Sunday, March 22, 2020

Cockatoos and Parrots in West Papua

There are a lot of parrots and cockatoos in West Papua. I usually see them when I guide birdwatching visitors on tours in Raja Ampat, Sorong, Tambrauw and Manokwari. The most common ones are Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, and Coconut Lorikeet (formerly called Rainbow Lorikeet).
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo(Cacatua galeruta) in Warduwer beach of Raja Ampat
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
The famous and common one is Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. It has got black beak, white feather and yellow crest on his head. The bird is common in lowland up to hill forest of West Papua. It eats fruits. It is sad to see that Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, together with other birds, are often caught and sold in cities as pets.
Palm Cockatoo in Raja Ampat
Palm Cockatoo in tropical rainforest of West Papua
There is also Palm Cockatoo. It is a beautiful black bird with a red patch on each of its cheeks. In Raja Ampat, it can easily be seen in the mornings when it flies to coastal trees to feed on fruits. I saw the bird in Susnguakti forest and Mesirrokow river of Manokwari, as well as Ases valley and Klawos forest of Tambrauw mountains. Klatomok village in Klasow valley of Sorong regency, and Waigeo island of Raja Ampat are the places where visitors can watch the bird easily.
Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus) in rainforest of West Papua
Eclectus Parrot in the forest near Marinda airport of Waisai in Raja Ampat
Eclectus Parrot - This is also common in lowland, hill, and lower montane forest. I saw it for the first time when I guided tourists to Numfor island. This species, together with Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, was abundant in the small island and is often considered as pest by local people. The forest area near Marinda airport of Waisai and Warduwer beach in Waigeo island is the site where the parrot can easily be watched.
Coconut Lorikeet 
Coconut Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) - I see this species almost everywhere I go in West Papua. Whether I am in Susnguakti forest of Manokwari, Ases valley and Senopi village of Tambrauw mountains, Klatomok forest of Sorong regency or Warduwer beach of Raja Ampat.  The above picture of Coconut Lorikeet was taken in Ases valley of Tambrauw. This small bird likes to lick nectar of wild flowers.
Black-capped Lory - This bird is also a common species which every birdwatcher will see in tropical rainforest. The bird is bigger than the lorikeet but smaller than cockatoo. I took the picture below in Malagufuk village of Klasow valley in West Papua using my old camera Fujifilm HS-50 EXR.
Black-capped Lory in Malagufuk village, Klasow valley of West Papua
Black-capped Lory (Lorius lory)
Great Billed Parrot - This bird can be watched in Raja Ampat. From a distance, it looks similar to male Eclectus Parrot.
New Guinea Vulturine Parrot is one of the most important targets which most birders want to watch. It has been widely extirpated. Its bright red feather is used by some tribes in New Guinea as decorative materials for their traditional costumes and head-dress. I used to see the bird in Ases valley of Tambrauw mountains. At that time, I was able to watch it for around 1 hour. There were some of them that were feeding on a fruiting tree that stood on a steep cliff. It was a great opportunity for me to take a lot of photographs of the bird.
New Guinea Vulturine Parrot in Ases valley  Photo by Charles Roring
New Guinea Vulturine Parrot in Ases Valley of Tambrauw Mountains

Red-cheeked Parrot - It can easily be watched in hill forest of Sorong, lowland forest of Klasow valley and Warduwer beach of Raja Ampat. The bird makes noisy sound when flying fast through the branches of trees.
Violet-necked Lory - This bird likes to live in small islands in Raja Ampat archipelago. I saw the bird when I guided some tourists from Raja Ampat to Merpati island.
Plum-faced Lorikeet - I saw this bird in Arfak mountains during fruit season. It was feeding on a fruiting tree at roadside.
Dusky Lory - A common bird in montane forest of West Papua. I saw it in Tambrauw mountains near Fef town. It can also be seen in rainforests that is still in good condition.
Moluccan King Parrot (Alisterus amboinensis) - This is a beautiful parrot with long tail. I saw this bird for the first time in lowland forest of Manokwari when I was guiding a Swedish Couple. Later I saw the bird again in Tambrauw mountains and in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat.
Moluccan King Parrot in Manokwari's lowland forest
Moluccan King Parrot
Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot (Micropsitta keiensis)- This is a very small parrot that usually lives in termite nests. I saw it for the first time in Dopi river in lowland forest of Manokwari. I also saw the bird in Table Mountain when I was guiding some Singaporean and Malaysian tourists. In Susnguakti forest of Manokwari, I saw some on a trunk of a giant tree. They were eating insects or sap of the tree, I was not sure about this.
Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot in Manokwari
For the pictures of the above Moluccan King Parrot and Yellow-capped Pygmy Parrot, they were taken by Thomas Holmberg - a wildlife photographer from Sweden.
Large Fig Parrot: This is a beautiful bird that I saw for the first time in Klasow valley of Sorong regency.
Double-eyed Fig Parrot: Another species of parrot that I saw in Sorong ridge. This is a birding location outside Sorong city.
Josephine Lorikeet - I saw the bird in Tambrauw mountains. It was a small bird similar to fairy lorikeet.
Red-flanked Lorikeet - I saw this in Ases valley at the foot of Mount Sakofsiah. 
Fairy Lorikeet - This is a small lorikeet that has got yellow streak on his breast. I often see the bird when I guide tourists on a hiking, camping and wildlife watching trip to Susnguakti forest of Manokwari.
Black Lory (Chalcopsitta atra) - Klatomok village in Klasow valley of Sorong regency is the recommended site to see the bird.
Modest Tiger-Parrot (Psittacella modesta) - I only saw it once in Mount Soyti when I accompanied Susan Myers on a birding trip to Arfak mountains. Its green feather made it difficult for us to see it particularly when it was sitting among leaves.
There are still a lot of birds that I haven't mentioned in this post. I only write the ones that I have seen until now. Most of the pictures in this blog post were taken using Canon 200D with Tamron 150-600 mm G2 lens.
Bird-Watching Tour
If you are interested in taking a birdwatching trip to West Papua, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

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