Papua New Guinea! The very name conjures images of vast, pristine rainforests, untouched tribes and the most exotic avifauna to be found on our planet – including the region’s most famous residents, the gorgeous birds-of-paradise and bowerbirds!
Of course, with everything that sounds too good to be true there are downsides, and in this case it is the extremely complicated logistics – particularly flights and landholder permissions – involved in arranging and executing a successful tour through this island nation. It is for this reason that many birding companies don’t include Papua New Guinea in their offerings, which is why we at Rockjumper are very proud of our record for having operated more tours to the island over the last decade than any other birding tour company (26 tours over the past 9 years.) This means that 2014 is now our 10th year of running trips to PNG, and we plan to make it our best year yet!
To celebrate this auspicious occasion, our January Image of The Month – while not a bird-of-paradise– is nevertheless one of New Guinea’s most exquisite endemics, the indescribably beautiful and aptly named Flame Bowerbird! The first bowerbird species described by naturalists, it was previously thought to be a bird of paradise due to its incredible plumage, and in fact is unique amongst bowerbirds for being so brightly coloured, since most related species are drab in comparison. This species clearly didn’t read the rule book, as evidenced by this image that tour leader Markus Lilje obtained during one of last year’s tours.
Aside from this beauty, which we have recorded on all but one of our tours so far, our trip totals of around 400 species include up to 24 different birds-of-paradise, almost 20 kingfisher species, the enormous Southern Crowned Pigeon, and a phenomenal array of fruit doves, fig parrots, fairywrens, whistlers, jewel-babblers, honeyeaters, berrypeckers and other exotic species, many of which are endemic to the island of New Guinea.
Our Papua New Guinea tours also include an extension to New Britain Island, which takes us to another beautiful and little-explored region, the Bismarck Archipelago. Here we bird forests and tiny islets for several exciting species including Melanesian Megapode, Nicobar Pigeon and numerous endemic doves, kingfishers and parrots, not to mention some of the most amazing snorkeling in the world. Our journey through PNG is rated by many as the world’s ultimate birding tour, and we invite you to join us on this voyage of amazement and discovery to one of the wildest places on our planet!
For further information of our various Birds in Paradise tours which still have spaces available, please click on the links below, or contact our office.