Trip report: Papua New Guinea, Birding in Paradise (Sept 2009) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Christian Boix.

Just to make things clear from the outset, this was no ordinary Papua New Guinea birding tour. It has to be said that we were exceptionally lucky with some very difficult birds. I am yet to find a trip report that has encountered five species of owlet-nightjar on a tour like we did!. So maybe we were unique in that regard. However it wasn’t just with the little nocturnal devils that we got lucky. Many people judge the success of a PNG trip by the number of birds-of-paradise seen, this trip recorded 24, with 22 of those seen, and both Melampittas (one seen, one heard only) also 2 recorded. However, many other rarities were scored including New Guinea Harpy Eagle, Doria’s Hawk on a nest, Dusky Woodcock perched just after dark, Papuan Whipbird seen, all three Jewel-Babblers seen, Cinnamon and Bronze Ground Dove seen, as well as super views at the uber-cryptic Painted Quail-Thrush and Northern Scrub-Robin, and many more. We also scored those old favorites such as Southern Crowed-Pigeon, Hook-billed Kingfisher and Shovel-billed Kingfisher. We recorded 364 species in 18 days, which is pretty amazing considering we didn’t visit New Britain or any Bismark Archipelago Islands. It’s hard to believe that any trip to this fabled island could go any better, and I struggle to think that we could repeat this haul of rare and scarce species. Oh well, we may as well try!

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