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Papua New Guinea Birding

29 June - 21 July 1998

INLAND BIRD TOURS & SICKLEBILL SAFARIS

TOUR REPORT

LEADERS: Phil Gregory and Philip Maher

GROUP MEMBERS: Franks Bills, Sharon Bostick, Ron Hoff, Richard Irvin Jeri McMahon, Dollyanne Myers, Laurie Pearl, Virginia Reynolds

Species which were heard but not seen are indicated by the symbol (H).

Species which were not recorded by the leaders are indicated by the symbol (NL).

This was the first Inland Bird Tours /Sicklebill Safaris joint tour to Papua New Guinea, home to some of the most spectacular and bizarre birds in the world, but also home to some of the most secretive and difficult to see birds on the planet. Birding in New Guinea must be among the most difficult anywhere, but with patience, skill, persistence and a fair bit of luck we managed to see an outstanding assortment of the New Guinea avifauna.

The highlights were of course the birds of paradise - twenty-one species seen, with full-plumaged males of the showy species, plus incredible views of two Gurney's Eagles at Varirata, a Forest Bittern and wonderful Southern Crowned Pigeons at Kiunga, Superb Pitta on Manus, Meyer's Goshawk with young and Sooty Owl at Myola. Spotless Crake, Chestnut and Forbes' Forest Rails, Lewin's Rail, 30 species of parrot including 4 species of Pygmy-Parrot, 3 Tiger-Parrot species in one day, the list goes on and on.

Our adventure started with the participants' arrival in Port Moresby on June 29, then it was straight off to Hoskins in West New Britain for 3 nights. This proved highly diverting, with bullet-ridden windscreens, shotgun blast patterns on the hotel wall and dubious personnel all adding to the local colour. Added drama came with Philip Maher falling sick and being hospitalized! We managed to nurse the elderly hotel bus down the Lavege track, basically praying that it didn't rain 'cos I'd have never got it out again if it had! Our trip to Mt Nakru was also memorable for a truly exceptional pothole on a bridge (we could see the stream below!) that claimed Ron's vehicle for a while just as dusk was falling. We found in total some 24 Bismarck/Solomon endemics, with excellent species like Melanesian Scrubfowl, Finsch's, Grey, Black and Red-knobbed Imperial-Pigeon, Pied Cuckoo-Dove, Violaceous and White-necked Coucal, Song Parrot, White-backed Wood-swallow, Blue-eyed Cockatoo, Black-tailed Monarch and Buff-bellied Mannikin

We also ran a little experimental trip to check an island just off Hoskins, where some of the small island species occur. We were duly rewarded with gripping views of Beach Kingfisher and Island Monarch, and Nicobar Pigeon was a tantalising possibility.

We next took a flight to Manus, where a brief stop over at Kavieng on New Ireland gave us the endemic and striking Hunstein's Mannikin (we may be the first bird group to see this species). The drive in to Lorengau was also good, with Beach and Common Kingfisher and an Oriental Hobby to make us welcome. Our guide Aaron proved a bit erratic, but despite various hurdles we persevered and were duly rewarded with excellent views of the Manus megatick, the Superb Pitta. Small island species also featured and we added the rarely seen Bismarck Black Myzomela and Mackinlay's Cuckoo-Dove as a consequence of our aborted trip to Tong, though only Philip remained dry on the trip back! Everyone except Phil G got nice looks at Meek's Pygmy-Parrot too, as well as the excellent Admiralty Pied Monarch which has a striking white undertail, though the Manus Boobook was, true to form, vocal but invisible.

Then it was back (rather luckily as it turned out!) to the mainland and a great day up at Varirata, commencing with a marvellous performance by Raggiana Birds of Paradise as we drove in. Brown-backed Honeyeater was a surprise up here, and Mountain Red-headed Myzomela proved literally a right pain in the neck. Brown-headed Paradise-Kingfisher put on a show too, whilst Pheasant Pigeon remained stubbornly out of view. Point blank views of two magnificent Gurney's Eagle at the lookout were a stroke of sheer luck, this being one of the big 4 rare NG raptors. Eastern Riflebird males showed well, and it was altogether a very enjoyable, successful day.

Next we flew far to the west on the border with Irian Jaya, landing briefly on the bizarre and noisy World War Two vintage Marsden matting airstrip at Kikori. Kiunga had had heavy rain, but the weather was unusually kind to us during our stay. Samuel, our local guide, showed us around the rich lowland rainforest surrounding Kiunga, though the Boystown road was out of commission due to deep mud. Lovely views of plumed male Greater Bird of Paradise, an adult and immature Long-billed Cuckoo, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Emperor Fairy-wren and the elusive White-spotted Mannikin kept us richly rewarded.

We also spent a truly superb full day on the Fly river and one of its tributaries, where a wonderful chestnut and black striped Forest Bittern was the megatick, with a supporting cast of truly outstanding views of Southern Crowned Pigeon, best ever views of one of New Guinea's hardest to see birds, the Hook-billed Kingfisher, the impressive and comical-looking Palm Cockatoo, Large Fig-Parrot, Collared Imperial Pigeon, Yellow-eyed Starling and a great dawn performance from the Twelve-wired Birds of Paradise. A brief flyover of a male Flame Bowerbird also featured. Virginia dislocating her jaw as we headed down river made for an eventful end to the day too……..

Another trip rewarded us with great views of Common Paradise-Kingfisher, several flocks of the rare and little known White-bellied Pitohui, stunning views of Yellow-capped Pygmy-Parrot, a wary Hooded Monarch and 3 marvelous male King Bird of Paradise that the group waded a creek to get…..With spirit like that no wonder we did so well.

A 3 hour drive took us next to the mid-altitude forests at the copper mining town of Tabubil. The major drought of last year is thankfully over, but flowering and fruiting plants were still in short supply and we were struggling to find honeyeaters, fruit-doves and lorikeets in particular. The weather turned nasty on us too. However, compensation was great looks at male Magnificent Riflebird and Ornate Fruit-Dove, plus Torrent-lark, Obscure Honeyeater and Rusty Whistler. We also heard the mysterious and almost unknown Greater Melampitta, though were not able to lure any into view this year.

Ambua Lodge is one of the most beautiful lodges in New Guinea, situated near Tari in the Southern Highlands. The forests surrounding are, without any doubt, the best place in the world to observe and admire birds of paradise. No less than ten species regularly reside here and we managed to see them all. A forest clearing had a good supply of fruiting plants, and this enabled us to get simply devastating views of males of Crested, Loria's, King of Saxony Bird of Paradise and Ribbon-tailed Astrapia. A calling male Blue Bird of Paradise gave us lovely views down in the Tari Valley, and we also had excellent views of Short-tailed Paradigalla, female Brown Sicklebill, male and female Princess Stephanie's Astrapias and male Lawes's Parotia.. The expertise and keen eyes and ears of Joseph, the local birdman, helped us immensely here.

We spent a lot of time in the moss-festooned mountain forests below the Tari Gap, creeping about and checking from the road. Here we had unforgettable sightings of male Chestnut Forest-Rail, Brehm's, Painted and Modest Tiger Parrots and Lesser Ground-Robin. Other excellent species here included Papuan Boobook, Goldie's and Whiskered Lorikeet, Blue-capped Ifrita, Crested Berrypecker, Papuan Treecreeper, Wattled Ploughbill, Mountain Kingfisher and Archbold's Bowerbird.

We reluctantly left Tari to go to Madang, where Jais Aben proved a nice relaxing base and gave time for snorkeling and fish-watching in the heat of the day. Good birds here were the recently split New Guinea Scrubfowl, White-browed Crake, Beach Kingfisher, the elusive and lovely Little and Dwarf Kingfishers, Island Monarch, unexpected Grand Mannikins, a great Blue-breasted Pitta that began calling at just the right moment (despite heavy traffic!) and Lesser Bird of Paradise as our 21st and final member of the family.

Our final few days saw us fly up to the mountain fastness of Myola in the Owen Stanley Range, where bush style accommodation in a truly beautiful setting was the order of the day. The weather was excellent, but really too nice as the forest floor was very dry and invertebrate food in short supply. Nonetheless we found some cracking birds, with an unforgettable Sooty Owl, noisy Meyer's Goshawks, Lewin's Rail, Spotless Crakes and Forbes' Forest Rail as a neat rallid trio, plus Blue Quail and a nightly hearing of the elusive Feline Owlet-nightjar that has not been recorded here before.

The trip had an unusual itinerary designed to find as many of the endemics as possible within the time-scale. It proved to be truly memorable, with lots of outstanding sightings, good views of many cripplers, plenty of endemic species, a keen and dauntless group and various curious happenings to keep us alert (and no doubt dined out later in the year). Quite an introduction to New Guinea, and my thanks to the group for their enthusiasm, good spotting skills, additional telescope use, patience and good humour. Philip and I hope that you enjoyed it and have good memories of the many great birds we found.

Papua New Guinea 1998 Tour Species List

PODICIPEDIDAE

Little Grebe (Eurasian Dabchick) Tachybaptus ruficollis: Breeding at Alexishafen Ponds, with 2 juveniles and a nesting bird on July 17. Very local in PNG.

FREGATIDAE

Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel: Nice views of a female off Vulai Island, Hoskins, and also at Madang

Great Frigatebird Fregata minor At least one off Vulai Island at Hoskins

PHALACROCORACIDAE

Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris: Seen near Port Moresby and at Alexishafen

ARDEIDAE

Great Egret Egretta alba: A couple along the Fly R and one at Madang

Little Egret Egretta garzetta: One at Rouna Falls, near Port Moresby

Pied Heron Egretta picata: A few flyovers along the road to Varirata

Cattle Egret Egretta ibis: A few in the Port Moresby area. All in non-breeding plumage.

Eastern Reef-Egret Egretta sacra. A few on Manus.

Striated Heron (Green-backed Heron) Ardeola striata: One seen well near Kiunga

Nankeen (Rufous) Night-Heron Nycticorax caledonicus 6 on Manus

Forest Bittern Zonerodius heliosylus. Crippling views of one perched in forest by the Elevala River, a mega-tick indeed. The bright yellow legs were a surprise. One of the birds of the trip.

Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis: Good views of one near Kiunga on July 8, the second bittern of the day!

THRESKIORNITHIDAE

Straw-necked Ibis Threskiornis spinicollis: One at the airstrip at Kiunga on July 7 was unexpected, a wanderer from the Trans-Fly I suppose.

PANDIONIDAE

Osprey Pandion haliaetus: Two showed beautifully at nest on Vulai Island, Hoskins.

ACCIPITRIDAE

Crested Hawk (Pacific Baza) Aviceda subcristata: Seen well at Pokili, Kiunga, Tabubil and Madang

Long-tailed Buzzard Henicopernis longicauda: Seen very well at Varirata, great spotting by Dollyanne, also at Kiunga and Kau WMA.

Black Kite Milvus migrans: Seen at Nadzab airport and at Madang.

Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus: Singles at Madang and Myola for some.

Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus. Seen most days

White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster: Good views of a single on the island off Lorengau.

Eastern Marsh Harrier (Spotted Marsh Harrier or Papuan Harrier) Circus spilonotus: Splendid views of adult males and a variety of female/ immatures at Nadzab airport, some 6 birds being seen on July 4 as we came sans baggage from Manus

Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus: A single near Tari on July 13

Grey (Variable) Goshawk Accipiter (novaehollandiae) hiogaster. Nicely seen at Hoskins, Kiunga, Tabubil and Madang. The form here is a likely future split as Accipiter hiogaster, as it differs so much from the Australian Grey Goshawk.

Grey-headed Goshawk Accipiter poliocephalus; Singles of this very uncommon endemic along the Fly River and along the Ok Ma road

Collared Sparrowhawk Accipiter cirrocephalus: A single near Tari on July 13

Meyer's Goshawk Accipiter meyerianus: Incredible views of two juveniles and a normal phase adult bringing food to them at Myola. A very rare species with nesting habits still undescribed.

New Guinea Harpy Eagle Harpyopsis novaeguineae: One calling in the far distance one night at Myola.

Gurney's Eagle Aquila gurneyi Stunning views of two of this rare near endemic at point blank range at Varirata lookout on July 5. We woke up at just the right moment! A trip highlight, great views of a really difficult-to-find bird

Little Eagle Hieraaetus morphnoides: A single seen well at Varirata on July 5

FALCONIDAE

Brown Falcon Falco berigora. Views of two singles at Myola, one calling and flying high.

Oriental Hobby Falco severus. A brief view of this diminutive hobby as we neared Lorengau

Australian Hobby Falco longipennis: Well seen at Kiunga, and briefly at Madang

Peregrine Falco peregrinus A single mobbing a Gurney's Eagle from Varirata lookout.

ANATIDAE

Spotted Whistling Duck Dendrocygna guttata: Excellent views at Alexishafen ponds.

Wandering Whistling Duck Dendrocygna arcuata: A single in Madang on a lily covered lagoon

MEGAPODIIDAE

Melanesian Scrubfowl (Volcano Scrubfowl) Megapodius eremita: Several along the Pokili track and at Mt Nakru, and one on the island off Lorengau.

New Guinea Scrubfowl Megapodius (freycinet) affinis Three nest mounds and a few birds seen briefly on Pig Island off Madang. They looked small, brownish and dark legged, and are a split from Orange-footed Scrubfowl. (ref. the OUP Bird families of the World monograph The Megapodes by Jones, Dekker and Roselaar).

Black-billed Brush-turkey Talegalla fuscirostris Heard at Varirata, and a nest mound at Samuel's lodge on the Elevala.

Brown-collared Brush-turkey Talegalla jobiensis Heard at Kau WMA and along the road to Lae the next day.

PHASIANIDAE

Blue Quail Coturnix chinensis: A female flushed at Myola. A rare and hard to flush species.

RALLIDAE

Chestnut Forest-Rail Rallina rubra: Persistence pays. Incredible observations! A male performed beautifully and walked right in at Ambua, the nictitating membrane showing each time he called. We also saw another quite well the same day.

Forbes' Forest Rail Rallina forbesi: Brief views for some of what appeared to be a female at Myola, with an equally brief appearance by a male next day. We tried!

Lewin's Rail Rallus pectoralis: Brief flight views and lots of calling in wet grassland at Myola

Spotless Crake Porzana tabuensis Brief views of one attracted by the Lewin's Rail tape at Myola

White-browed Crake Porzana cinerea: An adult showed beautifully on a pond at Alexishafen.

Bush-hen Amaurornis olivaceus (H): Heard along the Pokili track.

(Purple Swamphen (Purple Gallinule) Porphyrio porphyrio; Brief views as we landed at Jackson's Airport on July 29 by Leader only)

JACANIDAE

Comb-crested Jacana Irediparra gallinacea What a great little bird, well seen at Alexishafen

CHARADRIIDAE

Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva. A few at Hoskins and Lorengau.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius: Two splendid birds near Tabubil which showed the pink base to the bill and yellow eye ring very nicely. The subspecies in New Guinea dubius has a very different call compared to Palearctic birds, and is a potential split.

GLAREOLIDAE

Australian Pratincole Stiltia isabella: 2 seen nicely at Kiunga airstrip.

SCOLOPACIDAE

Common Sandpiper Tringa hypoleucos (NL): A single at Lorengau

Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes; A single at Lorengau

LARIDAE

Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana: Excellent views of two birds on a platform off Lorengau

Crested Tern (Greater Crested Tern) Sterna bergii A few off Hoskins, Lorengau and Madang.

COLUMBIDAE

Rock Pigeon (Rock Dove) Columba livia: A controversial species! PG thinks most birds seen in Port Moresby are domestic stock, as are the Tabubil ones. Two courtesy of Frank in Madang may have better credentials. One for your conscience!

Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove (Brown Cuckoo-Dove) Macropygia amboinensis. A split from the Australian Brown Cuckoo-Dove M. phasianella. Quite common on Manus, a few on New Britain, and a few at Kiunga.

Black-billed Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia nigrirostris: Commonly observed, very rufous.

Mackinlay's Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia mackinlayi A single seen well on the island off Lorengau was a really good find by Ron, this being a hard to get small island specialist.

Great Cuckoo-Dove Reinwardtoena reinwardtii: Good views at Varirata thanks to Frank, also seen on the Fly River trip, a spectacular bird.

Pied Cuckoo-Dove Reinwardtoena brownii: A good flight view of this rare endemic at Mt Nakru

New Guinea Bronzewing Henicophaps albifrons: A single flushed from the trail along the Fly River above Kiunga, and seen briefly in heavy cover via the scope. Frustrating!

Stephan's Ground-Dove Chalcophaps stephani: A few on New Britain and Manus

White-bibbed Ground-Dove Gallicolumba jobiensis (H): Heard at Myola.

Peaceful Dove Geopelia striata (NL) Seen at the Islander Hotel, Port Moresby

Pheasant Pigeon Otidiphaps nobilis: Calling well at Varirata, but unfortunately would not come to the tape.

Southern Crowned Pigeon Goura scheepmakeri: I thought we were going to dip, but we found one just before we had to leave, and managed to get everyone to see it! Then came one of those serendipitous moments, with absolutely wonderful views of two birds from the boat on the river, in perfect afternoon light, a magnificent highlight of the trip. Please send me photos if they come out!

Wompoo Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus magnificus: Heard on several occasions, but remarkably elusive, and seen only at Kau by a few.

Pink-spotted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus perlatus: Telescope views on several occasions at Varirata

Ornate Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus ornatus: Good views in the Tabubil area.

Superb Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus superbus. Good views on New Britain, Manus and Madang

Beautiful Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus pulchellus: A few around Kiunga and at Madang, seen nicely.

Orange-fronted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus aurantiifrons: Marvellous views at Kiunga of this uncommon species.

Coroneted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus coronatus: Males seen briefly at Kau and by the Madang/ Lae road.

White-breasted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus rivoli Seen well on New Britain and at Ambua. The mainland race bellus is a possible split, the Bismarck rivoli race birds lacking the yellow in the white crescent of the mainland birds.

Orange-bellied Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus iozonus. Kiunga birds of the race pseudohumeralis have a maroon shoulder bar lacking in the Port Moresby ones

Knob-billed Fruit-Dove (Red-knobbed Fruit-Dove) Ptilinopus insolitus: Great views of small numbers of this Bismarck endemic on the Pokili track and near Mt Nakru.

Dwarf Fruit Dove Ptilinopus nana: 6 along the Elevala River and 2 near Kiunga, plus an excellent view of a male along the road from Madang to Lae. This latter is a large range extension. The scarcest of the resident Ptilinopus in PNG.

Red-knobbed Imperial Pigeon Ducula rubricera. Large, spectacular and very vocal, a Bismarck-Solomons endemic seen very well.

Grey Imperial Pigeon (Island Imperial Pigeon) Ducula pistrinaria: Good views along the Lavege track.

Finsch's Imperial Pigeon Ducula finschii: Great views of two at Mt Nakru, the rarest of the Bismarck endemic Ducula, and the one which completed our set.

Pinon Imperial Pigeon Ducula pinon: Flyovers and beautiful perched views along the Fly River and at Rumgenai.

Black Imperial Pigeon (Bismarck Imperial) Ducula melanochroa: Flight views of a single at Mt Nakru. A hard species to find.

Collared Imperial Pigeon Ducula muellerii: Moderate numbers (40) by the Fly River and at Rumgenai (120), a specialist of riverine forest.

Zoe Imperial Pigeon Ducula zoeae: Despite it being the common lowland and hill forest Ducula, we only saw a few at Kiunga

Torresian Imperial Pigeon Ducula spilorrhoa: Nice views of the potential split subflavescens in the Bismarcks, and a single mainland spilorrhoa from the air at Kikori.

Papuan Mountain Pigeon Gymnophaps albertisii: Poorly named and quite widespread, Great views at Ambua.

PSITTACIDAE

Greater Streaked Lory Chalcopsitta sintillata: Flight views at Varirata and Kiunga.

Dusky Lory Pseudeos fuscata: Just a handful all trip, at Kiunga and Madang. There are normally thousands around Tabubil, the scarcity is no doubt still an effect of the El Niño induced drought.

Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus: Common in the lowlands.

Goldie's Lorikeet Trichoglossus goldiei: Good views of this uncommon species at Ambua and Myola, up to 30 at the latter site.

Eastern Black-capped Lory Lorius hypoinochrous: Common, noisy and performing well along the Lavege track on New Britain.

Western Black-capped Lory Lorius lory: Noisy and excellent, good views of the race somu at Kiunga and Tabubil.

Red-flanked Lorikeet Charmosyna placentis: Splendid views on several occasions of feeding birds in flowering trees; Bismarck birds have a different flight call to Western Province birds.

Red-chinned Lorikeet Charmosyna rubrigularis: 4 flyovers at Kokopo airport, Rabaul, and Philip found a couple in the coconut palms there.

Papuan Lorikeet Charmosyna papou: Excellent views of this stunning species in the Tari Area and at Myola.

Plum-faced (Whiskered) Lorikeet Oreopsittacus arfaki: Excellent views at Tari, the beautiful flock feeding from moss covered rocks by the Bailey Bridge were simply outstanding. The green was like crushed emeralds said Ron.

Yellow-billed Lorikeet Neopsittacus musschenbroekii: Excellent views at Ambua

Orange-billed Lorikeet Neopsittacus pullicauda: Seen well at Ambua.

Palm Cockatoo Probosciger aterrimus: A star bird, great views along the Fly River with up to 7 on one day. What style, what a beak, what a haircut!

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita: A few sightings around Kiunga

Blue-eyed Cockatoo Cacatua ophthalmica: Common and performing well in the Hoskins-Lavege area.

Buff-faced Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta pusio: Flyovers on New Britain and at Madang, one of the world's smallest parrots.

Yellow-capped Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta keiensis: Incredible views in forest in the Kiunga area, where they were climbing about on a tree ant nest. This is a restricted range species and was a trip highlight.

Red-breasted Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta bruijnii: Uncharacteristically scarce at Tabubil this year, but most got scope views. The male of this local form has a distinct yellowy cap.

Meek's Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta meeki: Seen daily on Manus and everyone except PG got nice looks at this endemic!

Orange-breasted Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta gulielmitertii: Marvellous views along the Ok Ma Road, and at Kiunga, a real gem.

Double-eyed Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta diopthalma: Good views of a pair near Kiunga

Large Fig-Parrot Psittaculirostris desmarestii: Nice views of a total of 5 birds from along the Fly River, a hard one to find.

Brehm's Tiger-Parrot Psittacella brehmii: Good views on several occasions at Tari.

Modest Tiger-Parrot Psittacella modesta A male seen briefly by some near the Bailey Bridge.

Painted Tiger Parrot Psittacella picta. Thanks to Virginia, excellent close views of a sub-adult bird up at the Gap. The turquoise chest spot was a giveaway.

Red-cheeked Parrot Geoffroyus geoffroyi. A great view of a pair at Varirata was really memorable. Frequent in the lowlands.

Blue-collared Parrot Geoffroyus simplex: The wind chime bird, heard at Tabubil and even seen perched at Ambua, as well as a few flyovers!

Singing Parrot (Song Parrot) Geoffroyus heteroclitus: Seen briefly by some near Mt Nakru, an uncommon Bismarck-Solomon endemic species

Eclectus Parrot Eclectus roratus: Splendidly common and very noisy.

(Vulturine Parrot Psittrichas fulgidus): Oh dear, the bad weather sabotaged this one. Heard and glimpsed along the Ok Ma road by Leader only.)

Papuan King-Parrot Alisterus chloropterus: Seen very well at Tari, a nice pit-stop find.

CUCULIDAE

Brush Cuckoo Cacomantis variolosus: Good views, and very noisy.

Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo Cacomantis castaneiventris: Seen at Tabubil.

Fan-tailed Cuckoo Cacomantis flabelliformis: Briefly seen at the Ambua, and nicely seen at Myola.

Shining Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx lucidus: Seen near Pokili by clients, and a surprise bird at 1920m at Myola

Rufous-throated Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx ruficollis: Excellent views at Ambua on the last morning, a scarce endemic.

White-eared Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx meyeri: Heard at Tabubil, and a splendid adult male flew into a window on a foggy night at Ambua Lodge, where it was caught for admiration and release.

Long-billed Cuckoo Rhamphomantis megarhynchus An adult male and an immature gave outstanding views perched on small trees at km 17 near Kiunga, a major NG rarity.

Dwarf Koel Microdynamis parva: Heard at Kau, and a flyover for some along the Madang-Lae road

White-crowned Koel Caliechthrus leucolophus (H): Heard near Kiunga, Tabubil and Tari.

Common (Asian) Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus: Males and females on New Britain and on Pig Island off Madang.

Australian Koel Eudynamys cyanocephala: Dark-crowned females of this form seen at Kiunga. Split by Sibley and Monroe, but not by HANZAB.

Channel-billed Cuckoo Scythrops novaehollandiae: Great views along the Lavege track and by the Fly River; weird prehistoric-looking creatures.

Violaceous Coucal Centropus violaceus: This endemic was a good find along the Mt Nakru track, seen nicely.

Greater Black Coucal Centropus menbeki (H):Sonorous booming, but no views this time.

Pied Coucal (White-necked Coucal) Centropus ateralbus: Quite common in the Hoskins-Lavege area, and seen on several occasions at Mt Nakru.

Lesser Black Coucal Centropus bernsteini (H) Heard along the Ok Ma road.

Pheasant Coucal Centropus phasianinus: Common around Port Moresby

STRIGIDAE

Sooty Owl Tyto tenebricosa : A great performance at Myola, with two birds carrying on around the camp on the first evening, with falling bomb screeches and the strident insect-like note. Most of us got a nice look at one perched in a tree by the cooking hut, and one was perched on a fence post on the second night (sori tumas Laurie!) Unexpectedly large.

Papuan Boobook Ninox theomacha (H): Calling at Kiunga and Ambua, where most of us had good views one evening

New Britain Boobook Ninox odiosa (H): We heard one whilst stuck on a very dodgy bridge near Mt Nakru, but the car took priority!

Manus Boobook Ninox meeki (H); Heard at Rossun village and near the waterfall, but none came out.

CAPRIMULGIDAE

Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus (H):One calling along the Mt Nakru road as we grappled with a stuck vehicle

AEGOTHELIDAE

Feline Owlet-nightjar Aegotheles insignis (H): Several birds calling up at Myola, but no luck with taping in despite considerable effort over three nights.

HEMIPROCNIDAE

Moustached Tree-Swift Hemiprocne mystacea: Many great views – a trip favourite and what a beautiful bird!.

APODIDAE

Uniform Swiftlet Collocalia vanikorensis. Common in the lowlands throughout.

Mountain Swiftlet Collocalia hirundinacea. Above 2000m, we ticked this one.

White-rumped Swiftlet Collocalia spodiopygius: Commonly observed along the Lavege Track and on Manus.

Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta. New Britain birds have white sides to the upper tail on some, and many Manus birds have white rumps.

Papuan Spine-tailed Swift Mearnsia novaeguineae: Quite common in the Kiunga area.

ALCEDINIDAE

Common Paradise Kingfisher Tanysiptera galatea: Crippling views along the Fly River and a brief one at Kau WMA. A great bird.

Brown-headed Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera danae : Quite nice views of one in Varirata. where they eventually came in to tape.

Red-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera nympha Two heard at Kau WMA, but no response to the tape.

White-tailed Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera sylvia Heard at Varirata.

Hook-billed Kingfisher Melidora macrorrhina: Best ever views of a bird perched in daylight in the forest sub-storey along the Elevala on July 8, one of the trip highlights. We could even see the earth on its beak where it had been digging for food in the soil.

Rufous-bellied Kookaburra Dacelo gaudichaud Excellent views, especially along the Elevala.

Blue-winged Kookaburra Dacelo leachii: An excellent bird, seen well at Varirata

Beach Kingfisher Halcyon saurophaga: 3 seen beautifully on our island recce off Hoskins, and again at Manus and Pig Island. A spectacular species.

Forest Kingfisher Halcyon macleayii: Common around Madang, also seen at Varirata.

Collared Kingfisher Halcyon chloris. The breeding tristrami birds on New Britain are very similar to migrant Sacred Kingfishers, being very buff beneath.

Sacred Kingfisher Halcyon sancta: A common migrant from Australia throughout the lowland areas and islands. Readily confused with the resident tristrami race Collared Kingfishers on New Britain.

Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx lepidus: One black billed bird showed very well in forest along the Kau track. We saw or heard 8 species of kingfisher this day! Also heard at Tabubil.

Little Kingfisher Alcedo pusilla A beautiful bird at Alexishafen ponds on July 17.

Common (River) Kingfisher Alcedo atthis: Seen on Manus and at Madang

Azure Kingfisher Alcedo azurea(H): Heard at Varirata.

Yellow-billed Kingfisher Halcyon torotoro (H): Heard at Varirata, Kiunga and Madang, but no sighting this time.

Mountain Kingfisher Halcyon megarhyncha : Excellent views near Ambua of this large montane form, which is a very difficult species to find.

MEROPIDAE

Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus: Small numbers on New Britain, also at Kiunga and Madang.

CORACIIDAE

Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis: Small numbers throughout the lowlands, with 40 on July 8 along the Fly and Elevala Rivers.

BUCEROTIDAE

Blyth's Hornbill Rhyticeros plicatus: 18 on New Britain, and great views on numerous occasions in the Kiunga and Madang areas. A very spectacular and large species.

PITTIDAE

Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida (H) at Kiunga, distant.

Blue-breasted Pitta Pitta erythrogaster Excellent views for almost all by the Madang-Lae road, What luck that it began to call!

Superb Pitta Pitta superba Excellent views of a calling bird on Manus, the major prize on the islands

HIRUNDINIDAE

Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica: Common in the lowlands and a few as high as both Myola and Ambua

MOTACILLIDAE

(Richard's Pipit Anthus novaeseelandiae) Leader only: Several at Mendi airport.

Sometimes treated as a separate species, Australian Pipit Anthus australis.

CAMPEPHAGIDAE

White-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina papuensis. A few on Manus and at Kiunga.

Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina novaehollandiae. Many migrants at Kiunga.

Stout-billed Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina caeruleogrisea: Seen near Tabubil.

Yellow-eyed Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina lineata: Seen briefly at Varirata.

Boyer's Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina boyeri: Regular observations at Varirata and Kiunga.

Cicadabird Coracina tenuirostris: Seen on New Britain and a female at Kau. Readily confused with the next species.

Black-shouldered Cicadabird (Cuckoo-shrike) Coracina incerta: A few seen and heard at Tabubil, where there are no records of Cicadabird.

Grey-headed Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina schisticeps: Fairly common in the Kiunga and Tabubil areas.

Black Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina melaena: A pair seen at Kau.

Black-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina montana: Seen well near Ambua.

Golden Cuckoo-Shrike Campochaera sloetii: Seen briefly on several occasions in the Kiunga area, and well at Tabubil. One of New Guinea's most beautiful birds.

Black-browed Triller Lalage atrovirens: Just three near Madang, very local in north slope PNG.

Varied Triller Lalage leucomela Quite common in the lowlands in southern PNG

LANIIDAE

Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach: Ambua only, nice views.

TURDIDAE

Pied Chat (Pied Stonechat) Saxicola caprata Seen at Tabubil and common at Ambua

Island Thrush Turdus poliocephalus; Very scarce this year, we managed to find one below the Tari Gap, and a few at Myola.

ORTHONYCHIDAE

Logrunner Orthonyx temminckii: They led us a merry dance, and all we got was a glimpse. The call is quite unlike the Australian birds and a potential split is likely as O. novaeguineae.

Painted Quail-Thrush Cinclosoma ajax (H): Heard only at Varirata, not an easy bird to observe well and a PNG rarity.

Blue Jewel-Babbler Ptilorrhoa caerulescens (H): Heard at Kiunga, very unco-operative this year.

Spotted Jewel-Babbler Ptilorrhoa leucosticta: A good view of one at Ambua was a trip highlight.

Lesser Melampitta Melampitta lugubris (H) Two heard calling quietly near the Tari Gap, and seen by a few at Myola.

Greater Melampitta Melampitta gigantea: (H) Calling loudly along the Ok Ma Road. One of New Guinea's least known birds but not uncommon around Tabubil.

Blue-capped Ifrita Ifrita kowaldi: Seen very well on several occasions at Tari and Myola.

POMATOSTOMATIDAE

Rufous Babbler Pomatostomus isidorei: Good views near Kiunga, and also at Kau.

SYLVIIDAE

Australian (Clamorous) Reed Warbler Acrocephalus (stentoreus) australis. Seen near Rabaul and at Hoskins. A split from Clamorous Reed Warbler.

Tawny Grassbird Megalurus timoriensis: Common along the roads at Tari, and up at Myola.

Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis: A few near Rabaul.

Island Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus poliocephala: Two seen well near Ambua Lodge, and at Myola.

MALURIDAE

(Orange-crowned Fairy-wren Clytomyias insignis): Philip saw some at Myola. Leader only.

Emperor Fairy-Wren Malurus cyanocephalus: A pair at Kiunga performed very nicely and were greatly admired.

White-shouldered Fairy-Wren Malurus alboscapulatus. Common at Tabubil and Tari

ACANTHIZIDAE

Rusty Mouse-Warbler Crateroscelis murina: A few at Kiunga and heard at Tabubil

Mountain Mouse-Warbler Crateroscelis robusta: Fair views at Tari and good at Myola.

Large Scrub-Wren Sericornis nouhuysi: Quite common in the Tari area and a couple at Myola.

Buff-faced Scrub-Wren Sericornis perspicillatus: Common at Tari and Myola

Papuan Scrub-Wren Sericornis papuensis: Common up at the Tari Gap

New Guinea Thornbill Acanthiza murina: A couple below the Tari Gap for some, a hard species to find.

Yellow-bellied Gerygone Gerygone chrysogaster. Well seen at Kiunga

Green-backed Gerygone Gerygone chloronotus: Eventually seen by all at Varirata. The song really is the best thing about it.

Fairy Gerygone Gerygone palpebrosa: Seen briefly at Tabubil and Kau and, surprisingly, on Pig Island.

Brown-breasted Gerygone Gerygone ruficollis :Seen at Ambua and Myola. A great song.

Grey Gerygone Gerygone cinerea: Seen by most at Myola.

RHIPIDURIDAE

Sooty Thicket-Fantail Rhipidura threnothorax (H): Heard at Varirata, Kiunga, and Madang. A real skulker.

White-bellied Thicket-Fantail Rhipidura leucothorax: Excellent views of this skulker near Kiunga and at Kau

Rufous-backed Fantail Rhipidura rufidorsa: Seen briefly near Tabubil.

Dimorphic Fantail Rhipidura brachyrhyncha: Good views at Tari, and excellent views of both morphs at Myola.

Black Fantail Rhipidura atra: Briefly seen at Ambua and Myola by some.

Chestnut-bellied Fantail Rhipidura hyperythra: A lovely view at Varirata with a mixed feeding flock. Great song!

Friendly Fantail Rhipidura albolimbata. Common at Ambua and Myola

Northern Fantail Rhipidura rufiventris: Common in the lowlands

Willie Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys: We got the willies everywhere below 2000m…….

MYIAGRIDAE

Black Monarch Monarcha axillaris: A good view of one at Ambua entrance trail for some of us, curiously fantail-like but with white pectoral tufts.

Island Monarch Monarcha cinerascens: 4 on Vulai Island and 7 off Lorengau, plus a single for some on Bird Island. A small island specialist that is usually hard to find

Black-faced Monarch Monarcha melanopsis: One at Varirata.

Spot-winged Monarch Monarcha guttula: Quite common in the lowlands at Kiunga and Madang

Hooded Monarch Monarcha manadensis : A single in swamp forest above Kiunga, a very local and tricky bird to find.

Black-tailed Monarch (Bismarck Pied Monarch) Monarcha verticalis: Brief views on two occasion on the Lavege track of this rather sparse endemic.

Golden Monarch Monarcha chrysomela: Good views at Kiunga and Tabubil, a very striking species.

Frilled Monarch Arses telescopthalmus: Excellent views of this striking bird at Varirata and Kiunga.

Ochre-collared Monarch Arses insularis: Brief views at Kau for some, a split from Frilled Monarch (ref. Coates and Sibley and Monroe)

Leaden Flycatcher Myiagra rubecula: Nice views as we neared Varirata.

Shining Flycatcher Myiagra alecto: Seen on New Britain, Manus and Kiunga

Dull Flycatcher (Lesser Shining) Myiagra hebetior : Heard at Mt Nakru and seen briefly.

Yellow-breasted Boatbill Machaerirhynchus flaviventer: One with a mixed flock at Varirata showed well.

Black-breasted Boatbill Machaerirhynchus nigripectus: Seen well at Tari and Myola, a very attractive bird.

EOPSALTRIIDAE

Torrent Flycatcher Monachella muelleriana: Nicely seen near Tari, a great bird.

Lemon-bellied Flycatcher Microeca flavigaster: The Tabubil birds are odd, being very short-tailed and bright yellow beneath as compared to the savanna birds.

Olive Flycatcher Microeca flavovirescens: Oops! Our Yellow-legged Flycatcher at Varirata was actually this species once I checked, as was the bird along the Ok Ma at Tabubil. I forgot they had orangey legs. Sori!

Canary Flycatcher Microeca papuana: A regular of the Tari and Myola areas.

White faced Robin Tregellasia leucops: Two showed well at Varirata.

Ashy Robin Poecilodryas albispecularis : One seen briefly in the forest at Tari, and seen well at Myola.

Black-sided Robin Poecilodryas hypoleuca: Another elusive robin, seen well near Kiunga.

Northern Scrub-Robin Drymodes superciliaris (H): Heard at Tabubil and at Varirata.

Lesser Ground-Robin Amalocichla incerta: Excellent views of this mega-skulker at Ambua and Myola, uncharacteristically obliging.

White-winged Robin Peneothello sigillatus: Brief views across a trail near the Gap everyone saw the immature well at least.

White-rumped Robin Peneothello bimaculatus (H): Yet another elusive robin, heard along the Ok Ma road.

Blue-grey Robin Peneothello cyanus: All had lovely views of this frequently found Ambua resident.

PACHYCEPHALIDAE

Dwarf Whistler Pachycare flavogrisea (H): Heard at Tabubil and Varirata but no views.

Common Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis: Males in the forest along the Waterfall track on Manus were a good PNG tick.

Mangrove Golden Whistler Pachycephala melanura: One male was seen briefly but quite well on Pig island at Madang.

Sclater's Whistler Pachycephala soror: Seen well at Tari.

Regent Whistler Pachycephala schlegelii: Seen very well at Tari.

Golden-backed Whistler Pachycephala aurea (H) Quiet whistling from the island at km

120 at Tabubil was all we got, and we just ran out of time.

Grey Whistler Pachycephala simplex: Seen at Kiunga, near Tabubil, and at Varirata.

Rusty Whistler Pachycephala hyperythra: Nicely seen near Tabubil by a few.

Brown-backed Whistler Pachycephala modesta: This PNG endemic was seen well on several occasions near the lodge at Tari and at Myola.

Black-headed Whistler Pachycephala monacha : Seen well in the Tari valley.

Rufous-naped Whistler Pachycephala rufinucha: Common and performing well at Tari and Myola.

Little Shrike-Thrush Colluricincla megarhyncha: Common in the lowlands.

Grey Shrike-Thrush Colluricincla harmonica: Seen well at Alexishafen.

Variable Pitohui Pitohui kirhocephalus: Brief views of several black headed birds in the Tabubil area and some buff-headed ones at Madang.

Hooded Pitohui Pitohui dichrous: Seen well at Varirata, the famous poison bird.

White-bellied Pitohui Pitohui incertus: Seen nicely despite being shy along the Fly River above Kiunga, with several parties in evidence. A rare and little known species.

Rusty Pitohui Pitohui ferrugineus: Brief views for a few at Kau

Black Pitohui Pitohui nigrescens: A brief view of a male at Ambua for some, and of a fly-by female next day.

Wattled Ploughbill Eulacestoma nigropectus: This bizarre species was seen and heard nicely by most of us up at the Gap, where a male showed well, and another male was by the Lodge. Also heard at Myola.

CLIMACTERIDAE

Papuan Treecreeper Cormobates placens: A frustrating performance by a bird at Ambua, and Virginia saw one at Myola.

NEOSITTIDAE

Black Sittella Daphoenositta miranda: Good views of a flock above the Bailey Bridge, and at Myola.

DICAEIDAE

Black Berrypecker Melanocharis nigra: Not co-operative, but most saw it in Varirata and at Kiunga.

Mid-mountain Berrypecker Melanocharis longicauda: Seen briefly by some along Joseph's Trail.

Fan-tailed Berrypecker Melanocharis versteri: Seen very well at Tari and up at Myola, where orange gaped birds with streaky underparts raised a query about Streaked Berrypecker M. striatus. However the tail spots were wrong, and the lack of an eye ring confirms them as Fan-tailed..Pity……..

Red-crowned Flowerpecker (Papuan Flowerpecker) Dicaeum pectorale: Amazingly scarce, a few brief looks at Kiunga, Tabubil and Madang was it.

Bismarck Flowerpecker (Red-banded Flowerpecker) Dicaeum eximium: Fairly common in the Pokili area and seen well by all.

Tit Berrypecker Oreocharis arfaki: Good views eventually of this gorgeous looking mutant Great Tit look-alike at Tari.

Crested Berrypecker Paramythia montium: Brief views at the Tari Gap.

NECTARINIIDAE

Black Sunbird Nectarinia aspasia: Seen beautifully on New Britain and along the Ok Ma road.

Yellow-bellied Sunbird Nectarinia jugularis: Common on Manus

ZOSTEROPIDAE

Black-fronted White-eye Zosterops atrifrons: Frequently heard but hard to see well, I think most got it at Varirata or Kiunga.

New Guinea White-eye Zosterops novaeguineae: Text-book examples seen well at Myola, a hard species to find in PNG.

Zosterops sp. Two birds in the Tari Valley at Dauli are a puzzle, having no black forehead, a bright yellow chin and throat, yellow underparts with some greyish on the flanks, yellow under tail coverts. Rather a strange plumage, it would be interesting to know which species or race is involved. Nesting, with a mossy cup up in a sapling.

Black-headed White-eye Zosterops hypoxanthus : Two of this scarce endemic made an all too brief appearance along the Lavege track, but was seen well by all on Manus.

Western Mountain White-eye (Dark-capped White-eye) Zosterops fuscicapillus: A flock of 30 at Dablin Creek, Tabubil, and two well seen in the Tari valley.

MELIPHAGIDAE

Long-billed Honeyeater Melilestes megarhynchus: Seen on several occasions, most notably near Tabubil.

Yellow-bellied Longbill Toxorhamphus novaeguineae: Seen briefly at Tabubil.

Dwarf Honeyeater Oedistoma iliolophus: Common round Tabubil and at Varirata, but hard to see well.

Pygmy Honeyeater Oedistoma pygmaeum: A flock of 4 were a lucky find at Varirata.

Ashy Myzomela Myzomela cineracea: Quite common in the Hoskins-Lavege area. A split from Red-throated Myzomela M. eques of the mainland (Ref. Coates Birds of PNG Vol 2).

Dusky Myzomela Myzomela obscura: Seen well at Varirata.

Red Myzomela Myzomela cruentata: Brief views for a few of a rather tatty looking bird at Varirata.

Papuan Black Myzomela Myzomela nigrita: Nice views at Varirata

Bismarck Black Myzomela Myzomela pammelaina: Good views of 7+ on the island off Lorengau, another tricky small island endemic

Mountain Red-headed Myzomela Myzomela adolphinae: Seen at Varirata, a real neck-strainer and Dollyanne's favourite……

Black-bellied Myzomela (New Britain Red-headed Myzomela) Myzomela erythromelas: This scarce endemic was seen very well on several occasions in forest between Hoskins and Lavege. The alternative name may also be the longest vernacular species name……?

Red-collared Myzomela Myzomela rosenbergii: Nicely seen at Tari and Myola.

Scrub White-eared Meliphaga Meliphaga albonotata: Singles at Kiunga and Tabubil.

Forest White-eared Meliphaga Meliphaga montana. The White-eared Meliphaga in hill forest at Kau must be this species on range, as Scrub White-eared is primarily on the southern watershed. I wondered at the time, and reference to Coates Birds of PNG confirms it. A bonus tick!

Mimic Meliphaga Meliphaga analoga: A couple seen well at Kiunga and Tabubil.

Graceful Meliphaga Meliphaga gracilis: Seen at Tabubil.

Varied Honeyeater Lichenostomus versicolor: Common and noisy at Jais Aben.

Obscure Honeyeater Lichenostomus obscurus: Heard at Kiunga and seen briefly along the Ok Ma at Tabubil, a rather rare species.

Yellow-tinted Honeyeater Lichenostomus flavescens; Seen at the Islander Hotel, Port Moresby.

Black-throated Honeyeater Lichenostomus subfrenatus : Common this time at Ambua and a few at Myola

Tawny-breasted Honeyeater Xanthotis flaviventer: Common at Kiunga and Tabubil.

White-throated Honeyeater Melithreptus albogularis: Well seen at Varirata.

Marbled Honeyeater Pycnopygius cinereus: Seen nicely near Tari, a very sparse species in PNG.

Streak-headed Honeyeater Pycnopygius stictocephalus : Seen well at Varirata and Kau.

New Guinea Friarbird Philemon novaeguineae: Common in the lowlands. A split from Helmeted Friarbird P. buceroides of Australia, occurring also in north Queensland.

New Britain Friarbird Philemon cockerelli: Common on New Britain

Manus Friarbird Philemon albitorques The chowka was common and noisy but could be quite hard to see on Manus.

Rufous-backed Honeyeater Ptiloprora guisei: Regular observations near the lodge at Tari and at Myola, a PNG endemic.

Grey-streaked Honeyeater Ptiloprora perstriata: Good views at Ambua.

Yellowish-streaked Honeyeater Ptiloprora meekiana. Phil and Richard had brief treetop views of this rare bird at Ambua on the last morning, but if flew before we could scope it. BVD!

Belford's Melidectes Melidectes belfordi: Noisy, ugly and common, even down at the Lodge.

Yellow-browed Melidectes Melidectes rufocrissalis: Regular in the Tari Valley.

Common Smoky Honeyeater Melipotes fumigatus: Common at Ambua, less so at Myola where conditions were very dry.

Rufous-banded Honeyeater Conopophila albogularis: Islander Hotel, Port Moresby.

ESTRILDIDAE

Blue-faced Parrot-Finch Erythrura trichroa: Frustrating glimpses of this skulker at the Tari Gap where a small flock was present in the roadside bamboo, and better ones at Myola.

White-spotted Mannikin Lonchura leucosticta: Most eventually got nice views of 2 birds along the forest edge near Kiunga, but it was hard work.

Grey-headed Mannikin Lonchura caniceps: Well seen up at Myola, very dark on the under tail coverts and probably a distinct race. A PNG endemic.

(Eastern Alpine Mannikin Lonchura monticola) Frank saw a single up at Myola, most being above the tree-line this time, unfortunately.

Hooded Mannikin Lonchura spectabilis: Birds with white underparts seen well at Kokopo and at Tari.

Grand Mannikin Lonchura grandis: Wonderful views of this difficult to find species at Alexishafen.

Buff-bellied Mannikin (Bismarck Mannikin) Lonchura melaena: Great views of 6 and then 15 next day at Hoskins airstrip. A Bismarck endemic.

Hunstein's Mannikin (Mottled Munia) Lonchura hunsteinii: Lovely views of this New Ireland endemic on the airstrip at Kavieng during our brief stop over.

PLOCEIDAE

House Sparrow Passer domesticus: A few at Jackson's Airport, Port Moresby. PNG has only two introduced species on the mainland (Rock Dove the other) plus Indian Mynah on Bougainville. The sparrow has only colonised since 1992,

STURNIDAE

Singing Starling Aplonis cantoroides: Common on the Bismarcks and at Port Moresby and Madang

Metallic Starling Aplonis metallica: Common in the lowlands

Yellow-eyed Starling Aplonis mystacea: A couple along the Fly River for some.

Golden Myna Mino anais. Nice views along the Fly of this spectacular and uncommon species.

Yellow-faced Myna Mino dumontii: Common in the lowlands of the 'mainland' and in the Hoskins-Lavege area. The New Britain subspecies kreffti almost certainly merits full specific status under the name Island or Long-tailed Myna, differing in calls and plumage.

ORIOLIDAE

Brown Oriole Oriolus szalayi: The amazing Friarbird mimic, or is it vice versa?

DICRURIDAE

Spangled Drongo Dicrurus hottentotus: One was mewing like a cat up at Varirata!

GRALLINIDAE

Torrent-Lark Grallina bruijni: Good views along a stream at Tabubil; never easy to observe as it is very shy

ARTAMIDAE

White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorhynchus: Common at Port Moresby

Great Woodswallow Artamus maximus: Common around Tabubil and at Tari, with a captive juvenile at the former site.

White-backed Wood-swallow (Bismarck Wood-swallow) Artamus insignis: Dollyanne found us a great individual of this rather rare species on the way up to Mt Nakru.

CRACTICIDAE

Hooded Butcherbird Cracticus cassicus: Common and noisy in lowlands and hills.

Black-backed Butcherbird Cracticus mentalis: A regular in the Moresby area.

Black Butcherbird Cracticus quoyi: Seen well at Tabubil and near Tari.

Lowland Peltops Peltops blainvillii: Seen well near Kiunga.

Mountain Peltops Peltops montanus: Great views at Tabubil and Tari.

PTILONORHYNCHIDAE

White-eared Catbird Ailuroedus buccoides :Heard at Varirata and Kiunga, and glimpsed by the leaders.

Archbold's Bowerbird Archboldia papuensis: Several excellent views of this rarity at Ambua, but no adult male.

Macgregor's Bowerbird Amblyornis macgregoriae (H): Heard at Ambua and a bowerbird seen by Frank at Myola would be this species.

Flame Bowerbird Sericulus aureus: A flyover male along the Elevala was it for this trip, for one boat only!

Fawn-breasted Bowerbird Chlamydera cerviniventris: Good views on several occasions around Port Moresby.

PARADISAEIDAE

Crested Bird of Paradise Cnemophilus macgregorii: Good views of a male along Joseph's trail. Always a hard bird to find.

Loria's Bird of Paradise Cnemophilus loriae: Outstanding close views of several males and females feeding at Tari.

Glossy-mantled Manucode Manucodia atra: Seen and heard well along the Fly River, where very common.

Crinkle-collared Manucode Manucodia chalybata: Textbook views of a perched bird at Tabubil, we could see the crinkles, and the more obvious forehead bumps than M. atra.

Trumpet Manucode Manucodia keraudrenii: Several in the forest near Kiunga gave brief views. PG still doesn't understand why it's called Trumpet Manucode, it's more like the Retching Manucode!

Short-tailed Paradigalla Paradigalla brevicauda: A nice look along Joseph's trail, and also at a fruiting tree near the Lodge for some, a really amazing strange bird

Magnificent Riflebird Ptiloris magnificus: A male was seen very well via the scope on the Ok Ma road near Tabubil, and heard in the Kiunga area.

Eastern Riflebird Ptiloris intercedens: Two males were seen at Varirata; this form is a recent split from the previous species and its call is very different, growlers v whistlers. A restricted range PNG endemic and not easy to see well.

Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise Seleucidis melanoleuca: Amazingly good and prolonged views of a displaying male by the Fly River near Kiunga.

Brown Sicklebill Epimachus meyeri: Excellent views of females and immatures at Ambua, the pale blue eye being very obvious when seen well.

Ribbon-tailed Astrapia Astrapia mayeri: Wonderful views of many at Tari, including some of fine males with full tail-streamers. Outstanding, and another restricted range PNG endemic, only described as recently as 1948.

Stephanie's Astrapia Astrapia stephaniae: Seen well along a short stretch of road below the Bailey Bridge at Tari, including a superb male. Also a few up f/imms. up at Myola. A PNG endemic

Superb Bird of Paradise Lophorina superba: A very exciting introduction to the area, with a fine female by the road en route to the Lodge. Males regular in the Tari Valley and at the Lodge, with one memorably sharing a perch with a male Blue BP at Kikita.

Lawes's Parotia Parotia lawesii: A fine male en route to the Lodge and another at the Salvadori's Teal site.

King of Saxony Bird of Paradise Pteridophora alberti: Fairly common in the Tari Gap area, and showing well on numerous occasions (including several superb males). The song is unbelievable, like a Corn Bunting x a deep fat fryer!

King Bird of Paradise Cicinnurus regius: The team waded waist deep across a creek above Kiunga to be duly rewarded with wonderful views of three males high in a tree. One of the birds of the trip, and such dedication! Another male seen at Kau later.

Magnificent Bird of Paradise Cicinnurus magnificus: Heard in the Tabubil area, where PG and Frank saw a female or imm. Rain sabotaged this one.

Raggiana Bird of Paradise Paradisaea raggiana: A brilliant obliging male at Varirata opened the account for this group, and a good flyover male on the Fly River.

Greater Bird of Paradise Paradisaea apoda: Nice views of a male in fine plumage near Kiunga, and various females or imm. at Tabubil.

Lesser Bird of Paradise Paradisaea minor: Females and immatures seen at Madang, and a flyover subadult male too. The 21st paradisaeid of the trip!

Blue Bird of Paradise Paradisaea rudolphi: Superb scope views of an amazing and magnificent male calling in a garden in the Tari Valley; one of the birds of the trip; this species must be one of the best birds in existence. A restricted range and near threatened PNG endemic too.

CORVIDAE

Grey Crow Corvus tristis: Good views along the Fly River, in the Tabubil area and at Madang. A truly weird bird.

Torresian Crow Corvus orru: The birds in New Britain were convincingly different from the 'mainland' birds, both in 'jizz' and voice, so perhaps there is good ground for splitting off the New Britain birds as the Island Crow Corvus insularis.

MAMMALS

Flying Fox Pteropus sp: Hundreds in the Port Moresby area. Similar huge flying foxes along the Fly River near Kiunga and in the Hoskins-Lavege area, with a distinct golden collar on some. Abundant at Madang, where they roost in the trees in town.

House Mouse (Mus musculus): 1 at Ambua (!)

Giant Rat: 1 at Myola, what a beast!

Forest wallaby sp.: 1 at Myola.

Butterflies

Ornithoptera priamus poseidon: Excellent birdwings at Hoskins, Kiunga, Varirata and Madang. A spectacular caterpillar at Heis Wessel's Ohu butterfly farm too.

Papilio ulysses: The blue morpho-like swallowtail

Delias sp Common at Madang

(Phil Gregory @ Port Moresby, PNG, July 1998)

Sicklebill Safaris @ Cassowary House, PO Box 387, Kuranda, Queensland 4872,

Australia

Phone (61) 740 937318 Fax (61) 740 939855


Copyright © 1992-2012 John Wall