Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Lesser Birds of Paradise

This is perhaps the most sought after birds in the world. People have hunted the Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor) since hundreds of years ago. Because of the continuous hunting, it is now facing extinction in several parts of New Guinea or West Papua forest. In 1980s, they could still be seen in the jungle of Table Mountain near Manokwari town. Today, I cannot see or watch the birds in that jungle anymore. Although Table Mountain is protected by the Department of Forestry of the Indonesian government, it is facing constant destruction from the town dwellers. Hunters carrying air guns like to go into the jungle of the mountain to shoot cuscus, soa-soa (monitor lizards) and birds.
Susnguakti Forest
Male Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)  in Arfak mountains
Paradise bird in Susnguakti forest
of Manokwari
After searching the birds since 2010, finally, I was able to find their dancing site located in the territory of Susnguakti forest. It is a 1-hour ride from Manokwari town. There are four or five trees that have been chosen by the birds of paradise as the place where they perform courtship dance in the mornings and in the afternoons just before sunset. The trees stand on a hill with steep slope. I've got a blurred photograph of the male that I shot using Nikon Coolpix P500. I hope that I can make better pictures in the future. As a nature lover and eco-tourism enthusiast, I try to protect the area by offering birdwatching tours to tourists who want to watch birds of paradise. I hope that this environmentally friendly eco-tourism scheme will help local Papuan villagers generate alternative income that can replace their present livelihood.
Birds and Wild Animals
King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius) in Arfak mountains of Manokwari
King Bird of Paradise
In addition to the Lesser Birds of Paradise, Susnguakti forest is also the natural habitat of King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Hooded Butcherbird, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Coconut Lorikeet, Beautiful Fruit Dove, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Papuan Frogmouth.
Animals such as snakes, soa-soa monitor lizard, large ground brown skink, Papua Dragon Tree Lizard, blue-tailed lizard, Cruiser Butterfly (Vindula arsinoe), the Silky Owl Buterfly (Taenaris catops), Swallow tail blue mountain butterfly (Papilio ulysses) butterflies, beetles and fireflies can also be found in this forest.
A lot of species of plants in the jungle of this Arfak mountains including bamboos, big trees, orchids, and glowing mushrooms.

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