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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
Papua New Guinea, April 30 - May 18, 2002,
Participants: Jeffrey Brooks,
Beehler, Pratt, Zimmerman & Coe, Birds of New Guinea, 1986, Princeton University Press
Brian J. Coates & William S. Peckover, Birds
of New Guinea and the Bismark Archipelago: A Photographic Guide, 2001, Dove
Publications Pty. Ltd.,
Brian J. Coates, The Birds of Papua New Guinea, Volumes I and II, 1990, Dove Publications Pty. Ltd., Queensland, Australia (out of print).
Clifford B. Frith & Bruce M. Beehler, The Birds of Paradise, 1998, Oxford University Press, Inc.
Bird Life International, Threatened Birds of the World, 2000, Lynx Edicions
Taxonomy: Clements, Dr. James, BIRDS OF THE WORLD: A CHECKLIST
We began planning our trip two years ago with
Our three week time restriction forced us to focus on the traditional sites well covered by most tour groups and one new site recently opened in the Adelbert Mountains on the North Coast near Madang, all in PNG. More difficult ventures into Irian Jaya and the satellite islands around New Guinea would have to wait for future trips. Most of PNG is undeveloped mountainous or lowland forest. Australians, Christian missionaries and logging and mineral speculators have developed an effective, safe air system and most long distance travel is on small aircraft with unpredictable schedules as there are few roads. Mining and logging is hindered by this lack of roads - there was usually one main one - although that is changing. In Kiunga, we ran into Malaysian Chinese engineers from Concord Pacific and Innovations who had begun building logging roads in the area under logging concessions that were a recent surprise to the leaders of the local Awin people. Those leaders we talked to thought they held the power to grant or approve logging concessions in the same way as mining concessions. The Awin people of Tabubil area are still suffering from the pollution of their river (Ok Tedi) and air from the Ok Tedi mine there and the failure of the "cleanup" required by a class action lawsuit they thought they had won.
Accommodations in three key locations were in landowner's lodges in stunning primary forest. Samuel's Ekame Lodge on the Elevala River and Keki Lodge in the Adelbert Mountains were similar with proceeds from the lodges and eco-tourists shared with the people of the community in exchange for no-hunting boundary restrictions and good will toward tourists. Sleeping quarters were in huts with raised sleeping platforms, water gathered from rain and toilets in outhouses with the occasional delightful luxury of a throne. Food was dismal: tinned spam or mackerel served over rice. We were glad we had stashed plastic jars of peanut butter, protein bars and snacks. But these minor hardships were offset by stunning primary forest right out the door, the nightly chorus of frogs and insects, the fluttering of fruit bats on banana trees, clear skies at night and deep sleep with intense dreams. Legendary, expensive Ambua Lodge cancelled our confirmed reservations a month before the trip and initiated a new post September 11 policy of opening only when they had enough bookings for full capacity of 80 rooms. Local employees of many years were abruptly laid off. This was an opportunity for us to try a two-year old landowner's lodge just below Ambua at less than half the price. Steven's Warili Lodge, usually populated by climbers and hikers on the cheap, was excellent and closer to some of the key bird areas than Ambua. We drove to the birding sites in an old Toyota Landcruiser with a 70 year old barefoot Huli driver, a genius at smooth rides over rough roads. Steven, the landowner, had been chef at Ambua and is used to the savory needs of Westerners so the food was amazing and usually by candlelight. Other accommodations included more traditional lodging at Holiday Inn in Port Moresby, Kiunga Guest House in Kiunga, the Cloudlands Hotel in Tabubil and Jais Aben Resort on the North coast near Madang. They were all fine with decent food and best of all drinkable water thanks to the Australians who established quality health and education infrastructure in New Guinea before independence.
We only had security concerns in Port Moresby, one of the most crime-ridden cities in the world. We did not venture out after dark and were accompanied on our drives by two or three locals who "took care" of us. Our vehicle was stopped once on the highway toward Hisiu Mangroves by a gang demanding payment to use the highway, but the enterprise was a family affair with women and kids present. Our locals dropped a few coins in the paper cups. In the remote areas, the tribespeople were curious and friendly and welcoming and most spoke some English. The Huli warriors in the highlands were especially interesting and as curious about us as we were about them. With little outside influence except from missionaries their primitive culture is fairly intact. We were fascinated to meet Steven's recently wed third wife who cost him 36 pigs and to hear stories about retailiation from tribe to tribe. Several processions passed through Tari as we were landing or departing, and one band of warriors stopped and spent an hour with us on their three day walk to collect pigs for retribution for a death in the tribe. The tribal dress was outrageous. Sadly it included feathers from many of the birds of paradise in the area in elaborate headdresses.
Malaria is endemic and some took Larium as a malarial preventative. We prefer Doxycycline. Mosquitos and biting flies were obnoxious in the lowlands but not a problem in the highlands. Weather was cooperative and we only lost one morning to rain.
BACKGROUND AND OVERVIEW
Geographically, New Guinea is located between the Coral Sea and the South Pacific, North of Australia and Southeast of SE Asia and Indonesia. Politically, the island is divided in two parts: independent Papua New Guinea in the East and Indonesian Irian Jaya in the West. Papua New Guinea became independent from Australia in 1975. Irian Jaya became Indonesian in 1949. Culturally the island is filled with many different tribal customs and languages in each region.
The Australia-New Guinea continent broke free from Antarctica 40 million years ago and drifted northward toward Asia. The Australian plate collided with the Pacific Plate 15-20 million years ago creating the Central Ranges along the backbone of the main island. The melting polar icecaps flooded land bridges completing New Guinea's isolation from Australia as well as creating satellite islands. By 2 million years ago Australia had become arid. New Guinea remains humid.
There are 800 species of birds known from New Guinea. Almost half (390) are endemic with special affinities to species found in Australia. Native mammals are marsupial except for introduced species.
One phlylum of birds is found almost exclusively in New Guinea, and that's Paradisaeidae, the 43 species of Birds of Paradise. It is this family that fascinates and draws birders and naturalists from around the world in hopes of glimpsing the fantastic plumage of the male birds or better yet witnessing the bizarre courtship rituals found only in this still relatively unknown group of species.
The first dried skins of birds of paradise arrived in Europe in the 17th Century prepared in the local custom without legs or feet for ornamental headdress. European ornithologists captivated popular attention with the news that these special birds never alight but float in and feed on fresh air and dew until they die and fall to earth. Since then, information on BOPs has undergone revision as more is known of these elusive birds. Birds of Paradise are sexually dimorphic, polygynous and have suboscine voiceboxes closely related to corvids. Other affinities with corvids are currently being researched. Nesting and fledging is entirely the responsibility of the the female. Species groups which may be separated from BOPs in the near future include the five species of Manucodes (monogamous and exhibit bi-parental care), Macgregor's Bird of Paradise (bi-parental care) and Paradise Crow (unconfirmed). Lesser Melampitta is also currently under review as it is not sexually dimorphic, secretes a toxin similar to the pitohui group of species, and has behavioral affinities to the Bowerbirds.
Courtship display, mating and nesting is difficult to observe unless undisturbed display sites are known. Once disturbed, they are generally abandoned. Probably due to hunting for plumes, male birds especially are very wary of humans. We saw brief display behaviors by only three species of male BOP out of the 22 species we saw, but nothing like the bizarre rituals seen in David Attenborough's 1996 BBC special Birds of Paradise (no longer available) or like the descriptions in books. Most males were seen at a distance usually through scope and/or binoculars, and only briefly as they are very active. Loud, raucous vocals were helpful in locating them. The knowledge and cooperation of locals in finding sites was absolutely essential. Tips are becoming customary.
Day 1-We arrived PORT MORESBY from Los Angeles via Sydney (20 hours).
After lunch at heavily gated Holiday Inn and a few lifers in the trees along the driveway, we drove 30 minutes to heavily gated Pacific Adventist University. There met Mike Tarburton, professor of Biology and authority on swifts and swiftlets who shows us three roosting Papuan Frogmouths. The ponds on the property yield a few species but mostly ones we have seen in Australia. We ask if there's a possibility on our trip for the little known altitudinal Papuan Swiftlet (Aerodramus papuensis). Mike knows a location for it but it's a major expedition to get there. Since it is nowhere near our itinerary we decide to save it for future trips. As we leave I wonder: if Mike is a professor at a Seventh-day Adventist University, is he a creationist or evolutionist? And how would a creationist describe the evolution of species? I wished I had thought of it earlier.
Days 2&3- PORT MORESBY-Varirata National Park
We bird Treehouse Trail, Gare's Lookout Trail, Lookout Trail, Circuit Trail and Boundary Trail. This area has an impressive list of species but species density seems low especially skulkers. Pheasant Pigeon, N. Scrub-Robin, Painted Quail-Thrush and Thick-billed Pigeon are each heard only once. The Scrub-Robin and Quail-thrush are seen but only by one member standing in the right place. The Pigeons elude. A fruiting tree yields heaps of fascinating fruit-doves and impressive imperial-pigeons. A few "Eastern Riflebird" (Ptiloris magnificus intercedens ssp.of Magnificent Riflebird) frustratingly heard in casuarinas in distance but don't fly up to display. Hooded Pitohui with poisonous feathers are common and noisy, but terrestrial Crested Pitohui is heard only. You know you are in trouble when you suggest making an effort to see a bird and your experienced guide rolls his eyes. Mounds and sounds galore but Brush-Turkeys don't happen to cross the trail. They would frustrate throughout the trip. Dwarf Cassowaries on vacation. It would be hopeless to see skulkers without tape in this park, and if I had it to do over I would spend another five days here just walking the trails. A wonderful bonus was a carnivorous marsupial Short-tailed Spotted Cuscus (Spilocuscus maculates) on a day roost at eye level about 15 feet from the trail while we are watching a calling Brown-headed Paradise-Kingfisher.
We finally locate a known active Raggiana Bird of Paradise display area by the raucous calls. We get glimpses of plumage partially hidden in casuarina tree. The bird flies out and perches in full view about one hundred feet from us. We gasp at our first male bird of paradise. Are we really here?
Day 4-PORT MORESBY-Brown River Area, Aroa, Hisiu Mangroves and beach
Morning finds us walking along the Brown River
Area road of "selectively logged" habitat. Opportunistic vines certainly have
enjoyed the logging as they cover all the trees. Still, some species fly over
the road or are heard just past the cleared area beside the road. Good for cuckoos
that perch up on dead snags. In fact, anything on dead snags like Eclectus Parrots.
Up on a small ridge overlooking an oxbow lake we try to relax while a local
woman yells at us alerting the entire village to our presence. Are we walking
on her squash? No. She demands to be paid. A male arrives and some discussion
is made out of our sight. Things quiet down so we can enjoy the pair of Black
Bittern perched by the reeds and White-browed Crakes running across the lily
A stop at a filling station in Aroa yields the endemic Silver-eared Honeyeater (Lichmera alboquricularis) noisily perched inside a palm. And some strange meat crackers from the filling station market.
Hisiu Mangroves are hot but some birds turn up including desired Lesser Frigatebird accompanied by Greaters during lunch near the beach. Black-tailed Whistler aka Mangrove Whistler makes a brief appearance but too short for me. I'll have to pick this one up in N. Australia or another trip to PNG. Skulking, singing fantail turns out to be unexpected Black Thicket-fantail and everyone gets excited although it takes a while to get a good look. Rare Mangrove Fantail puts in an appearance, as does Mangrove Robin which has been seen before by us in Cairns. Drive back through plantation is hindered by cocoanut palm tree blown down in the wind. We wait while driver reverses to local village for help. While waiting, another truck pulls up and two men exit with axes in their hands! The axes find their mark in the fallen palm. Our truck returns with another ax, palm is removed and life goes on.
Day 5-KIUNGA-Kiunga-Tabubil road
The scariest flight I've ever been on. In typical PNG fashion, flights are changed on moment's notice. Our non-stop becomes a some stops and one flight becomes two. Three of us are booked on one-stop to Kiunga and others to follow on three stop to Kiunga in Central PNG. Airplane is Fokker 18 seater for us. We bid goodbye and good luck to our companions. Three hours of glorious unbroken forest later pilot informs that we will go to Kiunga first. Our flight has become non-stop! Thumbs up! As we approach Kiunga we are in serious rain storm and visibility is not that great. Pilot needs to fly a circle around airport to see where to land. That means descent while airplane is perpendicular to the ground. Joseph on the left side of the airplane is looking out the window at the palm trees and swamp coming rapidly toward him. I turn to look at clouds out of the right turning up my CD Walkman playing Bob Dylan's LOVE AND THEFT. The cockpit warnings are beeping loudly now adding to the confusion and fear. I almost can't hear the woman with the crying baby in back who is screaming with fear. We land abruptly, all foreign and local faces unusually white.
The rest of our group is delayed for up to three hours so Joseph and I bird the end of the runway of the Kiunga airport in the rain while Phil and Samuel look for goods in town. We delight in the appearance of the first Palm Cockatoo of the trip, a great performance. Lesser Black Coucal (Centropus bernsteini) is heard for quite a while before showing. We find a grove of abundant pitcher plants on the other side of the runway. Elusive endemic White-spotted Munia (Lonchura leucosticte) shows on dead snag in stream below. We finally hear the airplane with others but don't see it in mist and fog. Finally it lands at opposite end of runway. Exhausted companions exit airplane with relief. We fall into dinner at Kiunga Guest Lodge just behind what seems to be the town square where a hundred men and women look at us arrive and depart in our van. They chew beetlenuts. Their teeth are wet with red liquid that looks like blood, and they spit gobs of it.
We spend the last few hours at km 17 on the Kiunga-Tabubil road. Here we see our second male bird of paradise as a Greater BOP flies from dead tree to dead tree about a quarter mile away. We are ecstatic and tired after a long day of too exciting travel.
Days 6,7,8-KIUNGA-Fly and Elevala Rivers from Kiunga to Samuel's Ekame Lodge; "Leech" trail Samuel's Ekame Lodge; "Chigger" trail down river;"12 Wired Plantation" down river; boat rides on river.
We board Samuel's small boat next to the huge tanker vessels that bring supplies up the Fly River to be trucked on the Kiunga-Tabubil road to the Ok Tedi copper mine there. We journey up the wide Fly River to the Elevala river to the "lodge". Great care is taken to watch for flocks of Metallic starlings that might have an endemic Yellow-eyed in them. The lodge is two buildings and we choose the lowest one with the least steps and begin setting up mosquito nets (we bring our own) and bedding (supplied by Samuel). The Buddha, as always, is placed in the window looking over the forest. Edward finds a pair of red sphinx moths in a blooming tree.
Trailhead is joyfully just outside the back door and over the days we explore it and dub it "leech trail". Treefall provides various species of orchids which I liberate and establish an orchiderea in a tree next to lodge. Please report current status to me if you go here. Leech trail yields noisy flock of New Guinea Babblers (Pomastostomus isidorei) aka Rufous Babbler.
Boat ride one early morning downriver to banana plantation where we search for 12 Wired BOP we can hear but not locate. The traditional dead tree used for display has collapsed and is no longer visible. A long search finds the bird on it's new perch and we all enjoy it in the mist in the scope. Another boat ride to and a hike on "chigger trail" yields noisy male King Bird of Paradise in high canopy occasionally displaying the emerald green shoulder discs. Acticin 5% permethrin cream (by prescription) applied to ankles and waist in the morning protects us from chiggers while others are miserable that night. Have we finally discovered a real preventative after years of trials? A Common Paradise-Kingfisher doesn't look common at all, a Hooded Monarch entertains two of the members and a dark New Guinea Bronzewing flies through the canopy for some. A few of us spot a Red-bellied Pitta on the ground ahead of us and wish it were a Hooded. Sadly, Little Paradise-Kingfisher is heard once here but never seen.
Rides on the river are glorious especially when Samuel spots Southern Crowned Pigeons. When they spot us their tails begin to bob and eventually they flush but not before we enjoy their Cleopatra makeup and Bob Mackie hats. A pair of Blyth's Hornbills remind us of SE Asia as they feed each other fruit. We find a pair of Great Fig-Parrot hidden in a fruiting vine. Samuel points out the spot across the river where he's heard and seen Flightless Rail and we're always hopeful but never satisfied. The usual Pesquet's Parrots (aka Vulturine) refuse to fly over the river.
It's a one man show at Samuel's lodge and by the time we get back and shower with the bucket and hose Samuel has just begun to prepare dinner. Canned pork luncheon meat or mackerel in tomato sauce at every night doesn't appeal. It's dismal and we wish we had brought peanut butter or tuna with us.
Day 8-KIUNGA-Elevala River to Fly River to Kiunga
Reluctantly we leave and journey back down the Elevala to the Fly and back to Kiunga where we pick up our laundry, have a bite and return to km 17 on the Kiunga-Tabubil Road. The Greater BOP display tree there has been abandoned that day but a Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo flies over the road and we find female Dwarf Koel preening deep inside the greenery. Hot showers at the Kiunga Guest House satisfy.
Day 9-KIUNGA-Boystown Road, Kiunga-Tabubil Road
Boystown Road is named for the Catholic missionary school there but we go for the birds. We sit on our portable camp stools on a slight rise in the terrain and watch the world go by. Twice yells of "Flame Bowerbird" are heard and all binoculars are focused on the bright red and yellow bird flying the long open, distance across the road. Honeyeaters, mostly Meliphagas, entertain us in between flights.
We drive three hours from Kiunga to Tabubil and a higher, wetter climate with few stops along the road. We check into the Cloudlands Hotel and head for the Tabubil airstrip but only find Straw-necked Ibis there.
Days 10,11,12-TABUBIL-Dablin Creek, Ok Ma Road, Bultem Bridge, Ok Menga and Hydro Station
Drizzle hinders vizzibility but we find a grove of close flowering trees to look down on and enjoy (Papuan) Black, Red and Red-throated Myzomelas and more new Honeyeaters. Some enjoy a quick view of Obscure Berrypecker (Melanocharis arfakiana) for the first species of an endemic family, others are frustrated. A walk up Dablin Creek trail gives calling White-rumped Robin which is finally seen the last day. A sub-adult male Carola's Parotia feeds in the mist as we watch in the scope. Rain chases some of the group down the hill to the van but the stalwarts are rewarded with Magnificent Bird of Paradise showing only once in a fruiting tree. Stalwarts are thwarted when the others see a pair of Wallace's Fairywren on the way up when the rain stops. Off-trail in mossy fernery Sooty Thicket-Fantail makes a very brief appearance and all finally see White-bellied Thicket-Fantail to the guide's visible relief.
Ok Ma Road proves frustrating as all can HEAR a Magnificent Riflebird calling but can't SEE it. Samuel perserveres, bobbing and weaving like a prizefighter as he finds a sightline in the overgrown roadside. With a push of a branch here and an adjustment there two scopes go up and the male Riflebird is found at some distance sitting out in the open. Jeffrey and Suzanne are rewarded as the male performs a wing display and they simultaneously gasp. Far away over the valley a pair of Pesquet's Parrot aka Vulturine Parrot fly looking like Turkey Vultures. Phil recognizes the flap, flap, glide pattern and we look but we aren't satisfied. Our morning at Ok Ma Road for the Greater Melampitta is rained out much to our discouragement. Later we find Torrent Flycatcher at the Bultem Bridge and enjoy that bird. In fact, any bird would have been enjoyable by then but this black and white beauty especially so.
Down by the Ok Menga River is a Hydro station and we go there to see the Little Ringed Plover which doesn't look or sound like a Little Ringed Plover. Walking through the overgrowth two members spot a Rusty Pitohui but the others are unlucky. Further down the road through one of the longest wettest tunnels is a waterfall and we luckily catch sight of a pair of Torrent-lark frantically feeding and moving up rocks on the river.
Day 12-TABUBIL-Tabubil Airstrip; TARI-Warili Lodge
We check in early for our flight on Missionary Air but find that it's been delayed a few hours. We leave our luggage and return to the hotel - some for naps some for shopping at the local artifacts store. We wonder if penis sheaths would make good conversation souvenirs back home and joke about trying them on with the Australian women who run the store. We settle for some woven baskets sprayed with Baygone to kill insects so customs won't take them away. Three hours later we return to the airstrip for a contrasting calm and wonderful flight in a ten seater over miles and miles of forest up into the Central Highlands of PNG and land at Tari airport. Hundreds of tribespeople press against the fence of the tiny airport, watching the plane and its passengers. Our host Stephen greets us and we pile into an ancient Toyota Landcruiser and our luggage, watched carefully by our guide, follows in another truck. Our driver jerks and jumps over potholes so badly that he is replaced down the road by another driver - an old man with bare feet. He is a genius with the clutch and brake and accompanys us for the rest of the trip. The first bridge from the airport has been stripped of wood by the locals for fires. Consequently, two planks have to be set down on the steel frame of the bridge, van guided across, then two more planks set down with more vocal guiding by the group of bridge tenders. The other four bridges are intact and we arrive at our second land owner's lodge, Warili, just below world famous Ambua Lodge. Ambua cancelled our confirmed reservations one month prior due to lack of tourism after Sept. 11. Their new policy is to open only when they have a full house in the high season July-September.
Days 13,14,15-TARI,CENTRAL HIGHLANDS-Warili Lodge,Highlands Highway to the Gap including the bridge, Phoebe's Trail, Ambua Lodge Waterfall Trail, Benson's Village 5 km below Warili Lodge, Pia Konda near Tari
This is the most glorious birding in the world.
The morning starts with scope views of Black Sicklebill on the opposite ridge. Ed dawdles and misses it. 24 hours of suffering end when it's there the next morning as well. Male Blue BOP perches below us for good views in the scope.
Above Ambua Lodge on the Highlands Hwy just before the bridge we are greeted by Stepanie's Astrapias in the morning. At the bridge a male King-of-Saxony BOPs feeds on fruit fifteen feet away. Ribbon-tailed Astrapias entertain us every day flying to and fro. We walk the road or sometimes drive to the Trail past the bridge which Phil has nicknamed "Phoebe's Trail". It was Phoebe Snetsinger's favorite birding spot in the world, and she was planning to come back to PNG for her sixth trip when she unexpectedly left the planet in Madgascar. It's an amazing trail with side trails that go deeper into Antarctic Beech forest. We saw different birds every day. Our three forays yielded fantastic views of Logrunner (Orthonyx temminckii novaeguineae headed for split as New Guinea Logrunner), skulky Lesser Ground Robin, Lesser Melampitta all deep in the forest, Black-throated Robin, Yellow and Orange-billed Lorikeets, black and red morphs of Papuan Lorikeet, crippling daily views of White-bibbed Fruit-dove in fruiting tree, Mountain Firetail and Blue-faced Parrotfinch on the trail and most unusual striped female Boehm's Tiger-Parrot hopping down the trail ahead of us. Joseph and Jeffrey spy a black robin with red that could only be Snow Mountain Robin incredibly out of its range. We find out later that Ambua Lodge's legendary guide Joseph has also seen this bird twice.
Walks down the highway are splendid for many species including Crested Berrypecker on a nest, Blue-capped Ifrita responding aggressively to tape and Papuan Scrubwren playing hide and seek. One day while we are eating roadside lunch a tribe of warriors walking barefoot carrying bows and arrows appear over the ridge. They are walking to Tari from their village (3 days) to receive their retribution payment in pigs for the death of one of the tribe that might have been caused by a rival tribe. Each individual seems to have put a great deal of creativity, individuality and care in dress and facial and hair ornamentation, although all have leaves covering their rear ends. The chief has a knife made from thigh bone of Cassowary. One speaks very good English and many questions go back and forth. They are very entertained by our telescopes.
One late afternoon on the highway at sunset the last day we were moaning about the species we would miss up here. Top of the list was Brown Sicklebill which had eluded. At that moment we hear then finally find the blue-eyed, long tailed source of a machine gun call - Brown Sicklebill in the scope, calling. Five minutes later Suzanne's "What's that orange bird?" gets all our attention on a male Crested BOP as he pops up on a snag right in front of us in the setting sunlight then disappears. Stunned, we shake our heads in wonder as a male Tit Berrypecker flies overhead and perches by the road. We feel it's the most amazing 10 minutes of birding in our lives. We return to the lodge in silence so satisfied that even the report by Benson of a flyby Short-tailed Paradigalla seen only by him doesn't discourage.
The highest altitude of the Gap proves disappointing for the usual Island Thrush (widespread throughout SE Asia Pacific), New Guinea Harpy and Alpine Pipit. We see a Pied Bushchat. Not the same. The scenery is beautiful with tree ferns and pandanus palms, even though it's chilly up there.
Nights at Warili lodge are relaxing. Steven was once chef at Ambua and knows the ways of Westerners so the food is varied and tasty. Steven's three wives help serve. The youngest two wives were purchased recently for 36 pigs. Generator is noisy. Showers are buckets of hot water but much appreciated. I slip on logs and sport an 8 inch scrape and bruise which stops swelling when I take copious amounts of ibuprofen. Rats run overhead at the lodge but they keep their distance as they head for the dining room where Phil is sleeping. Jungle Hawk-owl aka Papuan heard just behind cabins pre-dawn but the herd of elephants gathering bins and lights flushes it. One night upon our return we are greeted by a villager with a ten-foot mega-rare black endemic Boelen's Python. It's protected from hunting by foreigners but not locals who want to sell it to us or it's going into the stewpot. Moved, we debate a purchase for fifty dollars but come to our senses when we realize that it's severely wounded and more importantly we don't want to set a precedent. Otherwise the next group to stay at the lodge will be greeted by ten locals with ten offerings of rare and wondrous creatures. Reluctantly, we say goodbye to the locals and the python.
One amazing night after showers and before dinner the clouds and mist lift to reveal a clear sky with a view of a crescent moon and four planets lined up, a rare astrological occurrence. Scopes came out in the night and we identified Saturn and rings, Jupiter and three moons, Mars, Venus and craters on the moon. All Hulis lined up for a view and an astronomy lesson. Fog and clouds return and leave us with a joyous appreciation of our luck being born on this planet at this time and all the wondrous gifts thereon. We don't always feel like that.
Below the lodge at Benson's Village are another group of species and our favorite bird of the trip. A male Blue BOP is heard,then SEEN through trees, flies out and perches visible to all about fifty feet downhill. It calls. It turns for a rear view. It calls. It turns back for another front view, tail streamers as well as plumage visible then flies off. The Mountain Kingfisher we heard is now sadly, gone. Benson's brother takes us to a MacGregor Bowerbird's maypole bower with a moss and lichen dancing floor. No bird but the bower fascinated. Cooperative Island Leaf-warbler and Capped White-eye aka Mountain White-eye at eye level are a bonus. The planted field we are standing in is in Benson's back yard. Some years ago his Mother was working in the garden when out popped a man with a machete demanding money. She had none. He hacked her to pieces. When Benson discovered her and found out who had committed the crime he sought revenge on the tribe by cutting a female member. Benson, our sweet bird-loving guide who speaks impeccable English served time in prison for this. The perpetrator of Benson's mother's murder had a defense. He had seen devils in the garden and took arms against them. Was this the work of missionaries or primitive culture? Are they the same? The primitive culture and customs of warrior tribes still prevails especially in the highlands, and we were surprised at stories of violence from these peaceful souls.
One afternoon the legendary guide Joseph, laid off from Ambua, takes us on the Waterfall Trail at the Lodge. At least we get to see this exquisite resort and some birds at the same time. The waterfall itself is stunning and the trail yields new birds including Large and Buff-faced Scrubwrens, Blue-gray Robins galore, calling Tit Berrypecker confusing our guide remaining unseen (bird not guide) and our only sightings of Yellow-browed Melidectes at the top of the trail.
Birding does not get better than this and I will be back.
Day 15-TARI TO MADANG-drive Warili Lodge to Tari Airstrip; fly Tari-Port Moresby; fly Port Moresby-Madang; drive Madang-Keki Lodge 117 km SW of Madang 900 m altitude in Adelbert Mtns
One of the most difficult 17 hour travel experiences ever. We leave early a.m. from Warili lodge to drive the 1.5 hours over four bridges to Tari airstrip. Bridge number 4 is blocked by large truck from Mt.Hagen that fell off the wooden planks and now rests at a 40 degree angle waiting for another truck to come and pull it out. An instant market has been set up to service the long line of traffic on the only road in the area. But what do we do? That is, after we've looked at the flock of endemic Hooded Munia beside the bridge? A line of ant-like two-way human foot traffic winds across the bridge and squeezes between the truck and the steel bridge rail at its narrowest point. Markets have sprung up on both sides of the bridge to service the growing traffic and lookers on. Steven walks across the bridge and heads down the road while we stay with the vehicle and the luggage. We have 2 hours until flight. Lucky we left early! Steven returns with a small pickup truck driven by a Catholic missionary. I was never so happy to see a missionary. We all walk our luggage across the bridge to the other truck, helped by muscular Eric, a Huli local known or related to Steven and our other Huli friends. Nicest guy. Turns out he just got out of prison for murdering someone in a drunken fight in a bar. We drive through the hundreds of tribesmen to the airstrip and the small fenced waiting room with posters of AIDS warnings and ecstatic complicated paintings of the coming of Jesus or Armageddon depending on which page you look at. We watch processions of tribes with retribution payments in PNG kinos stapled to tall poles, everyone in tribal dress. I guess the airstrip is the best entertainment in town.
The plane arrives, passengers disembark, and we load in. Flight to Pt. Moresby is uneventful and again hours of unbroken forest. We change planes and fly to Madang, a popular diving resort on the North coast. This time we are in a modern jet with lots of divers. We land in Madang and load into another Toyota Landcruiser and set off along the North Coast Highway for the 2 hour drive to the turnoff to Keki Lodge in the Adelbert Mountains. A stop on the way for beer yields Varied Honeyeater as well but seen before in Australia. The unpaved road to Keki Lodge rises slowly to 900m in undisturbed forest. Rains the last few days have left some mud but passable until we hit one steep slope. The small pickup with the luggage goes through but our vehicle sticks on the hillside just as it becomes dark. We disembark and begin to walk up the road knowing that the lodge can only be another 5 km or so. Three of us go up in the luggage truck while the other three set off on foot. Then came the deluge of rain. The first three arrive at the lodge but the gate is closed. Are they expecting us? "The lads can help get the car out of the mud" guesses our driver. Guess what. The lads are women, who bring lanterns, open the gate and help with luggage. We trudge in the rain and mud to a small lodge where the three of us collapse to wait for the others. Luckily we've remembered to grab the ice chest from the truck and we down three cold beers and a can of peanuts. It was a feast until the others arrived. Dinner is dismal and late but the frog chorus and the wing flaps of fruit bats coming to the banana trees lull us to sleep.
Day 16-MADANG-Keki Lodge area
We forced ourselves into the small three room hut upon arrival. It seems we missed the big one with the large rooms just across the way now commandeered by the locals who worked all night unsuccessfully to disengage the vehicle from the mud. After "breakfast" (peanut butter on rolls we stashed the night before) we walk about three feet from the door when our attention is called to the huge fruiting ficus tree behind the lodge. Just arrived is a male Fire-maned Bowerbird which excites one and all. Satiated and with one specialty down we head into the canopy forest to the familiar sounds of male BOPs. Above us in the canopy is a display tree of Lesser BOPs and there are six or seven raucous males displaying. This makes 22 of the 43 species of BOPs seen well, and males of all the species. Hours spent with a calling Jewel-Babbler downslope give us brief looks at Brown-headed Jewel-Babbler (Ptilorrhoa caerulescens geislorum), a split by Brian Coates from Blue Jewel-Babbler based on morphological differences, call and range.
Hours are spent on a fruiting tree next to flowering trees near the lodge and the passing parade of passerines. Fruit-doves abound and some of us catch up with Pink-spotted, Superb, Dwarf and Beautiful while I see a large Imperial-Pigeon with a gray head, rufous undertail coverts and plain small eyes which I identify as Rufescent Imperial-Pigeon, rare this low. I'm on my own on this one as no one else sees it and Phil explains it's very rare. It's kind of like being in front of a firing squad to face everyone at dinner and explain your case to those hostile, doubting faces. Obscure Berrypecker unexpectedly shows up for all extending it's range and allowing great views in the scope. Black Berrypecker also. Meliphagas and other honeyeaters abound and challenge including Forest, Mimic and heaps of Plain Honeyeater all of which we hadn't seen much of on the other coast. Biggest delight was a calling male Magnificent BOP flying from roost to feed more than once. Scope views in great light replaced the hard fought distant misty gray ones at Tabubil. Unforgettable were the pair of Pesquet's Parrots aka Vulturine that flew over the clearing right above us for good looks. Little Eagle put in an appearance. A quick view of a low flying eagle mystified our guide but we thought from the dark look and the panels in the wings it was probably Gurney's Eagle written up frequently in the lodge logbook. Again, sadly, no Harpy although it too was written up in the log book frequently.
Day 17-MADANG-drive Keki Lodge to Madang (3.5 hours); Alexishapen Ponds, Jais Aben Resort and boat trip to Pig Island
We were happy to see the Landcruiser finally parked outside the gates waiting for us, and even happier when the vehicles went easily over the row of saplings laid over the mud where the Landcruiser had been. Downhill is so much easier than uphill and to quote the bard all's well that end's well.
We practically fly when we hit the Northern Highway and stop before Madang at ponds in Alexishapen. Little Grebes replace Australasian Grebes on this side of the island, and Spotted Whistling Ducks perch in the palm trees, preening. Some of us find a Grand Munia perched on a reed.
Final destination is a coastal diving resort Jais Aben where we can't help looking at the Victoria Crowned Pigeons in a cage. They used to be common on this side of the island, we hear. After lunch an excursion to Pig Island takes about one hour. Dry landing on white sand coral beach is relaxing but we charge into the interior of the island where mosquitos are fierce and roots and lava rock make footing unsure. Small,dark New Guinea Scrubfowl dart away for lucky few. Elusive Black-tailed Whistler aka Golden Mangrove Whistler is heard but not seen until our guide sees one on the beach later, but not us. Back and forth in search of Beach Kingfisher with no success so four give up and dive into the beautiful waters to look at lionfish while Joseph and I follow a flock and are rewarded with good looks at the Northern race of endemic Coronted Fruit-Dove along with sunbirds, koels, warblers and flycatchers that we have seen before. Others are exhilarated on boat ride back while we are still hot and regret we didn't have more time. Once around the island yields no Beach Kingfisher but fishing boats on the way back are surrounded by cloud of terns. Common terns. Walking back to the cabin Joseph and I scope the tiny islands opposite and find a Beach Kingfisher perched on the leeward side out of the wind.
Day 18-MADANG TO CAIRNS-Drive Jais Aben Resort to Madang (1 hour); fly Madang-Port Moresby; fly Port Moresby-Cairns
A travel day marked by near obstacles as Air Nugini can't find Joseph's electronic visa to enter Australia although they can find mine. They offer to put him up at a local Pt. Moresby hotel for a few days until the visa can be sorted out which gives us a start. At the last minute they allow him to run onto the airplane. The jet returns to Pt. Moresby forty minutes after takeoff as there is a suspected mechanical difficulty with the stabilizer. Another fright as doesn't it seem like the plane is unstable as it comes back in to land? Every air bump resounds with a vocal chorus by passengers. Guess what. It's a switch not the stabilizer and we are on our way again to land in Cairns an hour late. Our suitcases are searched thoroughly and our rubber boots, sandals and hiking boots are taken from us and cleaned with insecticide. We declare all food including protein bars and are glad we do. Cairns customs are strict.
We have been humbled and thrilled by the birding in Papua New Guinea, which was harder and more exciting than we expected. I understand now why everyone goes back several times. I have been captivated by this habitat, its birds and its people. Like MacArthur but with a different objective in mind, I shall return.
TRIP LIST AND SPECIES NOTES
ALL CAPS is endemic species
1. Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) Alexishapen Ponds, Madang on the North Coast.
2. Australasian Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae)-Lake near Brown River on the South coast.
3. Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris)-Common in the lowlands of South coast.
4. Little Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax melanoleucos)-Fairly common in the lowlands of South coast.
5. Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor)-in a flock over Hisiu Mangroves near Pt Moresby.
6. Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel)-in a flock over Hisiu Mangroves near Pt Moresby.
7. Great Egret (Ardea alba)-Common especially in lowlands
8. Pied Heron (Egretta picata)-in lowlands. Some may be visitors from Australia.
9. White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae)-this
visitor from Australia was seen once at Kiunga Airstrip
10. Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)-Common in the lowlands on South coast.
11. Pacific Reef-Heron (Egretta sacra)-Hisiu Mangroves near Pt Moresby on South coast
12. Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)-Not common yet. Only in lowlands near Pt. Moresby
13. Striated Heron (Butorides striatus)- One on lake near Brown River, Pt. Moresby on South coast
14. Rufous Night-Heron (Nycticorax caledonicus)-pair roosting at Pacific Adventist University near Pt. Moresby in lowlands of South coast.
15. Black Bittern (Ixobrychus flavicollis)-pair on lake near Brown River, Pt. Moresby, south coast.
16. Australian Ibis (Threskiornis molucca)-Brown River Road and Oxbow near Port Moresby
17. Straw-necked Ibis (Threskiornis spinicollis)-Tabubil Airport, Tabubil in the central highlands
18. Spotted Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna guttata)-Alexishapen Ponds, Madang, North coast but also sometimes seen at Pacific Adventist University near Pt. Moresby although not by us.
19. Wandering Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna arcuata)-Pacific Adventist University, Pt.
20. Green Pygmy-goose (Nettapus pulchellus)-Lake near Brown River, Pt. Moresby.
21. Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa)-Pacific Adventist University, Pt. Moresby.
22. Pacific Baza (Aviceda subcristata)-Common throughout.
23. LONG-TAILED HONEY-BUZZARD (Henicopernis longicauda)-Varirata National Park, Pt.
24. Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus caeruleus)-Two seen Warili Lodge & Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari.
25. Black Kite (Milvus migrans)-Common
26. Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus)-Common, esp. in the lowlands
27. Brahminy Kite (Haliastur Indus)-Common
28. White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)-Common on the coast
29. Eastern Marsh-Harrier (Circus spilonotus spilothorax)-Seen twice: once in the lowlands near Brown River and in the highlands in Tari Gap. This ssp.C.s.spilothorax split by many as Papuan Harrier.
30. Variable Goshawk (Accipiter hiogaster)-Common
31. GRAY-HEADED GOSHAWK (Accipiter poliocephalus)-Seen on the Elevala River near Kiunga and again in Tabubil.
32. Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus)-one in the lowlands near Kiunga and one in the central highlands
33. Gurney's Eagle (Aquila gurneyi)-Probable brief flyby at Kioki Lodge near Madang. This species has been recorded here frequently in the log book.
34. Little Eagle (Aquila morphnoides)-Varirata National Park
35. Australian Kestrel (Falco cenchroides)-aka "Nankeen Kestrel",a few seen in the highlands.
36. Oriental Hobby (Falco severus)-Ambua lodge waterfall trail.
37. Australian Hobby (Falco longipennis)-One flyby in Pt. Moresby.
38. Brown Falcon (Falco berigora)-Benson's Village below Warili Lodge, Tari.
39. BLACK-BILLED BRUSH-TURKEY (Talegalla fuscirostris)-Heard daily esp. Varirata NP and Samuel's Lodge. Mounds visible. No sightings.
40. NEW GUINEA SCRUBFOWL (Megapodius affinis)-Pig Island short distance from Jais Aben Resort, Madang, North coast. Small, dark mound-building scrubfowl lurking in leaves and behind tree roots on mosquito infested island.
41. Orange-footed Scrubfowl (Megapodius reinwardt)-One heard Ok Ma road, Tabubil.
42. Brown Quail (Coturnix ypsilophora)-flushed frequently in the lowlands and highlands and along the road, common
43. CHESTNUT FOREST-RAIL (Rallina rubra)-Trip highlight on "Phoebe's Trail" (it was Phoebe Snetsinger's favorite birding site in the world) off of Highlands Highway above Ambua. The more sharply feathered female circled and then hopped on log in front of us for amazing views and video.
44. White-browed Crake (Porzana cinerea)-Two on lake near Brown River, Pt. Moresby
45. Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)-Many seen in lowlands of South coast where there are resident and migrant populations
46. Dusky Moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa)-Many seen in lowlands of South coast.
47. Comb-crested Jacana (Irediparra gallinacean)-A few in the lowlands of South coast.
48. Australian Pratincole (Stiltia Isabella)-Kiunga Airstrip
49. Masked Lapwing (Vanellus miles)-Common in lowlands near Pt Moresby
50. Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius dubius)-Subspecies seen at Hydro Station near Ok Menga river in Tabubil has different color legs and different call.
51. Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)-A few seen at Hisui Mangroves near Pt. Moresby.
52. Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)-One seen on Elevala River near Kiunga.
53. Great Crested Tern (Sterna bergii)-One seen flying over Hisui Mangroves near Pt. Moresby.
54. Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)-Over a hundred in a feeding flock following fishing boats between Jais Aben Resort & Pig Island, Madang on North coast.
55. Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia amboinensis)-Most common brown pigeon especially in lower altitudes.
56. Black-billed Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia nigrirostris)-Also common highlands as well.
57. Great Cuckoo-Dove (Reinwardtoena reinwardtii)-NEAR ENDEMIC (also in the Moluccas) seen well in Varirata NP, Tabubil area and highlands of Tari, always seen feeding on fruiting schefflera.
58. Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica)-One seen Pig Island off coast of Madang.
59. Stephan's Dove (Chalcophaps stephani)-Low fly through on trail at Varirata NP
60. NEW GUINEA BRONZEWING (Henicophaps albifrons)-One high fly through in forest behind Samuel's Ekame Lodge near Kiunga and one lower fly through on Dablin Creek Road, Tabubil where white front was visible.
61. Peaceful Dove (Geopelia placida)-Fairly common in lowlands of South coast.
62. Bar-shouldered Dove (Geopelia humeralis)-One at Hisui Mangroves near Pt. Moresby.
63. THICK-BILLED GROUND-PIGEON (Trugon terrestris)-Heard once and responded briefly to playback but no sighting in Varirata NP.
64. PHEASANT PIGEON (Otidiphaps nobilis)-This sought after species heard once only on Gare's Lookout Trail in Varirata NP.
65. SOUTHERN CROWNED-PIGEON (Goura scheepmakeri)- From the boat Samuel spotted two groups of these huge pigeons with ornate headdresses and Cleopatra makeup on large limbs inside foliage over the river. Presumably nervous tail wagging gave them away.
66. Wompoo Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus magnificus)-One seen in Varirata NP
67. PINK-SPOTTED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus perlatus)-Seen fairly frequently in the lowlands of Varirata NP, Elevala River, and Kiunga.
68. ORNATE FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus ornatus)-One seen in flock of Pink-spotted in Varirata near fruiting tree, then one more seen from Highlands Highway near Tari.
69. ORANGE-FRONTED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus aurantiifrons)-Uncommon in the lowlands of the South coast.
70. Superb Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus superbus)-fairly common in Varirata NP, Samuel's Ekame Lodge and Keki Lodge.
71. CORONETED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus coronulatus quadrigeminus)-One seen on Pig Island of this North coast gray headed ssp.
72. BEAUTIFUL FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus pulchellus)-One seen Boystown Road, Kiunga and one seen Keki Lodge near Madang.
73. WHITE-BREASTED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus rivoli)-One seen daily at fruiting tree on Phoebe's Trail on Highlands Highway near Tari.
74. ORANGE-BELLIED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus iozonus)-Most common Ptilinopus pigeon in the lowlands.
75. DWARF FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus nanus)-One seen briefly by some at Varirata NP, more seen well on fruiting tree at Keki Lodge, Madang.
76. PURPLE-TAILED IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula rufigaster)-One seen Varirata NP, one seen Samuel's Ekame Lodge, Kiunga.
77. RUFESCENT IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula chalconota)-Brief look by one member at Keki Lodge near Madang (900m) of this gray faced and cowled bird with rufous undertail coverts would be altitudinal range extension for this species (1,100-2,500m according to Handbook of the Birds of the World which calls this "Shining Imperial Pigeon" ssp. smaragdina) and first record for Keki Lodge.
78. PINON IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula pinon)-Common in flocks especially in Kiunga area.
79. COLLARED IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula mullerii)-Very common in flocks especially in Kiunga area
80. ZOE IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula zoeae)-Fairly common in Kiunga area.
81. Torresian Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula spilorrhoa)-Two seen Brown River Road near Port Moresby and one at Tari in highlands. This species is sometimes considered conspecific with Pied Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula bicolor).
82. Papuan Mountain-Pigeon (Gymnophaps albertisii)-NEAR ENDEMIC (also Moluccas)-Small flocks seen Kiunga area, huge flocks seen in highlands.
83. Palm Cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus)-NEAR ENDEMIC (also NE Australia)-Solitary individuals seen in Kiunga area on river and at airport, solitary individual at Keki Lodge.
84. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita)-Commonly heard and sometimes seen throughout.
85. YELLOW-STREAKED LORY (Chalcopsitta sintillata)-Noisy flocks especially in Kiunga area.
86. DUSKY LORY (Pseudeos fuscata)-One flyover of flock, Varirata National Park.
87. Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus)-Most common parrot throughout.
88. GOLDIE'S LORIKEET (Psitteuteles goldiei)-Quick flyover of pair on Highlands Hwy near Tari Gap.
89. BLACK-CAPPED LORY (Lorius lorry)-Great looks at this beauty in the lowlands at Varirata National Park and Kiunga. Ssp. somu with no blue on nape sighted on Kiunga-Tabubil road.
90. RED-FLANKED LORIKEET (Charmosyna placentas)-Brief looks and noisy flyovers at Varirata NP, Boystown Road in Kiunga, and Ok Ma Road in Tabubil.
91. FAIRY LORIKEET (Charmosyna pulchella)-Also known as Little Red Lorikeet. Quick flyovers in Tabubil area.
92. PAPUAN LORIKEET (Charmosyna papou)-Fantastic views of both the red form and the black form (the favorite parrot of some on the trip) of this beauty in the Highlands near Tari Gap.
93. PLUM-FACED LORIKEET (Oreopsittacus arfaki)-Fast flyovers of large flocks in the highlands near Tari Gap.
94. YELLOW-BILLED LORIKEET (Neopsittacus musschenbroekii)-Good looks at a flock of 20 of this bird helped us distinguish it from similar Orange-billed Lorikeet, Phoebe's Trail, Highlands near Tari
95. ORANGE-BILLED LORIKEET (Neopsittacus pullicauda)-Good looks in the scope of this bird helped us distinguish it, Phoebe's Trail, highlands near Tari.
96. PESQUET'S PARROT (Psittrichas fulgidus)-Also known as Vulturine Parrot. Distant flyby or pair at Ok Ma road in Tabubil was unsatisfactory except for distinctive flap-flap-glide flight pattern. Looked like large raptors. We were rewarded later by better flyover by pair at Keki Lodge and we could distinguish color, head shape, and body shape. Now uncommon.
97. YELLOW-CAPPED PYGMY-PARROT (Micropsitta keiensis)-Seen two or three times usually in pairs in Kiunga area.
98. BUFF-FACED PYGMY-PARROT (Micropsitta pusio)-Two seen well entering and leaving termitorium probably nest site, Varirata National Park
99. Red-breasted Pygmy-Parrot (Micropsitta bruijnii)-NEAR ENDEMIC (also Moluccas)-Six seen in flock on Dablin Creek Road, Tabubil.
100. ORANGE-BREASTED FIG-PARROT (Cyclopsitta gulielmitertii)-Pair seen in lowlands of Brown River area near Pt. Moresby and daily in small flocks in Kiunga area.
101. Double-eyed Fig-Parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma)-A pair on Dablin Creek Road, Tabubil
102. LARGE FIG-PARROT (Psittaculirostris desmarestii)-Pair seen from boat on Elevala River near Kiunga.
103. BREHM'S TIGER-PARROT (Psittacella brehmii)-One seen feeding daily on Phoebe's Trail on Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari, sometimes walking on the trail. A favorite parrot of many.
104. Red-cheeked Parrot (Geoffroyus geoffroyi)-NEAR ENDEMIC (also Sundas, Moluccas and NE Australia)-Varirata National Park, Samuel's Ekame Lodge, Keki Lodge
105. BLUE-COLLARED PARROT (Geoffroyus simplex)-Flocks with distinctive bell-like call on Dablin Creek Road, Tabubil.
106. Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus)-Fairly common in pairs throughout.
107. PAPUAN KING-PARROT (Alisterus chloropterus)-Solitary individuals seen in Varirata National Park and in Tari Highlands.
108. Brush Cuckoo (Cacomantis variolosus)-One seen lowlands Brown River Road and Oxbow near Port
109. Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo (Cacomantis castaneiventris)-NEAR ENDEMIC (also NE Australia)-Good looks as one flew by waist level at 17 km marker on Kiunga-Tabubil Road
110. Fan-tailed Cuckoo (Cacomantis flabelliformis)-Heard in highlands near Tari.
111. RUFOUS-THROATED BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx ruficollis)-One seen well in scope on Highlands Hwy to the Gap.
112. WHITE-EARED BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx meyeri)-One seen well Dablin Creek Road, Tabubil
113. Little Bronze-Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx minutillus)-These individuals seen in the lowlands of Brown River and Kiunga were surely ssp. poecilurus usually included in the "russatus" group of 6 subspecies in SE Asia and Australia that is sometimes split as "Gould's Bronze-Cuckoo" (Chrysococcyx russatus).
114. DWARF KOEL (Microdynamis parva)-Good looks in scope at female preening inside the canopy along Kiunga-Tabubil Road, and a male at Keki Lodge near Madang.
115. Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea)-pair on Pig Island, Madang 116. Australian Koel (Eudynamys cyanocephala)-One Samuel's Ekame Lodge near Kiunga.
117. Pheasant Coucal (Centropus phasianinus)-Solitary individual seen daily at Varirata National Park
118. LESSER BLACK COUCAL (Centropus bernsteini)-One solitary individual heard then finally seen at end of Kiunga Airstrip.
119. Jungle Hawk-Owl (Ninox theomacha)-Also known as Papuan Hawk-Owl heard once close outside Warili Lodge just before dawn. 120. Papuan Frogmouth (Podargus papuensis)-Three seen on day roost at Pacific Adventist University near Pt. Moresby.
121. Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus)- Two seen flying at dusk at Warili Lodge.
122. Glossy Swiftlet (Aerodramus esculenta)-Common in Varirata NP and in the highlands of Tari.
123. MOUNTAIN SWIFTLET (Aerodramus hirundinaceus)-Four seen on the Higlands Highway to the Gap.
124. Uniform Swiftlet (Aerodramus vanikorensis)-Common especially in the lowlands.
125. PAPUAN NEEDLETAIL (Mearnsia novaeguineae)-Seen daily in the Kiunga and Tabubil areas, usually in pairs.
126. Moustached Treeswift (Hemiprocne mystacea)-Seem daily in Kiunga and Tabubil areas.
127. Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)-One seen at Pacific Adventist University near Pt. Moresby
128. Azure Kingfisher (Alcedo azurea)-One seen Varirata NP.
129. Little Kingfisher (Alcedo pusilla)-One heard Brown River Road near Pt. Moresby.
129. Variable Kingfisher (Ceyx lepidus)-Also known as Dwarf Kingfisher. One seen Varirata NP.
130. Blue-winged Kookaburra (Dacelo leachii)-Common at Varirata NP.
131. RUFOUS-BELLIED KOOKABURRA (Dacelo gaudichaud)-One seen Brown River Road near Pt. Moresby, and seen daily on Elevala River near Kiunga.
132. Forest Kingfisher (Todirhamphus macleayii)-Seen daily in Varirata NP.
133. Collared Kingfisher (Todirhamphus chloris)-Also known as Mangrove Kingfisher. One at Hisui Mangroves near Pt. Moresby.
134. Beach Kingfisher (Todirhamphus saurophaga)-NEAR ENDEMIC (also Moluccas). One seen from Jais Aben Resort, Madang
135. Sacred Kingfisher (Todirhamphus sanctus)-Common in the lowlands as non-breeding migrant from Australia.
136. Yellow-billed Kingfisher (Syma torotoro)-NEAR ENDEMIC (also NE Australia). One seen Varirata National Park.
137. Common Paradise-Kingfisher (Tanysiptera galatea)-NEAR ENDEMIC (also Moluccas). One seen well in scope Samuel's Ekame Lodge near Kiunga.
138. BROWN-HEADED PARADISE-KINGFISHER (Tanysiptera danae)-One seen well Varirata National Park
139. Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher (Tanysiptera Sylvia)-NEAR ENDEMIC (also NE Australia). One seen Samuel's Ekame Lodge and Elevala River near Kiunga. Field guide reports resident population in Pt. Moresby and Bismarck Island areas only. Presumably this is a migrant.
140. Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus)-Common in the lowlands of South coast.
141. Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis)-Most common bird throughout lowlands especially since they are usually perched up on dead branch.
142. BLYTH'S HORNBILL (Aceros plicatus)-Seen daily along Elevala River near Kiunga. This is the hornbill species that is the furthest South and has affinities with Asia. It's the only species of hornbill in Australasia.
143. Red-bellied Pitta (Pitta erythrogaster)-seen by some at Samuel's Ekame Lodge near Kiunga.
144. Pacific Swallow (Hirundo tahitica)-Seen in the lowlands near the coast in Port Moresby and again drinking from hotel pool in Tabubil.
145. Tree Martin (Hirundo nigricans)-Two seen Hisiu Mangroves near Pt Moresby
146. Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina novaehollandiae)-Flock seen on Brown River Road and Oxbow near Port Moresby.
147. STOUT-BILLED CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Coracina caeruleogrisea)-Also known as Large-billed. One seen Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
148. Yellow-eyed Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina lineate)-Also known as Barred Cuckoo-shrike. Flock of four seen at Varirata National Park.
149. BOYER'S CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Coracina boyeri)-Seen throughout, usually in pairs. Most common Cuckoo-shrike.
150. White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina papuensis)-A few seen in Pt. Moresby area.
151. HOODED CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Coracina longicauda)-One seen briefly in scope by some from Warili Lodge.
152. Cicadabird (Coracina tenuirostris)-One heard Ok Mar Road, Tabubil
153. PAPUAN CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Coracina incerta)-Also known as Black-shouldered Cuckoo-shrike. Two seen in scope on Dablin Creek Road, Tabubil.
154. GRAY-HEADED CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Coracina schisticeps)-Seen usually in paris in Kiunga and Tabubil areas
155. BLACK-BELLIED CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Coracina
156. GOLDEN CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Campochaera sloetii)-Seen Samuel's Ekame Lodge and Elevala River near Kiunga and in Tabubil area. Favorite Cuckoo-shrike of the group.
157. Varied Triller (Lalage leucomela)-Varirata National Park and again in Tabubil area.
158. Golden-headed Cisticola (Cisticola exilis)-One in grass in lowlands on Brown River Road and Oxbow near Port Moresby
159. Island Leaf-Warbler (Phylloscopus poliocephalus)-Good eye-level looks at this canopy warbler in Benson's village below Warili Lodge.
160. Tawny Grassbird (Megalurus timoriensis)-Seen occasionally along Highlands Highway near Tari Gap.
161. Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata)-Seen in grass of Tari Gap.
162. Northern Fantail (Rhipidura rufiventris)-One at Dablin Creek, Tabubil.
163. Willie-wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys)-Most common bird seen throughout.
164. FRIENDLY FANTAIL (Rhipidura albolimbata)-Fairly common on Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari.
165. CHESTNUT-BELLIED FANTAIL (Rhipidura hyperythra)-Several seen Varirata National Park.
166. SOOTY THICKET-FANTAIL (Rhipidura threnothorax)-One brief view for some just off the trail at Dablin Creek Road, Tabubil.
167. BLACK THICKET-FANTAIL (Rhipidura maculipectus)-We were lucky with this unexpected skulker at Hisui Mangroves near Port Moresby.
168. WHITE-BELLIED THICKET-FANTAIL (Rhipidura leucothorax)-We heard this frequently on Dablin Creek trail, Tabubil until we finally saw a pair that flew back and forth across the trail.
169. BLACK FANTAIL (Rhipidura atra)-A few seen in the highlands near Tari Gap and on the Waterfall Trail at Ambua.
170. Mangrove Fantail (Rhipidura phasiana)-One seen Hisui Mangroves near Pt Moresby.
171. DIMORPHIC FANTAIL (Rhipidura brachyrhyncha)-One seen Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari.
172. RUFOUS-BACKED FANTAIL (Rhipidura rufidorsa)-One seen Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
173. Rufous Fantail (Rhipidura rufifrons)-One seen Hisiu Mangroves near Pt Moresby.
174. BLACK MONARCH (Monarcha axillaries)-One seen Waterfall Trail, Ambua Lodge and one seen Pia Konda near Tari. This monarch looks like a fantail except for small white tuft at bend of the wing.
175. Black-faced Monarch (Monarcha melanopsis)-One seen Hisui Mangroves near Pt. Moresby.
176. SPOT-WINGED MONARCH (Monarcha guttulus)-One seen Varirata NP, one seen Samuel's Ekame Lodge near Kiunga.
177. HOODED MONARCH (Monarcha manadensis)-One seen by some at Samuel's Ekame Lodge near Kiunga.
178. Golden Monarch (Monarcha chrysomela)-One seen Samuel's Ekame Lodge near Kiunga.
179. Frilled Monarch (Arses telescophthalmus)-One seen now and again at Varirata NP, Samuel's Ekame Lodge and Ok Ma Road in Tabubil.
180. Leaden Flycatcher (Myiagra rubecula)-One seen Varirata NP and two seen Hisui Mangroves near Pt. Moresby.
181. Shining Flycatcher (Myiagra alecto)-One seen Samuel's Ekame Lodge, two seen Jais Aben Resort, Madang.
182. BLACK-BREASTED BOATBILL (Machaerirhynchus nigripectus)-One seen Waterfall Trail, Ambua Lodge.
183. LESSER GROUND-ROBIN (Amalocichla incerta)-This skulker circled us and finally showed on a log deep in the Anarctic Beech forest off of Phoebe's trail in the highlands of Tari.
184. Torrent Flycatcher (Monachella muelleriana)- One seen Bultem Bridge, Tabubil, four seen km 120 Ok Menga.
185. Lemon-bellied Flycatcher (Microeca flavigaster)-One seen Varirata NP, two seen Hisui Mangroves near Pt. Moresby and one seen Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
186. Yellow-legged Flycatcher (Microeca griseoceps)-NEAR ENDEMIC (also NE Australia). Two seen Varirata NP.
187. CANARY FLYCATCHER (Microeca papuana)-Two seen on Waterfall Trail, Ambua Lodge.
188. White-faced Robin (Tregellasia leucops)-NEAR ENDEMIC (also NE Australia). One seen by one participant in flock at Varirata NP.
189. SNOW MOUNTAIN ROBIN (Petroica archboldi)-Seen well by two participants on Phoebe's Trail in the Tari highlands. New range extension for this species, which has also been seen here by Joseph, the guide at Ambua Lodge.
190. Mangrove Robin (Eopsaltria pulverulenta)-Two seen Hisiu Mangroves near Pt Moresby.
191. BLACK-SIDED ROBIN (Poecilodryas hypoleuca)-One seen well Samuel's Ekame Lodge near Kiunga.
192. BLACK-THROATED ROBIN (Poecilodryas albonotata)-One seen well on Phoebe's Trail in Tari Highlands.
193. WHITE-RUMPED ROBIN (Peneothello bimaculatus)-Heard daily and one seen on Dablin Creek trail, Tabubil.
194. BLUE-GRAY ROBIN (Peneothello cyanus)-Three seen well on Waterfall Trail, Ambua Lodge and one on Phoebe's Trail, Tari Highlands.
195. Northern Scrub-Robin (Drymodes superciliaris)-NEAR ENDEMIC (also NE Australia). One skulker seen under a log by one participant, Varirata NP.
196. DWARF WHISTLER (Pachycare flavogrisea)-A few seen daily in Varirata National Park.
197. RUFOUS-NAPED WHISTLER (Aleadryas rufinucha)-A few of this beauty seen each day on Phoebe's Trail in Tari Highlands.
198. BROWN-BACKED WHISTLER (Pachycephala modesta)-One seen each day on Phoebe's Trail in Tari Highlands.
199. Gray-headed Whistler (Pachycephala griseiceps)-Also known as Gray Whistler. Fairly common in Varirata NP and also seen at Samuel's Ekame Lodge.
200. Black-tailed Whistler (Pachycephala lorentzi)-Also known as Mangrove Whistler. One quick flyby at Hisui Mangroves near Pt. Moresby and one seen well by leader at Pig Island near Madang.
201. REGENT WHISTLER (Pachycephala schlegelii)-One seen each day on Phoebe's Trail, Tari Highlands. A favorite whistler of the group.
202. BLACK-HEADED WHISTLER (Pachycephala monacha)-One seen Dablin Creek trail, Tabubil
203. WHITE-BELLIED WHISTLER (Pachycephala leucogastra)-Seen a few times at Varirata National Park
204. Rufous Shrike-Thrush (Colluricincla megarhyncha)-Also known as Little Shrike Thrush. Fairly common in Varirata NP. Also abundant at Pia Konda near Tari.
205. Gray Shrike-Thrush (Colluricincla harmonica)-Very common at Varirata NP.
206. HOODED PITOHUI (Pitohui dichrous)-Common at Varirata National Park
207. WHITE-BELLIED PITOHUI (Pitohui incertus)-Sadly heard only at Samuel's Ekame Lodge near Kiunga.
208. RUSTY PITOHUI (Pitohui ferrugineus)-Seen by two participants at Hydro Station in Tabubil.
209. CRESTED PITOHUI (Pitohui cristatus)-Sadly heard only at Varirata NP.
210. VARIABLE PITOHUI (Pitohui kirhocephalus)-Sadly heard only in Kiunga area.
211. NEW GUINEA BABBLER (Pomatostomus isidorei)-Also known as Rufous Babbler. Flock of noisy babblers seen well behind Samuel's Ekame Lodge near Kiunga
212. Logrunner (Orthonyx temminckii)-ENDEMIC SUB-SPECIES O.t.novaeguineae surely to be split to New Guinea Logrunner. Pair seen well in Antarctic beech forest off of Phoebe's Trail, Tari highlands.
213. PAINTED QUAIL THRUSH (Cinclosoma ajax) One skulker seen by one participant at Varirata NP.
214. BLUE JEWEL-BABBLER (Ptilorrhoa caerulescens)-One skulker seen well Samuel's Ekame Lodge near Kiunga. BROWN-HEADED JEWEL-BABBLER (Ptilorrhoa caerulescens geislorum) already split by Coates et al, one seen at Keki Lodge near Madang.
215. CHESTNUT-BACKED JEWEL-BABBLER (Ptilorrhoa castanonota)-One seen by surprised group as it hopped up on log ten feet in front of participants, Varirata National Park
216. BLUE-CAPPED IFRITA (Ifrita kowaldi)-Two seen daily on Highlands Hwy near Tari.
217. WALLACE'S FAIRYWREN (Sipodotus wallacii)-Pair seen well at Dablin Creek trail, Tabubil.
218. WHITE-SHOULDERED FAIRYWREN (Malurus
219. EMPEROR FAIRYWREN (Malurus cyanocephalus)-Pair seen well along Brown River Road near Port Moresby.
220. RUSTY MOUSE-WARBLER (Crateroscelis murina)-Two seen Varirata NP, more heard in Tari highlands and at Waterfall Trail, Ambua Lodge.
221. MOUNTAIN MOUSE-WARBLER (Crateroscelis robusta)-One seen Phoebe's Trail, Tari Highlands.
222. LARGE SCRUBWREN (Sericornis nouhuysi)-One seen by some on Waterfall Trail at Ambua, another on Phoebe's Trail on Highlands Hwy to the Gap.
223. BUFF-FACED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis perspicillatus)-Fairly common especially on Phoebe's Trail, Tari Highlands and Pia Konda near Tari.
224. PAPUAN SCRUBWREN (Sericornis papuensis)-One seen well after a lot of trouble along Highland Highway near Tari Gap.
225. PALE-BILLED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis spilodera)-Two seen at Varirata National Park.
226. MOUNTAIN GERYGONE (Gerygone cinerea)-Also known as Gray Gerygone. Two seen on Highlands Highway near Tari Gap.
227. Green-backed Gerygone (Gerygone chloronotus)-Common at Varirata National Park.
228. Fairy Gerygone (Gerygone palpebrosa)-Common at Varirata NP. Also seen on Pig Island near Madang.
229. YELLOW-BELLIED GERYGONE (Gerygone chrysogaster)-Farily common at Varirata National Park and Samuel's Ekame Lodge near Kiunga.
230. Large-billed Gerygone (Gerygone magnirostris)-One seen Hisiu Mangroves near Pt Moresby.
231. Brown-breasted Gerygone (Gerygone ruficollis)-One seen on Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari
232. Mangrove Gerygone (Gerygone levigaster)-One seen Hisiu Mangroves near Pt Moresby.
233. BLACK SITTELLA (Neositta Miranda)-Three seen on dead tree on Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari.
234. Black Sunbird (Leptocoma sericea)-One seen daily in Kiunga area.
235. Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis)-Seen in Brown River area near Pt. Moresby, Boystown Road in Kiunga, and Pig Island near Madang.
236. OBSCURE BERRYPECKER (Melanocharis arfakiana)-One seen by some at Dablin Creek Road. Another seen at Keki Lodge near Madang which is a range extension for this species.
237. BLACK BERRYPECKER (Melanocharis nigra)-One seen by some at Varirata NP, others seen on fruiting tree at Keki Lodge near Madang.
238. FAN-TAILED BERRYPECKER (Melanocharis versteri)-Two seen on Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari.
239. YELLOW-BELLIED LONGBILL (Toxorhamphus novaeguineae)-One seen each day at Samuel's Ekame Lodge near Kiunga.
240. DWARF HONEYEATER (Toxorhamphus iliolophus)-Also known as Dwarf Longbill. One seen by some at Dablin Creek Road. Heard by others.
241. PYGMY HONEYEATER (Toxorhamphus pygmaeum)-Also known as Pygmy Longbill. Two seen at Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
242. CRESTED BERRYPECKER (Paramythia montium)-One seen on the nest beside the road, Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari.
243. RED-CAPPED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum geelvinkianum)-One seen Varirata NP, one seen Boystown Road, Kiunga.
244. BLACK-FRONTED WHITE-EYE (Zosterops minor)-A few seen in Varirata NP and in Tabubil area.
245. CAPPED WHITE-EYE (Zosterops fuscicapillus)-Also known as Mountain White-eye. Two seen in Pia Konda and last bridge in Tari.
246. NEW GUINEA WHITE-EYE (Zosterops novaeguineae)-One seen in fruiting tree at Keki Lodge near Madang.
247. LONG-BILLED HONEYEATER (Melilestes megarhynchus)-Solitary individuals seen on Brown River Road near Pt Moresby, on the Elevala River near Kiunga, Ok Ma Road in Tabubil and at Pia Konda near Tari.
248. Green-backed Honeyeater (Glycichaera fallax)-NEAR ENDEMIC (also in NE Australia). One seen Dablin Creek, Tabubil.
249. SILVER-EARED HONEYEATER (Lichmera alboauricularis)-One seen at Aroa Shell Station near Pt Moresby
250. RED-THROATED MYZOMELA (Myzomela eques)-Two seen well on Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
251. Dusky Myzomela (Myzomela obscura)-One seen Pacific Adventist University near Pt. Moresby, two seen Hisiu Mangroves near Pt. Moresby, and many seen in flowering tree at Keki Lodge near Madang.
252. Red Myzomela (Myzomela cruentata)-Male and female seen in flowering tree on Dablin Creek trail, Tabubil
253. BLACK MYZOMELA (Myzomela nigrita)-Also known as Papuan Black Myzomela. Two seen in Varirata National Park, common on Dablin Creek trail, Tabubil.
254. RED-COLLARED MYZOMELA (Myzomela rosenbergii)-One male seen on Phoebe's Trail on Highlands Hwy near Tari.
255. FOREST HONEYEATER (Meliphaga
256. SPOT-BREASTED MELIPHAGA (Meliphaga mimikae)-One seen Varirata National Park.
257. MOUNTAIN MELIPHAGA (Meliphaga orientalis)-One seen Dablin Creek trail, Tabubil.
258. SCRUB HONEYEATER (Meliphaga albonotata)-One seen at Kiunga airstrip, one on Kiunga-Tabubil road, two seen Bultem Bridge, Tabubil.
259. MIMIC HONEYEATER (Meliphaga analoga)-Two seen Brown River Road near Port Moresby, one seen Keki Lodge near Madang
260. Graceful Honeyeater (Meliphaga gracilis)-Two seen Brown River Road near Port Moresby, one seen on Elevala River near Kiunga.
261. BLACK-THROATED HONEYEATER (Lichenostomus subfrenatus)-One seen Phoebe's Trail, Highlands Hwy to the Gap.
262. OBSCURE HONEYEATER (Lichenostomus obscurus)-One seen Boystown Road, Kiunga, one seen Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
263. Varied Honeyeater (Lichenostomus versicolor)-One on Northern Highway from Madang, one at Jais Aben Resort, Madang.
264. YELLOW-TINTED HONEYEATER (Lichenostomus flavescens)-Holiday Inn, Port Moresby.
265. Tawny-breasted Honeyeater (Xanthotis flaviventer)-NEAR ENDEMIC (also NE Australia) One seen Brown River Road near Port Moresby, a few seen Boystown Road, Kiunga and Dablin Creek Trail, Tabubil, and a few at Keki Lodge near Madang.
266. SPOTTED HONEYEATER (Xanthotis polygramma)-One seen Varirata National Park, one seen Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
267. White-throated Honeyeater (Melithreptus albogularis)-Most common honeyeater in Varirata National Park.
268. PLAIN HONEYEATER (Pycnopygius ixoides)-One on Boystown Road, Kiunga and then many at Keki Lodge near Madang.
269. MARBLED HONEYEATER (Pycnopygius cinereus)-One at Benson's Village below Warili Lodge, Tari
270. STREAK-HEADED HONEYEATER (Pycnopygius stictocephalus)-Fairly common at Varirata National Park, one seen on Kiunga-Tabubil road, one seen on Ok Ma Road, Tabubil
271. Helmeted Friarbird (Philemon buceroides)-Formerly New Guinea Friarbird (Philemon novaeguineae) recently lumped again. Very common throughout except highlands.
272. RUFOUS-BACKED HONEYEATER (Ptiloprora guisei)-One seen daily on Phoebe's Trail and Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari
273. BLACK-BACKED HONEYEATER (Ptiloprora perstriata)-One or more seen daily on Phoebe's Trail and Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari
274. BELFORD'S MELIDECTES (Melidectes belfordi)-Very common, vocal species on Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari
275. YELLOW-BROWED MELIDECTES (Melidectes rufocrissalis)-Three seen on Waterfall Trail, Ambua Lodge, Tari Highlands.
276. SMOKY HONEYEATER (Melipotes fumigatus)-Most common species on Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari
277. Rufous-banded Honeyeater (Conopophila albogularis)-Three seen at Holiday Inn, Port Moresby
278. BROWN ORIOLE (Oriolus szalayi)-Fairly common in the lowlands
279. Green Figbird (Sphecotheres viridis)-Two seen Pacific Adventist University near Pt. Moresby
280. Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach stresemanni)-One on Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari. Black-headed subspecies L.s. stresemanni.
281. Spangled Drongo (Dicrurus bracteatus)-Split by Brian Coates as endemic Papuan Spangled Drongo (Discrurus carbonarius). Common in Varirata National Park, and Kiunga area.
282. TORRENT-LARK (Grallina bruijni)-We were lucky to see a pair on the rocks up the waterfall at Ok Menga (Hydro Station), Tabubil.
283. GREAT WOODSWALLOW (Artamus maximus)-Two at Tabubil airstrip while waiting for flight, two on Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari
284. White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus)-Four at Varirata NP.
285. MOUNTAIN PELTOPS (Peltops
286. LOWLAND PELTOPS (Peltops blainvillii)- One on Elevala River near Kiunga.
287. BLACK-BACKED BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus mentalis)-Fairly common Varirata National Park
288. HOODED BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus cassicus)-Common in lowlands Varirata National Park, Kiunga and Tabubil areas.
289. Black Butcherbird (Cracticus quoyi)-One Ok Menga (Hydro Station), Tabubil, one below Warili Lodge near Tari
290. LORIA'S BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Cnemophilus loriae)-A few seen Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari and male seen Pia Konda near Tari.
291. CRESTED BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Cnemophilus macgregorii)-Unbelieveable luck as a male hopped up on a dead snag at the end of the last day, posed, then hopped down out of view on the Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari.
292. GLOSSY-MANTLED MANUCODE (Manucodia atra)-A few seen Varirata National Park, Samuel's Lodge near Kiunga and Boystown Road, Kiunga. Unimorphic, monogamous and bi-parental nesting and rearing characteristics might lend a revision of Manucodes out of the Birds of Paradise and into their own family.
293. CRINKLE-COLLARED MANUCODE (Manucodia chalybata)-Two seen Boystown Road, Kiunga and one Dablin Creek Trail, Tabubil
294. Trumpet Manucode (Manucodia keraudrenii)-NEAR ENDEMIC (also NE Australia)-One seen Samuel's Ekame Lodge near Kiunga, one Kiunga-Tabubil.
295. RIBBON-TAILED ASTRAPIA (Astrapia mayeri)-Males and females on Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari especially Phoebe's Trail.
296. PRINCESS STEPHANIE'S ASTRAPIA (Astrapia stephaniae)-A few seen Highlands Hwy to the Gap,
297. CAROLA'S PAROTIA (Parotia carolae)-One sub-adult male and a few females seen Dablin Creek Trail, Tabubil.
298. LAWES' PAROTIA (Parotia lawesii)-One male seen Pia Konda near Tari, more from afar in casuarinas trees in Benson's village below Warili.
299. KING-OF-SAXONY BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Pteridophora alberti)-One male seen very close from bridge on Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari.
300. MAGNIFICENT RIFLEBIRD (Ptiloris magnificus)-One male seen IN DISPLAY Ok Ma Road, Tabubil.
301. SUPERB BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Lophorina superba)-Many females on waterfall Trail, Ambua Lodge, one male IN DISPLAY Pia Konda near Tari.
302. BLACK SICKLEBILL (Epimachus fastuosus)-Distant view in scope of male on opposite ridge at dawn from Warili Lodge near Tari.
303. BROWN SICKLEBILL (Epimachus meyeri)-One male seen calling in scope on Highlands Hwy to the Gap.
304. MAGNIFICENT BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Cicinnurus magnificus)-Females seen Dablin Creek Trail, Tabubil, male seen Keki Lodge near Madang.
305. KING BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Cicinnurus regius)-Male with some display behaviors watched for a long time through scope on trail behind Samuel's Ekame Lodge near Kiunga.
306. TWELVE-WIRED BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Seleucidis melanoleuca)-Finally found this male on his display dead tree in the mist down river from Samuel's Ekame Lodge near Kiunga.
307. LESSER BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Paradisaea minor)-Display tree with eight to ten males IN DISPLAY near Keki Lodge near Madang.
308. GREATER BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Paradisaea apoda)-One male seen 17 km marker on Kiunga-Tabubil Road.
309. RAGGIANA BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Paradisaea raggiana)-Many females seen and one male IN DISPLAY Varirata National Park, more females seen Keki Lodge near Madang.
310. BLUE BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Paradisaea rudolphi)-One male seen from distance in scope from Warili Lodge near Tari, one male perched, close at Benson's Village below Warili Lodge, Tari. Voted best bird of the trip.
311. LESSER MELAMPITTA (Melampitta lugubris)-One flushed in Antarctic Beech Forest near Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari. Sexually unimorphic, monogamous and other characteristics researched may move this bird out of the BOPs into it's own family or with the bowerbirds.
312. ARCHBOLD'S BOWERBIRD (Archboldia papuensis)-One male and a few females seen Highlands Hwy to the Gap.
313. MACGREGOR'S BOWERBIRD (Amblyornis macgregoriae)-Bower only seen at Benson's Village below Warili Lodge near Tari.
314. FLAME BOWERBIRD (Sericulus aureus)-Two males seen flying over Boystown Road, Kiunga
315. FIRE-MANED BOWERBIRD (Sericulus bakeri)-One male seen feeding in fruiting tree, Keki Lodge near Madang.
316. FAWN-BREASTED BOWERBIRD (Chlamydera cerviniventris)-Common Pacific Adventist University near Pt. Moresby and Varirata National Park.
317. GRAY CROW (Corvus tristis)-Large noisy flocks in Varirata NP, along Elevala River near Kiunga and Keki Lodge near Madang.
318. Torresian Crow (Corvus orru)-Very common Varirata NP and lowlands near Pt Moresby.
319. Metallic Starling (Aplonis metallica)-Fairly common in flocks in lowlands near Pt. Moresby and Elevala River near Kiunga.
320. YELLOW-EYED STARLING (Aplonis mystacea)-One in flock with Metallic Starlings on Elevala River near Kiunga.
321. Singing Starling (Aplonis cantoroides)-Common around Pt. Moresby.
322. Yellow-faced Myna (Mino dumontii)-Very common in lowlands of Pt. Moresby and Kiunga.
323. GOLDEN MYNA (Mino anais)-A few perched on dead trees at lake near Brown River, more on Elevala River near Kiunga.
324. MOUNTAIN FIRETAIL (Oreostruthus fuliginosus)-Seen daily on Phoebe's Trail, Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari.
325. Blue-faced Parrotfinch (Erythrura trichroa)-NEAR ENDEMIC (also NE Australia)-Seen daily Phoebe's Taril, Highlands Hwy to the Gap, Tari.
326. WHITE-SPOTTED MUNIA (Lonchura leucosticte)-Two seen well in scope at Kiunga Airstrip
327. GRAND MUNIA (Lonchura grandis)-One seen in reeds around Alexishapen Ponds, Madang
328. Hooded Munia (Lonchura spectabilis)-Flock seen from last bridge in Tari
329. GRAY-HEADED MUNIA (Lonchura caniceps)-Four seen Pacific Adventist University near Pt. Moresby.
168 Endemic Species, 17 Near Endemic Species
1. SPECKLED DASYURE (Neophascogale lorentzi)-ENDEMIC.Pair chasing each other on vine covered tree on Phoebe's Trail, Highlands Highway to the Gap, Tari
2. Short-tailed Spotted Cuscus (Spilocuscus maculates)-NEAR ENDEMIC (also in NE Australia).One at Varirata NP near Pt. Moresby.
3. Spectacled Flying Fox (Pteropus conspicillatus)-Keki Lodge near Madang. Also found in Australia
4. Insect bat sp.-Four at Samuel's Lodge near Kiunga.
5. Timor Deer (Cervus timorensis)-Also known as Rusa Deer. Introduced from Indonesia. Elevala River near Kiunga.
1. CROCODILE MONITOR (Varanus salvadori)-ENDEMIC-One big fellow on log over Elevala River near Kiunga.
2. NEW GUINEA CROCODILE (Crocodylus novaeguineae)-ENDEMIC-One seen Elevala River near Kiunga.
3. BOELEN'S PYTHON (Morelia boeleni)-ENDEMIC- footer at Warili Lodge near Tari captured by locals. It is listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), which Indonesia ratified in 1978, but trading is allowed and capture by locals only is allowed. Prices in the U.S. range from $20,000 for an adult pair to $ 650 for a young male.