Friday, July 10, 2020

Birdwatching in Manokwari

Birdwatching and wildlife tour in West Papua of Indonesia
Blyth's hornbill
Manokwari is a nice destination for visitors who are interested in hiking and watching birds in the rainforest. There are regular flights between Manokwari and Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia served by such airlines as Sriwijaya, Lion/Wings, Batik Air and Garuda. Birders usually go to Arfak mountains to watch paradise birds or do night walk to see fireflies, glowing mushrooms and cuscus possum.

Susnguakti Forest

Birding tour in Arfak mountains of Manokwari
King Bird of Paradise in Arfak mountains
There is a forest in the eastern region of Arfak mountains where visitors can enjoy hiking to watch several species of tropical birds such as Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor), King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius), Magnificent Riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus), Common Paradise Kingfisher (Tanysiptera galatea), Great Cuckoo Dove, Beautiful Fruit Dove, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Brown Oriole, and Coconut Lorikeet and a lot of other birds that are endemic to Arfak range.  Lesser Birds of Paradise usually dance in the mornings and in the afternoons in the rainforest near basecamp that we have built for tourists. Birders need to walk up steep slopes to reach it. So, only birders who are physically fit that can go to the place. They must wear good sport shoes or trekking boots and bring binoculars. We have prepared mattrasses, pillows, cooking and eating utensils for tourists who want to spend several days exploring the bio-diversity of animals and plants in this forest. Besides watching birds of paradise, other interesting attraction is watching cuscus and exploring the jungle itself at night. The tropical rainforest is home to various species of plants, and animals, including mushrooms that glow at nights, orchids, bamboos and a lot of insects.

Mesirrokow Forest

French tourists were enjoying riverwalk, camping and birdwatching tour in Manokwari
Birding and riverwalk in Mesirrokow forest in Manokwari
In addition to Mesirrokow as one of the best birding sites in the bird's head region of West Papua, the most recommended site for hiking and birdwatching in Vogelkop region is Mesirrokow forest. Located in lowland region, Mesirrokow is only one hour car trip from Manokwari. In addition to hiking and birdwatching, another activity that tourists can enjoy in Mesirrokow is swimming in the river.

Miyah forest

Another important birdwatching destination in West Papua is Miyah forest. Located in Tambrauw mountains, it is considered one of the most important birding sites in the world. This may sound subjective but Miyah forest is a must see place for birdwatchers who really want to see a lot of birds that are endemic to New Guinea.
As a tourist guide, I offer birding tours for nature lovers who want to watch birds in Miyah. From my previous trips, I saw Lesser Birds of Paradise, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Blyth's Hornbill, Palm Cockatoo, and many other birds that I cannot mention their names one by one in this post.
Visitors can go by 4WD pick up truck and continue their trip on foot to the forest. It will take a half day to reach Miyah. Tents and camping gear are needed if they want to stay in the jungle for a few nights. Since electricity is not always available in the forest, visitors need to bring some extra batteries for their cameras.
This was written by Charles Roring

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