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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Yellow-billed Kingfisher

Yellow-billed Kingfisher lives in lowland and lower montane forest of West Papua. Here is a photograph of a couple of the birds that I saw when I was guiding a Chinese lady and an Australian couple in Klasow valley. We spent 5 days exploring the tropical rainforest of Sorong regency in search of Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird and Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise.
Klasow valley is located in Sorong regency and can be reached by a 4WD car.
Yellow-billed Kingfisher
During the birdwatching trip in Klasow valley, we also saw Palm Cockatoo, Northern Cassowary, Pinon Imperial Pigeon.
We were very lucky to see the courtship dance of King Bird of Paradise. Actually, it was also the mating season of Yellow-billed Kingfisher. So, we had the opportunities to watch the birds several times. by Charles Roring

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Spangled Drongo

This is a picture of Spangled Drongo that I saw in tropical rainforest of Klasow valley. The valley is located in Sorong regency of West Papua province of Indonesia. The birds can easily be recognized by their forked tails and black feather. They eat insect and small vertebrates.
Spangled Drongo
I also often see the Spangled Drongo when I go birdwatching in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat, and in Lowland Forest of Manokwari.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Beach Kingfisher

I often go to Raja Ampat to guide visitors who want to enjoy birdwatching and snorkeling. From my previous trips, I saw various species of coastal birds. One of them was Beach Kingfisher (Todiramphus saurophagus). This bird was quite big compared to Azure Kingfisher and Yellow-billed Kingfisher. Its calls were also unique. I could easily recognize the bird even when he was calling from behind thick branches, twigs and leaves of a tree.

One day I was standing on a hill near Port of Waisai town. I had been there photographing Willie Wagtail, Moustached Treeswift, Moluccan Starling, and Coconut Lorikeet. Suddenly, I saw a Beach Kingfisher landed on the naked branch of a tree that was very close to the beach. I quickly aimed my camera to the bird and pressed the shutter button several times. Although I could not get close up picture of the bird, I was quite satisfied with the result. At least it could be used in this post for identification purposes. written by Charles Roring

Sunday, February 11, 2018

King Bird of Paradise

King Bird of Paradise in Susnguakti forest
Manokwari - West Papua
I saw King Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus regius) for the first time when I was guiding some European tourists in Klasow valley of Sorong regency. We spent 5 days/ 4 nights exploring the lowland rainforest in search of birds, wallaby, butterflies and colorful flowers. We saw two species of birds of paradise, i.e. Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor), and King Bird of Paradise. Unfortunately, the sighting of King BOP was not very good because the bird was sitting on the branch of a tree above our head.
King Bird of Paradise in Susnguakti Forest
Manokwari - West Papua
When I guided a Chinese lady, and a couple from Australia in Arfak mountains of Manokwari, we were able to watch King Bird of Paradise for about one hour. It was mating season and I was able to make some pictures of the paradise bird.
The size of the bird of quite small making it more difficult for us to spot it in high tree. Fortunately, the red and white colours of the bird were significantly contrast to the surrounding green color of the leaves. To help us spot the bird, I hired young boy from the village. Usually young boy has got sharper eyes than old birdwatchers like us.
The best place in Manokwari to watch King Bird of Paradise is Susnguakti forest. It is located in the eastern region of Arfak mountains. I and local villagers built basecamp for tourists who want to watch Lesser BOP, Magnificent Riflebird, and King BOP. Visitors usually spend 3 days/ 2 nights in the forest of Susnguakti to watch these paradise birds and other wild animals that live in lower montane forest of Arfak mountains. written by Charles Roring

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Red-cheeked Parrot

I have seen Red-cheeked parrots both male and female through binoculars and spotting scopes a lot of times. But it was in September 2007 when for the first time I was able to take pictures of the birds in relatively closer distance. The birds were eating the bark of a tree. I thought that the bird only eat fruits and grains. It's quite a weird behavior, actually. Compared to Eclectus Parrot, Red-cheeked Parrot was much smaller.
I saw the parrot when I organized a birdwatching tour for visitors of Rockjumper. We went to Klasow valley in Sorong regency of West Papua. The lowland rainforest of the valley is the natural habitat of Lesser Bird of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Black Lory and Northern Cassowary. We only spent one night in the forest but we saw significant number of birds including Moustached Tree Swift, Golden Myna, Yellow-faced Myna, Nankeen Night Heron (which was a migrant bird), Boyer's Cuckoo-shrike, Coconut Lorikeet, Azure Kingfisher and a lot more. written by Charles Roring

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Eclectus Parrot

Here is the picture of a female Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus) that I see in Klasow valley of Sorong regency. The male has got green feather. In West Papua, people call them Kakatua Merah (Red Cockatoo) and Kakaktua Hijau (Green Cockatoo). I was walking with two Australian birdwatchers at that time. We had spent three days hiking and birdwatching in the forest and was about to leave for Sorong city. Suddenly there were some calls from a high tree on the left of us. Local villagers led us to walk through the trees and bush to approach the bird. After searching for several minutes, we could see the male and female parrots. I aimed my camera at the female bird and shot her several times using my Fujifilm HS50EXR. Unfortunately, I was late in shooting the male. He flew away. They were around 30 meters above us in a tall tree.
French birdwatchers in Manokwari lowland forest
Actually, it was not the first time I saw the birds. I used to see it in Numfor island when I was guiding some Dutch tourists. Some islanders in Numfor catch Eclectus Parrot birds and sell them in Biak town or Manokwari city. Eclectus parrot and its relatives Sulphur Crested Cockatoo are often considered as pest because they like to food crops planted by villagers in Numfor island. This also happens in Raja Ampat where islanders catch birds and go to Sorong to sell them in the city.
Willie Wagtail in Lowland Forest of Manokwari
Another good site for watching Eclectus Parrot is in Manokwari. There is a lowland river-forest called Mesirrokow river. Birdwatching in this forest is very easy. We could enjoy walking along the banks of the river to see a lot of species of birds and see the beautiful river-forest environment. I have guided a lot of visitors to the river. They come from France, Switzerland, The United Kingdom, and China.
Well, it is not only birds that we can see in Mesirrokow forest but also butterflies, beetles, flowers, soa-soa lizards and wild tropical flowers of New Guinea. In general, visitors spend 3 days/ 2 nights to explore the high bio-diversity of the lowland forest of Manokwari. written by Charles Roring
Also read: Purple-naped Lory from Ceram island

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo in Manokwari
Photo: Charles Roring
When I go birdwatching in Lowland Forest of Manokwari, I choose Mesirrokow river as my favorite destination. It is a shallow river that has got wide open space. When I and some foreign birdwatchers walk along the sides of the river, we frequently see Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) sitting on the branch of a tree or flying over the river. The bird has got fully white plumage with some yellow in underwing and undertail feather. Crest is yellow. Bill and feet are greyish black. Physically, their colors look totally different from their relatives the Palm Cockatoo. The bird usually makes noisy squawking sound that attracts the attention of birdwatchers.
Sometimes I see one but more often a couple sitting or flying side by side.
French Tourists were watching birds in Manokwari
During fruiting season, Sulfur-crested Cockatoo fly in larger groups. They are seen as pests by farmers who plant papaya, corn and other crops in their garden.
In breeding season, this cockatoo makes a nest in big iron-wood tree sometimes 20 to 30 meters above the ground. Parents will make hole using their strong bill to store their eggs. Usually there are three eggs per nest.

Hunters Accurate Prediction
Local hunters can accurately predict how old the nestling period of the baby cockatoes is by examining the seeds of fruits that fell on the ground. When the eggs are being incubated or baby cockatoes are being raised, fruits are supplied to the hole of the nest by one of the parents. They take turn in collecting fruits from the surrounding forest. Seeds that are thrown out of the nest fall to the grown and grow. When the seedlings are small, hunters say baby cockatoes still do not have feather. When the seedlings have grown higher, they can conclude that feather have grown and covered the baby cockatoes.
Bird Trading
In Indonesia, the bird is caught in West Papua and other small islands around it and traded as pets to larger cities. Population of the bird is still large in the forest. However, in recent years, continuous conversion of rainforest area into sawit-palm, cocoa and coffee plantations or other monoculture crops, combined with expansion of human settlements and road construction have caused rapid shrinking of cockatoo population and other wild animals in the forest of New Guinea and its nearby islands. Birdwatching tourism is now seen as an alternative income generation for villagers near forest areas in Klasow valley, Arfak mountains, Raja Ampat and Mesirrokow forest of West Papua as well as in many other areas in Tangkoko National Park, Bali Barat NP, Lore Lindu and various other places in Indonesia. written by Charles Roring.