West Papua, Trip Report   (14th October – 30th October 2016)

Sorong Lowlands, Waigeo Island & Mokwam area in the Vogelkop Mountains

Prepared by Tony Palliser



Heiko Hoerster <heiko.hoerster@me.com>; Jeonggi Seo <jgseo52@gmail.com>; Martin Magnus <martin@naturfotohits.de>; Renate Brucker <rb-naturvideo@freenet.de>; Sabu Kinattukara <sabupost@gmail.com>; Tony Palliser <tonyp@bigpond.net.au>



An expedition focusing on bird photography, targeting in particular the birds of paradise and local endemics.  The trip was organizsed entirely by the PapuaExpeditions.com/cv. Ekonexion (www.PapuaExpeditions.com) spearheaded by Like Wijaya.  Everything went like clockwork from the time of the booking to our day of departure.  Food was amazing and the accommodation and trip expectations were precisely as outlined within their adventure-travel information page.  Like’s husbad Iwein Mauro guided the trip and now has over 15 years of experience in this region and are therefore very knowledgeable.  Like in particularly was an amazing cook and somehow managed to prepare meals even at the most inappropriate times.

Getting there/Logistics:

Put simply Iwein and Like sorted everything. For more information take a look at their website. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Normally I write section on what to prepare and recommend for such trips but these guys have all this covered in detail on their website.


Papua Expeditions/cv.Ekonexion

P.O. Box 289, Sorong 98401, Indonesia





Day 1 > Early arrival & transfer to Marina Mamberamo Hotel before birding lowland areas near Sorong
Day 2-4 > Birding lowland areas to the south west and north east of Sorong.

(This was an extension to the planned tour that provided the opportunity to see Twelve-wired and King Bird of Paradise along with other local specialities.  Permission had been set up prior to our arrival to visit a number of sites including the use of a few off road trails).  We visited an area some 40km’s or so into the Sorong lowlands by 4 wheel drive and spent several days exploring areas along the road to the NW of Sorong that now extends through to Manokwari (by 4x4).

Day 5 > Speed boat trip to Waigeo Island and camp set up.

Day 6-8 > Waigeo walking trails

A number of walking trials to 3-4 known hides had been setup for the Wilson’s bird-of-Paradise and for the most part each day was spent either walking the trails or sharing visits to the hides.

Day 9 > Speed boat trip to Sorong and a little more lowland birding

Day 10 > Flight to Manokwari and 4x4 transfer to lodge in the Arfak Mountains near Makwon, & Mt Indon

Our accommodation here was at the Papua Lorikeet Guest House, Kwau village. The lodge is wonderfully located but quite basic, without electricity or hot showers (ideal for most birders).

Day 11-16 > Trails above and below Arfak Lodge

Birding for the most part involved climbs to various altitudes either above or below the lodge.  The lodge was situated at an altitude of about 1600m.  There were several trails to the summit clearing which was reportedly at 2050m and a steep trail down to about 1300m where the Magnificent BOP hide was setup.

Day 17 > Afternoon transfer by back to Manokwari & Hotel Aston Niu

Day 18 > Morning flight home.

Iwein certainly knows each area well and is more than familiar with the birds and their calls and most importantly knew exactly where to go see them. Nothing was too much trouble, even to the extent of helping to carry equipment and building temporary hides.  Having been to the Arfak and West Papua region before back in the late 80’s I knew what to expect and this trip thanks again to Iwein and Like exceeded all my expectations.  The only disappoint perhaps was to learn how rare the Long-tailed Paradigalla had become. The human population growth at mid-elevations in the Arfaks and the associated hunting pressure is impacting the region greatly and large-bodied birds such as the paradigalla are prone to local and temporal extirpations. 

Generally, the bird density levels were much lower than my visit some 28 years ago.


The weather during our stay in the Arfak was unusually wet and muddy for the time of year and for the most part restricted activity to the mornings only.  Some of the trails are tough going especially if you are carrying camera equipment.  Rubber boots were used throughout.  Chiggers were a problem in limestone lowlands so it is important to take steps as recommended. 



(Taxonomy following IOC) * = personal lifers, (P) = Photographed



Raja Shelduck

A pair close to the camp on Waigeo Island



Waigeo Brush Turkey (P) *

A young male photographed from a Wilson’s BOP hide on Waigeo

Red-billed Brush Turkey

Commonly heard but not seen in most areas of Sorong Lowlands

Dusky Megapode

One seen by others in the party on a valley trail above Waigeo Camp



Short-tailed Shearwater

Brief views of one or two as we crossed Dampier Strait

Streaked Shearwater

3-4 as we crossed Dampier Strait to Waigeo

Bulwer’s Petrel

2-3 as we crossed Dampier Strait to Waigeo



Cinnamon Bittern (P)

1 at Sorong Airport and 1 at Sorong Fish Farm

Striated Heron

1 at Sorong Fish Farm

Eastern Cattle Egret

A few near Sorong Airport

Intermediate Egret

A few near Sorong Fish Farm and other roadside observations

Little Egret

1 seen along the Orobiai River on Waigeo

Pacific Reef Heron

1 at the Orobiai River Mouth on Waigeo



Brown Booby

2 as we crossed Dampier Strait to Waigeo



Little Pied Cormorant

A pair flying up the river near the Waigeo Camp



Long-tailed Honey Buzzard (P)

A pair photographed close to the Lodge, Arfak 

Papuan Eagle

1 heard calling in the distance from roadside some 40km E of Sorong

Gurney’s Eagle

1-2 sightings near the camp on Waigeo

Variable Goshawk

1 in lowlands to the SW of Sorong and 1 one on Waigeo

Grey-headed Goshawk

1 perched roadside observation near Sorong

Brahminy Kite

A pair near the camp on Waigeo

White-bellied Sea Eagle

Occasional sightings near the camp on Waigeo



White-striped Forest Rail (P) *

A pair at the Magnificent BOP hide (about 1000m)

Buff-banded Rail

1 seen from roadside near Sorong



Pacific Golden Plover

Small numbers on Airstrips and Sorong Fish Farm




1 at the river mouth near Waigeo Camp

Common Greenshank

A few at the Sorong Fish Farm

Grey-tailed Tattler

A few at the river mouth near Waigeo Camp

Common Sandpiper (P)

Commonly encountered in  suitable areas

Red-necked Stint

A few in one of the ponds at the Sorong Fish Farm

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

A few at the Sorong Fish Farm

Curlew Sandpiper

A few at the Sorong Fish Farm



Greater Crested Tern

A few at sea as we crossed Dampier Strait

Bridled Tern

A few at sea as we crossed Dampier Strait

Common Tern

A few as we approached Sorong Harbour

Whiskered Tern (P)

Common close to shore near Sorong and Sorong Fish Farm



Long-tailed Jaeger

An unexpected sighting of one as we crossed Dampier Strait



Rock Dove

A few around Sorong

Sultan’s Cuckoo-Dove

1 near the camp on Waigeo and regular sightings in the Arfak

Great Cuckoo-Dove

A few sighted near the lodge in the Arfak

Stephan’s Ground Dove

1 near the Twelve-wired BOP site, Sorong Lowlands

Bronze Ground Dove

Others in the party sighted a bird from one of the Arfak hides

Western Crowned Pigeon (P) *

1 in a valley above the camp on Waigeo

Wompoo Fruit Dove

Commonly heard on Waigeo

Pink-spotted Fruit Dove (P)

1 photographed on the roadside to the E of Sorong

Coroneted Fruit Dove

A few roadside observations to the SW of Sorong

Beautiful Fruit Dove

A few in a number of lowland spots near Sorong

White-bibbed Fruit Dove (P)

Regular seen along the road near the Lodge in the Arfak (Montane populations split as Moutain Fruit Dove by Pratt & Beehler 2015

Orange-bellied Fruit Dove (P)

A few near the Twelve-wired BOP site to the SW of Sorong

Coroneted Fruit Dove

A few seen at several spots in lowland areas near Sorong

Orange-fronted Fruit Dove

1 seen well at the Sorong Fish Farm

Dwarf Fruit Dove

Scope views of one about 40km E of Sorong

Purple-tailed Imperial Pigeon

A few on Waigeo along trails above the camp

Rufescent Imperial Pigeon

Several sightings. Both high above the lodge in the Arfak

Pinon’s Imperial Pigeon

Flyover sightings near Sorong and on Waigeo

Zoe’s Imperial Pigeon

Flyover roadside sightings near Sorong

Papuan Mountain Pigeon

Regularly seen around the Lodge in the Arfak.  Most were flyovers.



Ivory-billed (Greater Black) Coucal

Heard but not seen in Sorong Lowlands

Black-billed (Lesser Black) Coucal

1 at the Sorong Fish Farm

Dwarf Koel

Heard but not seen in lowlands to the E of Sorong

Pacific Koel

Heard in most lowland areas

Channel-billed Cuckoo

1 at the start of the King BOP trail to the E of Sorong – more heard

Long-billed Cuckoo (P) *

1 photographed along the King BOP trail to the E of Sorong and 3 birds regularly head calling in the general vicinity within hearing distance of one another

Rufous-throated Bronze Cuckoo

Nice views near the Magnificent BOP hide below the Arfak Lodge

White-eared Bronze Cuckoo

1 seen well from the Arfak Lodge during a rainy afternoon

Little Bronze Cuckoo

Often heard in lowland areas (assumed to be this species)

White-crowned Koel

Heard in the lowlands a few times near Sorong

Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo (P)

Nice views of a bird near the Arfak Lodge

Brush Cuckoo (P)

Responded well to playback in lowlands near Sorong

Oriental Cuckoo

A bird that was assumed to be this sp (or Himalayan) near Sorong



Greater Sooty Owl

A noisy bird flew across the rd before dawn close to the Arfak Lodge



Rufous Owl

Heard close to the Waigeo Camp Site one morning

Papuan Boobook

Regularly heard but not seen



Marbled Frogmouth (P)

Great roadside views near Sorong and commonly heard on Waigeo

Papuan Frogmouth

Heard near the Magnificent BOP hide below the Arfak Lodge



Papuan Nightjar *

A pair to the E of Sorong, also heard at the Twelve-wired BOP site



Feline Owlet-nightjar * (P)

A roosting bird near the Arfak Lodge, and more heard each night.

Mountain Owlet-nightjar

Heard on a trail above the Arfak Lodge.



Glossy Swiftlet

Common in lowlands especially on Waigeo

Mountain Swiftlet

The birds seen at 2000m + were presumed to be this species

Uniform Swiftlet (P)

Common in lowlands



Hook-billed Kingfisher

Quite commonly heard in lowland areas but not seen (as usual)

Common Paradise Kingfisher

One seen near the Waigeo Camp

Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher * (P)

Responded to playback at several lowland areas around Sorong.

Rufous-bellied Kookaburra (P)

Seen well on Waigeo and commonly heard around Sorong

Sacred Kingfisher

1 on Waigeo near the camp

Yellow-billed Kingfisher

Seem on Waigeo and heard elsewhere in lowlands near Sorong

Papuan Dwarf Kingfisher

A pair on the river at the camp site on Waigeo



Palm Cockatoo (P)

Flyover sightings E of Sorong and Waigeo Camp Site

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (P)

Fairly common in most lowland areas including Waigeo



Double-eyed Fig Parrot (P)

A pair along the roadside just outside Sorong

Black Lory *

Nice scope views of a bird just to the E of Sorong and later flying nicely overhead

Coconut Lorikeet

Fairly common in lowlands including Waigeo

Black-capped Lory (P)

A few near the Waigeo Camp coming into a fruiting fig tree

Fairy Lorikeet

1 seen on a flowering tree along the road near the Arfak Lodge

Yellow-billed Lorikeet

A few near the Arfak Lodge

Red-cheeked Parrot

Common in most lowland areas including Waigeo

Blue-collared Parrot

A small party at about 2000m  i.e above the Arfak Lodge

Eclectus Parrot

Fairly common in lowland areas throughout

Moluccan King Parrot

1 near the King BOP site E of Sorong and one on Waigeo



Papuan Pitta

Heard in lowlands around Sorong and 1 seen near Waigeo camp

Hooded Pitta

Heard a few times in the Sorong lowlands



Arfak Catbird (P)

1 on loop trial Arfak Lodge and 1 from the Magnificent BOP hide

Vogelkop Bowerbird (P)

Common but difficult to see except from the hides near Arfak Lodge



Papuan Treecreeper (P)

3 sightings on trails above the Arfak Lodge



Orange-crowned Fairywren

A small party in the canopy with other species on a trail in the Arfak



Mountain Myzomela

Roadside observations near Arfak Lodge

Red-collared Myzomela

A few in flowering trees around the Arfak Lodge

Rufous-sided Honeyeater

2 seen near the summit area at about 2000m

Marbled Honeyeater

A few near Arfak Lodge – regularly heard

Tawny-breasted Honeyeater

Most were seen near the King BOP site NW of Sorong

New Guinea Friarbird

Fairly common throughout lowland areas

Long-billed Honeyeater

1 along the road near Arfak Lodge

Arfak Honeyeater

Seen most often along the road near the Arfak Lodge

Brown-backed Honeyeater

Quite common at the Sorong Fish Farm

Vogelkop Melidectes (P)

A few sightings along the road near the Arfak Lodge

Ornate Melidectes

Seen in flowering trees near Arfak Lodge

Scrub Honeyeater

1 at the Sorong Fish Farm

Mimic Honeyeater

A few roadside observations near Sorong, and on Waigeo

Puff-backed Honeyeater

A pair close to the Waigeo Campsite



Rusty Mouse-warbler

Mainly on trails close to the Arfak Lodge

Mountain Mouse-warbler

Just one pair high up on a ridge above Arfak Lodge

Pale-billed Scrubwren

A few in lowlands near the King BOP site

Perplexing Scrubwren

A few sightings of birds thought to be this species below Arfak Lodge

Vogelkop Scrubwren (P)

The most common scrubwren around the Arfak Lodge

Grey-green Scrubwren

Seen well a few times near the Arfak Lodge

Brown-breasted Gerygone (P)

Common on the road at Arfak Lodge

Green-backed Gerygone

Common at Waigeo Camp and Sorong lowlands

Grey Thornbill (P)

A few sightings mostly above the Arfak Lodge



Papuan Babbler (P)

A party at the King BOP site



Black Berrypecker (P)

A few sightings near Sorong and the Twelve-wired BOP site and on Waigeo

Mid-mountain Berrypecker (P)

Roadside observations near the Arfak Lodge

Fan-tailed Berrypecker (P)

A pair at the entrance to the Arfak Lodge

Spotted Berrypecker (P)

Roadside observation near the Arfak Lodge

Dwarf Longbill

A few sighted from the Arfak Lodge

Yellow-bellied Longbill

1-2 in most lowland localities including Waigeo



Spotted Jewel Babbler (P)

A pair at the upper Western Parotia hide in the Arfak

Chestnut-backed Jewel Babbler

1 walked through the Magnificent BOP display court



Yellow-breasted Boatbill

Fairly common around the Waigeo Camp

Black-breasted Boatbill (P)

Roadside observations near Arfak Lodge



Hooded Butcherbird

A pair along the river at the Waigeo Camp



Mottled Berryhunter

Only 1 very brief sighting.  Heard regularly in the more open slightly dryer areas above the lodge (around 1600-1800m), one was also heard along the roadside next to the Lodge but they were not responding well to playback.



Stout-billed Cuckooshrike

A fly-past sighting below Arfak Lodge

Boyer’s Cuckooshrike (P)

Roadside observation to the NW of Sorong

White-bellied Cuckooshrike

Scope views of a bird at the Sorong Fish Farm

Grey-headed Cuckooshrike (P)

A pair at the Twelve-wired BOP site to the SW of Sorong

Black-bellied Cuckooshrike (P)

Most were seen near the Arfak Lodge

Golden Cuckooshrike

Others in the party saw this species

Black-browed Triller (P)

Common throughout lowland areas around Sorong



Rufous-naped Whistler

Seen a few times near the Arfak Lodge



Black Pitohui (P)

A pair along the road at Arfak Lodge

Vogelkop Whistler

Only definite sighting was near the Magnificent BOP site

Sclater’s Whistler (P)

Quite common around the Arfak Lodge and the loop trail

Regent Whistler

Seen at higher altitudes above Arfak Lodge

Grey Whistler

A few near the Twelve-wired BOP site

Little Shrikethrush (P)

A pair at the Waigeo camp site



Raja Ampat Pitohui * (P)

A colony located in a valley just above the Waigeo Campsite

Hooded Pitohui

Fairly common in lowland areas throughout

Rusty Pitohui

Heard near the campsite on Waigeo

Brown Oriole

A few in the lowlands near the King BOP site and regularly heard on Waigeo



Spangled Drongo

Regularly encountered in the Sorong Lowlands



Willie Wagtail

Fairly common in open areas near Sorong, especially at the airport

Northern Fantail

Seen well at the King BOP site

Black Fantail (P)

The common fantail in the Arfak

Friendly Fantail

A few high up in the Arfak

Drongo Fantail (Pygmy Drongo)

3-4 sightings in the Arfak, especially along the rd near the lodge



Black Monarch (P)

Regularly seen on the loop trail at the Arfak Lodge

Spot-winged Monarch

2 sightings both from lowlands near Sorong

Golden Monarch (P)

Roadside sightings to the E of Sorong

Frilled Monarch (P)

A pair with a nest at the Waigeo Camp, also seen in Sorong lowlands

Shining Flycatcher

A pair as we climbed off the boat on Waigeo



Brown-headed Crow * (P)

6 birds seen mostly around the Waigeo Campsite

Torresian Crow

A few at the river-mouth on Waigeo



Glossy-mantled Manucode

1 near the Twelve-wired BOP site in the Sorong lowlands and a few along the river one Waigeo

Trumpet Manucode

A few seen in the Sorong Lowlands

Arfak Astrapia

Only 1 very brief sighting of a probable female at about 2000m Arfak

Western Parotia (P)

Males seen in hides close to the Arfak Lodge, females seen from road

Superb Bird-of-Paradise

A few lower down – close to the Magnificent BOP hide

Black Sicklebill

Heard but could not be seen at about 2000m – above Arfak Lodge

Magnificent Bird-of-Paradise (P)

An amazing performance at the hide below the Arfak Lodge

Wilson’s Bird-of-Paradise (P)

Males attending display courts on Waigeo at each visit

King Bird-of-Paradise (P)

A male at a known site to the E of Sorong

Twelve-wired Bird-of-Paradise (P)

A male at a known display perch to the SW of Sorong – at dawn

Red Bird-of-Paradise (P)

Regularly seen around the Waigeo Campsite and nearby display tree



Ashy Robin

Heard near the Arfak Lodge

Black-chinned Robin

Heard near the Magnificent BOP hide

Black-throated Robin (P)

More common at higher altitudes – perhaps 1500-1800m

Smoky Robin

Heard at about 2000m  on the summit area hike

Slaty Robin (P)

A few pairs close to the Arfak lodge and nearby Loop trail

Green-backed Robin * (P)

Quite easy to see around the Arfak Lodge

Yellow-legged Flyrobin (P)

A pair regularly in evidence around the Arfak Lodge, often loosely associating with mixed insectivore species flocks

Olive Flyrobin (P)

A confiding bird on a forest trail in lowlands to the NW of Sorong

Garnet Robin

2 sightings near the Arfak Lodge

Papuan Scrub Robin

Heard on Waigeo by others

Lesser Ground Robin (P)

1 seen well from the Western Parotia hide.



Barn Swallow

Common around the Sorong rubbish dump and elsewhere

Pacific Swallow

Common in coastal areas



Island Leaf Warbler (P)

Common throughout the lowlands



Gray’s Grasshopper Warbler

Great views of a bird on the roadside near Sorong



Capped White-eye

Common around the Arfak Lodge, but not easy to see well



Yellow-faced Myna (P)

Roadside observations in lowlands near Sorong

Golden Myna (P)

A pair outside the hotel in Sorong



Grey-streaked Flycatcher (P)

Roadside sightings in lowlands outside Sorong



Olive-crowned Flowerpecker

Common on Waigeo and other lowland areas and a few around the Arfak Lodge



Olive-backed Sunbird

Common in lowland areas throughout



Eurasian Tree Sparrow (P)

A few in Sorong township areas



Streak-headed Mannikin

Roadside observation of a pair close to the Arfak Lodge



Grey Wagtail (P)

Seen on Waigeo and around the Lodge in the Arfak






Flying Fox Sp (unidentified)

Common on Waigeo

Marsupial Sp (unidentified) (P)

Roadside observation near the Arfak Lodge 





Magnificent Bird-of-Paradise

Spotted Jewel-Babbler


Wilson’s Bird-of-Paradise


Western Parotia


Feline Owlet-nightjar