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Global birding in a nutshell (or is it in an eggshell?) - Bird Families of the World! (1 Viewer)

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
Sapayoa
Mottled Berryhunter
Ifrita
Melampittas
Spotted Elachura
Dapple-throat and Allies
Wrenthrush

I've been to PNG twice and still miss Ifrita. Berryhunter and the melampittas were split after we were there, or we would have insisted. (We did insist on berrypeckers.)
I've been to Bhutan twice (lots of fun, no endemic families), again, before they split the Elachura, so it was not on our wishlist. The easiest would probably be to go to Costa Rica and get Wrenthrush.
All of these except for the Sapayoa are recent splits - recent for me, that is. And all of them are in places we've been before, so it's that much less fun to go there again just because of a split.

We started this game after Madagascar, when we discovered we were way over 200, and the end was in reach. In fifteen years, I've added 24 families, plus some armchair ticks, like splitting Sylviidae. But we can't manage it any more, and we've lost not one, but probably two years because of the virus.

-- Daan
Sapayoa has modestly easy chances in Panama in the way to Darien or the Choco in Northern Ecuador, not really a bird worth making a trip for if you've already birded the region a lot but if you want all of the bird families, I think it's one of the easier bird families to get along with Wrenthrush in Costa Rica from the point of view of an American birder in these years.
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
The Indonesian half of New Guinea (West Papua) is easier, safer and cheaper than PNG. It's possible to bird here independently on a modest budget.
Is there a logistical reason why West Papua is safer than PNG? Most of the tour companies and even many long term travelers I've met choose PNG, while it is only recently that I see more birders going to the Indonesian side for these birds (which outside of Blue Bird-of-Paradise most can be seen in West Papua? correct me if I'm wrong)
 

DMW

Well-known member
Is there a logistical reason why West Papua is safer than PNG? Most of the tour companies and even many long term travelers I've met choose PNG, while it is only recently that I see more birders going to the Indonesian side for these birds (which outside of Blue Bird-of-Paradise most can be seen in West Papua? correct me if I'm wrong)
Regarding security, I don't think there's a logistical reason as such. I'm not knowledgeable about the subject, but I suspect it's more to do with cultural and governance issues. Port Moresby in particular seems to be extremely dangerous, thanks to gangs of drunken raskals, while Mt Hagen is riven with tribal conflict.

As far as more birders visiting PNG historically, I think that's possibly a legacy of Australian administration making it easier for ornithological research, which provided a knowledge-base and infrastructure for tour companies to run tours. There are also the sort of upscale lodges there that tour companies prefer, which are absent in West Papua.

It's only comparatively recently that West Papua has been an easy place to visit, with cheap reliable flights, and a developing birding infrastructure.

I think I'm correct in saying that most BOPs are shared between the two territories, but both also have their own endemics. Most notably, perhaps, West Papua has Wilson's BOP, arguably the most extraordinary of all.
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
Regarding security, I don't think there's a logistical reason as such. I'm not knowledgeable about the subject, but I suspect it's more to do with cultural and governance issues. Port Moresby in particular seems to be extremely dangerous, thanks to gangs of drunken raskals, while Mt Hagen is riven with tribal conflict.

As far as more birders visiting PNG historically, I think that's possibly a legacy of Australian administration making it easier for ornithological research, which provided a knowledge-base and infrastructure for tour companies to run tours. There are also the sort of upscale lodges there that tour companies prefer, which are absent in West Papua.

It's only comparatively recently that West Papua has been an easy place to visit, with cheap reliable flights, and a developing birding infrastructure.

I think I'm correct in saying that most BOPs are shared between the two territories, but both also have their own endemics. Most notably, perhaps, West Papua has Wilson's BOP, arguably the most extraordinary of all.
Good information to go for and I can agree that Wilson's is up there as one of the most extraordinary BOP, my other dreams BOP to see would be King, Twelve-wire, King-of-Saxony and Standardwing BOP, I know the last one is from Maluku but still one of the coolest birds I dream to see.
 

dandsblair

David and Sarah
Supporter
Good information to go for and I can agree that Wilson's is up there as one of the most extraordinary BOP, my other dreams BOP to see would be King, Twelve-wire, King-of-Saxony and Standardwing BOP, I know the last one is from Maluku but still one of the coolest birds I dream to see.
If you are already in Cairns area then PNG can be done reasonable easily and there are some pretty safe secure hotels in Port Moresby with some of the most accessible BOP leks in nearby Varieta NP. Mount Hagen and highlands did seem a little edgy when we were there during an election period but Blue, Superb and King of Saxony BOPs were pretty easy from Kumul Lodge which has up 5 BOPs on the property and will pick you up from the airport. We found King and 12 Wired really easy at Kwatu Lodge in fact the 12 Wired was in our scope (poor photo as it was still half light) when we woke each morning.
As you say Standardwing (Wallace) is pretty easy in the Mollucas; we had just a twenty minute walk to a lek from Weda Dive resort on Halmehera.

We do need to get to Western Papua for Wilson's and a couple of others at some point.
 

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lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
If you are already in Cairns area then PNG can be done reasonable easily and there are some pretty safe secure hotels in Port Moresby with some of the most accessible BOP leks in nearby Varieta NP. Mount Hagen and highlands did seem a little edgy when we were there during an election period but Blue, Superb and King of Saxony BOPs were pretty easy from Kumul Lodge which has up 5 BOPs on the property and will pick you up from the airport. We found King and 12 Wired really easy at Kwatu Lodge in fact the 12 Wired was in our scope (poor photo as it was still half light) when we woke each morning.
As you say Standardwing (Wallace) is pretty easy in the Mollucas; we had just a twenty minute walk to a lek from Weda Dive resort on Halmehera.

We do need to get to Western Papua for Wilson's and a couple of others at some point.
As a Florida based birder, the closest I'll get to Cairns is maybe in 2023 when I plan to do a 2 week trip of the area so not an easy goal just yet.

Beautiful shots of these birds, especially love the one of the Standardwing since it shows off what makes it so unique even among other BOP!
 

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