Trip report: Papua New Guinea, Paradise Untamed (June 2007) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Sam Woods.

Papua New Guinea, or ‘PNG’, is rightly considered a dream destination for many birders. It is a beautiful country full of rich natural resources, that includes rugged mountains with miles of unbroken, unspoiled, pristine rainforest, that is loaded with some of the most dazzling and extraordinary birds on earth. No birder leaves New Guinea disappointed, as the birds are nothing short of breathtaking. Of course the most familiar of these are the famous Birds-of-paradise, that the BBC thrilled us with in their landmark production ‘Attenborough in Paradise’, that has become a classic natural history film amongst birders, and left many drooling, and dreaming about a trip to this fabled island.

Our first tour to this thickly forested paradise was a great success, with 340 species recorded. With the wealth of mind-blowing species in PNG, on this trip more than any other it was impossible to pick a clear winner for a single bird of the trip. Certainly the Birds-of-paradise were a highlight, they were expected to be amazing, and they were every bit as impressive as people thought they would be. However, there were many other less obvious birding highlights, that illustrates well the difficulty in picking a clear winner. Indeed PNG must be one of only a few countries where you can get good looks at a couple of dazzling pitta species, and they do not even get a mention at the end of the trip, as they have been being drowned out by the truckload of other incredible birds!

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