PNG – Highlights
Visiting a number of PNG’s best birding spots we expect to see a number of species of spectacular Birds of Paradise plus a great supporting cast of New Guinea specialities.
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Papua New Guinea
Difficulty Level Moderate
Group Size Small Group
This is a short tour designed for people who would like to get the greatest number of New Guinea specials in the shortest amount of time. With between 15-20 species of bird of paradise possible this is a great introduction to PNG birding.This tour offers a very good chance for at least one member of all seven of New Guinea’s currently accepted endemic bird families.
In Port Moresby, Kiunga and Tabubil accommodation is in comfortable western style hotels. Kumul lodge is a well appointed westernised landowner lodge made of bush materials. Kwatu Lodge up river in the Kiunga lowlands is a very basic landowner lodge made of bush materials, with pit toilets and cold water showers. However its location, situated slap in the middle of some wonderful pristine lowland forest, more than makes up for its lack of facilities. Be prepared for power failures which are common in PNG.
Participants need to be in good health and of a reasonable fitness level. New guinea is a country of steep, rainforest clad mountainsides and while we try to keep them at a minimum there will be steep muddy trails to be negotiated somewhere on the tour.
Expect rain at various locations and wile in the Highlands sites will be quite cool and even cold at night it is likely to be quite hot and humid around Port Moresby and in the Fly River lowlands.
- Meals as per itinerary
- Accommodation as per itinerary
- Guide services of tour leader
- Group tips & gratuities
- Transfers once tour has started
- Travel insurance and other emergencies
- Visa fees and entry clearing fees
- Flights (Domestic & International)
- Items of a personal nature
Arrive Port Moresby
Arrive in Port Moresby A short tour of the Port Moresby area is arranged for those who arrive in time to take advantage of it.
Varirata National Park (1)
Early breakfast at hotel then head up to Varirata National Park for a mornings guided birding. Most of our birding will be on foot along roads, at clearing edges, and along well-maintained forest trails (some of them steep) in search of “black-and-rufous” flocks and some spectacular but secretive specialties such as Chestnut-backed Jewel-Babbler, Northern Scrub-Robin, and Painted Quail-Thrush, with exceedingly remote dreams of Dwarf Cassowary. Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise will be a priority!
Entrance-road and clearing-edge possibilities include Pacific Baza, Great and Slender-billed Cuckoo-Doves, Beautiful, Orange-bellied, and Pink-spotted Fruit-Doves, Zoeand Pinon Imperial-Pigeons, Red-cheeked Parrot, Yellow-streaked and Black-capped lories, Rainbow Lorikeet, Brush Cuckoo, Pheasant Coucal, Sacred, Forest, Azure, and Yellow-billed kingfishers, Blue-winged and Rufous-bellied Kookaburras, Green-backed Gerygone, Black and Mountain myzomelas, White-throated Honeyeater, Lemon-bellied Flycatcher, Grey Whistler, Grey Shrike-Thrush, Hooded Pitohui, Glossy-mantled Manucode, Hooded Butcherbird, Brown Oriole, Black-faced, White-bellied, Yellow-eyed, Boyer’s, and Stout-billed Cuckoo-shrikes, Cicadabird, Red-capped Flowerpecker, and Black-fronted White-eye. This is an excellent area for mixed-species flocks, which may include Chestnut-bellied Fantail, Dwarf Whistler (Goldenface), Yellow-bellied, Fairy, and Green-backed Gerygones, Spot-winged, Frilled, Black-faced, and Black-winged Monarchs, Pale-billed Scrubwren and the scarce Wallace’s Fairywren. Elusive voices can include Pheasant Pigeon and Crested Pitohui.
Varirata National Park (2) & PAU Ponds
Full day birding Varirata National Park coming back via the PAU ponds. This offers us some very different birding and good birds to be seen here include Australian Darter, Wandering and Spotted (tough) whistling-ducks, Green Pygmy-Goose, Pied Heron, Rufous Night-Heron, White-browed Crake, Comb-crested Jacana, New Guinea Friarbird, Rufous-banded Honeyeater, White-breasted Woodswallow, Green Figbird, Black-backed Butcherbird, Grey-headed Munia, and Fawn-breasted Bowerbird.
Take the early flight to Tabubil in the foothills of the Star Mountains. Balance of day spent birding the Tabubil area. Most of our birding will be along roads with virtually no traffic with some steep trails leading off into the forest. We will look forTorrent Flycatchers in roadside streams, Salvadori’s Teal, and cross our fingers for the mythical and crepuscular Shovel-billed Kingfisher, Pesquet’s (Vulturine) Parrot, the almost unknown Obscure Berrypecker, Magnificent Riflebird, Magnificent Bird of Paradise and Carola’s Parotia (though males of both the latter are very elusive) and perhaps if we are lucky the elusive Greater Melampitta which inhabits the karst areas found in that region.
Tabubil area birding
A second day birding the Tabubil area. with a visit to the local artefacts shop where a number of very interesting artefacts can be viewed.
Drive to Kiunga
Leaving Tabubil we will set off down the narrow winding 150km road to Kiunga, travelling at times along knife edge ridges. We will bird as we go and there is a good chance of Pesquet’s (Vulturine )Parrot flying over. Arriving at Kiunga in the Fly River lowlands of Western Province we will bird the local area looking for birds such as Flame Bowerbird, Greater Bird of Paradise, Trumpet Manucode, Palm Cockatooand Obscure Honeyeater.
Making an early start we will take a boat trip up first the Fly River and then up one of it’s tributaries, the Elevala river where we will disembark to stay a nights at Kwatu landowner lodge. Although we will be spending a long time in the boats a considerable variety of species can be seen along the river, including White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Great-billed Heron (when water levels are low), Collared Imperial-Pigeon(locally common here), Large Fig-Parrot (scarce), Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Papuan Spinetail, Shining Flycatcher, the diminutive King and the incredible Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradise (with an early start), Golden and Yellow-faced mynas, and huge flights of flying-fox fruit-bats. Kwatu is a very basic lodge with pit toilets and bush showers. However the excellent birding in the vicinity of the Lodge make it a very worthwhile destination.
Kwatu & Kiunga area birding
After spending the early morning birding around the lodge looking for spectacular species such as Southern Crowned Pigeon we will take the boat back down the river where the balance of the afternoon will be spent birding locally.
Kiunga area birding
Full day birding the Kiunga area. Flame Bowerbird, Greater Bird of Paradiseand Trumpet Manucode can all be found not far from the township and we will also hope for the Palm Cockatoo and Obscure Honeyeater.
Fly to Mt Hagen
Fly to Mt Hagen and overnight Kumul Lodge. The afternoon will be spent on the verandah of the Lodge. This overlooks the feeders where Brown Sicklebill, Ribbon-tailed Astrapia and Brehm’s Tiger-Parrot are amongst the regular visitors.
Kumul area birding
Full day around Kumul. Full day around the Kumul area. All 3 of the endemic families can be found in this area and they will be a priority.
Transfer to Rondon Ridge
Transfer to Rondon Ridge. This very comfortable Lodge is on the other side of the Waghi Valley and at a different height band. It offers us some different birds including the possibility of Black Sicklebill.
Rondon Ridge area birding
A full day around the Rondon Ridge area.
Fly to Tari
Take the TNT charter to Tari and transfer to Ambua Lodge. Tari is the heartland of the Huli wigmen. The Tari valley is also the site of Ambua Lodge a world class birding destination and we will be met by their representatives and drive up to the Lodge. This is one of the worlds premier birding sites with an amazing thirteen species of birds of paradise, Ambua and the Tari Gap is a mecca for birders seeking these amazing and colourful birds. Close to the lodge, birds that are commonly seen include the Buff-Banded Rail, Long-tailed Shrike, Pied Chat, Mountain Peltops, Friendly Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Blue-grey Robin and Hooded Mannikin.
Ambua area birding
Full day birding the Ambua area.
Fly to Port Moresby & onward flights
Fly back to Port Moresby and then take your onward flight home.