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Arfak Foot hills birding

Arfak Foot hills birding

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Extension: Arfak foothill forest birds

This extension carries us to the increasingly threatened foothill forests of the Oran sbari Peninsula, home to a rich and colorful lowland forest avifauna that includes Northern Cassowary and Western Crowned-Pigeon, a profusion of parrots, from the diminutive Yellow-capped Pygmy-Parrot to the vulturine Pesquet’s Parrot, dazzling forest kingfishers, gorgeous Painted Quail-thrush and Blue Jewel-Babbler, plus five species of bird of paradise.

This is the most complementary of the three recommended Arfak extensions in terms of species diversity. Its distinction from the next destination primarily lies in the presence here of such tantalizing extreme lowland specialists as the delightful Western Crowned-Pigeon and not-to-be-missed King Bird of Paradise, forest birds which do not normally venture above 300 m elevation.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1 After a hearty pre-dawn breakfast in our Manokwari hotel, we shall set out on the two hours’ drive by chartered vehicle to our drop-off point on the Oransbari Peninsula. From here, we shall bird all morning toward a camp at 200 m elevation in primary foothill forest along a refreshing stream. All along the walk, wacko Blyth’s Hornbills, majestic Palm and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, and noisy Red-cheeked and Eclectus Parrots fly overhead as we familiarize ourselves with the common or more conspicuous forest interior birds: Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo, Slender-billed and Great Cuckoo-Dove, Wompoo, Superb and Beautiful Fruit-Dove, Purple-tailed and Pinon Imperial-Pigeon, Tawny-breasted Honeyeater, New Guinea Friarbird, Rufous Babbler, Little Shrike-thrush, Variable and Rusty Pitohui, Hooded and Black Butcherbird, Brown Oriole, Northern Fantail, Spangled Drongo, Spot-winged and Frilled Monarch, Yellow-faced Myna, Black Berrypecker, and Green-crowned Longbill. After lunch at camp, we shall bird all afternoon in the vicinity, where we stand an excellent chance of seeing avian delights as Large Fig-Parrot, Western Crowned-Pigeon, Hook-billed Kingfisher, Common Paradise-Kingfisher, Moluccan King-Parrot, and Magnificent, King and Lesser Bird of Paradise. The King Bird of Paradise is moderately common in the area and it should not take long before we come to grips with this little gem, in fact the smallest of all paradisaeids, which 19th century naturalist A. R. Wallace so amiably described as ‘a wanton waste of extreme beauty’. If we are really lucky, we may also hear and see the sought-after Shovel-billed Kookaburra here toward dusk. A nocturnal foray after dinner could produce Jungle Hawk-Owl, Wallace’s Owlet-Nightjar, and Marbled Frog mouth. Overnight at camp.

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Day 2 This morning we shall ascend to a narrow ridge above camp that supports a display tree of the Lesser Bird of Paradise where several plumed males usually gather. We shall take ample time to observe and truly absorb the full array of displays and interactions at the lek. Besides, while sitting quietly in the forest, there’s always a chance of a Northern Cassowary, Red-billed Talegalla, or Pheasant Pigeon casually walking by here. After lunch we shall spend most of the afternoon in a gulley where we may be rewarded with sightings of Variable Dwarf Kingfisher, Thick-billed Ground-Pigeon, Red-bellied Pitta, Rusty Mouse-warbler, Painted Quail-thrush, Blue Jewel-Babbler, Sooty Thicket-Fantail, and Rufous Monarch. Dinner and overnight at camp.

Day 3 Today we shall bird higher-up in the surrounding foothills. Red-billed Talegallas and Magnificent Riflebirds call everywhere here and it need not take long before we shall surprise a pair of Blue Jewel-Babbler running away into cover. Other birds that we may see here include Long-billed Cuckoo, Double-eyed and Large Fig-Parrot, Pesquet’s Parrot, Pheasant Pigeon, Wallace’s Fairywren, Black-chinned Robin, and Rusty Whistler. Following lunch back at camp, we have an entire afternoon to look for some of the more elusive species already mentioned above. Dinner and overnight at camp.

Day 4 After a final morning’s birding and lunch at camp, we shall require most of the afternoon to slowly bird down to our pick-up point where vehicles stand by to transport us to Manokwari. Dinner and overnight in Manokwari hotel.

For more, contact Mac, hand phone: +62 81247628708

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