One of the things that you worry about as a guide before any tour to Papua New Guinea is 'How much birding time are we going to lose to rain this year?" Let's face it, New Guinea is a very wet place and chances are really good that your birding will be affected somewhere along the line. But this year was different. Other than a bit of lost birding time up at Tari Gap above Ambua due to rain, we had almost nothing this year. That's good for maximizing time in the field—and you really need all of the time you can get in the field on this tour—but having no rain is a double-edged sword. Conditions were way too dry in Karawari this year, and it noticeably affected bird abundance, if not bird distribution, there. Some birds that are normally 'shoe-ins' there were absent or virtually so. We could have used rain at Kumul as well to boost activity some. I hate to wish for rain on a trip like this, but we certainly need more of it next time—in all of the right places and at the right time, of course!
This year's tour was terrific again, in my opinion. For the most part, birds cooperated for us (even some of the skulkers performed reasonably well), the planes were on time, the vehicles worked well, logistics ran relatively smoothly, there wasn't any tribal unrest that affected us at all, food was decent to excellent (mostly the latter), there were plenty of cultural highlights to complement the birding highlights, and our first visit to Kumul Lodge on this main tour was a big success. All of our local guides this year were good to excellent—we would have seen far fewer great birds without them. So, overall, the trip was a big success.
When you travel to the center of the bird-of-paradise universe, picking bird highlights form all that you saw there is no easy task. Instead of mentioning fourteen or fifteen of the best BoP's of our twenty- three or so species here, simply read on for the accounts of those. All of those incredible birds could easily be anyone's trip highlight, but the displaying Blue BoP near Ambua really stands out, as do the remarkable male King BoP near Kiunga, those Kumul Brown Sicklebills, and our first BoP of the trip, Raggiana's at Varirata NP.
Among the non-BoP's, there's plenty from which to choose. Among the gaudy, our male Crested Satinbird surely stands out, as do our Southern Crowned-Pigeon, nesting Beautiful & White-breasted fruit-doves, Pesquet's Parrot, our three species of paradise-kingfishers, Flame Bowerbird, Emperor Fairywren, Crested Berrypecker, Golden Cuckoo-shrike, and Wattled Ploughbill (for some). And among the more subdued in plumage, Chestnut Forest-Rail (for all!), the near-mythical New Guinea Flightless- Rail for a handful of the group, Forest Bittern for half of the group, Long-billed Cuckoo, Greater Sooty Owl, Barred Owlet-nightjar, Archbold's and Yellow-breasted bowerbirds, Wallace's Fairywren, Northern Logrunner for some, Obscure and Spotted berrypeckers, Black Sitella, and Mottled Whistler all stand out. There are plenty of others, so read on. Non-bird highlights certainly include our visit to Konmai village near Karawari and the memorable, impressve sing-sing for some folks at Tari.
Phil and I had a wonderful time sharing this unique tour with all of you and we thank all of you for joining us and for making this a pleasure to guide. We hope to see all of you again on another adventure someplace else on this diverse planet of ours. Take care 'til then!
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
SPOTTED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna guttata)
Some in the group got a pretty good look at about a dozen of these scarce and local whistling-ducks at PAU before they were spooked by a tractor and flew off. A couple of other singles were seen in flight in the Fly R. lowlands near Kiunga.
WANDERING WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna arcuata)
Several at the ponds at PAU near Port Moresby.
PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa)
E* BLACK-BILLED BRUSH-TURKEY (Talegalla fuscirostris)
The nest mound that we saw at Varirata hadn't been used for quite some time.
E* BROWN-COLLARED BRUSH-TURKEY (Talegalla jobiensis)
The mound that we saw near Karawari could have been this one, but was more likely being used by the next species. Both were vocal in the area, but Phil saw the next species run off from near the mound when we first arrived.
E* NEW GUINEA SCRUBFOWL (Megapodius affinis) Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
BROWN QUAIL (Coturnix ypsilophora)
A look at one in flight for most folks at Kumul near the orchid garden.
AUSTRALASIAN GREBE (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae)
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
LITTLE BLACK CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris) LITTLE PIED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax melanoleucos)
This was the more widespread of the two cormorant species we saw on the tour.
GREAT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata minor)
At least one adult female soaring above the harbor at Port Moresby.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
BLACK BITTERN (Ixobrychus flavicollis)
For most folks along the river on the way to Konmai village near Karawari. No rare rufous morph birds this year...
FOREST BITTERN (Zonerodius heliosylus)
WOWW!! A lucky few of us stumbled upon this rare bittern along one of the trails at Varirata on our final day of birding - an event not unprecedented in the history of Field Guides tours to PNG (Rose Ann Rowlett had a similar experience there several years ago on the final day of birding).
GREAT-BILLED HERON (Ardea sumatrana)
A few fine looks; best on the Karawari R. on the north slope.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
This Old World form is split by some from the birds in the New World, so keep track of this one...
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Mesophoyx intermedia)
Just a couple of sightings this year near Port Moresby.
LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)
Even scarcer this year than the above species.
PIED HERON (Egretta picata)
Fine views of this dapper heron at PAU near Port Moresby.
CATTLE EGRET (ASIAN) (Bubulcus ibis coromandus)
Another potential split, this one would be called Eastern Cattle-Egret (B. coromandus), separate from the birds that we have in the New World (which are of African origin).
RUFOUS NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax caledonicus)
Good views of this one at PAU. Formerly called Nankeen Night-Heron.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
AUSTRALIAN IBIS (Threskiornis molucca)
A few at PAU. A split some time ago from the similar Sacred Ibis.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
PACIFIC BAZA (Aviceda subcristata)
We had a couple of decent views of this one, but we never really nailed it for great looks.
E LONG-TAILED HONEY-BUZZARD (Henicopernis longicauda)
This very distinctive endemic raptor was seen very well in flight on a couple of occasions.
BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE (Elanus caeruleus)
A few folks saw one of these (at least) near Kumul at the end of the tour. A very scarce bird throughout our tour route.
BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans)
N WHISTLING KITE (Haliastur sphenurus)
BRAHMINY KITE (Haliastur indus)
WHITE-BELLIED SEA-EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucogaster)
That exaggerated dihedral while flying is a good clue to identifying this one.
E EASTERN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus spilonotus spilothorax)
A number of authorities now split this resident form from Eastern Marsh-Harrier, calling it Papuan Harrier. Someday, the Clements crew will catch up with all of these well-founded changes in taxonomy in this part of the world.
VARIABLE GOSHAWK (Accipiter hiogaster)
All of the birds that we looked at were the rusty-bellied types.
E BLACK-MANTLED GOSHAWK (Accipiter melanochlamys)
A single adult soaring over the highway near Kumul gave some of us a terrific look. Nice spotting Steve!
COLLARED SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter cirrocephalus)
A very distant perched bird at the top of the Dablin Creek road was barely worth looking at.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AUSTRALIAN KESTREL (Falco cenchroides)
Formerly called the Nankeen Kestrel, a few of us saw this one in Port Moresby while we looked for the Silver- eared Honeyeater.
PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)
A bird soaring above Ambua was a surprise find there.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
E CHESTNUT FOREST-RAIL (Rallina rubra)
Most of the group saw this tiny rail either above Ambua or at the feeders at Kumul. Probably not all that uncommon, it can be a devil to see.
BUFF-BANDED RAIL (Gallirallus philippensis)
We all put up a couple of these when we first walked the grassy border of the Kiunga airstrip, and then some of us got to see a couple more on the dirt road between the Ambua airstrip and the lodge.
* RUFOUS-TAILED BUSH-HEN (Amaurornis moluccana)
NEW GUINEA FLIGHTLESS RAIL (Megacrex inepta)
It was a minor miracle that anyone at all got to see this nearly mythical species at all! I just wish that we'd had more time to spend there to look for it.
N PURPLE SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio porphyrio)
If you're a splitter, then the one that we saw at PAU would be the Black-backed Swamphen.
N DUSKY MOORHEN (Gallinula tenebrosa) Several active nests of this one at PAU.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
MASKED LAPWING (Vanellus miles)
LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (Charadrius dubius)
For the moment, the sedentary race here is the nominate one, C.d. dubius.
COMB-CRESTED JACANA (Irediparra gallinacea)
A few of these were conspicuous on the water lily pads at PAU.
RED-BACKED BUTTONQUAIL (Turnix maculosus)
One of these flushed right next to me as we walked the Kiunga airstrip. We actually had a decent view in flight as it few directly behind us and plunged into the grass.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
I ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)
SLENDER-BILLED CUCKOO-DOVE (Macropygia amboinensis)
This cuckoo-dove far outnumbered the next species on the tour.
E BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO-DOVE (Macropygia nigrirostris)
We had a few encounters with this endemic, but we never did nail it with the whole group.
E GREAT CUCKOO-DOVE (Reinwardtoena reinwardtii)
I was a little surprised at how few of these we saw this year.
* STEPHAN'S DOVE (Chalcophaps stephani)
E NEW GUINEA BRONZEWING (Henicophaps albifrons)
One of these long-billed pigeons flew right in front of the group and across the road as we scanned from our perch above the road near Kiunga.
PEACEFUL DOVE (Geopelia placida)
BAR-SHOULDERED DOVE (Geopelia humeralis) E* PHEASANT PIGEON (Otidiphaps nobilis)
We were pretty close to this one, but it just wouldn't come in for a look.
E SOUTHERN CROWNED-PIGEON (Goura scheepmakeri)
YESSSS!!!! Thanks to Jimmy's sharp eyes, we all enjoyed great views of this spectacular species bright and early in the morning along the Elevala R. near Kiunga.
E VICTORIA CROWNED-PIGEON (Goura victoria)
Just seen briefly in flight for some folks near Karawari.
WOMPOO FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus magnificus)
A fairly common voice in the lowlands and foothills of the tour, but we saw very few.
E PINK-SPOTTED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus perlatus)
One of the most common and widespread of the Fruit-doves on this tour, as is usual.
E ORNATE FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus ornatus)
We were very lucky to see this scarce fruit-dove as well and for as long as we did near Tabubil.
E ORANGE-FRONTED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus aurantiifrons)
Doug was the only one to see this one at Karawari this year. Like so many other birds there, the ongoing drought there may have forced them to move elsewhere.
* SUPERB FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus superbus)
E CORONETED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus coronulatus)
A couple of us had a brief look in the canopy above the trail behind Karawari.
EN BEAUTIFUL FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus pulchellus) Seeing a bird on a nest near Kiunga was a real treat!
EN WHITE-BREASTED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus rivoli)
The same can be said of this one near Tari Gap above Ambua.
E ORANGE-BELLIED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus iozonus)
One of the most common of the fruit-doves in the lowlands.
E DWARF FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus nanus)
We had to view this one from the boats, but the tiny size and yellow wing edgings were very apparent. Sometimes a tough one to track down for a look.
E PURPLE-TAILED IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula rufigaster)
We heard far more than we ever saw. A few of us had a couple of flyby birds in the Kiunga area.
E PINON IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula pinon)
Most common in the Kiunga area. "Pinon" is apparently a surname, so it shouldn't be pronounced like the widespread pine tree in the Southwestern US (i.e. - "pinyon").
E COLLARED IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula mullerii)
The numbers seemed to be down along the Fly River this year for some reason. Almost exclusively a riverine species.
E ZOE IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula zoeae)
This was the most commonly detected of the imperial-pigeons on this year's tour.
E PAPUAN MOUNTAIN-PIGEON (Gymnophaps albertisii)
It was great watching these interact and display in the forest above Ambua.
PALM COCKATOO (Probosciger aterrimus)
We had relatively few this year, especially in the Kiunga area, but some of our looks on the wing were fabulous!
SULPHUR-CRESTED COCKATOO (Cacatua galerita)
This one has a different eye-ring color and a different voice than birds in Australia.
E YELLOW-STREAKED LORY (Chalcopsitta sintillata)
This big lory was a fairly regular sight overhead in the Kiunga area.
E DUSKY LORY (Pseudeos fuscata)
The birds on the north slope near Karawari seemed to be quite a bit darker overall than the birds that we saw at Tabubil or Kiunga.
RAINBOW LORIKEET (Trichoglossus haematodus)
The I.O.C. now splits these New Guinea birds out as a species separate from Australian birds, calling it the Coconut Lorikeet (and retaining the scientific name).
E GOLDIE'S LORIKEET (Psitteuteles goldiei)
A couple of quick flybys at Kumul, but nothing we could sink our teeth into.
E BLACK-CAPPED LORY (Lorius lory)
It took us until the final day of birding at Varirata to really see this spectacular species well.
E RED-FLANKED LORIKEET (Charmosyna placentis)
We all got to enjoy some rare perched views in the telescopes at Kiunga.
E PAPUAN LORIKEET (Charmosyna papou)
This gorgeous lorikeet wasn't very conspicuous at either Ambua or Kumul, but we had good looks at several at both locales.
E PLUM-FACED LORIKEET (Oreopsittacus arfaki)
The fruiting Schefflera really drew these stunning little lorikeets in above Ambua.
E YELLOW-BILLED LORIKEET (Neopsittacus musschenbroekii)
This was the common small lorikeet in the Ambua area during our visit.
E ORANGE-BILLED LORIKEET (Neopsittacus pullicauda) Just a flyby at Kumul was all we could muster this year.
E PESQUET'S PARROT (Psittrichas fulgidus)
We had good luck with this one in the Tabubil area this year with five distant birds along the ridge opposite the Dablin Creek road and then another closer pair either feeding or checking out a nest hole near Ok Menga.
E YELLOW-CAPPED PYGMY-PARROT (Micropsitta keiensis) A single flyby this time in the Kiunga area.
E BUFF-FACED PYGMY-PARROT (Micropsitta pusio) Marilee spotted this for us at Karawari.
RED-BREASTED PYGMY-PARROT (Micropsitta bruijnii)
This tiny parrot occurs at higher elevations than the other two species possible on this tour. We had some decent views of a couple of singles near Tabubil. A near-endemic, this species also occurs on Seram & Buru to the west in the Moluccas and on a couple of the Solomon Is. as well.
E ORANGE-BREASTED FIG-PARROT (Cyclopsitta gulielmitertii)
Great views of this tiny fig-parrot at both Tabubil and near Kiunga.
DOUBLE-EYED FIG-PARROT (Cyclopsitta diophthalma)
A bird perched up in a bare tree had us fooled for a moment, thinking that it was going to turn out to be another Red-cheeked Parrot.
E LARGE FIG-PARROT (Psittaculirostris desmarestii)
A single bird for some of us on the Elevala R. as we headed upstream in the early morning.
E EDWARDS'S FIG-PARROT (Psittaculirostris edwardsii)
Doug got the best look at this one at Karawari and the rest of us had to be content with a distant bird through the scope in the fog (ugh!).
E* PAINTED TIGER-PARROT (Psittacella picta)
E BREHM'S TIGER-PARROT (Psittacella brehmii)
A standard occupant of the feeding tray behind Kumul Lodge.
RED-CHEEKED PARROT (Geoffroyus geoffroyi)
Widespread and quite common.
E BLUE-COLLARED PARROT (Geoffroyus simplex) Vocalizing specks in the sky above the Dablin Creek rd.
ECLECTUS PARROT (Eclectus roratus)
Fantastic looks at numerous pairs.
E PAPUAN KING-PARROT (Alisterus chloropterus)
This one never really behaved very well at all for the group, but some did get a decent view on our final morning at Ambua.
E PAPUAN HANGING-PARROT (Loriculus aurantiifrons)
A quick flyby pair near Kiunga one morning was all that we got this year.
BRUSH CUCKOO (Cacomantis variolosus)
CHESTNUT-BREASTED CUCKOO (Cacomantis castaneiventris)
Part of the group got a good look on our final day at Varirata.
FAN-TAILED CUCKOO (Cacomantis flabelliformis simus)
Most saw this one just below Tari Gap on our first afternoon up there. A widespread species, but it probably needs some taxonomic revision.
a SHINING BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx lucidus)
This one was a bit of a surprise in the open eucalypt forest just below Varirata on our first full day of birding.
E RUFOUS-THROATED BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx ruficollis)
We had a decent, though fleeting, look at this endemic cuckoo above Ambua. Most of the group saw another near the orchid garden at Kumul.
E WHITE-EARED BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx meyeri)
Despite the habitat being severely cut over, this one is still hanging on along the Dablin Creek rd.
LITTLE BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx minutillus)
Scarce in the lowlands throughout our itinerary, but we managed a couple of nice looks. All of the birds we saw looked like the resident race.
E LONG-BILLED CUCKOO (Rhamphomantis megarhynchus)
We were finally able to reel this one in for a great scope look near Kiunga. Not a very well known bird - the preferred host species is still a mystery.
E* WHITE-CROWNED KOEL (Caliechthrus leucolophus) E* DWARF KOEL (Microdynamis parva)
ASIAN KOEL (Eudynamys scolopaceus)
The birds around Karawari Lodge on the north slope of PNG are likely this species.
b AUSTRALIAN KOEL (Eudynamys cyanocephalus)
All of the birds around Kiunga seem to be this, which was split from the Asian Koel relatively recently.
CHANNEL-BILLED CUCKOO (Scythrops novaehollandiae)
We had some fantastic views of several birds in the Kiunga area and especially along the Fly R. These birds are likely austral migrants from Australia.
E GREATER BLACK COUCAL (Centropus menbeki)
The big endemic coucal seems to be quite a bit sneakier than the other two coucal species on this tour. Seeing that pale bill on this bird is the real clincher.
PHEASANT COUCAL (Centropus phasianinus)
Only around Port Moresby and in the open country near Varirata.
E LESSER BLACK COUCAL (Centropus bernsteini)
We finally got one just sitting out in the open from the boat at Karawari.
GREATER SOOTY-OWL (Tyto tenebricosa)
Some gentle coaxing by the local land-owner brought this one into view for us near Ambua.
E JUNGLE HAWK-OWL (Ninox theomacha)
Nice looks in the lights near the restaurant at Ambua. The better name for this bird is Papuan Boobook.
E* PAPUAN HAWK-OWL (Uroglaux dimorpha) Aegothelidae (Owlet-Nightjars)
E* MOUNTAIN OWLET-NIGHTJAR (Aegotheles albertisi) E BARRED OWLET-NIGHTJAR (Aegotheles bennettii)
This was a mystery until a few short years ago, and now it's pretty much standard on a visit to Varirata.
PAPUAN FROGMOUTH (Podargus papuensis)
It took some looking, but a pair was eventually located near our picnic spot at Varirata. Up until a couple of years ago, a pair of Marbleds roosted in the same area as these.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LARGE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus macrurus)
A couple of female birds during the daytime at Varirata.
E PAPUAN NEEDLETAIL (Mearnsia novaeguineae)
Very common in some areas of the lowlands. Also known as the Papuan Spinetail (but saying 'spinetail' makes me think of little brown birds in S. America with long rusty tails).
GLOSSY SWIFTLET (Collocalia esculenta)
Strangely absent from the lowest elevations around Kiunga and Karawari.
E MOUNTAIN SWIFTLET (Aerodramus hirundinaceus)
This one replaces the Uniform S. at the higher elevations.
UNIFORM SWIFTLET (Aerodramus vanikorensis)
Really common throughout the lowlands and foothills.
MOUSTACHED TREESWIFT (Hemiprocne mystacea)
Seemingly scarce this year on the tour. We had our best encounters near Kiunga. A real giant compared to the other treeswifts.
AZURE KINGFISHER (Alcedo azurea)
Best along the Karawari River and its tributaries.
LITTLE KINGFISHER (Alcedo pusilla)
One of these perched on some dead sticks above the water along the Karawari was a nice surprise!
VARIABLE KINGFISHER (Ceyx lepidus)
Marilee was fortunate enough to see this tiny forest-based kingfisher perched before it flew off at Karawari.
BLUE-WINGED KOOKABURRA (Dacelo leachii)
Only in the open country around Port Moresby and near Varirata on this tour.
E RUFOUS-BELLIED KOOKABURRA (Dacelo gaudichaud)
Very common by voice throughout the lowlands and foothill forest. We did get some excellent views of this endemic kookaburra.
FOREST KINGFISHER (Todiramphus macleayii)
Leonard spotted one of these perched near the PAU entrance shortly after we arrived there.
SACRED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus sanctus)
E HOOK-BILLED KINGFISHER (Melidora macrorrhina)
Just glimpsed as it flew across the road near Kiunga. One of the toughest of New Guinea's birds to see.
YELLOW-BILLED KINGFISHER (Syma torotoro)
Great views in the scope on that first morning of birding at Varirata NP.
E LITTLE PARADISE-KINGFISHER (Tanysiptera hydrocharis)
I'm not sure how Jimmy spotted it, but I'm sure we're all glad he did! Nice views in the scope at this difficult bird.
E COMMON PARADISE-KINGFISHER (Tanysiptera galatea)
We had a couple of encounters with this shy species in the riverine forest near Kiunga. You'd think a fancy bird like that would be easy to spot!
E BROWN-HEADED PARADISE-KINGFISHER (Tanysiptera danae)
We finally found just the right hole for the scope on our first morning at Varirata. A much more colorful and striking bird than the field guide would lead you to believe.
BLUE-TAILED BEE-EATER (Merops philippinus)
A few along the river near Karawari.
a RAINBOW BEE-EATER (Merops ornatus)
There may have been some breeders near Varirata, but the vast majority of the birds we saw were wintering here from Australia.
DOLLARBIRD (Eurystomus orientalis)
I'll be sending out your individual bills soon....
BLYTH'S HORNBILL (Aceros plicatus)
We had a number of fine looks of birds in flight, but the best may have been at Karawari while the last half of the group waited to head to the airstrip for the second flight to Hagen.
HOODED PITTA (Pitta sordida)
Just a quick flyby for some at Samuel's lodge near Kiunga.
* RED-BELLIED PITTA (Pitta erythrogaster) Ptilonorhynchidae (Bowerbirds)
E WHITE-EARED CATBIRD (Ailuroedus buccoides)
A lucky few folks got on this shy endemic as we waited for the Victoria Crowned-Pigeon to be relocated.
E ARCHBOLD'S BOWERBIRD (Archboldia papuensis)
I feel a little guilty about seeing this shy and difficult bird at a feeder - but I'll get over it!
E FLAME BOWERBIRD (Sericulus aureus)
I don't think any of us had our hopes very high on seeing this bird at the traditional spot near Kiunga. Three birds there, including an adult male, sure exceeded expectations, don't you think?!
E YELLOW-BREASTED BOWERBIRD (Chlamydera lauterbachi)
We all had great looks in the scopes of at least three birds at the usual spot near Kumul. A very local species.
FAWN-BREASTED BOWERBIRD (Chlamydera cerviniventris)
One of the things I liked best about this one was seeing a good, functional bower at PAU.
E WALLACE'S FAIRYWREN (Sipodotus wallacii)
This little guy gave us fits on the first day of birding at Varirata, but most got a look of some kind or another. Good practice for things to come!
E WHITE-SHOULDERED FAIRYWREN (Malurus alboscapulatus)
The three species of fairywrens that we saw this year all have very different habitat choices and very different habits. This was really the only 'easy' one of the lot.
E EMPEROR FAIRYWREN (Malurus cyanocephalus)
Wow, that male really put on a show for us! The female was easy on the eyes, too.
E LONG-BILLED HONEYEATER (Melilestes megarhynchus)
A couple of these strange honeyeaters were engaged in some sort of bill-to-bill ritualistic behavior just a few meters from where we were watching for the Black-sided Robin. Not sure what was going on there, but it didn't look like a territorial dispute to me.
GREEN-BACKED HONEYEATER (Glycichaera fallax fallax)
Great views on our first morning of birding at Varirata. A seldom-seen bird on this trip.
E SILVER-EARED HONEYEATER (Lichmera alboauricularis)
Despite the art store being closed, these endemic honeyeaters were still hanging out in their favorite trees.
DUSKY MYZOMELA (Myzomela obscura)
Just one bird on the final day.
E BLACK MYZOMELA (Myzomela nigrita)
That open dry eucalypt forest near Varirata was the place for this small honeyeater.
E MOUNTAIN MYZOMELA (Myzomela adolphinae)
We had a couple of good encounters with this one near Kumul Lodge in some of the few blooms that we found there.
E RED-COLLARED MYZOMELA (Myzomela rosenbergii)
A stunning male kept coming back to feed in that showy red flower just below Tari Gap.
E MOUNTAIN MELIPHAGA (Meliphaga orientalis)
This was a bonus find at our Yellow-breasted Bowerbird stop near Kumul. But then again, it was a Meliphaga.
E SCRUB HONEYEATER (Meliphaga albonotata)
That white ear patch narrows down the possibilities some.
E PUFF-BACKED HONEYEATER (Meliphaga aruensis)
A decent look in the scopes at the Karawari airstrip.
E GRACEFUL HONEYEATER (Meliphaga gracilis cinereifrons)
One of the smaller Meliphagas, this active bird was seen by some folks at Varirata on the final day. Most authorities now split this form from the Graceful and call it Elegant Meliphaga (M. cinereifrons).
E YELLOW-GAPED HONEYEATER (Meliphaga flavirictus)
The bird we saw while scanning for the Flame Bowerbird near Kiunga was consistent with this species. Sounds like a hedge, doesn't it?
E BLACK-THROATED HONEYEATER (Lichenostomus subfrenatus)
Loud and noisy in the highland forest. We had an okay look below Tari Gap this year.
E* OBSCURE HONEYEATER (Lichenostomus obscurus) YELLOW-TINTED HONEYEATER (Lichenostomus flavescens)
Maybe the most common bird around the parliament building in Port Moresby.
TAWNY-BREASTED HONEYEATER (Xanthotis flaviventer)
Common in the lowland forests of both slopes.
WHITE-THROATED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus albogularis)
We ended up with a good look on the final morning of the trip in the dry eucalypt forest.
E PLAIN HONEYEATER (Pycnopygius ixoides)
That first pair at Varirata were bright enough to have us thinking Tawny Straightbill at first.
E MARBLED HONEYEATER (Pycnopygius cinereus)
Another surprise find at the Yellow-breasted Bowerbird spot was this bird, which sat still for the longest time, allowing all to see it well in the scopes. #3000 for Dick!
E STREAK-HEADED HONEYEATER (Pycnopygius stictocephalus)
Loud and distinctive, we ended up seeing this bird well in the scopes from the helipad at Karawari.
E MEYER'S FRIARBIRD (Philemon meyeri)
Pretty small for a friarbird, this one cooperated nicely for us along the Karawari airstrip.
HELMETED FRIARBIRD (Philemon buceroides)
The I.O.C. now splits this one from the birds in Australia and calls it New Guinea Friarbird. A very familiar sight and sound in the lowlands and foothills throughout.
E RUFOUS-BACKED HONEYEATER (Ptiloprora guisei)
A few sightings in the highlands, usually below the next species.
E BLACK-BACKED HONEYEATER (Ptiloprora perstriata) A common visitor to the feeding station at Kumul.
E BELFORD'S MELIDECTES (Melidectes belfordi)
The ol' BelMel was a near constant distraction whenever we birded in the highlands on this tour.
E YELLOW-BROWED MELIDECTES (Melidectes rufocrissalis) This was the melidectes around the grounds at Ambua.
E ORNATE MELIDECTES (Melidectes torquatus)
Once we got to the Lesser BOP lek, this one was pretty easy.
E SMOKY HONEYEATER (Melipotes fumigatus)
Watching the face of this one flush and then fade was a favorite pastime of this group.
RUFOUS-BANDED HONEYEATER (Conopophila albogularis)
Numerous around PAU, with a few birds in Kiunga as well.
Acanthizidae (Thornbills and Allies)
E RUSTY MOUSE-WARBLER (Crateroscelis murina)
The most fleeting of looks at this skulker at Varirata on the first and last days.
E MOUNTAIN MOUSE-WARBLER (Crateroscelis robusta)
It took until Kumul, but everyone eventually caught up with good looks at this one. They turned out to be rather easy on the grounds at Kumul.
E LARGE SCRUBWREN (Sericornis nouhuysi)
At Ambua, this one traveled around in mixed flocks with the smaller Buff-faced Scrubwren, while at Kumul (a little higher in elevation), the flock partner was the very similar Papuan Scrubwren.
E BUFF-FACED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis perspicillatus)
E PAPUAN SCRUBWREN (Sericornis papuensis)
E MOUNTAIN GERYGONE (Gerygone cinerea)
The only encounter we had with this one was a rather large group of birds with a mixed flock along the Ambua entrance road after the first flight to Karawari had already left.
GREEN-BACKED GERYGONE (Gerygone chloronota)
A very common voice in the canopy of both Varirata and the Kiunga area.
FAIRY GERYGONE (Gerygone palpebrosa)
One of the most distinctive birds in this genus.
E YELLOW-BELLIED GERYGONE (Gerygone chrysogaster) Widespread in the foothills and lowland forest throughout.
* LARGE-BILLED GERYGONE (Gerygone magnirostris) E BROWN-BREASTED GERYGONE (Gerygone ruficollis)
We finally nailed this one after the Greater Sooty Owl tromp.
E NEW GUINEA BABBLER (Pomatostomus isidorei) Nicely on the Drimgas Rd. near Kiunga for some.
E NORTHERN LOGRUNNER (Orthonyx novaeguineae)
Considering how difficult it is to see this secretive species, I'm amazed that as many folks saw it at Ambua.
E LORIA'S SATINBIRD (Cnemophilus loriae)
This was one of the first birds that we saw in the fruiting tree outside Cabin #7. This and the next species (along with Yellow-breasted Satinbird) were taken out of the birds-of-paradise family and put in their own family.
EN CRESTED SATINBIRD (Cnemophilus macgregorii)
It took a couple of tries and a lot of waiting, but we all eventually saw the incredible male well at Kumul. The real treat was seeing an active nest just a few meters above the trail there!
Melanocharitidae (Berrypeckers and Longbills)
E OBSCURE BERRYPECKER (Melanocharis arfakiana)
Not much to look at, but its scientific obscurity made it attractive to us.
E BLACK BERRYPECKER (Melanocharis nigra)
Our first berrypecker of the trip, most saw a male fairly well at Varirata on the first and last days.
E LEMON-BREASTED BERRYPECKER (Melanocharis longicauda)
Also known as the Midmountain Berrypecker, it was a treat to watch a few of these at leisure outside our Ambua cabins.
E FAN-TAILED BERRYPECKER (Melanocharis versteri) We bumped into a few of these up high.
SPOTTED BERRYPECKER (Melanocharis crassirostris)
Our lone male at Ambua was one of the better birds of the trip, from the viewpoint of status alone.
E YELLOW-BELLIED LONGBILL (Toxorhamphus novaeguineae) This canopy bird never really cooperated for us anywhere.
E SLATY-CHINNED LONGBILL (Toxorhamphus poliopterus)
A couple of us were fortunate to see this scarce little bird near Kumul.
E DWARF HONEYEATER (Toxorhamphus iliolophus)
More correctly called the Dwarf Longbill. We had our best looks along the Dablin Creek road.
Paramythiidae (Tit Berrypecker, Crested Berrypecker)
E TIT BERRYPECKER (Oreocharis arfaki)
That big flock at Ambua passed through the same fruiting trees with regularity.
E CRESTED BERRYPECKER (Paramythia montium)
Of my three trips to PNG, this was, by far, the best trip for this distinctive endemic.
Cinclosomatidae (Quail-thrushes and Jewel-babblers)
E* PAINTED QUAIL-THRUSH (Cinclosoma ajax)
E BLUE JEWEL-BABBLER (Ptilorrhoa caerulescens)
Glimpsed by a couple of folks only. We did get a chance to hear a song type that was new to Phil, and that's saying something!
E CHESTNUT-BACKED JEWEL-BABBLER (Ptilorrhoa castanonota) Like the above, glimpsed by a few only on this trip at Varirata.
E BLACK-BREASTED BOATBILL (Machaerirhynchus nigripectus) Can't beat that look we had in the car park at Ambua!
N YELLOW-BREASTED BOATBILL (Machaerirhynchus flaviventer)
Varirata seemed to be the best place for this one on the tour. A few of us even got to see a nest there!
E GREAT WOODSWALLOW (Artamus maximus)
These provided cheap entertainment every morning on the grounds at Ambua.
WHITE-BREASTED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus leucorynchus)
Cracticidae (Bellmagpies and Allies)
E MOUNTAIN PELTOPS (Peltops montanus)
Our best encounter with this one was above Tabubil.
E LOWLAND PELTOPS (Peltops blainvillii)
This very similar species was seen on a number of days in the warm lowlands of Kiunga and Karawari.
BLACK-BACKED BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus mentalis)
In the dry, open lowlands and hills around Port Moresby.
E HOODED BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus cassicus) One of the most amazing voices in New Guinea.
BLACK BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus quoyi)
Compared to the voice in other parts of its range, those western PNG birds are pretty weird!
BLACK-FACED CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Coracina novaehollandiae)
A lot (all?) of the birds that we saw were likely austral migrants form Australia.
E STOUT-BILLED CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Coracina caeruleogrisea)
Our best looks were of a couple of different females. The similarity between this and the Boyer's C. is striking!
YELLOW-EYED CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Coracina lineata)
Great views on that last morning just before we arrived at Varirata.
E BOYER'S CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Coracina boyeri)
One of the most common of the cuckoo-shrikes at all of our lowland/foothill venues.
WHITE-BELLIED CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Coracina papuensis papuensis)
Some of the birds that we saw are quite a bit grayer below than average, causing some confusion.
E* HOODED CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Coracina longicauda) CICADABIRD (Coracina tenuirostris)
A couple of females obliged our scopes near Karawari.
E GRAY-HEADED CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Coracina schisticeps)
Some saw this one near Kiunga. If you see the distinctive female, the i.d. is pretty straightforward.
E NEW GUINEA CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Coracina melas)
The better name for this one is Papuan Black Cuckoo-shrike. The male and female couldn't look more different.
E BLACK-BELLIED CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Coracina montana)
These highland birds responded well and gave us great views above Ambua.
E GOLDEN CUCKOO-SHRIKE (Campochaera sloetii)
A real stunner - the book's illustration doesn't do this bird justice.
VARIED TRILLER (Lalage leucomela) BLACK-BROWED TRILLER (Lalage atrovirens)
A daily bird somewhere in the Karawari area (usually at the helipad).
E BLACK SITTELLA (Neositta miranda)
We were lucky to briefly get on a group of four of these birds before they disappeared in the tall forest off the road above Ambua.
Pachycephalidae (Whistlers and Allies)
E MOTTLED WHISTLER (Rhagologus leucostigma)
This scarce whistler played a little hide-and-seek with us at the cabins.
E* DWARF WHISTLER (Pachycare flavogriseum)
E RUFOUS-NAPED WHISTLER (Aleadryas rufinucha)
It seems like no two immature birds have the same plumage, which is really odd for a passerine.
E RUSTY WHISTLER (Pachycephala hyperythra)
A couple of folks in the group saw this scarce and local bird when it initially emerged from the forest patch on the Dablin Creek rd., but it then promptly disappeared, despite our efforts.
E BROWN-BACKED WHISTLER (Pachycephala modesta)
Nicely just below Tari Gap. Not known to cross over into Irian Jaya (West Papua).
GRAY-HEADED WHISTLER (Pachycephala griseiceps)
Most folks eventually caught up with this nondescript species at Varirata on either the first or last day.
E SCLATER'S WHISTLER (Pachycephala soror)
This beautiful species was a regular component of mixed flocks in the forest around the Ambua grounds.
E REGENT WHISTLER (Pachycephala schlegelii)
This stunner replaced the Sclater's a bit higher up at Ambua, and was also the most common true whistler around the lodge at Kumul.
EN BLACK-HEADED WHISTLER (Pachycephala monacha)
Not a difficult bird in the more open foothill habitats below Ambua and Kumul lodges, and also above Tabubil (where we discovered an active nest).
E WHITE-BELLIED WHISTLER (Pachycephala leucogastra)
A male happened to vocalize just as we drove by near Varirata, and we soon had a great view in the scopes. A relatively recent split from the Rufous Whistler of Australia.
RUFOUS SHRIKE-THRUSH (Colluricincla megarhyncha)
A fairly common voice, but we saw just a few. Sometimes called Little Shrike-Thrush
GRAY SHRIKE-THRUSH (Colluricincla harmonica)
Nice looks on the PAU grounds near Port Moresby.
E HOODED PITOHUI (Pitohui dichrous)
Our best looks of this bird with the poisonous plumage were had at Varirata.
E WHITE-BELLIED PITOHUI (Pitohui incertus)
We had a good number of these on the morning we headed up the Elevala R. near Kiunga. Rather difficult to see, but most folks got some sort of look of this riverine forest specialty.
E RUSTY PITOHUI (Pitohui ferrugineus)
At Karawari and at Varirata for some folks.
E* CRESTED PITOHUI (Pitohui cristatus)
E VARIABLE PITOHUI (Pitohui kirhocephalus)
We heard a few of these as a group, but only a few of us got on one at Karawari (where it's normally easy) this year. The local drought seemed to affect numbers of this species and others there this year.
E WATTLED PLOUGHBILL (Eulacestoma nigropectus)
Great views of an adult male along the Pigites trail near Kumul for some.
LONG-TAILED SHRIKE (Lanius schach stresemanni)
This bird is the s.e.-most race of this widespread species, but I suspect that Long-tailed Shrike is in need of some taxonomic revision.
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
E BROWN ORIOLE (Oriolus szalayi)
A very common voice throughout the lowlands and foothill forest. Seemingly a Helmeted Friarbird mimic - the advantages of which are unknown.
GREEN FIGBIRD (Sphecotheres viridis)
At PAU only this year.
SPANGLED DRONGO (Dicrurus bracteatus)
There are probably multiple species lumped under the name 'Spangled Drongo'.
NORTHERN FANTAIL (Rhipidura rufiventris)
Decent looks of this one along the Dablin Creek road.
N WILLIE-WAGTAIL (Rhipidura leucophrys) Almost daily.
E FRIENDLY FANTAIL (Rhipidura albolimbata) As one would assume, a very confiding bird.
E CHESTNUT-BELLIED FANTAIL (Rhipidura hyperythra)
A regular flock component at Varirata, but sometimes tricky to see well.
E* SOOTY THICKET-FANTAIL (Rhipidura threnothorax)
E WHITE-BELLIED THICKET-FANTAIL (Rhipidura leucothorax leucothorax)
We had a couple of chances to see this skulker, and most came away with something.
E BLACK FANTAIL (Rhipidura atra)
This one sort of 'got in the way' while we were looking for the White-rumped Robin along the Dablin Creek Rd. near Tabubil.
E DIMORPHIC FANTAIL (Rhipidura brachyrhyncha)
Not terribly difficult this year at Kumul. All of our birds had rust and black tails.
E RUFOUS-BACKED FANTAIL (Rhipidura rufidorsa)
Our first bird near Kiunga came in silently and a few folks got on that one while we were looking for the Blue Jewel-Babbler. A few more saw it on the trails above Karawari Lodge.
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
E BLACK MONARCH (Monarcha axillaris)
A 'regular' around the cabins at Ambua this year. A Black Fantail mimic (or vice versa) - for whatever reason. Maybe one of them tastes bad?
BLACK-WINGED MONARCH (Monarcha frater frater)
Nicely for about half of the group on the final day of birding at Varirata.
a BLACK-FACED MONARCH (Monarcha melanopsis)
For a few folks at Varirata on both of our visits there. An austral migrant from Australia.
E SPOT-WINGED MONARCH (Monarcha guttulus)
A few of us had a good look at one along the Dablin Creek rd. while we tried for the White-rumped Robin. Others got it the last day at Varirata.
E HOODED MONARCH (Monarcha manadensis)
Karawari was the place for this one, but it certainly didn't come easily.
E GOLDEN MONARCH (Monarcha chrysomela)
Another one of those birds whose illustration doesn't do it justice.
E FRILLED MONARCH (Arses telescophthalmus)
Along the southern watershed only. This bird has been split from the similar Frill-necked Monarch of n.e Australia.
E RUFOUS-COLLARED MONARCH (Arses insularis)
This attractive monarch finally behaved and gave us a super view near Karawari on the north slope watershed.
E TORRENT-LARK (Grallina bruijni)
That male at Ok Menga behaved very nicely indeed for all who looked through the scope. It's a rare treat to get this one to stay in one place for so long!
LEADEN FLYCATCHER (Myiagra rubecula)
A responsive male gave us a good look in the open eucalypt forest on our way into Varirata.
SHINING FLYCATCHER (Myiagra alecto)
Most of the birds that we saw were females flying low over the water at both Kiunga and at Karawari.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
E GRAY CROW (Corvus tristis)
This bird is so unlike other crows, I wonder if it deserves its own genus.
TORRESIAN CROW (Corvus orru orru)
Around Port Moresby only on this tour.
E GLOSSY-MANTLED MANUCODE (Manucodia ater)
Our first of three manucode species and the most widespread on this tour.
E CRINKLE-COLLARED MANUCODE (Manucodia chalybatus)
More of a forest bird than the Glossy-mantled, we got a scope on a distant bird sitting up along the Dablin Creek rd. early in the tour.
TRUMPET MANUCODE (Manucodia keraudrenii)
We heard quite a few of these in the Kiunga area and saw one quite well along the Fly R. on our short boat trip. Trumpet Manucode might be in need of some taxonomic revision as well.
E SHORT-TAILED PARADIGALLA (Paradigalla brevicauda)
Benson spotted a close pair across the road above Ambua for us one afternoon, and another came in at the cabins the next day for some. This one can be difficult to track down if there isn't a good fruiting tree in the area.
E RIBBON-TAILED ASTRAPIA (Astrapia mayeri)
This beauty replaces the next species a little higher up in the mountain forests. This year, there seemed to be few really nice males around with long, intact tail plumes.
E PRINCESS STEPHANIE'S ASTRAPIA (Astrapia stephaniae)
Just a short drive above Ambua got us into a couple of occupied adult male territories. One of these, in particular, showed nicely for the group on our final morning at Ambua, allowing looks at all of that iridescence on the gorget and breast.
E CAROLA'S PAROTIA (Parotia carolae)
A very brief female along the Dablin Creek rd. for some on our first hike up the hill.
E LAWES'S PAROTIA (Parotia lawesii)
Quite a few of these came in on a regular basis to feed in the fruiting tree near the Ambua cabins, including at least one fine adult male - with most of his head plumes intact.
E KING-OF-SAXONY BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Pteridophora alberti)
Seeing that adult male above Ambua along the roadside was certainly one of the highlights for a number of folks on the tour. And that 'song' is really something else!
MAGNIFICENT RIFLEBIRD (Ptiloris magnificus)
Mostly just head near Kiunga, but some folks did see a female fly in front of our bus on our drive from Tabubil.
E MAGNIFICENT RIFLEBIRD (Ptiloris magnificus intercedens)
This one is now very difficult to see in Varirata, but we sure did hear a number of them. Some folks got a view of one or two on our final morning of birding there.
E SUPERB BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Lophorina superba)
The best of these was surely the responsive male at our Blue BOP spot downslope from Ambua. Still pretty common in the open habitats down in the Tari Valley.
E BLACK SICKLEBILL (Epimachus fastuosus)
Our lone male was about a mile away on a snag on a distant ridge, but we did have nice, close views of a couple of female-plumaged birds foraging in the fruiting tree amongst the Ambua cabins.
E BROWN SICKLEBILL (Epimachus meyeri)
We certainly got an eye-full of this remarkable bird-of paradise at the feeding station at Kumul Lodge! Looking at the Beehler guide, you'd have no idea that the male has that brilliant turquoise stripe down the back!
E BLACK-BILLED SICKLEBILL (Epimachus albertisi)
We were really fortunate to get this rarity again at the fruiting tree at Ambua. Amazingly, we've had this scarce species on all three trips that I've co-led with Phil.
E MAGNIFICENT BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Cicinnurus magnificus)
A couple of females near Tabubil teased us, but then we finally tracked down an adult male in a fruiting fig near Kumul Lodge at the end of the tour.
E KING BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Cicinnurus regius)
We all enjoyed fabulous views of this magical little bird-of-paradise near Kiunga. The canopy at this spot was low enough to really take in all of the features of this one, including those bizarre rackets!
E TWELVE-WIRED BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Seleucidis melanoleucus)
That male at Karawari did indeed have all twelve wires, and he let that young male know it, too! Great views both here and in the early morning light near Kiunga.
E LESSER BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Paradisaea minor)
That was one heck of a road that we had to drive on to get to the lek, but seeing those fantastic males was sure worth it!
E GREATER BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Paradisaea apoda)
That big lek near Kiunga, unfortunately, is all, or nearly all, made up of hybrid males (Greater X Raggiana), though the females that we saw here and elsewhere appeared to be Greaters.
E RAGGIANA BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Paradisaea raggiana)
This was our first 'real' bird-of-paradise for the trip and it didn't disappoint us in Varirata. It took a little bit of patience at first, but the males at the lek eventually got accustomed to our presence and showed nicely in the scopes. The national bird of PNG.
E BLUE BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Paradisaea rudolphi)
WOWWW!!! I had gotten accustomed to seeing an adult male Blue off in the distance through a scope on past tours, but our displaying bird just 50 meters away was a real mind-blower! This was the first displaying male that I had ever seen, and, more impressive, it was the first for Phil in some 50+ tours!
E LESSER MELAMPITTA (Melampitta lugubris) Seen briefly by some above Ambua.
Petroicidae (Australasian Robins)
E LESSER GROUND-ROBIN (Amalocichla incerta)
We all heard this one close at hand, but it only showed itself to a few folks above Ambua.
E TORRENT FLYCATCHER (Monachella muelleriana)
This delightful flycatcher was easy to see at the spillway at Ok Menga.
LEMON-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Microeca flavigaster)
We certainly saw two distinct taxa on this tour, which is something that needs to be investigated further.
E OLIVE FLYROBIN (Microeca flavovirescens)
Right overhead on the final morning of the tour at Varirata for some.
E CANARY FLYCATCHER (Microeca papuana)
This distinctive highland flycatcher was with most mixed flocks that we encountered above Ambua.
E GARNET ROBIN (Eugerygone rubra)
A quick look at a female-plumaged bird by half of the group above Ambua.
WHITE-FACED ROBIN (Tregellasia leucops)
Distinctive and confiding (well, mostly).
E BLACK-SIDED ROBIN (Poecilodryas hypoleuca)
We didn't have much to show for it after a lot of work, though some folks got a quick look near Karawari.
E BLACK-THROATED ROBIN (Poecilodryas albonotata)
Most folks may have eventually caught up with this one along the trails above Ambua. A little less responsive this year compared to others.
E WHITE-WINGED ROBIN (Peneothello sigillata)
Another one of these confiding highland Australasian robins (White-rumped and Black-sided could take a lesson from these guys).
E WHITE-RUMPED ROBIN (Peneothello bimaculata)
Sneaky this year above Tabubil, just a handful of the clients got on this one in the ever-shrinking forest patch at the end of the road.
E BLUE-GRAY ROBIN (Peneothello cyanus)
Great looks above Ambua, with a few right around the cabins, too.
GRAY-HEADED ROBIN (Heteromyias albispecularis)
Clements again lumps these New Guinea bird with birds from n.e. Queensland. Called Ashy Robin in Beehler.
* NORTHERN SCRUB-ROBIN (Drymodes superciliaris) Eupetidae (Rail-babbler and Ifrita)
E BLUE-CAPPED IFRITA (Ifrita kowaldi)
An odd little highland species of uncertain affinities - same family as Rail-Babbler? Really?!
PACIFIC SWALLOW (Hirundo tahitica)
ISLAND LEAF-WARBLER (Phylloscopus poliocephalus)
Good audio and visuals on this one in the highlands.
Megaluridae (Grassbirds and Allies)
TAWNY GRASSBIRD (Megalurus timoriensis)
The I.O.C. splits these New Guinea birds out as Papuan Grassbird (M. macrurus).
Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)
GOLDEN-HEADED CISTICOLA (Cisticola exilis)
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
PIED BUSHCHAT (Saxicola caprata)
Pretty common in the open, disturbed areas of the foothills and highlands.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
ISLAND THRUSH (Turdus poliocephalus)
Easy as can be at the feeders at Kumul Lodge.
E BLACK-FRONTED WHITE-EYE (Zosterops minor)
We had some decent to excellent looks at this foothill forest white-eye at Varirata and near Tabubil.
E CAPPED WHITE-EYE (Zosterops fuscicapilla)
I don't think we ever really nailed this one as a group at Ambua.
E NEW GUINEA WHITE-EYE (Zosterops novaeguineae)
This white-eye has a very patchy distribution and it seems to be fairly common and widespread near Kumul, but oddly absent (or very scarce) from the Tari Valley.
METALLIC STARLING (Aplonis metallica)
We had some big numbers in the Kiunga area, especially on the Fly River.
E YELLOW-EYED STARLING (Aplonis mystacea)
A quick flyby flock of six birds at our roadside perch near Kiunga one morning.
SINGING STARLING (Aplonis cantoroides)
A few here and there in the Port Moresby area.
E YELLOW-FACED MYNA (Mino dumontii)
They got to be quite a distraction early on in the tour around Tabubil.
E GOLDEN MYNA (Mino anais)
This species was greatly outnumbered by the above species wherever they occurred together.
RED-CAPPED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum geelvinkianum)
We detected this one just about everywhere, but there were very few really good looks.
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)
BLACK SUNBIRD (Leptocoma sericea)
Very common in the lowland forests.
OLIVE-BACKED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris jugularis)
A little flock next to the Kiunga airstrip was all that we could find this year. This widespread species is overly- lumped and probably needs some revision.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
I HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)
I EURASIAN TREE SPARROW (Passer montanus)
A very recent stow-away invader to the Port Moresby area.
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
E MOUNTAIN FIRETAIL (Oreostruthus fuliginosus)
A few of us got a little group of three above Ambua, but all caught up with it at Kumul.
BLUE-FACED PARROTFINCH (Erythrura trichroa)
Mostly just heard, but a few of us did get good looks along the Ambua entrance road on our final morning there while we waited for the second flight out.
E STREAK-HEADED MUNIA (Lonchura tristissima leucosticta) A couple of fly-over birds along the Karawari airstrip.
E HOODED MUNIA (Lonchura spectabilis)
It took us until the drive from Kumul to Hagen on our last morning in the area until we caught up with this one. Much tougher than usual.
E GRAY-HEADED MUNIA (Lonchura caniceps)
Most folks got a quick look on the PAU grounds near Port Moresby.
E SPECKLED DASYURE (Neophascogale lorentzii)
Several lucky folks walking the trail at the Tari Gap got to see this seldom-seen marsupial.
GREATER FLYING FOX (Pteropus neohibernicus)
Really abundant in the lowlands, especially at Karawari.