Birds of Papua New Guinea: A Paradise for Avian Enthusiasts (most of the photos in this post are from Canva)
PLEASE see Special Note at the bottom of this post about Woodland Park Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Survival Program
Papua New Guinea, a country located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, is renowned for its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and incredible biodiversity. Among its many natural wonders, Papua New Guinea is home to an astonishing array of bird species. It is a paradise for avian enthusiasts and ornithologists alike. My husband and I consider ourselves amateurs, but are nonetheless enthusiastic about spotting and tracking birds in our travels. The birds of Papua New Guinea were fascinating.
So Many Unique Birds
With over 700 recorded bird species, Papua New Guinea boasts one of the highest avian diversities in the world. Its unique geographical location, encompasses both tropical rainforests and highland habitats. This provides a wide range of ecosystems that support a remarkable variety of bird life. From the lowland jungles to the misty mountain peaks, Papua New Guinea offers a birdwatching experience like no other.
Raggiana Bird of Paradise
One of the most iconic bird species found in Papua New Guinea is the Raggiana bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea raggiana). This striking bird, with its vibrant red and yellow plumage and long, elegant tail feathers, is the national bird of Papua New Guinea. The male Raggiana bird-of-paradise performs elaborate courtship displays, showcasing its magnificent plumage and unique dance moves to attract a mate. Witnessing this spectacle in person is an unforgettable experience that highlights the beauty and diversity of Papua New Guinea’s avifauna.
King of Saxony Bird of Paradise
One of the most amazing birds we had the opportunity to see was the King of Saxony Bird of Paradise. Although he stayed very high up in the tree, we spent a long time in a raised “blind” built for bird viewing and watched the display of the King of Saxony’s incredible head feathers.
Victoria Crowned Pigeon
Another fascinating bird species found in Papua New Guinea is the Victoria crowned pigeon (Goura victoria). This large, ground-dwelling bird is known for its regal appearance, with a beautiful blue-gray plumage, a fan-shaped crest, and bright red eyes. The Victoria crowned pigeon is endemic to the island of New Guinea and can be spotted in the lowland rainforests. Its unique appearance and gentle nature make it a favorite among birdwatchers and photographers.
One of my favorites we spotted high in the mountains was the beautiful Papuan Lorikeet which we saw at the very end of our birdwatching days. It gave us a brief show and we were so impressed.
Papua New Guinea is also home to a wide range of bird species that are endemic to the region, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world. These include the stunning Princess Stephanie’s Astrapia (Astrapia stephaniae). This bird-of-paradise species has iridescent green and purple plumage. We got up close and personal with the Astrapia and although the IPhone isn’t great for wildlife photos I did manage a video of this illusive bird. Exploring the remote and untouched habitats of Papua New Guinea allows bird enthusiasts to encounter these unique and rare species up close.
Where to View Birds of Papua New Guinea
In addition to its diverse bird life, Papua New Guinea offers a variety of birdwatching opportunities for enthusiasts. The country is home to several national parks and conservation areas, such as Varirata National Park and the Tari Gap, which provide excellent birdwatching trails and observation points. Local guides and birding tours are available to assist visitors in spotting and identifying the numerous bird species found in these areas.
Conservation of Birds of Papua New Guinea
However, it is important to note that Papua New Guinea’s avian paradise faces numerous challenges. Deforestation, habitat loss, and illegal wildlife trade pose significant threats to the country’s bird populations. Conservation efforts, such as the establishment of protected areas and community-based initiatives, are crucial. Efforts that will preserve Papua New Guinea’s unique avifauna for future generations.
Bird watching in Papua New Guinea offers a remarkable diversity of bird species in breathtaking natural settings. From the vibrant Raggiana bird-of-paradise to the regal Victoria crowned pigeon, the country’s avian inhabitants never fail to captivate and inspire. By exploring Birds of Papua New Guinea we not only gain a deeper appreciation for the natural world but also contribute to the conservation of these magnificent creatures. I am so grateful I had this unique opportunity.
Because many of my readers are from the greater Seattle area I want to point out something about the Woodland Park Zoo. I often see people criticizing zoos. While this was a valid position in the past, in today’s world it no longer is. Today’s reputable zoos, such as Woodland Park, are NOT animals in the cages. Woodland Park is a conservation organization focused on preserving endangered species of the world and educating humans on their impact to wildlife. Woodland Park is home to a renowned Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program focused on the endangered Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo of Papua New Guinea. Begun in 1996 the program helps the people of PNG understand and protect the Matschies. It also educates on how deforestation and mining can cause extinction.
The program at The Woodland Park Zoo is run by Lisa Dabek, Phd, Program Director and Senior Conservation Scientist. Originally from New York City, Lisa started studying Matschies tree kangaroos in 1987 as part of her graduate studies at the University of Washington.
The Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) is the umbrella name for the partnership between the Woodland Park Zoo’s TKCP and TKCP-PNG, an independent non-governmental organization registered in Papua New Guinea. THIS is why zoos are important.
Do Your Research
Thank you for reading Birds of Papua New Guinea. I hope in your travels you will seek out conservation programs to learn and get up close with local wildlife. These are the opportunities to see wildlife but in a way that is safe for both animals and humans. We have done this in many countries around the world and never engage in unethical tourist -wildlife encounters.
Be sure to read my post from the rest of our experiences in this remarkable country My Adventures in Papua New Guinea.
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