Birdfinders' banner

Google

Search Birdfinders
Search the web

Translate this page

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

19 April–8 May 2022
2–21 June 2023

The extraordinary island of New Guinea supports most of the world’s 50 plus species of birds-of-paradise with the majority of these found in the eastern part in Papua New Guinea. With improved infrastructure this destination is less physically demanding than in the past and we will enjoy excellent views of a number of them including the spectacular Raggiana Bird-of-paradise as well as bowerbirds, parotias, manucodes, riflebirds and sicklebills.

IF THERE IS ENOUGH INTEREST WE CAN ARRANGE AN EXTENSION TO NEW BRITAIN

Day 1 Late evening overnight flight from London to Singapore arriving early evening.

Day 2 Mid evening connecting overnight flight to Port Moresby.

Day 3 Early morning arrival and transfer to a local hotel on the outskirts of the city for wash, change and breakfast. We will spend the rest of the morning birding the grounds of the hotel, where we will find some of the island’s more common species that we expect to see throughout the tour. Species here include Fawn-breasted Bowerbird, Peaceful Dove, Rufous–banded and Yellow-tinted Honeyeaters, New Guinea Friarbird, Brown Oriole, Coconut Lorikeet, Pacific Swallow, White-breasted Woodswallow and many more. After lunch at our lodge we will spend the afternoon exploring lakes and grasslands in the grounds of the Pacific Adventist University (PAU), looking for Wandering and Plumed Whistling-ducks, Raja Shelduck, Pacific Black Duck, Australasian Grebe, Grey Teal, Green Pygmy-goose, Hardhead, Comb-crested Jacana, Little Pied Cormorant, Australian and Straw-necked Ibis, Royal Spoonbill, Rufous Night-heron, Pied Heron, Cattle, Great and Intermediate Egrets, Little Black Cormorant, Australasian Swamphen, Dusky Moorhen, Masked Lapwing, Black-backed Butcherbird, White-bellied Cuckooshrike, Torresian and Grey Crows, Australasian Figbird, Bar-shouldered Dove, Singing Starling, Torresian Imperial-pigeon, Brahminy Kite, Australian Barn Owl, and Papuan Frogmouth at a known roost. After an early dinner we will need to repack for our early flight into the highlands tomorrow.

Day 4 This morning we fly from Port Moresby to Mount Hagen in the central highlands of Papua New Guinea’s remote interior, to spend three nights each at two different locations. On arrival at Mount Hagen we will transfer to the famous Kumul Lodge at 2861m, where many of the region’s key birds can be found on the doorstep of our cottages and along short walks through dense forest in the lodge gardens. We will get some great views and photographic opportunities of a selection of montane species, and a chance to enjoy birds on the feeders which are regularly visited by two species from the Paradisaeidae family – Ribbon-tailed Astrapia and Brown Sicklebill. Other frequent visitors to the feeder station include Brehm’s Tiger-parrot, Smoky Honeyeater, Belford’s Melidectes and Island Thrush. Elsewhere in the grounds of the lodge we can expect to find a range of species including members of the seven endemic families – Wattled Ploughbill, Blue-capped Ifrit, Fan-tailed, Tit and Crested Berrypeckers, Crested Satinbird and Lesser Melampitta, alongside many other species such as Rufous-naped Whistler, Friendly Fantail, Red-collared Myzomela, Grey-streaked Honeyeater, Mountain Mouse-warbler, Papuan Scrubwren, White-winged Robin and Mountain Firetail. After lunch we will drive to Murmurpass to look in particular for the elaborately plumed King-of-Saxony Bird-of-paradise. Our walk through a private garden will produce a variety of species, and we can expect to enjoy a relaxed evening scanning from a viewpoint, and working through small flocks as they move through the trees and low bushes. Possible species here include Rufous-throated Bronze-cuckoo, Fan-tailed and Brush Cuckoos, Modest Tiger-parrot, Loria’s Satinbird, Grey Whistler, Mottled Berryhunter, Black-throated and Mottle-breasted Honeyeaters, and a wide variety of Swiftlets including Glossy, Mountain and Uniform Swiftlets. Back at the lodge we will aim to spend some time searching for night birds after dinner, with a good number of possible species including New Guinea Woodcock, Archbold’s Nightjar, Mountain and Feline Owlet-nightjars, Papuan Boobook, Sooty Owl and Papuan Hawk-owl.

Day 5 We will spend all day in the Kumul Lodge area. This morning we will visit Kama village and a known lek of Lesser Bird-of-paradise. Although very vocal these birds may take a while to move into the open, but while we wait for some great views this is a good viewpoint from which to look for Meyer’s Friarbird, Ornate Melidectes, Yellow-breasted Bowerbird, Greater Lophorina and Goldie’s Lorikeet. Along the return drive to our lodge we will stop at various sites, including scanning the Lai River in search of Torrent Flyrobin. Additional species we might find this morning include Black-headed Whistler, Brown-breasted Gerygone, Papuan Grassbird, White-bibbed Ground Dove, Rufescent Imperial-pigeon, Black Cicadabird, Black-winged, Black and Whistling Kites and Brown Goshawk. After lunch we will head to Tonga village, looking for Blue Bird-of-Paradise. As we scan the vegetated slopes for our main target we can expect to encounter plenty of other species, such as Papuan White-eye, Island Leaf Warbler, Lawes’s Parotia, Blue-breasted Quail, Buff-banded Rail, Amboyna Cuckoo-dove, Black Monarch, White-shouldered Fairywren, Mountain Myzomela and Rainbow Bee-eater. Back at the lodge we will have a further opportunity for a walk through the gardens after dusk to look for night birds.

Days 6–8 Today we leave Kumul Lodge after breakfast, making our way northwest to the remote village of Sirunki for a three-night stay. Staying in Sirunki gives us excellent access to the surrounding hills which are cloaked in extensive primary forest, and to some of the most sought-after New Guinean highland specialities. Over the next few days here we will explore trails through different habitats from open grass meadows to and dense rainforests, with most of our birding from quiet roads. Potential species in the area include Black Sicklebill, Stephanie’s Astrapia, Short-tailed Paradigalla, Black-breasted Boatbill among others such as Papuan Mountain-pigeon, Rufous-backed Honeyeater, Papuan Sittella, Brown-backed and Regent Whistlers, Mountain Kingfisher, Sooty and Black Thicket-fantails, Dimorphic and Black Fantails, Painted Tiger-parrot, Orange-billed, Plum-faced, Papuan and Yellow-billed Lorikeets, Papuan Treecreeper, Yellow-browed Melidectes, Mountain Honeyeater, Large Scrubwren, Streaked Berrypecker, Lesser Ground-robin, Great Woodswallow, Red-capped Flowerpecker, Black-bellied Cuckooshrike, Black Sittella, Garnet Robin, Hooded Mannikin, Black-fronted White-eye, Papuan Flycatcher, Blue-grey and Black-throated Robins, Blue-faced Parrotfinch, Bronze Ground Dove, Papuan Nightjar, Pied Bushchat, Long-tailed Shrike, Willie-wagtail, Pygmy Eagle, Papuan Harrier and Brown Falcon.

Day 9 After a final morning birding around Sirunki, we drive back to Kumul Lodge at Mount Hagen for our final night in the highlands, spending the evening focusing on regional specialities we may so far have missed. If necessary, we will have time to return to return to Tonga for Blue and Superb Birds-of-paradise and have another good chance of finding some nocturnal species around the Kumul Lodge.

Day 10 Today we will leave Mount Hagen and the Papuan Highlands, flying to western Papua New Guinea to Kiunga in the humid lowlands. We should hopefully get an hour or two of birding in around Kumul Lodge before we leave, however birding at Mount Hagen airport is quite productive with Australian Pipit and Australian Pratincole seen quite regularly from the waiting lounge of the terminal. On arrival in Kiunga we will make our way into the foothills of the Star Mountains to the mining town of Tabubil. The large expanse of lowland tropical rainforest in this area will offer us the chance to find many of New Guinea’s most sought-after and localised birds during our three-night stay. Although mostly a travel day, we will spend some time birding along the drive before arriving in Tabubuil at dusk.

Day 11 This morning we will leave our hotel early to drive to the Dablin Creek Road. This dirt road overlooks some superb forest and hillslopes and our main targets as we spend time scanning the area include Queen Carola’s Parotia, Magnificent Bird-of-paradise, New Guinea Eagle, Collared Sparrowhawk and Metallic Pigeon. We can hope to see a good selection of birds here, with other species such as Long-tailed Honey-buzzard, Black-shouldered Cuckooshrike, Papuan Black Myzomela, Capped White-eye, White-eared Bronze-cuckoo, Red-breasted Pygmy-parrot, Blue-collared Parrot, Orange-breasted Fig-parrot, Boyer’s Cuckooshrike, Sclater’s Whistler, Mountain Peltops, Black Butcherbird, Pygmy Longbill, Crinkle-collared Manucode, Rusty Mouse-warbler, Long-billed, Marbled, Tawny-breasted and Spotted Honeyeaters, White-rumped Robin, Black-winged Monarch and Green-backed Gerygone. Back at our hotel in Tabubil we may find Papuan Hanging-parrot and Scrub Honeyeater during our lunch break. In the afternoon we will visit the Ok Menga River, looking for Salvadori’s Teal and Torrent Lark in the fast flowing water. We will continue birding this productive area for the rest of the evening. Some species found here include Pheasant Pigeon, Stout-billed Cuckooshrike, Doria's Goshawk, Magnificent Riflebird, Obscure Berrypecker, Golden Monarch, Rufous-backed Fantail, Rusty Whistler, Crested Pitohui, Varied Triller, Golden Cuckooshrike, Dwarf and Yellow-bellied Longbills, Pale-billed Scrubwren and Dusky Lory, and at dusk we have a good chance of Shovel-billed Kookaburra, Marbled Frogmouth and Large-tailed Nightjar before we return to Tabubil for the night.

Day 12 Today an early start will take us birding along the Telefomin Road, an area with spectacular scenery and productive primary forest. Birding from along the road and at various viewpoints we’ll look for a good selection of birds, with highlights that include New Guinea Bronzewing, Greater Bird-of-Paradise, Goldenface, Grey Thornbill, Papuan King-parrot, Pesquet’s Parrot, Moustached Treeswift, Wallace’s Fairywren, Black-eared Catbird and both Black-mantled and Variable Goshawks.

Day 13 This morning we plan to revisit the Telefomin area to take advantage of some extra time in this productive area, before driving back to Kiunga after lunch. Along the drive we will stop at Km-17 to explore some good forest in the outskirts of the town, and to look for King Bird-of-Paradise alongside other specialities like Chestnut-backed Jewel-babbler, Rusty Pitohui, Common (Melanesian) Cicadabird, Papuan Babbler, Red-cheeked and Eclectus Parrots, Dwarf, Pacific and White-crowned Koels, Stephan’s and Pacific Emerald Doves, Purple-tailed Imperial-pigeon, Superb Fruit-dove and Thick-billed Ground-pigeon.

Day 14 After an early start we will set out in a motorised boat up the Fly River and on into the Elevala River and its tributaries as we make our way to Kwatu Camp for the night. This basic camp is situated within a great area of wilderness, with vast lowland swamp forests that host New Guinean lowland specialities. As we travel slowly along the river we will be able to scan the riverbanks and surrounding forests for species such as Blyth’s Hornbill, Palm Cockatoo, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Collared Imperial-pigeon, Shining Flycatcher, Pacific Baza and White-bellied Sea-eagle. We will arrive at the camp for lunch, birding the surroundings before we head back out in our boat to visit various parts of the swamp forest, where we will disembark to explore on foot. Specialities of this area include Little Paradise-kingfisher, Hook-billed Kingfisher, Black-sided Robin, Variable and White-bellied Pitohui, Blue Jewel-babbler, Large-billed Gerygone, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Dollarbird and Spotted Catbird. As we cruise along the river at dusk, we will scan the trees in search of the magnificent Sclater’s Crowned-pigeon. Later around the camp we will search for Wallace’s and Starry Owlet-nightjars, hoping to get good views in torchlight.

Day 15 Waking up to the sound of the forest is an amazing experience in this remote area. After breakfast and some birding around the camp we will set out by boat in search of Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradise, and if we’re lucky we may have it display for us. During the rest of the morning, we will explore a series of trails into the dense forest looking for the reclusive New Guinea Flightless Rail, Papuan and Hooded Pittas, Flame Bowerbird, Common Paradise-kingfisher and Bar-tailed Cuckoo-dove. After lunch back at the camp we will make our way slowly back along the river to Kiunga. Other species that we should see along the river include Black Bittern, Great-billed Heron, Greater Black and Lesser Black Coucals, Golden Myna, Yellow-eyed Starling and Azure Kingfisher.

Day 16 After breakfast we will drive along the Boystown Road to scan area of productive roadside forest. Most of our birding will in fact be from a single spot where a small mound serves as a good viewpoint to scan both the trees along the road and the skies overhead. We will return to Kiunga for lunch, and in the afternoon either re-visit the Boystown Road or Km-17, depending on the species we have seen so far. Species we can expect to find during this final day in the Kiunga area include Great Cuckoo-dove, Black Berrypecker, Yellow-bellied Gerygone, Zoe’s and Pinon’s Imperial-pigeons, Pink-spotted and Beautiful Fruit-doves, Yellowish-streaked Lory, Red-flanked Lorikeets, Yellow-capped Pygmy-parrot, Double-eyed and Large Fig-parrots, Black Sunbird, Little (Arafura) Shrikethrush, Emperor Fairywren, Lowland Peltops, White-bellied Thicket-fantail, Spangled Drongo, Metallic Starling, Glossy-mantled and Trumpet Manucodes, Grey-headed Cuckooshrike, Little Bronze-cuckoo, Long-billed Cuckoo, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Papuan Spine-tailed Swift and Grey-headed Goshawk.

Day 17 With a few hours to spare this morning before our flight to Port Moresby we will be able to re-visit any one site in the Kiunga area to catch up with any species that we might still be missing. Later, we will scan the Kiunga airstrip for Swinhoe’s Snipe and other more widespread species. We will arrive in Port Moresby by mid-afternoon for the final two nights of the tour, hoping to fit in a few hours birding along the Sogeri Road.

Day 18 We will spend the full day at Varirata National Park. This reserve occupies a ridge of the Sogeri plateau, and its dry eucalyptus and evergreen hill forests are easily accessible from a network of trekking trails. We can expect to see a selection of New Guinea endemics here alongside many other species shared with Australia and can still expect to find some new birds for the tour today. Among the birds we can expect at Varirata are Raggiana Bird-of-paradise, Growling Riflebird, Hooded Pitohui, Elegant, Plain, Streak-headed, White-throated and Green-backed Honeyeaters, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Hooded Butcherbird, Black-capped Lory, Cinnamon Ground-dove, Dwarf, Wompoo, Ornate, Orange-fronted, Coroneted and Orange-bellied Fruit-doves, Papuan Dwarf-kingfisher, Brown-headed Paradise-kingfisher, Little, Common, Sacred and Forest Kingfishers, Blue-winged Kookaburra, White-bellied Whistler, Frilled, Black-faced and Spot-winged Monarchs, White-faced Robin, Lemon-bellied Flycatcher, Chestnut-bellied and Drongo Fantails, Fairy Gerygone, Barred and Black-faced Cuckooshrikes, Olive-backed Sunbird, Yellow-faced Myna, Golden-headed Cisticola, Australian Reed Warbler, Grey Shrikethrush, Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo, Painted Quail-thrush, Pheasant Coucal, Yellow-legged Brushturkey, Forest Bittern, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Brown Quail, Australasian Darter, White-browed Crake, Wedge-tailed and Gurney's Eagles, Barred Owlet-nightjar and Barking Owl.

Day 19 We will have time for some final birding at either Varirata National Park or the Pacific Adventist University this morning, focusing on any species we may so far have missed, before departing from Port Moresby international airport this afternoon.

IF THERE IS ENOUGH INTEREST WE CAN ARRANGE AN EXTENSION TO NEW BRITAIN

Day 20 Arrival back in the UK.

General Information Maximum temperatures in Papua New Guinea are around 32°C throughout the year, decreasing with altitude to a minimum of 14°C at night in the highlands. The (relatively) dry season starts in late April running through to November although rain can be expected at any time of year. The pace of the tour is moderate, with a medium degree of fitness required for walks of up to 5–6 miles. Most days we will take a break at midday to relax. The highest altitude to which we will ascend is 2610m. There are a number of health requirements including malaria and you must consult with your GP in this respect. Accommodation throughout is in comfortable hotels and wildlife/birding lodges with private facilities except for one night on day 14 where there are shared outside facilities. Visas are required and can be arranged online at a cost of around US$85.

Group SizeMinimum number for tour to go ahead: 4; maximum group size: 8 with 2 or 3 leaders.

Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise

Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise