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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Doves and Pigeons in Rainforest of West Papua

Before the covid pandemic reached Indonesia, I frequently guided visitors to watch birds and wild animals in rainforest. We traveled across tropical rainforests of West Papua where we saw doves and pigeons both in lowland and lower montane forest as well as in higher mountain forest. 

Cinnamon Ground Dove (Gallocolumba rufigula)
Cinnamon Ground Dove in Arfak range

One that attracted my attention was the Cinnamon Ground Dove. I saw it in Arfak range at the elevation of around 1,700 meters above sea level. It came to the dancing ground of Western Parotia to find seeds that fell from nearby trees. Its underparts were bright yellow. The dominant colour of its wings was brown. 

I was able to take pictures of the bird several times. It did not run away when it heard the electronic sounds of the shutter button. I and the visitor who were watching it were sitting inside a blind (a special hut used by birdwatchers to observe birds and other animals in the forest. It has got several holes  that can be used by birdwatchers to observe birds and to take pictures). 

Brown Cuckoo Dove (Macropygia amboinensis)
Slender-billed Cuckoo-dove

Spice Imperial-pigeon (Ducula myristicivora)
Spice Imperial Pigeon in Raja Ampat

Great Cuckoo Dove in rainforest of Vogelkop region of West Papua
Great Cuckoo Dove in the forest of District Senopi in Tambrauw regency
Photographed by Wim Boyden

In Klasow valley - a lowland forest of Sorong regency, I saw several species there including Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Beautiful Fruit Dove, Claret-breasted Fruit Dove, Pinon Imperial Pigeon. Klatomok village was the recommended place for visitors who wanted to watch birds and wild animals.  In this village, visitors stayed in houses that belonged to local villagers. 

homestay in Klasow valley for birding tourists
One of the homestays in Klatomok village for birding visitors
Birding and wildlife watching site in Sorong regency of West Papua
Klatomok Village in Sorong regency of Indonesia

They were not luxurious accommodations but visitors could sleep in mattresses with mosquito nets. There were toilets which visitors could use too. Foods ingredients will mostly be the combination of local fruits, vegetables, sweet potatoes, fish and meat. But I highly recommend visitors to buy food materials from supermarkets in Sorong city and ask some women in Klatomok village to cook for them in combination with the available foods from the village.

Pied Imperial Pigeon in Waigeo of Raja Ampat archipelago
Pied Imperial Pigeon in Waigeo island

In Raja Ampat, my favorite birding site was Warduwer beach, there we could see Pied Imperial Pigeon and sometimes Spice Imperial Pigeon as well as a lot of other birds such as Beach Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Spangled Drongo,  Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Blyth's Hornbill, Eastern Osprey, and a lot more.

During this covid pandemic, foreign visitors are still not allowed to fly into Indonesia for taking their holidays. Governments are encouraging their citizens to receive vaccinations. 

We hope that the situation will be improved in the coming months so that international travels can be allowed again. 

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