of our vehicles came early to take us on a recce along the new road. We left at 7 am for the 3 hour scenic drive with stops, the first being for a pair of Macgregor’s BoPs feeding in an open grove of tall conifers – my first decent views of sedentary birds. The only other sightings were of Alpine Pipits, Island Thrushes and honeyeaters. The highest we reached was 3550m, according to my altimeter, too low really to have a chance of seeing Snow Mountain Robin. It looks as though a 3 or 4 day hike up and down Mt Trikora is the only way of seeing it with present knowledge. We headed back to Pondok Tiga where the other vehicle was loading up and then set off down to Wamena. Our first stop was at the pass, where Hooded Cuckoo-Shrikes showed well, Black Sitellas less so. Alpine Robins were surprisingly elusive here but we unexpectedly saw 4 about a mile further down the road. This was to be the last definite good bird seen on the trip. Malcolm, Nick G and I tried a track behind a roadside settlement - I glimpsed what appeared to be an Archbold’s Bowerbird but in trying to explore this area more we were confronted by aggressive ‘villagers’, presumably not wanting their illegal logging activities being witnessed by foreigners. The Ornate Melidectes were in the same area as when we’d driven up from Wamena but we could not re-find the male Superb Bird of Paradise, or much else lower down. In Wamena we stayed in the comfortable Baliem Pilamo Hotel, although after five nights camping anywhere with a decent bed was going to look pretty good. Royke came up with a final Magnum for each of us; Rich devoted his to Greater Ground-Robin, his 22nd new bird of the trip, while mine was to Blue-black Kingfisher, Numfor Paradise-Kingfisher and Macgregor’s BoP, 3 of my 18 new species.
26 August. The trip was finished for everyone except Rod and me who were staying on for a week at Lore Lindu in Sulawesi. The day started with Trigana Air ATR-42 from Wamena to Sentani, several hours wait there thanks to a 2 hour delay, followed by Lion Air to Makassar and after an hour or two Malcolm, both Nicks and Rich continued with Lion Air to Jakarta, a five hour wait before checking in with Malaysian Airlines at 3 am for LHR via KL. Meanwhile Rod and I had a long wait before boarding our delayed flight to Palu and a semi-successful cheap week in Lore Lindu.
Thanks to Dance for finding the fabled mambruk, and a special thanks to Royke Mananta for so ably organising the trip that for most of the time we forgot we were in West Papua, a destination known for hassle and delays - he managed to accommodate our changing demands without complaint and his sharp eyes were a very useful asset..
Northern Cassowary, Casuarius unappendiculatus, heard calling close at Nimbokrang
Wattled Brush-Turkey, Aepypodius arfakianus, heard in the Arfaks
Brown-collared Brush-Turkey, Talegalla jobiensis, 2 seen at Nimbokrang (JH, RM)
Biak Scrubfowl, Megapodius geelvinkianus, 1 seen at a nest mound on Biak (NG), 2 flushed at a nesting colony on Numfor
Brown Quail, Coturnix australis, 3 at Sentani
Snow Mountain Quail, Anurophasis monorthonyx, 1+3+1 near Lake Habbema,
Salvadori’s Teal, Anas waigiuensis, 4 on Lake Habbema
Pacific Black Duck, Anas superciliosa, 2 at Sentani and a few on Lake Habbema
Yellow Bittern, Ixobrychus sinensis, 1 in a paddyfield at Nimbokrang
Cinnamon Bittern, Ixobrychus cinnamomeus, 1 at a pond at Sentani
Eastern Great Egret, Egretta modestus, 6 at Nimbokrang
Intermediate Egret, Egretta intermedia, 8 at Nimbokrang
Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Puffinus pacificus, a shearwater seen between Numfor and Manokwari was probably this sp. (RF),
Lesser/Great Frigatebird, Fregata ariel/minor, 8 at and near Numfor
Brown Booby, Sula leucogaster, 3 seen between Numfor and Manokwari
Little Pied Cormorant, Phalacrocorax melanoleucos, 1 at Lake Habbema
Crested Baza, Aviceda subcristata, 2 on Biak and at Nimbokrang
Long-tailed Buzzard, Henicopernis longicauda, singles in the Arfaks and at Nimbokrang
Pygmy Eagle, Hieraaetus weiskei, singles in the lower Arfaks
Gurney’s Eagle, Aquila gurneyi, singles on Biak and Numfor
Variable Goshawk, Accipiter hiogaster, 1 on Numfor
Black-mantled Goshawk, Accipiter melanochlamys, single small accipiters at Camp Japan and Habbema were probably this sp. (JH)
Papuan Harrier, Circus spilothorax, a male and a female near Lake Habbema
Brahminy Kite, Haliastur indus, 3 singles in the lowlands
White-bellied Sea Eagle, Haliaeetus leucogaster, 1 on Numfor
Chestnut Forest-Rail, Rallina rubra, 1 on the Yogabema trail (NG, MO, NP)
White-striped Forest-Rail, Rallina leucospila, 1 in the Arfaks (NG)
Red-necked Rail, Rallina tricolor, heard on Biak and Numfor
Spotless Crake, Porzana tabuensis, , , , 1, , at Nimbokrang
White-browed Crake, Porzana cinerea, 1+ at the Nimbokrang wetland
Baillon's Crake, Porzana pusilla, 2 at the Nimbokrang wetland
Australian Swamphen, Porphyrio melanotus, 2 at Nimbokrang and Sentani
Eurasian Coot, Fulica atra, common at Lake Habbema
New Guinea Woodcock, Scolopax rosenbergii, 1 at dawn and dusk daily at Habbema
Eurasian Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus, 2 at Numfor
White-throated Pigeon, Columba vitiensis, 1 in the Arfaks
Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia amboinensis, 4 on Biak, 2 on Numfor and at Nimbokrang
Black-billed Cuckoo-Dove, Macropygia nigrirostris, 3 in the Arfaks
Great Cuckoo-Dove, Reinwardtoena reinwardtsi, 2 heard on Biak, 1 seen at Nimbokrang
Common Emerald Dove, Chalcophaps indica, 2 on Biak,
1 in the Arfaks
Pacific Emerald Dove, Chalcophaps longirostris, [IOC split] 1 in the Arfaks
Stephan’s Ground Dove, Chalcophaps stephani, 1 on Numfor (NG)
Cinnamon Ground-Dove, Gallicolumba rufigula, 1 in the Arfaks (JH)
Bronze Ground Dove, Gallicolumba beccarii, 2 (NG) and 3 (NP) in the Arfaks
Victoria Crowned Pigeon, Goura victoria, 2 at Nimbokrang
Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Ptilinopus magnificus, 2 at Nimbokrang
Pink-spotted Fruit-Dove, Ptilinopus perlatus, 1 at Nimbokrang
Ornate Fruit-Dove, Ptilinopus ornatus, 4 at Nimbokrang
Beautiful Fruit-Dove, 2 at Nimbokrang
Superb Fruit-Dove, Ptilinopus superbus, 2 at Nimbokrang
Coroneted Fruit-Dove, Ptilinopus coronulatus, 1 at Nimbokrang
White-breasted Fruit-Dove, Ptilinopus rivoli, 2 in the Arfaks
Yellow-bibbed Fruit-Dove, Ptilinopus solomonensis, 2 on Biak
Claret-breasted Fruit-Dove, Ptilinopus viridis, fairly common on Biak and Numfor
Orange-bellied Fruit-Dove, Ptilinopus iozonus, several at Nimbokrang
Dwarf Fruit-Dove, Ptilinopus nanus, 2 at Nimbokrang
Spice Imperial Pigeon, Ducula myristicivora, Common on Biak, 2 on Numfor
Rufescent Imperial-Pigeon, Ducula chalconota, 4 in the Arfaks
Pinon Imperial-Pigeon, Ducula pinon, several at Nimbokrang
Zoe Imperial-Pigeon, Ducula zoeae, a few at Nimbokrang
Torresian Imperial-Pigeon, Ducula spilorrhoa, singles on Biak (RM) and Numfor (NG,JH)
Papuan Mountain-Pigeon, Gymnophaps albertisii, several in the Arfaks
Palm Cockatoo, Probosciger aterrimus, 3 at Nimbokrang (NG)
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Cacatua galerita, 2+ on Biak, several on Numfor, 2 at Nimbokrang
Geelvink Pygmy-Parrot, Micropsitta geelvinkiana, 2 on Biak, 4 on Numfor
Buff-faced Pygmy-Parrot, Micropsitta pusio, 3 at Nimbokrang
Brown Lory, Chalcopsitta duivenbodei, fairly common at Nimbokrang
Biak Red Lory, Eos cyanogenia, common on Biak and Numfor,
Dusky Lory, Pseudeos fuscata, 9 at Nimbokrang (RF/NP)
Coconut (Rainbow) Lorikeet, Trichoglossus haematodus, common at Nimbokrang
Biak (Rainbow) Lorikeet, Trichoglossus rosenbergii, a few on Biak
Western Black-capped Lory, Lorius lory, 2 on Biak (MO), 8 at Nimbokrang
Red-flanked Lorikeet, Charmosyna placentis, a few in the Arfaks and at Nimbokrang
Josephine’s Lorikeet, Charmosyna josefinae, 3 in the Arfaks
Papuan Lorikeet, Charmosyna papou, a few in the Arfaks and at Habbema
Plum-faced Lorikeet, Oreopsittacus arfaki, a few at Habbema
Yellow-billed Lorikeet, Neopsittacus musschenbroekii, common in the Arfaks
Orange-billed Lorikeet, Neopsittacus pullicauda, a few at Habbema
Brehm’s Tiger-Parrot, Psittacella brehmii, 1 near Yogabema (NP)
Painted Tiger-Parrot, Psittacella picta, a few at Habbema
Red-cheeked Parrot, Geoffroyus geoffroyi, 4 at Nimbokrang
Blue-collared Parrot, Geoffroyus simplex, 2 parties in the Arfaks
Eclectus Parrot, Eclectus roratus, common on Biak, Numfor and at Nimbokrang, 2 in the lower Arfaks
Moluccan King Parrot, Alisterus amboinensis, 1 on Biak
Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Cyclopsitta diopthalma, 2 at Nimbokrang
Salvadori’s Fig-Parrot, Psittaculirostris salvadorii, 2 nesting at Nimbokrang
Greater Black Coucal, Centropus menbeki, heard at Nimbokrang
Biak Coucal, Centropus chalybeus, 2 seen on Biak, frequently heard
Lesser Black Coucal, Centropus bernsteini, 1+ at Nimbokrang
Pheasant Coucal, Centropus phasianinus, 1 at Sentani
Dwarf Koel, Microdynamis parva, 1 at Nimbokrang
Australian Koel, Eudynamys cyanocephala, heard at Nimbokrang
Channel-billed Cuckoo, Scythrops novaehollandiae, 4 on Numfor
White-eared Bronze-Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx meyerii, 1 in the Arfaks (NG)
Little Bronze-Cuckoo, Chrysococcyx minutillus, 1 at Nimbokrang
White-crowned Koel, Caliechthrus leucolophus, 1 at Nimbokrang
Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo, Cacomantis castaneiventris, heard in the Arfaks
Brush Cuckoo, acomantis variolosus, 1 on Biak, 2+ at Nimbokrang
Sooty Owl, Tyto tenebricosa, heard at Nimbokrang
Biak Scops-Owl, Otus beccarii, heard briefly on Biak and Numfor
Papuan Boobook, Ninox theomacha, heard in the Arfaks
Marbled Frogmouth, Podargus ocellatus, heard at Nimbokrang
Papuan Frogmouth, Podargus papuensis, 2 on Numfor, 1 in the Arfaks, 1 nesting at Nimbokrang & others heard
Feline Owlet-Nightjar, Aegotheles insignis, 2 singles roosting in the Arfaks
Mountain Owlet-Nightjar, Aegotheles albertisi, 2 singles roosting in Arfaks
Moustached Tree-Swift, Hemiprocne mystacea, 2 on Biak, 3 on Numfor (MO), 1 in the Arfaks
Glossy Swiftlet, Collocalia esculenta, fairly common throughout
Mountain Swiftlet, Collocalia hirundinacea, fairly common in the mountains
Uniform Swiftlet, Collocalia vanikorensis, common in the lowlands
Papuan Spine-tailed Swift, Mearnsia novaeguineae, 2+ at Nimbokrang
Dollarbird, Eurystomus orientalis, a few in the lowlands
Hook-billed Kingfisher, Melidora macrorrhina, 1 seen by NP, others heard at Nimbokrang
Common Paradise-Kingfisher, Tanysiptera galatea, heard at Nimbokrang
Biak Paradise-Kingfisher, Tanysiptera riedelii, fairly common on Biak
Numfor Paradise-Kingfisher, Tanysiptera carolinae, 5+ on Numfor
Shovel-billed Kingfisher, Clytoceyx rex, 1 at Nimbokrang
Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Dacelo gaudichaud, 2 at Nimbokrang
Blue-black Kingfisher, Halcyon nigrocyanea, 2+ singles at Nimbokrang
Sacred Kingfisher, Halcyon sancta, 1 or 2 on Biak and Numfor, 1 at Nimbokrang
Beach Kingfisher, Halcyon saurophaga, 4 on Numfor
Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Syma torotoro, heard at Nimbokrang
Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Merops philippinus, 2+ at Sentani
Rainbow Bee-eater, Merops ornatus, common in the lowlands
Blyth’s Hornbill, Rhyticeros plicatus, , 3 on Numfor, 2 in the Arfaks and at Nimbokrang
Hooded Pitta, Pitta sordida, 1 seen at Nimbokrang (NP), heard on Biak,
Pacific Swallow, Hirundo tahitica, fairly common in small numbers throughout except in the highlands
Tree Martin, Hirundo nigricans, 4 at Sentani
Alpine Pipit, Anthus gutturalis, fairly common near Lake Habbema
Sooty-headed Bulbul, Pycnonotus aurigaster, 2+ on Biak and Numfor
White-eared Catbird, Ailuroedus buccoides, heard at Nimbokrang
Spotted Catbird, Ailuroedus melanotis, 1 in the Arfaks (MO)
Vogelkop Bowerbird, Amblyornis inornatus, plenty of bowers but very few sightings of birds in the Arfaks
Archbold’s Bowerbird, Amblyornis papuensis, 1 probable on the way back to Wamena (JH)
Masked Bowerbird, Sericulus aureus, 2 males on the way back to Manokwari
Fawn-breasted Bowerbird, Chlamydera cerviniventris , 1 at Sentani.
Papuan Treecreeper, Cormobates placens, 2 in the Arfaks, 1 at Yogabema
Wallace’s Fairy-wren, Sipodotus wallacii, 1 on the way back to Manokwari (NG.JH)
Emperor Fairy-wren, Malurus cyanocephalus, fairly common on Biak, heard on Numfor, 4 at Nimbokrang
White-shouldered Fairy-wren, Malurus alboscapulatus, a few in the Arfaks and at Nimbokrang
Tawny-breasted Honeyeater, Xanthotis flaviventer, 2 in the Arfaks and 1 at Nimbokrang
Black-throated Honeyeater, Lichenostomus subfrenatus, common near Lake Habbema
Orange-cheeked Honeyeater, Lichenostomus chrysogenys, common near Lake Habbema
Mountain Meliphaga, Meliphaga orientalis, 1 in the Arfaks
Mimic Meliphaga, Meliphaga analoga, 4 at Nimbokrang
Rufous-sided Honeyeater, Ptiloprora erythropleura, a few in the Arfaks and Snow Mountains
Grey-streaked Honeyeater, Ptiloprora perstriata, fairly common at and near Habbema
Plain Honeyeater, Pycnopygius ixoides, 1 in the Arfaks
Marbled Honeyeater, Pycnopygius cinereus, 2 in the Arfaks
Streak-headed Honeyeater, Pycnopygius stictocephalus, 1 at Nimbokrang
New Guinea Friarbird, Philemon novaeguineae, common at Nimbokrang
Western Smoky Honeyeater, Melipotes gymnops, fairly common in the Arfaks
Common Smoky Honeyeater, Melipotes fumigatus, fairly common at Habbema
Macgregor’s Honeyeater, Macgregoria pulchra, a few near Lake Habbema and high on the Yogabema trail
Sooty Melidectes, Melidectes fuscus, a few near the Habbema pass
Short-bearded Melidectes, Melidectes nouhuysi, common near Lake Habbema
Crested Berrypecker, Paramythia montium, up to 7 at Habbema
Spotted Jewel-babbler, Ptilorrhoa leucosticta, 1 or 2 seen and others heard near Camp Jepan
Blue Jewel-babbler, Ptilorrhoa caerulescens, heard at Nimbokrang
Chestnut-backed Jewel-babbler, Ptilorrhoa castanonota, heard in the Arfaks
Black-breasted Boatbill, Machaerirhynchus nigripectus, 1 in the Arfaks (NP)
Black Butcherbird, Cracticus quoyi, heard in the Arfaks and at Nimbokrang
Hooded Butcherbird, Cracticus cassicus, common at Biak and Numfor, heard at Nimbokrang
Lowland Peltops, Peltops blainvillii , 1 at Nimbokrang
Mountain Peltops, Peltops montanus, 1 in the Arfaks (NP/RF)
Great Wood-swallow, Artamus maximus, 2 near Lake Habbema
Boyer’s Cuckoo-Shrike, Coracina boyeri , 1 at Nimbokrang
White-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike, Coracina papuensis, 3 at Nimbokrang
Hooded Cuckoo-Shrike, Coracina longicauda, 3 or 4 at near the Habbema pass
Common Cicadabird, Coracina tenuirostris, singles on biak and Numfor, 2 at Nimbokrang
Grey-headed Cuckoo-Shrike, Coracina schisticeps, 2 rich brown females in flight at Nimbokrang
Yellow-eyed Cuckoo-Shrike, Coracina lineata, 2 on Numfor
Golden Cuckoo-Shrike, Campochaera sloetii, several at Nimbokrang
Black-browed Triller, Lalage atrovirens, 1 on Biak, a few at Nimbokrang
Black Sittella, Daphoenositta miranda, a flock at the Habbema pass on 2 occasions
Mottled Whistler, Rhagologus leucostigma, 1 probable female in the Arfaks, originally id’ed as 'Black Berrypecker' but appeared to be streaked below
Vogelkop Whistler, Pachycephala meyeri, several in the Arfaks
Sclater’s Whistler, Pachycephala soror, several in the Arfaks
Common Golden Whistler, Pachycephala pectoralis, a pair near Wamena – likely to be split
Lorentz’s Whistler, Pachycephala lorentzi, several at Habbema
Regent Whistler, Pachycephala schlegelii, several in the Arfaks, 1 on the Yogabema trail
Little Shrike-Thrush, Colluricincla megarhyncha , 1 on Biak (NG), 1+ at Nimbokrang
Variable Pitohui, Pitohui kirhocephalus, 5 in the Arfaks
Hooded Pitohui, Pitohui dichrous, 1 in the lower Arfaks
Rusty Pitohui, Pitohui ferrugineus, 2+ at Nimbokrang
Black Pitohui, Pitohui nigrescens, 1 in the Arfaks
Crested Pitohui, Pitohui cristatus, heard in the Arfaks
Rufous-naped Whistler, Pachycephala rufinucha, 1 in the Arfaks, several at Habbema
Spangled Drongo, Dicrurus bracteatus, a few on Biak, 2 on Numfor, heard in the Arfaks and at Nimbokrang
Willie Wagtail, Rhipidura leucophrys, fairly common on Biak, Numfor and at Nimbokrang
Northern Fantail, Rhipidura rufiventris, 2 on Biak, 1 at Nimbokrang
Sooty Thicket-fantail, Rhipidura threnothorax, 1 at Nimbokrang
White-bellied Thicket-fantail, Rhipidura leucothorax, 1+ at Nimbokrang
Black Fantail, Rhipidura atra, a few in the Arfaks, 1 on the Yogabema trail
Friendly Fantail, Rhipidura albolimbata, several in the Arfaks and at Habbema
Dimorphic Fantail, Rhipidura brachyrhyncha, 2 in the Arfaks, 1 on the Yogabema trail
Rufous-backed Fantail, Rhipidura rufidorsa, 1 at Nimbokrang
Black Monarch, Monarcha axillaris, 1 in the Arfaks
Biak Monarch, Monarcha brehmii, a few on Biak
Black-winged Monarch, Monarcha frater, 1+ in the Arfaks
Golden Monarch, Monarcha chrysomela, 4 on Biak, singles on Numfor, in the Arfaks and at Nimbokrang
Rufous-collared Monarch, Arses insularis, heard at Nimbokrang
Torrent-lark, Grallina bruijni, 2 (MO),1 (NP,RF) on the Yogabema trail
Biak Black Flycatcher, Myiagra atra, several on Biak and a few on Numfor
Shining Flycatcher, Myiagra alecto, 1+ on Biak, 3 on Numfor, 1 at Nimbokrang
Grey Crow, Corvus tristis, 7 in the lower Arfaks
Torresian Crow, Corvus orru, 1 or 2 on Biak and Numfor
Lesser Melampitta, Melampitta lugubris, heard in the Arfaks, 2 at Habbena
Blue-capped Ifrita, Ifrita kowaldi, 3+ on the Yogabema trail (MO)
Long-tailed Paradigalla, Paradigalla carunculata, 2 singles in the Arfaks
Arfak Astrapia, Astrapia nigra, 1 at Camp Japan Yogabema
Splendid Astrapia, Astrapia splendidissima, 4+ near Lake Habbema, 5 at Yogabema (RF,NP)
Western Parotia, Parotia sefilata, 4 in the Arfaks including full display by a male in the arena
Superb Bird of Paradise, Lophorina superba, 1 male near Wamena
Magnificent Riflebird, Ptiloris magnificus, single males in the lower Arfaks (JH & RF,NP)
Black Sicklebill, Epimachus fastuosus, 1 near Camp Japan
Brown Sicklebill, Epimachus meyeri, 1 near Yogabema (NP, RF)
Pale-billed Sicklebill, Epimachus bruijnii, single male and female at Nimbokrang
Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Cicinnurus magnificus, 1 imm. male at display ground and a full male in a fruiting tree near Mokwam
King Bird of Paradise, Cicinnurus regius , 4 at Nimbokrang
Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise, Seleucidis melanoleuca , 1 at Nimbokrang
Lesser Bird of Paradise, Paradisaea minor, fairly common at Nimbokrang, 2 In the lower Arfaks (RF,NP)
Ashy Robin, Poecilodryas albispecularis, a few in the Arfaks
Black-chinned Robin, Poecilodryas brachyura, 1 seen in the lower Arfaks and 2+ heard
Black-sided Robin, Poecilodryas hypoleuca, heard at Nimbokrang
Black-throated Robin, Poecilodryas albonotata, a few at Habbema and on the Yogabema trail
White-winged Robin, Peneothello sigillata, fairly common in the Habbema area
Smoky Robin, Peneothello cryptoleucus, 4 at Camp Japan
Blue-grey Robin, Peneothello cyanus, 1+ in the Arfaks and on the Yogabema trail
Green-backed Robin, Pachycephalopsis hattamensis, 2+ in the Arfaks
Canary Flyrobin, Microeca papuana, 2 in the Arfaks
Olive Flyrobin, Microeca flavovirescens, 1 in the lower Arfaks
Garnet Robin, Eugerygone rubra, 2 in the Arfaks
Alpine Robin, Petroica bivittata, up to 4+ at the Habbema pass, 3 en route to Wamena
Greater Ground Robin, Amalocichla sclateriana, a pair at Habbema and 1 or 2 on the Yogabema trail
Lesser Ground-Robin, Amalocichla incerta, 2 in the Arfaks, 1 on the on the Yogabema trail (NP)
Australian Reed Warbler, Acrocephalus australis, a few in the wetland at Nimbokrang
Island Leaf Warbler, Phylloscopus poliocephala, 1 on Biak, a few in the Arfaks
Numfor Leaf Warbler, Phylloscopus (poliocephala) maforensis, 3 on Numfor, song recorded
Tawny Grassbird , Megalurus timoriensis, a few at Sentani
Papuan Grassbird, Megalurus macrurus, common near Lake Habbema
Golden-headed Cisticola, Cisticola exilis, common at Sentani
Black-fronted White-eye, Zosterops minor, fairly common in the Arfaks
Biak White-eye, Zosterops mysorensis, 3 on Biak
Western Mountain White-eye, Zosterops fuscicapillus, several in the Arfaks
Metallic Starling, Aplonis metallica, common throughout the lowlands
Long-tailed Starling, Aplonis magna , several on Biak, 4 on Numfor
Yellow-faced Myna, Mino dumontii , several at Nimbokrang
Island Thrush, Turdus poliocephalus, common near Lake Habbema
Pied Chat, Saxicola caprata, 1 at Nimbokrang, a few at Sentani
Olive-crowned/Papuan Flowerpecker, Dicaeum pectorale, 2+ in the Arfaks
Red-capped Flowerpecker, Dicaeum geelvinkianum, several on Biak and Numfor and near Wamena
Black Sunbird, Nectarinia aspasia, fairly common on Biak and Numfor
Olive-backed Sunbird, Nectarinia jugularis, fairly common in the lowlands
Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Passer montanus, common near habitation in the lowlands
Mountain Firetail, Oreostruthus fuliginosus, fairly common near Lake Habbema
Crimson Finch, Neochmia phaeton, common in the wetland at Nimbokrang
Streak-headed Munia, Lonchura tristissima, common in the wetland at Nimbokrang, several at Sentani
Grand Munia, Lonchura grandis, 4 at Sentani
Hooded Munia, Lonchura spectabilis, a few in the wetland at Nimbokrang and Sentani
Chestnut-breasted Munia, Lonchura castaneothorax, common in the wetlands at Nimbokrang and Sentani
Black-breasted Munia, Lonchura teerinki, several near Wamena
Western Alpine Munia, Lonchura montana, common at Habbema