Papua New Guinea: Birding Attenborough’s Paradise Trip Report, August 2023



By Andrew Walker


This Papua New Guinea birding tour started and ended in Port Moresby and ran from the 19th of August 2023 to the 4th of September 2023. During our Papua New Guinea birding tour, we birded and stayed at some of the best birding sites in Papua New Guinea. Birding sites visited during this Papua New Guinea bird tour included Varirata National Park and the Pacific Adventist University campus near Port Moresby, Kiunga on the Fly River, Star Mountains, Kwatu Lodge, Mount Hagen (including Rondon Ridge Lodge and Kumul Lodge), Tari Gap, and Ambua Lodge. Each of the above destinations offered something different in terms of the habitats to explore and the birds present.

Papua New Guinea report

The exquisite King of Saxony Bird-of-paradise gave excellent views and was an extremely popular species during our Papua New Guinea birding tour.

We recorded 300 species on the tour (14 of these heard only) which followed on from our short New Britain birding tour. Usually, our New Britain birdwatching tour follows the Papua New Guinea bird tour, but this year it ran ahead of it, due to logistical reasons (see the New Britain trip report here). Trip lists for this Papua New Guinea tour follow the report. Birds-of-paradise were a big focus on the tour given they are some of the most incredible birds on the planet. We recorded 21 species of astonishing birds-of-paradise: Splendid Astrapia, Princess Stephanie’s Astrapia, Ribbon-tailed Astrapia, King of Saxony Bird-of-paradise, Queen Carola’s Parotia, Short-tailed Paradigalla, Black Sicklebill, Brown Sicklebill, Black-billed Sicklebill, Glossy-mantled Manucode, Trumpet Manucode, Crinkle-collared Manucode, Magnificent Riflebird, Growling Riflebird, Greater Lophorina, King Bird-of-paradise, Magnificent Bird-of-paradise, Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradise, Greater Bird-of-paradise, Raggiana Bird-of-paradise, and Blue Bird-of-paradise. All of the above birds-of-paradise were seen, some foraging, and others displaying (including making some incredible sounds). Many species were photographed, and these photos appear throughout the report.

The striking Princess Stephanie’s Astrapia gave some great views during our PNG bird tour.

However, this Papua New Guinea bird tour wasn’t only about the spectacular birds-of-paradise, as the country hosts so many other exceptional birds and endemic bird families that we wanted to also look for. During this Papua New Guinea birding tour we enjoyed sightings of Salvadori’s Teal, Barred Owlet-nightjar, Sclater’s Crowned Pigeon, nine species of gorgeous fruit doves, including Beautiful Fruit Dove, Dwarf Fruit Dove, and Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Gurney’s Eagle, Papuan Harrier, Papuan Boobook, Blyth’s Hornbill, a dozen species of kingfishers, including Hook-billed Kingfisher, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Little Paradise Kingfisher, Brown-headed Paradise Kingfisher, and Papuan Dwarf Kingfisher, along with Rufous-bellied Kookaburra. Cockatoos and parrots featured heavily with almost 30 species logged, from the giant Palm Cockatoo to the miniscule, Red-breasted Pygmy Parrot, with numerous stunning and colorful birds in between, such as Papuan Eclectus, Stella’s Lorikeet, and Brehm’s Tiger Parrot.

A displaying male Raggiana Bird-of-paradise (the national bird of Papua New Guinea) put on a spectacular show for us, what a sight!

Further highlights included Flame Bowerbird, Emperor Fairywren, 25 species of honeyeaters including the boisterous duo of Belford’s Melidectes and Yellow-browed Melidectes, as well as Papuan Babbler, Loria’s Satinbird, Obscure Berrypecker, Tit Berrypecker, Eastern Crested Berrypecker, Mottled Berryhunter, Papuan Sittella, Regent Whistler, White-bellied Pitohui, Southern Variable Pitohui, Hooded Pitohui, Golden Monarch, Torrent-lark, Grey Crow, Lesser Melampitta, and Blue-capped Ifrit. However, the highlights didn’t stop there, with further special birds including numerous Australian robins, such as White-winged Robin, White-rumped Robin, and Black-sided Robin, along with Papuan Grassbird, Yellow-faced Myna, Golden Myna, Island (Papuan) Thrush, Red-capped Flowerpecker, and Alpine Pipit.

Detailed Report

Day 1, 19th August 2023. Arrival in Port Moresby

Today was an arrival day in Port Moresby. We enjoyed our welcome dinner together and discussed what we were hoping to see on this Papua New Guinea bird tour.

Day 2, 20th August 2023. Flight between Port Moresby and Kiunga, travel to Tabubil

We took a morning flight out of Port Moresby to Kiunga. The flight made a brief touchdown on the island of Daru, where we noted several Australian Pratincoles. We then spent most of the afternoon driving north to the town of Tabubil, passing through some beautiful scenery. A couple of stops near our destination gave us sightings of Grey Crow, Long-tailed Honey Buzzard, Variable Goshawk, Dusky Lory, White-shouldered Fairywren, Black Butcherbird, Hooded Butcherbird, New Guinea Friarbird, Yellow-faced Myna, and Torrent Flyrobin

Day 3, 21st August 2023. Birding the Star Mountains near Tabubil

We awoke for an early breakfast with a Papuan Boobook showing in the garden. We then spent the day exploring the Star Mountains and had an awesome day of mid- and high-elevation birding, recording eight species of birds-of-paradise including: Splendid Astrapia (our main target), King of Saxony Bird-of-paradise, Queen Carola’s Parotia, Short-tailed Paradigalla, Black Sicklebill, Brown Sicklebill, and Greater Bird-of-paradise which were all seen, with Greater Lophorina heard only. A mega collection of birds and several certain tour highlights seen.

The gorgeous Queen Carola’s Parotia was one of the highlight birds-of-paradise of the tour.

Loads of other birds were seen across the day as we birded at a range of elevations. Some of the highlights included Red-breasted Pygmy Parrot, Fairy Lorikeet, Orange-billed Lorikeet, Dusky Lory, Grey-streaked Honeyeater, Common Smoky Honeyeater, Mountain Myzomela, Red-collared Myzomela, Mountain Honeyeater, Black-throated Honeyeater, Belford’s Melidectes, Black-breasted Boatbill, Mountain Peltops, Hooded Cuckooshrike, Grey-headed Cuckooshrike, Regent Whistler, Black Fantail, Friendly Fantail, Torrent-lark, Slaty Robin, Torrent Flyrobin, Island Leaf Warbler, and Island (Papuan) Thrush.

Day 4, 22nd August 2023. Birding near Tabubil and travel to Kiunga

We spent the morning birding near Tabubil and found some great birds. First up was a small group of roosting Great Woodswallows, quickly followed up with a pair of Salvadori’s Teals on a river, along with Torrent Flyrobins too. Nearby we found Tawny-breasted Honeyeater and over the course of the morning also found Scrub Honeyeater, Mimic Honeyeater, Long-billed Honeyeater, Plain Honeyeater, and Meyer’s Friarbird. Moving along a forest track we picked up Grey-headed Goshawk, Southern Variable Pitohui, White-rumped Robin, Golden Cuckooshrike, Boyer’s Cuckooshrike, Grey-headed Cuckooshrike, Grey Crow, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Moustached Treeswift, White-crowned Cuckoo, Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo, Brush Cuckoo, Dusky Lory, Dusky-cheeked Fig Parrot, and Pale-vented Bush-hen. We also had brief sightings of Glossy-mantled Manucode, Magnificent Bird-of-paradise, and Magnificent Riflebird.

In the afternoon we drove back down to Kiunga, where a stop just outside of town allowed us to watch the incredible display of the stunning Greater Bird-of-paradise. A great end to another fantastic day’s birding in Papua New Guinea.

The simply spectacular Greater Bird-of-paradise gave a glorious display for us.

Day 5, 23rd August 2023. Birding the Kiunga area

We had a great day birding near Kiunga and racked up a long list of wonderful birds during our morning and afternoon birding sessions, including lots of gorgeous fruit doves, parrots, and some more birds-of-paradise too. Trumpet Manucode, Glossy-mantled Manucode, Greater Bird-of-paradise, King Bird-of-paradise, and Magnificent Riflebird were all seen (though some of these only briefly). Further color was provided by several stunning pigeons, including Wompoo Fruit Dove, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Superb Fruit Dove, Beautiful Fruit Dove, Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, and Dwarf Fruit Dove. Parrots ranged from the humongous Palm Cockatoo to the miniscule Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot and many in between, such as Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Papuan Eclectus, Red-cheeked Parrot, Red-flanked Lorikeet, Black-capped Lory, Dusky-cheeked Fig Parrot, and Double-eyed Fig Parrot. Several honeyeaters were seen, including Meyer’s Friarbird, and a wide range of other species, including multiple cuckooshrikes, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, cuckoos including Ivory-billed Coucal, Dwarf Koel, and Brush Cuckoo, Golden Monarch, Papuan Babbler, Papuan Spine-tailed Swift, Lowland Peltops, and possibly one of the flashiest of them all – Flame Bowerbird

The gorgeous Dusky-cheeked Fig Parrot (formerly called Orange-breasted Fig Parrot) showed well during the tour.

Day 6, 24th August 2023. Birding the Kwatu Lodge area

We left Kiunga after breakfast and took a boat trip along three different rivers to reach the remote and basic Kwatu Lodge. It was a fascinating journey giving us a glimpse of remote life in the region, especially when we explored Gusiore village. As we made our boat ride along Fly River, Elavala River, and Ketu River we found Collared Imperial Pigeon, Pinon’s Imperial Pigeon, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Pacific Koel, Channel-billed Cuckoo, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Palm Cockatoo, Yellow-streaked Lory, Papuan Hanging Parrot, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Hooded Pitta, Glossy-mantled Manucode, Trumpet Manucode, Grey Crow, Emperor Fairywren, and Shining Flycatcher.

Some fruiting trees around Kwatu Lodge, our remote base for the night, held Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Red-cheeked Parrot, Dusky-cheeked Fig Parrot, Double-eyed Fig Parrot, Large Fig Parrot, and Metallic Starling. We enjoyed some time just sitting and watching the birds come to us, for a change!  

In the afternoon our boat ride yielded excellent views of Oriental Dollarbird, Papuan Spine-tailed Swift, Azure Kingfisher, Sacred Kingfisher, and Rufous-bellied Kookaburra. We then visited a quiet and unexplored patch of forest, where we got great views of Little Paradise Kingfisher, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Hook-billed Kingfisher, White-bellied Pitohui, Golden Cuckooshrike, and Frilled Monarch. As we took the boat back to the lodge in the late afternoon, we saw a distant Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradise briefly, along with Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Sacred Kingfisher, and Black-capped Lory. Then the rain started, and it poured down for most of the night.

We got some great views of Little Paradise Kingfisher while birding near Kwatu Lodge and a short while later also saw Common Paradise Kingfisher, which allowed for a good comparison.

Day 7, 25th August 2023. Birding the Kwatu Lodge area

We awoke to find the Ketu River water level had increased massively overnight. We enjoyed a memorable early morning birding session right off Kwatu Lodge, where we found a flock of at least five roosting Sclater’s Crowned Pigeons, these huge, attractive, and uncommon giant pigeons were a highly sought-after target and a real joy to see, even in the half light of dawn. We then moved a bit further along the river where we found the simply spectacular Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradise and a short while later we were watching him go about a rather impressive bout of displaying. Two top birds right from the get-go!

A flock of Sclater’s Crowned Pigeons that had been roosting together. What an incredible sight, even in the near darkness!

After enjoying our two big targets we tried for a few other birds, but the rain soon started up again and remained heavy for a while longer. Despite the rain, we managed to see a Black-sided Robin and improve our views of Emperor Fairywren before the rain got even heavier and we retreated to Kwatu Lodge for some shelter and a hot drink. While waiting for an early lunch and during intermittent short dry spells, we focused our attention on the fruiting trees around the lodge, and in doing so found Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Amboyna Cuckoo-Dove, Pacific Koel, Large Fig Parrot, Dusky-cheeked Fig Parrot, Red-flanked Lorikeet, Palm Cockatoo, Red-cheeked Parrot, Boyer’s Cuckooshrike, Grey-headed Cuckooshrike, Golden Cuckooshrike, Black Cicadabird, Varied Triller, New Guinea Friarbird, Metallic Starling, and a young Raggiana Bird-of-paradise. It was a great way to spend an enforced weather break.

The remarkable sight of a displaying Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradise.

After lunch it was time to get the boat back to Kiunga, however before that, since the rain had paused for a brief spell, we decided to try for one more bird that we had to abort looking for earlier due to the weather. After a sterling effort by our local team, we were able to get into position to see a gorgeous male King Bird-of-paradise at close range and low down. Satisfied with our haul from the river, we continued back to town (spotting another Raggiana Bird-of-paradise along the way). We arrived back at our accommodation in Kiunga and all enjoyed hot showers after our night in the jungle, but what a wonderful experience we’d had, packed full of great memories.

King Bird-of-paradise flew in and showed low down and well for us, although briefly.

Day 8, 26th August 2023. Transfer between Kiunga and Port Moresby

We enjoyed a relaxed breakfast and took our late morning flight from Kiunga (where the Australian Pratincoles were still in attendance) back to Port Moresby, where we spent the rest of the day at leisure and preparing for our next Papua New Guinea wilderness birding adventure.

Day 9, 27th August 2023. Transfer between Port Moresby and Mt Hagen

We had a morning flight from Port Moresby to Mt Hagen and then took the short drive to the picturesque Rondon Ridge Lodge, our base for the night. After lunch we explored the lodge, our first birding in the Papuan New Guinea Central Highlands, and found plenty of great birds, including three new birds-of-paradise, firstly Princess Stephanie’s Astrapia, secondly Greater Lophorina, and finally, the incomparable Blue Bird-of-paradise (it was “just” a female, but was still spectacular).

This gorgeous female Blue Bird-of-paradise gave great prolonged views while feeding.

While watching the birds-of-paradise we also saw Stella’s Lorikeet, Yellow-browed Melidectes, Common Smoky Honeyeater, Red-collared Myzomela, Brown-breasted Gerygone, White-shouldered Fairywren, Red-capped Flowerpecker, Pied Bush Chat, Long-tailed Shrike, and Hooded Mannikin.

Day 10, 28th August 2023. Birding Rondon Ridge and Kumul Lodge

We had a wonderful day birding in the highlands with so many highlight birds to choose from. During the morning we took a walk up from Rondon Ridge Lodge to Rondon Ridge itself. It was a moderately tough hike (especially given all the rainfall overnight), uphill all the way, but the birds at the top sure made the effort worthwhile. The pick of the birds included adult males of five simply spectacular birds-of-paradise: King of Saxony Bird-of-paradise (see the trip report cover image), Princess Stephanie’s Astrapia (see photo in the trip report introduction), Brown Sicklebill, Black Sicklebill, and a bit lower down the mountain, a male Greater Lophorina, finally.

While our focus was on the above birds-of-paradise and the hike itself (the trail was rather slippery), we noted a few other good species along the way, including Brown-backed Whistler, Sclater’s Whistler, Mid-mountain Berrypecker, Fan-tailed Berrypecker, Papuan Sittella, Island Leaf Warbler, Black-fronted White-eye, Papuan White-eye, Yellow-browed Melidectes, Ornate Melidectes, Common Smoky Honeyeater, Rufous-throated Bronze Cuckoo, Papuan Mountain Pigeon, Buff-faced Scrubwren, Papuan Scrubwren, Dimorphic Fantail, and Friendly Fantail.

Brown Sicklebill is another huge bird-of-paradise that gave excellent views during the tour. It was great to be able to compare this species with its close relative, the Black Sicklebill while both species fed in the same fruiting tree, along with Princess Stephanie’s Astrapia (all with King of Saxony Bird-of-paradise displaying in the tree above them)!

After lunch we took an informative drive across to the famous Kumul Lodge with our local team filling us in about all things Papua New Guinea. We noted Long-tailed Shrike, Pied Bush Chat, and Black Kite along the way.

Even without its long tail, Ribbon-tailed Astrapia is still an incredibly beautiful bird-of-paradise.

We arrived at Kumul Lodge in the middle of the afternoon and spent a few hours at the exceptional bird feeders. It was rather wet and cool, but plenty of birds were in attendance at the feeders, with several new trip birds seen, including another new bird-of-paradise – the gorgeous Ribbon-tailed Astrapia. Unfortunately, the two adult males had dropped (molted) their long tail feathers, but they still looked rather resplendent, and the females were impressive too, as they busily fed their fledged young. Brown Sicklebills were numerous and gave very close views, while also feeding young. Other species noted at the Kumul Lodge bird feeders included Brehm’s Tiger Parrot, Stella’s Lorikeet, Orange-billed Lorikeet, Island (Papuan) Thrush, White-winged Robin, Belford’s Melidectes, Common Smoky Honeyeater, and Friendly Fantail.

The rather colorful Stella’s Lorikeet gave us some great views at the Kumul Lodge bird feeders, and we also saw some of the dark-morph birds while birding in the nearby forest.

Day 11, 29th August 2023. Birding the Kumul Lodge area

We spent the morning birding near Kumul Lodge and after a short drive we took a steep hike up a gravel track to a specific spot to overlook a male Blue Bird-of-paradise display site. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see any display activity, but we did get to watch the incredible male coming to a tree to feed a couple of times, giving prolonged views. Other birds distracting us while we waited for our target bird-of-paradise, included Mountain Kingfisher, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Stout-billed Cuckooshrike, Bar-tailed Cuckoo-Dove, Rufous-backed Honeyeater, Yellow-browed Melidectes, and Common Smoky Honeyeater.

An adult male Blue Bird-of-paradise busy feeding.

The drive back to the lodge gave us a sighting of Brown Falcon and then during the latter part of the morning we birded around Kumul Lodge, finding a pair of the famous Blue-capped Ifrit (a monotypic family and a poisonous bird too!). Strolling around the grounds we also found Eastern Crested Berrypecker, Tit Berrypecker, Mountain Mouse-warbler, Canary Flyrobin, White-winged Robin, Painted Tiger Parrot, and dark-morph Stella’s Lorikeet. The usual birds were present at the feeders and included Brown Sicklebill, Ribbon-tailed Astrapia, Rufous-naped Bellbird, Belford’s Melidectes, and Brehm’s Tiger Parrot among others.  

The Blue-capped Ifrit, showing its blue cap!

In the afternoon we visited a different patch of forest and enjoyed loads of great birds, such as Loria’s Satinbird, Mottled Berryhunter, Lesser Melampitta, Blue-capped Ifrit, Tit Berrypecker, Eastern Crested Berrypecker, Streaked Berrypecker, Rufous-backed Honeyeater, Brehm’s Tiger Parrot, Plum-faced Lorikeet, and Orange-billed Lorikeet. We also enjoyed further sightings of King of Saxony Bird-of-paradise, Princess Stephanie’s Astrapia, and Brown Sicklebill. Wattled Ploughbill was unfortunately only heard calling in the distance, but we couldn’t be too disappointed with all the fantastic birds we had just seen.

Brehm’s Tiger Parrot giving close views at the famous Kumul Lodge bird feeders.

Day 12, 30th August 2023. Kumul Lodge to Port Moresby

We had a brief morning walk around Kumul Lodge before it was time to drive back to Mt. Hagen and catch our flight back to Port Moresby. The morning walk was rather quiet, with the birds seemingly taking a while to warm up. We did however note a few good birds, such as Lesser Melampitta, Black-mantled Goshawk, Ribbon-tailed Astrapia, and Brown Sicklebill. We then took our afternoon flight back to Port Moresby and spent the remainder of the afternoon relaxing at our comfortable hotel.

Day 13, 31st August 2023. Birding Varirata National Park

We had a great day birding at Varirata National Park, a fantastic birding site near Port Moresby. The first bird we saw was one of our main targets, the national bird of Papua New Guinea, Raggiana Bird-of-paradise. We enjoyed watching six males displaying (see photo in trip report summary section), even though no females came in – yet another beautiful bird-of-paradise. After the bird-of-paradise-watching we relocated to a different part of the site, and in no time at all were watching two Brown-headed Paradise Kingfishers, an adult and a juvenile bird. After seeing these two target species, we walked along a road finding lots of other birds, such as Hooded Pitohui, Common Cicadabird, Barred Cuckooshrike, Black Cicadabird, Brown Oriole, Frilled Monarch, Grey Whistler, and Elegant Honeyeater.

Getting close views of the simply stunning Raggiana Bird-of-paradise was another highlight.

We changed areas within the park again and found ourselves watching a couple of fruiting trees, where we noted Beautiful Fruit Dove, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Superb Fruit Dove, Papuan King Parrot, Red-cheeked Parrot, Buff-faced Pygmy Parrot, and several other species. In the undergrowth we found Rusty Pitohui and in the trees in open woodland found Hooded Pitohui, Spangled Drongo, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Yellow-faced Myna, Boyer’s Cuckooshrike, and more. Not too far from the fruiting trees we found roosting Barking Owl and Barred Owlet-nightjar, as well as nesting Papuan Frogmouth. Overhead we had Pacific Baza, Brahminy Kite, Gurney’s Eagle, Brown Goshawk, Torresian Crow, and Grey Crow

We saw this adult Brown-headed Paradise Kingfisher while birding at Varirata National Park.

We then took a walk along a river and continued finding quality birds, including Crinkle-collared Manucode, Growling Riflebird, Purple-tailed Imperial Pigeon, Papuan Dwarf Kingfisher, Spectacled Longbill, White-faced Robin, Yellow-legged Flyrobin, Olive Flyrobin, Fairy Gerygone, Green-backed Gerygone, and Yellow-belied Gerygone.

Papuan Dwarf Kingfisher showed well during our afternoon river walk.

Day 14, 1st September 2023. Transfer between Port Moresby and Tari, and travel to Ambua Lodge

We took a morning flight from Port Moresby to Tari in the Papua New Guinea Western Highlands. On arrival in Tari, we took the short journey to Ambua Lodge, our base for the next two nights. After lunch we commenced our birding in the area, finding King of Saxony Bird-of-paradise, Brown Sicklebill, Ribbon-tailed Astrapia, Black-bellied Cuckooshrike, Grey Thornbill, Rufous-backed Honeyeater, and a few other species, though in general it was rather quiet.

Day 15, 2nd September 2023. Birding Ambua Lodge and the Tari Gap area

We spent the morning birding the Tari Gap area above Ambua Lodge and connected with some great birds. Some of the highlights included Ribbon-tailed Astrapia, King of Saxony Bird-of-paradise, Brown Sicklebill, Black-billed Sicklebill, Lesser Melampitta, Loria’s Satinbird, MacGregor’s Bowerbird, Stella’s Lorikeet, Josephine’s Lorikeet, Goldie’s Lorikeet, Alpine Pipit, Eastern Crested Berrypecker, Fan-tailed Berrypecker, Mid-mountain Berrypecker, Dimorphic Fantail, Friendly Fantail, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Island (Papuan) Thrush, Papuan Grassbird, Rufous-backed Honeyeater, Grey-streaked Honeyeater, Black-throated Honeyeater, Belford’s Melidectes, Yellow-browed Melidectes, and Regent Whistler.

Yellow-browed Melidectes is a large honeyeater and it is rather brash and noisy!

In the afternoon the clouds descended but the rain held off allowing us some birding time. We found a nice mixed flock and some more birds-of-paradise, including Ribbon-tailed Astrapia, Short-tailed Paradigalla, Brown Sicklebill, and King of Saxony Bird-of-paradise. Other birds noted during the course of the afternoon included Capped White-eye, Large Scrubwren, Buff-faced Scrubwren, Grey Thornbill, Brown-breasted Gerygone, Black-breasted Boatbill, Mid-mountain Berrypecker, Black-bellied Cuckooshrike, Great Woodswallow, and Loria’s Satinbird.

Day 16, 3rd September 2023. Transfer from Tari to Port Moresby

The original plan was for another day’s birding in the Ambua area, however just before the tour commenced, Air Niugini changed their flight schedules between Tari and Port Moresby, meaning we had to make some last-minute changes to our tour route. After a late breakfast, we made our way from the picturesque Ambua Lodge back to Tari. From Tari we took our flight back to Port Moresby, for the final group evening meal together.

Day 17, 4th September 2023. Port Moresby birding and departure

We had a final morning birding in the excellent Pacific Adventist University grounds, not far outside of Port Moresby city. We added plenty of new trip birds here, including Orange-fronted Fruit Dove, Bar-shouldered Dove, Australian Hobby, Fawn-breasted Bowerbird, Rufous-banded Honeyeater, White-bellied Cuckooshrike, Black-backed Butcherbird, Australasian Figbird, Golden-headed Cisticola, Singing Starling, and Grey-headed Mannikin.

We enjoyed excellent views of multiple Fawn-breasted Bowerbirds on our final day of birding in Papua New Guinea.

During our morning birding session, we also found several new waterfowl species, including Wandering Whistling Duck, Radjah Shelduck, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Pied Heron, Australasian Darter, Little Pied Cormorant, Little Black Cormorant, Australasian Swamphen, Dusky Moorhen, and Comb-crested Jacana. On finishing our birding and returning to Port Moresby, this Papua New Guinea birding tour ended.

Bird ListFollowing IOC (13.2)

Birds ‘heard only’ are marked with (H) after the common name, all other species were seen. The following notation after species names is used to show conservation status following BirdLife International: VU = Vulnerable.

Common NameScientific Name
Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)
Wandering Whistling DuckDendrocygna arcuata
Radjah ShelduckRadjah radjah
Salvadori’s TealSalvadorina waigiuensis
Pacific Black DuckAnas superciliosa
Grey TealAnas gracilis
Megapodes (Megapodiidae)
Black-billed Brushturkey (H)Talegalla fuscirostris
Orange-footed ScrubfowlMegapodius reinwardt
Pheasants & Allies (Phasianidae)
Brown QuailSynoicus ypsilophorus
Frogmouths (Podargidae)
Marbled Frogmouth (H)Podargus ocellatus
Papuan FrogmouthPodargus papuensis
Owlet-nightjars (Aegothelidae)
Barred Owlet-nightjarAegotheles bennettii
Treeswifts (Hemiprocnidae)
Moustached TreeswiftHemiprocne mystacea
Swifts (Apodidae)
Glossy SwiftletCollocalia esculenta
Mountain SwiftletAerodramus hirundinaceus
Uniform SwiftletAerodramus vanikorensis
Papuan Spine-tailed SwiftMearnsia novaeguineae
Cuckoos (Cuculidae)
Ivory-billed CoucalCentropus menbeki
Pheasant CoucalCentropus phasianinus
Dwarf KoelMicrodynamis parva
Pacific KoelEudynamys orientalis
Channel-billed CuckooScythrops novaehollandiae
Rufous-throated Bronze CuckooChrysococcyx ruficollis
Shining Bronze Cuckoo (H)Chrysococcyx lucidus
White-crowned CuckooCacomantis leucolophus
Chestnut-breasted CuckooCacomantis castaneiventris
Fan-tailed CuckooCacomantis flabelliformis
Brush CuckooCacomantis variolosus
Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)
Rock DoveColumba livia
Amboyna Cuckoo-DoveMacropygia amboinensis
Bar-tailed Cuckoo-DoveMacropygia nigrirostris
Great Cuckoo-DoveReinwardtoena reinwardti
Pacific Emerald DoveChalcophaps longirostris
Stephan’s Emerald DoveChalcophaps stephani
Peaceful DoveGeopelia placida
Bar-shouldered DoveGeopelia humeralis
Cinnamon Ground Dove (H)Gallicolumba rufigula
Sclater’s Crowned PigeonGoura sclaterii
Wompoo Fruit DovePtilinopus magnificus
Pink-spotted Fruit DovePtilinopus perlatus
Ornate Fruit DovePtilinopus ornatus
Orange-fronted Fruit DovePtilinopus aurantiifrons
Superb Fruit DovePtilinopus superbus
Beautiful Fruit DovePtilinopus pulchellus
White-bibbed Fruit DovePtilinopus rivoli
Orange-bellied Fruit DovePtilinopus iozonus
Dwarf Fruit DovePtilinopus nainus
Purple-tailed Imperial PigeonDucula rufigaster
Pinon’s Imperial PigeonDucula pinon
Collared Imperial PigeonDucula mullerii
Zoe’s Imperial PigeonDucula zoeae
Torresian Imperial PigeonDucula spilorrhoa
Papuan Mountain PigeonGymnophaps albertisii
Rails, Crakes & Coots (Rallidae)
Buff-banded RailHypotaenidia philippensis
Dusky MoorhenGallinula tenebrosa
Australasian SwamphenPorphyrio melanotus
Pale-vented Bush-henAmaurornis moluccana
Plovers (Charadriidae)
Masked LapwingVanellus miles
Jacanas (Jacanidae)
Comb-crested JacanaIrediparra gallinacea
Sandpipers, Snipes (Scolopacidae)
Common SandpiperActitis hypoleucos
Coursers, Pratincoles (Glareolidae)
Australian PratincoleStiltia isabella
Anhingas, Darters (Anhingidae)
Australasian DarterAnhinga novaehollandiae
Cormorants, Shags (Phalacrocoracidae)
Little Pied CormorantMicrocarbo melanoleucos
Little Black CormorantPhalacrocorax sulcirostris
Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)
Australian White IbisThreskiornis molucca
Herons, Bitterns (Ardeidae)
Nankeen Night HeronNycticorax caledonicus
Striated HeronButorides striata
Eastern Cattle EgretBubulcus coromandus
Great EgretArdea alba
Intermediate EgretArdea intermedia
Pied HeronEgretta picata
Little EgretEgretta garzetta
Kites, Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)
Pacific BazaAviceda subcristata
Long-tailed Honey BuzzardHenicopernis longicauda
Gurney’s EagleAquila gurneyi
Variable GoshawkAccipiter hiogaster
Brown GoshawkAccipiter fasciatus
Black-mantled GoshawkAccipiter melanochlamys
Grey-headed GoshawkAccipiter poliocephalus
Papuan HarrierCircus spilothorax
Black KiteMilvus migrans
Whistling KiteHaliastur sphenurus
Brahminy KiteHaliastur indus
White-bellied Sea EagleHaliaeetus leucogaster
Owls (Strigidae)
Barking OwlNinox connivens
Papuan BoobookNinox theomacha
Hornbills (Bucerotidae)
Blyth’s HornbillRhyticeros plicatus
Rollers (Coraciidae)
Oriental DollarbirdEurystomus orientalis
Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)
Hook-billed KingfisherMelidora macrorrhina
Common Paradise KingfisherTanysiptera galatea
Little Paradise KingfisherTanysiptera hydrocharis
Brown-headed Paradise KingfisherTanysiptera danae
Shovel-billed Kookaburra (H)Dacelo rex
Rufous-bellied KookaburraDacelo gaudichaud
Blue-winged KookaburraDacelo leachii
Sacred KingfisherTodiramphus sanctus
Yellow-billed KingfisherSyma torotoro
Mountain KingfisherSyma megarhyncha
Common KingfisherAlcedo atthis
Papuan Dwarf KingfisherCeyx solitarius
Azure KingfisherCeyx azureus
Bee-eaters (Meropidae)
Rainbow Bee-eaterMerops ornatus
Caracaras, Falcons (Falconidae)
Australian HobbyFalco longipennis
Brown FalconFalco berigora
Cockatoos (Cacatuidae)
Palm CockatooProbosciger aterrimus
Sulphur-crested CockatooCacatua galerita
Old World Parrots (Psittaculidae)
Pesquet’s Parrot (H) – VUPsittrichas fulgidus
Yellow-capped Pygmy ParrotMicropsitta keiensis
Buff-faced Pygmy ParrotMicropsitta pusio
Red-breasted Pygmy ParrotMicropsitta bruijnii
Papuan King ParrotAlisterus chloropterus
Papuan EclectusEclectus polychloros
Red-cheeked ParrotGeoffroyus geoffroyi
Blue-collared ParrotGeoffroyus simplex
Brehm’s Tiger ParrotPsittacella brehmii
Painted Tiger ParrotPsittacella picta
Plum-faced LorikeetOreopsittacus arfaki
Pygmy LorikeetCharminetta wilhelminae
Red-flanked LorikeetHypocharmosyna placentis
Fairy LorikeetCharmosynopsis pulchella
Josephine’s LorikeetCharmosyna josefinae
Stella’s LorikeetCharmosyna stellae
Orange-billed LorikeetNeopsittacus pullicauda
Black-capped LoryLorius lory
Dusky LoryPseudeos fuscata
Yellow-streaked LoryChalcopsitta scintillata
Goldie’s LorikeetGlossoptilus goldiei
Coconut LorikeetTrichoglossus haematodus
Large Fig ParrotPsittaculirostris desmarestii
Dusky-cheeked Fig ParrotCyclopsitta melanogenia
Double-eyed Fig ParrotCyclopsitta diophthalma
Orange-fronted Hanging ParrotLoriculus aurantiifrons
Pittas (Pittidae)
Papuan Pitta (H)Erythropitta macklotii
Hooded PittaPitta sordida
Bowerbirds (Ptilonorhynchidae)
Ochre-breasted Catbird (H)Ailuroedus stonii
MacGregor’s BowerbirdAmblyornis macgregoriae
Flame BowerbirdSericulus ardens
Fawn-breasted BowerbirdChlamydera cerviniventris
Australasian Wrens (Maluridae)
Emperor FairywrenMalurus cyanocephalus
White-shouldered FairywrenMalurus alboscapulatus
Orange-crowned FairywrenClytomyias insignis
Honeyeaters (Meliphagidae)
Sooty HoneyeaterMelionyx fuscus
Rufous-backed HoneyeaterPtiloprora guisei
Grey-streaked HoneyeaterPtiloprora perstriata
Rufous-banded HoneyeaterConopophila albogularis
Long-billed HoneyeaterMelilestes megarhynchus
Common Smoky HoneyeaterMelipotes fumigatus
Plain HoneyeaterPycnopygius ixoides
Ruby-throated MyzomelaMyzomela eques
Papuan Black MyzomelaMyzomela nigrita
Mountain MyzomelaMyzomela adolphinae
Red-collared MyzomelaMyzomela rosenbergii
Meyer’s FriarbirdPhilemon meyeri
New Guinea FriarbirdPhilemon novaeguineae
Tawny-breasted HoneyeaterXanthotis flaviventer
Puff-backed HoneyeaterMeliphaga aruensis
Mountain HoneyeaterMicroptilotis orientalis
Scrub HoneyeaterMicroptilotis albonotatus
Mimic HoneyeaterMicroptilotis analogus
Graceful HoneyeaterMicroptilotis gracilis
Elegant HoneyeaterMicroptilotis cinereifrons
Black-throated HoneyeaterCaligavis subfrenata
Obscure HoneyeaterCaligavis obscura
Yellow-browed MelidectesMelidectes rufocrissalis
Belford’s MelidectesMelidectes belfordi
Ornate MelidectesMelidectes torquatus
Australasian Warblers (Acanthizidae)
Rusty Mouse-warbler (H)Origma murina
Mountain Mouse-warblerOrigma robusta
Pale-billed ScrubwrenAethomyias spilodera
Buff-faced ScrubwrenAethomyias perspicillatus
Papuan ScrubwrenAethomyias papuensis
Large ScrubwrenSericornis nouhuysi
Brown-breasted GerygoneGerygone ruficollis
Large-billed GerygoneGerygone magnirostris
Yellow-bellied GerygoneGerygone chrysogaster
Green-backed GerygoneGerygone chloronota
Fairy GerygoneGerygone palpebrosa
Grey ThornbillAcanthiza cinerea
Australasian Babblers (Pomatostomidae)
Papuan BabblerGarritornis isidorei
Satinbirds (Cnemophilidae)
Loria’s SatinbirdCnemophilus loriae
Berrypeckers, Longbills (Melanocharitidae)
Obscure BerrypeckerMelanocharis arfakiana
Mid-mountain BerrypeckerMelanocharis longicauda
Fan-tailed BerrypeckerMelanocharis versteri
Streaked BerrypeckerMelanocharis striativentris
Spotted BerrypeckerRhamphocharis piperata
Spectacled LongbillOedistoma iliolophus
Yellow-bellied LongbillToxorhamphus novaeguineae
Painted Berrypeckers (Paramythiidae)
Tit BerrypeckerOreocharis arfaki
Eastern Crested BerrypeckerParamythia montium
Jewel-babblers, Quail-thrushes (Cinclosomatidae)
Blue Jewel-babbler (H)Ptilorrhoa caerulescens
Chestnut-backed Jewel-babbler (H)Ptilorrhoa castanonota
Boatbills (Machaerirhynchidae)
Yellow-breasted BoatbillMachaerirhynchus flaviventer
Black-breasted BoatbillMachaerirhynchus nigripectus
Woodswallows, Butcherbirds & Allies (Artamidae)
White-breasted WoodswallowArtamus leucorynchus
Great WoodswallowArtamus maximus
Lowland PeltopsPeltops blainvillii
Mountain PeltopsPeltops montanus
Black ButcherbirdMelloria quoyi
Black-backed ButcherbirdCracticus mentalis
Hooded ButcherbirdCracticus cassicus
Mottled Berryhunter (Rhagologidae)
Mottled BerryhunterRhagologus leucostigma
Cuckooshrikes (Campephagidae)
Stout-billed CuckooshrikeCoracina caeruleogrisea
Hooded CuckooshrikeCoracina longicauda
Barred CuckooshrikeCoracina lineata
Black-faced CuckooshrikeCoracina novaehollandiae
Boyer’s CuckooshrikeCoracina boyeri
White-bellied CuckooshrikeCoracina papuensis
Golden CuckooshrikeCampochaera sloetii
Black-bellied CuckooshrikeEdolisoma montanum
Grey-headed CuckooshrikeEdolisoma schisticeps
Common CicadabirdEdolisoma tenuirostre
Black CicadabirdEdolisoma melas
Varied TrillerLalage leucomela
Sittellas (Neosittidae)
Papuan SittellaDaphoenositta papuensis
Ploughbill (Eulacestomatidae)
Wattled Ploughbill (H)Eulacestoma nigropectus
Australo-Papuan Bellbirds (Oreoicidae)
Rufous-naped BellbirdAleadryas rufinucha
Whistlers & Allies (Pachycephalidae)
Brown-backed WhistlerPachycephala modesta
Grey WhistlerPachycephala simplex
Sclater’s WhistlerPachycephala soror
Regent WhistlerPachycephala schlegelii
Black-headed Whistler (H)Pachycephala monacha
White-bellied PitohuiPseudorectes incertus
Rusty PitohuiPseudorectes ferrugineus
Arafura ShrikethrushColluricincla megarhyncha
Rufous ShrikethrushColluricincla rufogaster
Shrikes (Laniidae)
Long-tailed ShrikeLanius schach
Figbirds, Old World Orioles, Piopios (Oriolidae)
Australasian FigbirdSphecotheres vieilloti
Southern Variable PitohuiPitohui uropygialis
Hooded PitohuiPitohui dichrous
Brown OrioleOriolus szalayi
Drongos (Dicruridae)
Spangled DrongoDicrurus bracteatus
Fantails (Rhipiduridae)
Willie WagtailRhipidura leucophrys
Black FantailRhipidura atra
Chestnut-bellied FantailRhipidura hyperythra
Friendly FantailRhipidura albolimbata
Dimorphic FantailRhipidura brachyrhyncha
Rufous-backed FantailRhipidura rufidorsa
Monarchs (Monarchidae)
Spot-winged MonarchSymposiachrus guttula
Golden MonarchCarterornis chrysomela
Frilled MonarchArses telescopthalmus
Torrent-larkGrallina bruijnii
Shining FlycatcherMyiagra alecto
Crows, Jays (Corvidae)
Grey CrowCorvus tristis
Torresian CrowCorvus orru
Melampittas (Melampittidae)
Lesser MelampittaMelampitta lugubris
Ifrit (Ifritidae)
Blue-capped IfritIfrita kowaldi
Birds-of-paradise (Paradisaeidae)
Glossy-mantled ManucodeManucodia ater
Crinkle-collared ManucodeManucodia chalybatus
Trumpet ManucodePhonygammus keraudrenii
Short-tailed ParadigallaParadigalla brevicauda
Splendid AstrapiaAstrapia splendidissima
Ribbon-tailed AstrapiaAstrapia mayeri
Princess Stephanie’s AstrapiaAstrapia stephaniae
Queen Carola’s ParotiaParotia carolae
King of Saxony Bird-of-paradisePteridophora alberti
Greater LophorinaLophorina superba
Magnificent RiflebirdPtiloris magnificus
Growling RiflebirdPtiloris intercedens
Black SicklebillEpimachus fastosus
Brown SicklebillEpimachus meyeri
Black-billed SicklebillDrepanornis albertisi
Magnificent Bird-of-paradiseDiphyllodes magnificus
King Bird-of-paradiseCicinnurus regius
Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradiseSeleucidis melanoleucus
Greater Bird-of-paradiseParadisaea apoda
Raggiana Bird-of-paradiseParadisaea raggiana
Blue Bird-of-paradiseParadisornis rudolphi
Australasian Robins (Petroicidae)
White-faced RobinTregellasia leucops
White-winged RobinPeneothello sigillata
Slaty RobinPeneothello cyanus
White-rumped RobinPeneothello bimaculata
Black-sided RobinPoecilodryas hypoleuca
Black-capped Robin (H)Heteromyias armiti
Torrent FlyrobinMonachella muelleriana
Yellow-legged FlyrobinKempiella griseoceps
Olive FlyrobinKempiella flavovirescens
Canary FlyrobinDevioeca papuana
Swallows, Martins (Hirundinidae)
Pacific SwallowHirundo tahitica
Barn SwallowHirundo rustica
Leaf Warblers (Phylloscopidae)
Island Leaf WarblerPhylloscopus poliocephalus
Reed Warblers & Allies (Acrocephalidae)
Australian Reed WarblerAcrocephalus australis
Grassbirds & Allies (Locustellidae)
Papuan GrassbirdCincloramphus macrurus
Cisticolas & Allies (Cisticolidae)
Golden-headed CisticolaCisticola exilis
White-eyes (Zosteropidae)
Black-fronted White-eyeZosterops chrysolaemus
Capped White-eyeZosterops fuscicapilla
Papuan White-eyeZosterops novaeguineae
Starlings, Rhabdornises (Sturnidae)
Metallic StarlingAplonis metallica
Singing StarlingAplonis cantoroides
Yellow-faced MynaMino dumontii
Golden MynaMino anais
Thrushes (Turdidae)
Island ThrushTurdus poliocephalus
Chats, Old World Flycatchers (Muscicapidae)
Pied Bush ChatSaxicola caprata
Flowerpeckers (Dicaeidae)
Red-capped FlowerpeckerDicaeum geelvinkianum
Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)
Black SunbirdLeptocoma aspasia
Olive-backed SunbirdCinnyris jugularis
Old World Sparrows, Snowfinches (Passeridae)
Eurasian Tree SparrowPasser montanus
House SparrowPasser domesticus
Waxbills, Munias & Allies (Estrildidae)
Grey-headed MannikinLonchura caniceps
Hooded MannikinLonchura spectabilis
Wagtails, Pipits (Motacillidae)
Australian PipitAnthus australis
Alpine PipitAnthus gutturalis
Total seen286
Total heard only14
Total recorded300

Reptile List

Common NameScientific Name
Austro-American Side-necked Turtles (Chelidae)
Jardine River TurtleEmydura subglobosa

Mammal List

Common NameScientific Name
Old World Fruit Bats (Pteropodidae)
Great Flying FoxPteropus neohibernicus
Dasyures (Dasyuridae)
Speckled DasyureNeophascogale lorentzii
Deer (Cervidae)
Javan DeerRusa timorensis

Butterfly and Moth List

Common NameScientific Name
Emperor and Giant Silk Moths (Saturniidae)
Hercules MothCoscinocera hercules
Swallowtails and Parnassians (Papilioninae)
Common Green BirdwingOrnithoptera priamus
Ulysses ButterflyPapilio ulysses
Purple Spotted SwallowtailGraphium weiskei
Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)
Great EggflyHypolimnas bolina
Taenaris sp.Taenaris cyclops


This is a sample trip report. Please email us ([email protected]) for more trip reports from this destination.

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