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Field Guides Tour Report
Papua New Guinea I 2013
Jun 30, 2013 to Jul 18, 2013
Phil Gregory

A handsome Blue Bird-of-paradise flies from his display perch in the Tari Valley below Ambua Lodge. This was one of about 20 species of BoP seen on the trip! (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

A memorable tour this year, Phil's swansong for the main Field Guides PNG trip for the time being, but blessed with good weather, good logistics and a very convivial group interested in both culture and the birds.

The intro at the PAU was as ever enjoyable, with Spotted Whistling-Duck, the now regular Plumed Whistling-Ducks, Papuan Frogmouth, and Fawn-breasted Bowerbird among the highlights. Varirata next day was terrific, with Eclectus and Red-cheeked parrots, a fine look at the Raggiana Bird-of-paradise lek with a couple of nice males in attendance, Brown-headed Paradise-Kingfisher and two Barred Owlet-Nightjars, plus our first sighting of Pygmy Eagle for some years.

Over to Kiunga next, with an on-time flight and thankfully overcast and relatively cool weather, with a fine day for the epic Elevala River trip, where we scored Twelve-wired Bird-of-paradise on his song post and a great Southern Crowned-Pigeon from the boat, plus at least 11 Palm Cockatoos, some Channel-billed Cuckoos and a nice scattering of the spectacular Blyth's Hornbills. The trails were bad for chiggers this year and I had inadvertently only brought a little sulfur powder, plus we had some excitement with leeches, but great views of both Common Paradise-Kingfisher and the rare Little Paradise-Kingfisher were exciting, as were two male King Birds-of-paradise squabbling over a prime display site.

The lek at Km 17 was also excellent this year and we made two trips, seeing the birds in full cry on the morning trip- interestingly they are now looking mostly like good male Greater Birds-of-paradise with just a hint of pinkish on the outer plumes showing the Raggiana influence, and a few obvious hybrids bouncing about as well. Seeing both Trumpet Manucode and Glossy-mantled in their slow butterfly-like canopy display flight was also neat. Flame Bowerbird (male and female in flight) eventually showed up along the Boystown Road, and we had quite a lively morning on the mound with Yellow-eyed Starlings flying over, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Golden Monarch and Golden Cuckooshrike along the road.

Tabubil gave us Salvadori's Teal and a fine flowering tree had Dusky, Red-throated, and Papuan Black myzomelas, Spotted Honeyeater, and a leucistic Long-billed Honeyeater with pale coffee plumage, a pinkish bill, and yellow eye! Dablin Creek has been much damaged and few fruiting trees remain, but Blue-collared Parrot and another Pygmy Eagle were good finds there.

Over to Kumul Lodge next, where the feeders came good with a wonderful male Brown Sicklebill and several female-plumaged birds, female Archbold's Bowerbird, assorted Ribbon-tailed Astrapias, and Crested Berrypecker nearby. Next day down the valley we got fine looks at Lesser BoP, Ornate Melidectes, Yellow-breasted Bowerbird, and a very lucky find of the rare Gurney's Eagle, whilst the lodge grounds gave us Lesser Melampitta and a bonus Sooty Melidectes. Mountain Owlet-Nightjar called right by the cabins and I think Nancy may have had it sat on her windowsill at one stage! The bilum market by the airport was fun too, with some good interactions and Laszlo being shown how to use a stone club -"Bangim" says the guy!

Ambua was really the finale and our first afternoon at the fruiting tree there came up with Blue BoP (f plumage), Lawes's Parotia (f), Superb BoP (f), and a lucky sighting of Black-billed Sicklebill for some, with Loria's Satinbird and Tit Berrypecker, plus Rufous-throated Bronze-Cuckoo also showing well. That afternoon up below the Tari Gap we got a terrific male Ribbon-tailed Astrapia with a tail well over 1 metre long, a sharp contrast to the stumpy-tailed male at Kumul this year, which is evidently regrowing his finery or is seriously deformed! Papuan Lorikeet was also a major crowd pleaser, with a wonderful melanistic morph bird and his red plumage mate showing brilliantly. We scrounged up a gorgeous male Princess Stephanie's Astrapia in the remnants of their lekking area, now badly damaged by timber extraction activities, and the Blue BoP was a star this year, sitting up and calling for ages in full view. The King of Saxony was at a new site away from the timber interests, but showed very nicely still. The fruiting tree across the Gap gave us both Archbold's amd Macgregor's bowerbirds, plus Black Sittellas and a marvelous obliging Speckled Dasyure one afternoon. We got an instant response from Papuan Boobook at Ambua and I did not have to harass it for hours with tapes, which was great. We also had a memorable cultural experience along the Pig-poop Path, where the Sooty Owl was not at home this time.....

A mixed feeding flock along the approach road to the lodge had some 18 species, an unusually diverse assemblage and including Sclater's, Rufous-naped, and Brown-backed whistlers. Garnet Robin put on a very good show one morning, singing strongly after a slow start, and we had Black-throated Robin nearby with his strangely electronic rising whistle, whilst the local race (excitus) of Fan-tailed Cuckoo that showed nicely is a potential split in waiting.

Back to Port Moresby, a mere 2 hours late, and a nice late pm tour of the city with Lesser Frigatebird as a bonus, before our final day up at Varirata. Here we saw Yellow-billed and Forest kingfishers along the approach road, as well as Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, a Gurney's Eagle that looked to be carrying what may have been a young wallaby, White-bellied Whistler, and unexpected Coroneted Fruit-Doves, a species I seldom see here.

The elusive Growling (Magnificent) Riflebird showed well by the car park and responded to a tape by flying past several times along a trail, clearly a jazzed up young male. White-faced Robin is always nice as was a subtle (and scarce) Green-backed Honeyeater, with a courting pair of Red-cheeked Parrot putting on a memorable performance.

Then it was a final shopping trip to PNG Art, with Silver-eared Honeyeater as the last lifer of the tour, and a quick look at the remarkable paintings and bilums at a local market nearby rounding off the cultural side nicely.

My thanks to the various local guides -- Leonard, Daniel, Samuel, Jimmy, Max, and Joseph -- who all did a great job for us, also to Karen at FG HQ for excellent logistics, and of course to the group who kept us entertained and enjoyed the multiple aspects of the tour. Particular thanks to Paul for his medical expertise and sharing his scope, and to Arlene for donating her bins to young guide Leonard, who was thrilled. Also thanks to Mark and Kate and Laszlo for their donation of binoculars, I have various guides in sundry countries who would be delighted to get same. Finally 10Q to Laszlo, my lifer Hungarian proto-birder who took on the role of trip photographer in style, we look forward to the results.

Lukim yu behain

--Phil in Kuranda

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

New Guinea has an impressive number of fancy doves and pigeons; this massive Great Cuckoo-Dove, which we saw up at Ambua, was just one of the notables. (Photo by tour participant Laszlo Czinege)

SPOTTED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna guttata) – We were lucky with 10 of this uncommon bird tucked away in the big trees at the PAU.
PLUMED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna eytoni) – Formerly a vagrant, this flock seems to have settled here and we had 9 today.
WANDERING WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna arcuata) – About 15 of them at the PAU completed our whistling duck trifecta.
RADJAH SHELDUCK (Tadorna radjah) – One flew over at the PAU, I think everyone but me got onto it quite well.
SALVADORI'S TEAL (Salvadorina waigiuensis) – Nice views of a single at Ok Menga, it appeared amongst the boulders just before the rain began, good spotting from Mark here. [E]
PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa) – About 30 at the PAU were the only ones.
GRAY TEAL (Anas gracilis) – 5 flew off the river at Kiunga, an unexpected sighting and maybe my first here.
Megapodiidae (Megapodes)
BLACK-BILLED BRUSH-TURKEY (Talegalla fuscirostris) – Heard honking at Varirata on both trips, and the huge nest mound is still active. [E*]
Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)
BROWN QUAIL (Coturnix ypsilophora) – Two at Kumul in Max's garden, and 3 flushed from Tari airstrip.
Podicipedidae (Grebes)
AUSTRALASIAN GREBE (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae) – A couple at the PAU.
Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)
LESSER FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata ariel) – Two over Ela Beach harbor were chasing each other and seemed to be getting scraps from off the surface.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
LITTLE BLACK CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris) – 20 at the PAU were the only sighting.
LITTLE PIED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax melanoleucos) – 5 at the PAU and one from the Fly River.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
AUSTRALASIAN DARTER (Anhinga novaehollandiae) – Two soared high over Varirata on the last day and there may have been a small flock as well that I missed.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
GREAT EGRET (AUSTRALASIAN) (Ardea alba modesta) – Two at the PAU and about 5 along the rivers above Kiunga.
INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Mesophoyx intermedia) – Just a single at the PAU was it.
LITTLE EGRET (LITTLE) (Egretta garzetta nigripes) – Four at the PAU were the only ones.
PIED HERON (Egretta picata) – Thirty at the PAU, as usual the only place we saw them.
CATTLE EGRET (ASIAN) (Bubulcus ibis coromandus) – Around 100 en route to the PAU and a few from the airport each time we went through.
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata) – One along Kwatu Creek.
RUFOUS NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax caledonicus) – One at the PAU and one at Kwatu Creek.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
AUSTRALIAN IBIS (Threskiornis moluccus) – A single at the PAU.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
LONG-TAILED HONEY-BUZZARD (Henicopernis longicauda) – A good trip for them, we had 5 day records which is way more than usual, seeing them at Varirata twice, then 2 one day with a group of 3 (which might be a family group) next day at Kiunga, and a pair at Dablin Creek. [E]
PACIFIC BAZA (Aviceda subcristata) – Great looks at 2 at Km 17 and one on the boat trip.
PYGMY EAGLE (Hieraaetus weiskei) – Nice looks at one at Varirata, oddly enough seen on both visits and the first time I've seen one here for some years, and an unbelievably ragged looking one at Dablin Creek that was in heavy wing and tail moult as well as being wet. I'd not seen one in PNG for several years and was wondering what had happened to them. Now split from Little Eagle of course, actually the world's most diminutive eagle as such. [E]
GURNEY'S EAGLE (Aquila gurneyi) – One at Lai below Kumul was a surprise, soaring nicely at middle range, then fantastic looks at one carrying what may have been a small wallaby along the Varirata approach road, seen several times and still carrying prey. It's a very scarce species and never guaranteed on a tour.
EASTERN MARSH-HARRIER (PAPUAN) (Circus spilonotus spilothorax) – One at Kagamuga airport at Mt Hagen, and then two up on the Tari Gap grasslands the same day, one looking like a subadult male. Split by the IOC and most authorities. [E]
VARIABLE GOSHAWK (Accipiter hiogaster) – Just one this trip, with a big female in the valley below Kumul Lodge.
BLACK KITE (BLACK) (Milvus migrans affinis) – Quite common around Port Moresby and Mt Hagen.
WHISTLING KITE (Haliastur sphenurus) – A couple at the PAU.
BRAHMINY KITE (Haliastur indus) – Nine day records, almost all of singles.
WHITE-BELLIED SEA-EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucogaster) – Two at the PAU were unexpected then we had a couple go over at Varirata, and some saw one on the Fly River trip.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

It pays to watch for dead snags during the boat trip through the lowland forest along the Fly and Elevala Rivers. You just never know what might be perched up on them -- in this case, it's a wonderful, shaggy-crested Palm Cockatoo! (Photo by tour participant Laszlo Czinege)

RED-NECKED CRAKE (Rallina tricolor) – A crake calling at Kwatu Creek did not sound like my Red-necked Crakes at Kuranda, but Samuel reckoned it was one and it did sound like a Rallina type.
RUFOUS-TAILED BUSH-HEN (Amaurornis moluccana) – This was heard at Kiunga early one morning. [*]
PURPLE SWAMPHEN (AUSTRALASIAN) (Porphyrio porphyrio melanopterus) – Around 15 lumbering about at the PAU, these are of the black-backed race and will likely be a split in future, as suggested long ago but unaccountably still pending!
DUSKY MOORHEN (Gallinula tenebrosa) – About 5 at the PAU.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
MASKED LAPWING (Vanellus miles miles) – Just 4 at the PAU, seen nicely.
LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (SOUTHERN) (Charadrius dubius dubius) – One at the Oilmin depot at Km 120, a very distinctive local form that needs some genetic work done.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
COMB-CRESTED JACANA (Irediparra gallinacea) – Great views at the PAU including 2 juvs.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Birds in Hagen and Port Moresby are only doubtfully feral, I am not sure this species is really established here. [I]
SLENDER-BILLED CUCKOO-DOVE (Macropygia amboinensis) – A few at Varirata and Kiunga.
BLACK-BILLED CUCKOO-DOVE (Macropygia nigrirostris) – Three seen at Lai below Kumul, looking small and very rusty as they shot by. [E]
GREAT CUCKOO-DOVE (Reinwardtoena reinwardtii) – A great view of one sat on a Schefflera at Ambua, thanks Laszlo, and a flyby down the valley there, whilst Dana saw one below Kumul. [E]
STEPHAN'S DOVE (Chalcophaps stephani) – Some folks saw this fly across near Kiunga.
PEACEFUL DOVE (Geopelia placida) – A few at the PAU.
BAR-SHOULDERED DOVE (Geopelia humeralis) – Heard at the PAU. [*]
SOUTHERN CROWNED-PIGEON (Goura scheepmakeri) – Sighs of relief when we got one from the boat, I actually beat Samuel to it this year! Edward did a great job of flushing it back out and it then perched up nicely on a limb of a huge tree, what a bird! Declining steadily of course as population pressure rises. [E]
WOMPOO FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus magnificus) – One seen quite well at Varirata.
PINK-SPOTTED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus perlatus) – A few up at Varirata and near Kiunga. [E]
ORNATE FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus ornatus) – One at Km 17 was a good find, much scarcer than Pink-spots. [E]
ORANGE-FRONTED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus aurantiifrons) – One at km 14 along the Boystown Road was unexpected out here. [E]
SUPERB FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus superbus) – A fine male sat up at Varirata, often elusive and always good to see well.
CORONETED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus coronulatus) – This was a nice find at Varirata on the last day, with at least 5 males and 2 females coming in to a Schefflera along the approach road, or the fruiting fig by the car park. I seldom see them on this tour now we now longer do Karawari.
BEAUTIFUL FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus pulchellus) – Heard commonly at Kiunga, and glimpsed up at Varirata on the last day. [E]
WHITE-BREASTED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus rivoli) – A fine male was across the Tari Gap one damp afternoon. [E]
ORANGE-BELLIED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus iozonus) – A few at Varirata and then Kiunga. [E]
DWARF FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus nanus) – Heard up at Varirata. [E*]
PURPLE-TAILED IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula rufigaster) – Edward got us one perched in the forest along the Elevala in prime chigger country, and we had another fly by at the Km 14 mound next day. [E]
PINON IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula pinon) – Great views of Km 17, they were coming in to fruiting trees and showed very well, we saw about 30 here and later some singles upriver. [E]
COLLARED IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula mullerii) – About 60 on the river trip, I never see this away from the riparian zone. [E]
ZOE IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula zoeae) – Nice looks at Km 17 then at Boystown and finally at Varirata, usually seen singly. [E]
TORRESIAN IMPERIAL-PIGEON (Ducula spilorrhoa) – Six at the PAU and one at Waigani on the last day.
PAPUAN MOUNTAIN-PIGEON (Gymnophaps albertisii) – Small numbers were widespread, starting at Kiunga. [E]
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
WHITE-CROWNED KOEL (Cacomantis leucolophus) – One was calling along the Boystown Road and flew over in response to my tape. [E]

Finding lorikeets perched is always a bonus, but finding a mixed pair (one normal-morph bird and one dark-morph) of the spectacular Papuan Lorikeet feeding in a fruiting Schefflera at the Tari Gap was a huge thrill! (Photo by tour participant Laszlo Czinege)

BRUSH CUCKOO (Cacomantis variolosus) – Two seen nicely along the Boystown Road, and heard at all the lowland sites.
CHESTNUT-BREASTED CUCKOO (Cacomantis castaneiventris) – Frustrating, they called well at Tabubil and Kiunga but just did not respond this time. [*]
FAN-TAILED CUCKOO (Cacomantis flabelliformis excitus) – Very nice looks above Ambua at one of the montane form that is a potential split, with 2 more calling nearby which I was able to tape nicely and post on xenocanto. I'd been after this for ages, with Fan-tailed Cuckoo long overdue for splitting up, with 2 of the Pacific taxa very distinctive vocally.
RUFOUS-THROATED BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx ruficollis) – Calling well at Ambua and seen very nicely in the fruiting tree, also heard at Kumul. [E]
WHITE-EARED BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx meyeri) – Heard at Tabubil and Ok Menga, and seen briefly at the Blue BoP site. [E]
LITTLE BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx minutillus) – Heard along the Elevala River. [*]
DWARF KOEL (Microdynamis parva) – One along the Boundary Trail at Varirata, calling well but sadly only flying over. [E]
AUSTRALIAN KOEL (Eudynamys cyanocephalus) – Seen nicely at Km 17 with both males and females.
CHANNEL-BILLED CUCKOO (Scythrops novaehollandiae) – Two of this spectacular migrant from Oz were seen very nicely along the Fly River.
GREATER BLACK COUCAL (Centropus menbeki) – Heard booming at Kiunga, deep in the forest. [E*]
PHEASANT COUCAL (Centropus phasianinus) – Amazingly just one brief view along the Approach Road at Varirata.
Strigidae (Owls)
JUNGLE HAWK-OWL (Ninox theomacha) – The Papuan Boobook was calling at Ambua each night, and gave an instant response on the last night with a great view down by the cabins, so nice not to have to harass it with tapes! [E]
Aegothelidae (Owlet-Nightjars)
MOUNTAIN OWLET-NIGHTJAR (Aegotheles albertisi) – I think Nancy saw one on her windowsill at Kumul, where one was calling very close to the cabins. [E]
BARRED OWLET-NIGHTJAR (Aegotheles bennettii) – Great views of 2 at Varirata, one of which unfortunately flushed out but then sat in full view for ages. [E]
Podargidae (Frogmouths)
PAPUAN FROGMOUTH (Podargus papuensis) – Two at the PAU were a great find and showed very nicely, then we had 2 at the Sooty Owl site, a slight compensation for no Sooty Owl this time.
Apodidae (Swifts)
PAPUAN NEEDLETAIL (Mearnsia novaeguineae) – As usual only seen over the rivers in the Kiunga area. It's not actually a needletail (Chaetura) it's a spine-tailed swift, but I guess the Clements people don't worry about liaising with birders from the actual area. [E]
GLOSSY SWIFTLET (Collocalia esculenta) – Common at Varirata, Kumul and Ambua but not at Kiunga at all.
MOUNTAIN SWIFTLET (Aerodramus hirundinaceus) – Common this time at Ambua and quite vocal by the Lodge, I actually got and have posted a cut on xenocanto. [E]
UNIFORM SWIFTLET (Aerodramus vanikorensis) – Just a few at Varirata and Kiunga/Tabubil.
Hemiprocnidae (Treeswifts)
MOUSTACHED TREESWIFT (Hemiprocne mystacea) – Seen up along the Elevala, and one near Varirata where it is scarce.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
VARIABLE DWARF-KINGFISHER (Ceyx lepidus) – Leonard found us a great one along the Boundary Track at Varirata, it sat high up for ages, this taxon is really yellowy below.
BLUE-WINGED KOOKABURRA (Dacelo leachii) – Seen well at Varirata.
RUFOUS-BELLIED KOOKABURRA (Dacelo gaudichaud) – Great looks at Varirata and up the rivers near Kiunga. [E]
FOREST KINGFISHER (Todiramphus macleayii) – One female was up along the Varirata approach road.
SACRED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus sanctus) – A few along the Elevala, and it was also seen by some at Ambua.
HOOK-BILLED KINGFISHER (Melidora macrorrhina) – Heard at Kiunga, it's a crepuscular kingfisher and always very hard to actually see. [E*]
YELLOW-BILLED KINGFISHER (Syma torotoro) – One along Boystown Road, then much better perched looks up at Varirata.
MOUNTAIN KINGFISHER (Syma megarhyncha) – Heard twice below the Lodge at Ambua, but both times way off in the distance. [E*]
LITTLE PARADISE-KINGFISHER (Tanysiptera hydrocharis) – A vocal bird near Kwatu which eventually gave very nice looks, even photographable for once if only we'd been ready! A rare and restricted range species, still very poorly known. [E]

This charming Torrent Flycatcher was a nice find at the headwaters of the Sepik River below Kumul Lodge. (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

COMMON PARADISE-KINGFISHER (Tanysiptera galatea) – Responsive and showed well up along the Kwatu Creek, they are sympatric with Little Paradise here but seem to dominate it. Also one seen from the boat as it flew along then into the forest. [E]
BROWN-HEADED PARADISE-KINGFISHER (Tanysiptera danae) – Nice looks along a trail at Varirata, still the only place I've ever seen this species. [E]
Meropidae (Bee-eaters)
RAINBOW BEE-EATER (Merops ornatus) – A few at Varirata and Kiunga.
Coraciidae (Rollers)
DOLLARBIRD (Eurystomus orientalis) – About 60 along the rivers near Kiunga, and also seen at Dablin Creek and Varirata.
Bucerotidae (Hornbills)
BLYTH'S HORNBILL (Aceros plicatus) – Wonderful looks at ths great bird upriver at Kiunga where they still occur in some modest numbers. The sound of those whooshing wing beats is fantastic in the forest! Two flying high to the west at Dablin Creek were unusual here these days.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
AUSTRALIAN KESTREL (Falco cenchroides) – One up at Tari Gap was a surprise and may be a new species for me here. It's an erratic and uncommon winter migrant from Australia.
AUSTRALIAN HOBBY (Falco longipennis) – One flew by at the houses of parliament at Waigani.
BROWN FALCON (Falco berigora) – One at Lai below Kumul Lodge was a nice sighting.
Cacatuidae (Cockatoos)
PALM COCKATOO (Probosciger aterrimus) – 11 on our day upriver from Kiunga included some spectacular perched birds.
SULPHUR-CRESTED COCKATOO (Cacatua galerita) – A few from Varirata, this is the local race triton.
Psittacidae (Parrots)
YELLOW-STREAKED LORY (Chalcopsitta sintillata) – Seen fairly well around Kiunga and also up near Varirata, the scratchy call is very distinctive. [E]
RAINBOW LORIKEET (COCONUT) (Trichoglossus haematodus nigrogularis) – A few from Varirata and Kiunga, now split as Coconut Lorikeet by the IOC.
GOLDIE'S LORIKEET (Psitteuteles goldiei) – Some flybys above Ambua. and near Kumul Lodge. [E]
BLACK-CAPPED LORY (Lorius lory) – Great looks at Varirata, and also of the subspecies somu over at Kiunga. [E]
RED-FLANKED LORIKEET (Charmosyna placentis) – A few around Kiunga. [E]
PAPUAN LORIKEET (Charmosyna papou) – Wonderful scope views of perched birds up at Seven Corner by the Tari Gap, which included a melanistic morph male paired to a red female this is one of the most beautiful of all parrots. Also seen briefly at Kumul. [E]
PLUM-FACED LORIKEET (Oreopsittacus arfaki) – Flybys above Ambua, scarce this trip. [E]
YELLOW-BILLED LORIKEET (Neopsittacus musschenbroekii) – A few at Ambua. [E]
ORANGE-BILLED LORIKEET (Neopsittacus pullicauda) – Also seen at Ambua, down by the Lodge where it is much scarce than the Yellow-billed Lorikeet. [E]
YELLOW-CAPPED PYGMY-PARROT (Micropsitta keiensis) – A handful of flybys from near Kiunga, the world's smallest parrots are in this genus. [E]
BUFF-FACED PYGMY-PARROT (Micropsitta pusio) – Heard at Varirata but impossible to pick out in the dense dark cover. [E*]
ORANGE-BREASTED FIG-PARROT (Cyclopsitta gulielmitertii) – Widespread at Kinga this trip we had one flock of 20 go by which was an unusually large number. [E]
DOUBLE-EYED FIG-PARROT (Cyclopsitta diophthalma) – Seen fairly well at Kiunga but mostly in flight.
BREHM'S TIGER-PARROT (Psittacella brehmii) – Great looks on the feeders at Kumul and a single up across the Tari Gap. [E]
RED-CHEEKED PARROT (Geoffroyus geoffroyi) – Common and vocal at Varirata and Kiunga, we had one flock of about a dozen females shoot by at Varirata, where a pair were prospecting a nest hole by the car park and doing courtship activities like feeding the mate there, a great trip favorite.
BLUE-COLLARED PARROT (Geoffroyus simplex) – A flock of 9 went over at Dablin Creek, low enough to see the shape. [E]
ECLECTUS PARROT (Eclectus roratus) – Great looks in the bright morning light up at Varirata, then fairly common upriver at Kiunga.
PAPUAN KING-PARROT (Alisterus chloropterus) – Good views along a trail at Varirata and also seen by the Blue BoP site at Ambua. One at 2550m below the Tari Gap was unusually high up. [E]
Pittidae (Pittas)
HOODED PITTA (Pitta sordida) – Paul saw one with Samuel along a trail up the Elevala, everyone else just heard one here.
RED-BELLIED PITTA (Pitta erythrogaster) – Calling up along the Elevala but quite distant. [*]
Ptilonorhynchidae (Bowerbirds)
SPOTTED CATBIRD (Ailuroedus melanotis) – Heard by Km 17 but as ever impossible to see here- why are these New Guinea ones so tough to see, yet they are quite easy in Queensland? [*]
ARCHBOLD'S BOWERBIRD (Archboldia papuensis) – Great looks at a female on the feeders at Kumul, and brief looks at a male in flight and then a female at the fruiting tree across the Tari Gap. A rare bird of frost pockets in the moss forest, this is the race sanfordi. [E]

A brave group of birders tests the carrying capacity of one of the vine bridges at Ambua! (Photo by guide Phil Gregory)

MACGREGOR'S BOWERBIRD (Amblyornis macgregoriae) – One wary bird at the fruiting tree across the Tari Gap, and also one for a couple of us in the fruiting tree in the lodge grounds on the last morning. [E]
FLAME BOWERBIRD (Sericulus aureus) – A female flew past, and then a male not too long after along the Boystown Road, as ever only seen flying and after quite a long wait. Samuel has bowers at his village upriver but we don't have time to do that, a shame as it's a tremendous bird. [E]
YELLOW-BREASTED BOWERBIRD (Chlamydera lauterbachi) – One at Lai near the Sepik headwaters, quite wary. [E]
FAWN-BREASTED BOWERBIRD (Chlamydera cerviniventris) – Nice looks at the PAU and Varirata, the bower at the former site has moved and was I think being constructed again.
Maluridae (Fairywrens)
EMPEROR FAIRYWREN (Malurus cyanocephalus) – Heard upriver from Kiunga but sadly not found along Boystown Road this time. [*]
WHITE-SHOULDERED FAIRYWREN (Malurus alboscapulatus) – Good looks at Kumul, this is the race lorentzi here with the sexes differentiated. We also saw them at Ambua, in some taxa the sexes are the same in plumage, really strange. [E]
Meliphagidae (Honeyeaters)
PLAIN HONEYEATER (Pycnopygius ixoides) – One at Km 14 was seen briefly, then there was another in the fruiting fig at Varirata, a very aptly named species. [E]
MARBLED HONEYEATER (Pycnopygius cinereus) – One at the Blue BoP site was taped and I have published it on xenocanto, I am not sure if this call is actually the song but it's all I ever hear them doing, [E]
STREAK-HEADED HONEYEATER (Pycnopygius stictocephalus) – Great looks at Varirata and Kiunga, it closely resembles a friarbird but has a small bill and whitish streaked head. [E]
MOUNTAIN MELIPHAGA (Meliphaga orientalis) – One of these montane Meliphagas with the small yellow ear spot was at Lai near the Sepik Headwaters, it is one of the few in the genus that can be confidently identified. [E]
SCRUB HONEYEATER (Meliphaga albonotata) – This one too is OK as it has a white ear spot, we saw one well at Varirata. [E]
PUFF-BACKED HONEYEATER (Meliphaga aruensis) – Well one of these was at Km 14 on the Boystown Road, but if you know how to tell it from Mimic Meliphaga do let me know! I consider them inseparable in the field and the calls don't seem to help. [E]
GRACEFUL HONEYEATER (ELEGANT) (Meliphaga gracilis cinereifrons) – This one is fairly straightforward as it has a large pale yellow elongated ear spot and is quite common at Varirata. The Clements guys don't seem to know about the split which was some years back and well documented. [E]
BLACK-THROATED HONEYEATER (Lichenostomus subfrenatus) – Heard above Ambua, and one did fly across in response to my playback. [E]
OBSCURE HONEYEATER (Lichenostomus obscurus) – Heard at Km 14 on the Boystown Road, but it's always hard to get to see this one. [E*]
YELLOW-TINTED HONEYEATER (Lichenostomus flavescens) – Some at our hotel in POM were a nice find and freed up time at the PAU where we usually go look for this species.
RUFOUS-BANDED HONEYEATER (Conopophila albogularis) – Nice looks at the PAU and heard at Kiunga where it is quite a new arrival
RED-THROATED MYZOMELA (Myzomela eques) – Lovely looks at a male in a fruiting tree at Ok Menga, uncommon and elusive. [E]
DUSKY MYZOMELA (Myzomela obscura) – One at Ok Menga in the fruiting tree was a surprise and may be a new bird for this area.

Many birds-of-paradise sport long, showy tail plumes or fancy headgear. This rather rotund looking Short-tailed Paradigalla, with its butterfly-shaped yellow and blue facial wattles, definitely falls into the latter category. (Photo by tour participant Laszlo Czinege)

BLACK MYZOMELA (Myzomela nigrita) – Several males and a female at the fruiting tree at Ok Menga were a pleasing find. [E]
MOUNTAIN MYZOMELA (Myzomela adolphinae) – This led us a dance at Varirata, calling well but being impossible to scope, but we did see it at Kop in the valley below Kumul. [E]
RED-COLLARED MYZOMELA (Myzomela rosenbergii) – Mark saw one at Kumul which was lucky, and there was a brief view above Ambua too. [E]
GREEN-BACKED HONEYEATER (Glycichaera fallax fallax) – One was feeding in the fruiting tree at Varirata and I taped and published the single call it was making on xenocanto, it's a little-known and elusive species remarkably like a Gerygone in plumage.
SILVER-EARED HONEYEATER (Lichmera alboauricularis) – The last tick of the trip came from PNG Art, another local and elusive species that likes the mangoes here. [E]
WHITE-THROATED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus albogularis) – One or two up along the approach road at Varirata.
MEYER'S FRIARBIRD (Philemon meyeri) – A lovely view of one at Km 14 on the Boystown Road, a small and rather nondescript friarbird with no bill knob. [E]
HELMETED FRIARBIRD (NEW GUINEA) (Philemon buceroides novaeguineae) – Good looks at the PAU, where they have a bill knob, and a different taxon (jobiensis) at Lai near Kumul which has no bill knob and is I suspect yet another species. None of them are Helmeted Friarbirds of course.....
TAWNY-BREASTED HONEYEATER (Xanthotis flaviventer) – Vocal, and seen well at Varirata and Dablin Creek.
SPOTTED HONEYEATER (Xanthotis polygrammus) – One at the fruiting tree at Ok Menga was a nice find of an uncommon bird. [E]
LONG-BILLED HONEYEATER (Melilestes megarhynchus) – Two came to the fruiting tree at Ok Menga, one of them an amazing leucistic bird which had pale coffee coloured wings, buffy tail and darker head with a pinkish bill and yellow eye. Plumage abnormalities are rare in New Guinea. [E]
SMOKY HONEYEATER (Melipotes fumigatus) – Common at Kumul and Ambua, this is the blushing honeyeater that can go from yellow facial skin to red in a matter of seconds! [E]
SOOTY MELIDECTES (Melidectes fuscus) – One down by Max's garden at Kumul was a nice surprise and my first sighting here, though I did get to hear it last year.
BELFORD'S MELIDECTES (Melidectes belfordi) – Common at Kumul and at the higher altitudes at Ambua, the blue facial skin and black bill are distinctive. [E]
YELLOW-BROWED MELIDECTES (Melidectes rufocrissalis) – This is the common noisy one at Ambua, with greeny-yellow facial skin and pale grey bill. [E]
ORNATE MELIDECTES (Melidectes torquatus) – We did well for them this time below Kumul where they were noisy and showed well. [E]
RUFOUS-BACKED HONEYEATER (Ptiloprora guisei) – A PNG endemic oddly enough, we saw them at Ambua. [E]
BLACK-BACKED HONEYEATER (Ptiloprora perstriata) – Good looks at Ambua where it is sympatric with the quite similar Rufous-backed, and oddly just a couple at Kumul this time, they were not at the feeders which was strange. [E]
Acanthizidae (Thornbills and Allies)
GOLDENFACE (Pachycare flavogriseum) – This odd little creature is now placed in with the Acanthizids, the Gerygones and Scrubwrens. It's arboreal and hard to get onto, we got one briefly at Varirata. Also has a very distinctive voice, quite unlike any other members of the family. [E]
RUSTY MOUSE-WARBLER (Crateroscelis murina) – Heard at Varirata and Dablin, but very skulking and hard to see. One was mimicking at Varirata and did Spot-winged Monarch, Pale-billed Scrubwren and White-faced Robin in quick succession, this species is an accomplished mimic but seldom does it. [E*]
MOUNTAIN MOUSE-WARBLER (Crateroscelis robusta) – One briefly at Kumul and heard at Ambua. [E]
LARGE SCRUBWREN (Sericornis nouhuysi) – Good looks at Kumul and Ambua, the reddish throat is quite distinctive. [E]
BUFF-FACED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis perspicillatus) – Bad views along the entrance at Ambua. [E]
PAPUAN SCRUBWREN (Sericornis papuensis) – Vocal and showed well at Kumul and the higher elevations at Ambua, but very nondescript. [E]
GREEN-BACKED GERYGONE (Gerygone chloronota) – Seen quite well at Dablin and heard at Varirata.
FAIRY GERYGONE (Gerygone palpebrosa) – A fine black-throated male was at Varirata.
YELLOW-BELLIED GERYGONE (Gerygone chrysogaster) – The common core flock member of the lowland forest at Kiunga, and also at Varirata. [E]

Easily the most extreme of the long-tailed BoPs is the spectacular Ribbon-tailed Astrapia, which boasts tail plumes of more than a meter in length! (Photo by tour participant Laszlo Czinege)

LARGE-BILLED GERYGONE (Gerygone magnirostris) – A nice look at one at Kwatu, it came in very well.
BROWN-BREASTED GERYGONE (Gerygone ruficollis) – The slow smoky song is a characteristic sound of the highlands, and we saw them nicely at Kumul and Ambua. [E]
Pomatostomidae (Pseudo-Babblers)
NEW GUINEA BABBLER (Pomatostomus isidorei) – A couple of encounters at Kiunga and one of the long pendulous nests was seen in the forest near Kwatu. [E]
Orthonychidae (Logrunners)
NORTHERN LOGRUNNER (Orthonyx novaeguineae) – A couple of mouse-like skulkers in the lovely moss forest at Seven Corners at the Tari Gap, calling well but very elusive as always. Northern Logrunner is actually the old name for Chowchilla, Papuan Logrunner is the obvious name. [E]
Cnemophilidae (Satinbirds)
LORIA'S SATINBIRD (Cnemophilus loriae) – A female showed very well at Ambua in the fruiting tree, an endemic family now too, formerly Loria's Bird-of-Paradise. [E]
Melanocharitidae (Berrypeckers and Longbills)
BLACK BERRYPECKER (Melanocharis nigra) – Another endemic family, these showed well at Varirata with males and females being seen, and there was a female at Kwatu too. [E]
LEMON-BREASTED BERRYPECKER (Melanocharis longicauda) – One along the waterfall trail at Ambua, shorter tailed than the Fan-tailed and usually called the much more euphonious Mid-mountain Berrypecker. [E]
FAN-TAILED BERRYPECKER (Melanocharis versteri) – Seen quite well at Kumul and Ambua, with a male being seen by the feeders at Kumul. [E]
SPOTTED BERRYPECKER (Melanocharis crassirostris) – One male was seen briefly at Ambua along the approach track, the long bill is quite distinctive but it did not hang about.
YELLOW-BELLIED LONGBILL (Toxorhamphus novaeguineae) – Vocal at Kiunga but really only glimpsed. [E]
DWARF HONEYEATER (Toxorhamphus iliolophus) – Heard at Varirata but never actually seen, the dry "prrt" trill is a typical sound here. This species was shifted out of honeyeaters years back..... [E*]
Paramythiidae (Tit Berrypecker, Crested Berrypecker)
TIT BERRYPECKER (Oreocharis arfaki) – Great looks by the fruiting tree at Ambua where 5 or 6 of these amazing little creatures kept coming in, the male is a very striking thing indeed. An endemic family too. [E]
CRESTED BERRYPECKER (Paramythia montium) – Lovely looks from the deck at Kumul, a very striking species and always a crowd-pleaser. [E]
Cinclosomatidae (Quail-thrushes and Jewel-babblers)
PAINTED QUAIL-THRUSH (Cinclosoma ajax) – Heard as usual at Varirata but as ever very hard to see. [E*]
BLUE JEWEL-BABBLER (Ptilorrhoa caerulescens) – Heard at Km 14 but did not come across the trail as we had hoped. [E]
CHESTNUT-BACKED JEWEL-BABBLER (Ptilorrhoa castanonota) – Heard distantly at Varirata but always tough to see. [E*]
Machaerirhynchidae (Boatbills)
BLACK-BREASTED BOATBILL (Machaerirhynchus nigripectus) – Ths beautiful species showed well at Ambua and we also saw one at Kumul near the Lodge, where they are unusual. [E]
YELLOW-BREASTED BOATBILL (Machaerirhynchus flaviventer) – Calling at Varirata on both trips, and seen by some on the first visit there.
Artamidae (Woodswallows)
GREAT WOODSWALLOW (Artamus maximus) – Seen very nicely at Tabubil and then at Ambua, where one snatched up a Hercules moth one of the staff tossed up...... Also singing nicely by the fruiting tree there. [E]
WHITE-BREASTED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus leucorynchus) – A few around the Port Moresby area.
Cracticidae (Bellmagpies and Allies)
MOUNTAIN PELTOPS (Peltops montanus) – Heard at Ambua but downslope out of sight, and none at Dablin this year. [E*]
LOWLAND PELTOPS (Peltops blainvillii) – Two seen very well at Km 14 were a good pick-up- usually we see it from the river but there were none this year. [E]
BLACK-BACKED BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus mentalis) – Great looks at the PAU.
HOODED BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus cassicus) – Good looks at Varirata, the musical voice is very striking. [E]
BLACK BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus quoyi quoyi) – The nominate race was seen and heard at Ambua very nicely; birds at Tabubil have a lovely chiming musical call not heard further east, and might be of the Trans-Fly race alecto, we don't know as yet. The nominate birds are a potential split from the Australian ones.
Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)
STOUT-BILLED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina caeruleogrisea) – Seen at Varirata and Dablin Creek, a large and quite striking species. [E]
HOODED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina longicauda) – Seen well at Ambua this time, a vocal group were above the lodge, another large and striking bird. [E]
BARRED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina lineata) – A couple at Varirata, the yellow eye is very distinctive and this taxon calls very differently to the ones in Far N Queensland.
BOYER'S CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina boyeri) – Good views at Varirata and Kiunga, the female is very like a miniature Stout-billed Cuckooshrike, an odd convergence. [E]
BLACK-FACED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina novaehollandiae) – One flyby up at Varirata and amazingly none on the Fly River this year, usually they are a common winter migrant there.
WHITE-BELLIED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina papuensis papuensis) – A few at Varirata and the PAU, also at 1580m below Kumul.
GOLDEN CUCKOOSHRIKE (Campochaera sloetii) – Calling and seen flying over us along the Boystown Road, this odd bird is more like a minivet than a cuckooshrike. [E]
VARIED TRILLER (Lalage leucomela) – Good looks at Varirata.
BLACK-BELLIED CICADABIRD (Edolisoma montanum) – A fine pair above the lodge at Ambua, the male is a very distinctive bird with his black underparts. [E]
PAPUAN CICADABIRD (Edolisoma incertum) – This was calling at Dablin and seen briefly at the Sooty Owl site where it was also singing; usually called Black-shouldered Cicadabird as several species occur in Papua. [E]
GRAY-HEADED CICADABIRD (Edolisoma schisticeps) – Seen well along Boystown Road where a pair were very visible from the mound. [E]
BLACK CICADABIRD (Edolisoma melan) – Good looks at a blotchy rusty and black young male at Varirata. [E]
Neosittidae (Sittellas)
BLACK SITTELLA (Daphoenositta miranda) – This was a lucky find one wet afternoon across the Tari Gap, when a twittering flock of 10 flew across and began foraging in the trees. Some were browny juveniles with well-defined white wing patches, and some pink-faced males and black females were also present. [E]
Pachycephalidae (Whistlers and Allies)
WATTLED PLOUGHBILL (Eulacestoma nigropectus) – Heard near Max's orchid garden but did not respond, a shame as this is one mysterious and odd bird of uncertain affinities. [E*]
RUSTY PITOHUI (Colluricincla ferruginea) – Vocal and seen briefly at Varirata and Km 17. [E]
WHITE-BELLIED PITOHUI (Colluricincla incerta) – One flock called noisily as we were leaving Kwatu. Now classified with shrike-thrushes, and a rare and very restricted range species. [E*]
RUFOUS SHRIKE-THRUSH (Colluricincla megarhyncha) – Seen at Ambua and Varirata, this Little Shrike-thrush complex is not so little and is a probable split into 6-8 species when work is finalized, so note where you see them!
GRAY SHRIKE-THRUSH (Colluricincla harmonica) – Heard below Kumul Lodge. [*]
REGENT WHISTLER (Pachycephala schlegelii) – Lovely looks at this beautiful bird at Kumul and above Ambua. [E]
SCLATER'S WHISTLER (Pachycephala soror) – Seen well at Ambua, this can be tricky there and we saw a couple of males nicely. [E]
BROWN-BACKED WHISTLER (Pachycephala modesta) – A PNG endemic oddly enough, we saw several above Ambua. I still don't have tape, they sing very sporadically, much less often than other whistlers. [E]
GRAY WHISTLER (Pachycephala simplex) – This unobtrusive rather flycatcher like bird showed quite well in Varirata, where I think the race is brunnescens.
WHITE-BELLIED WHISTLER (Pachycephala leucogastra) – A nice view of a female along the Varirata approach Road, still buried in Rufous Whistler in the old NG Field guide. Endemic to PNG. [E]
BLACK-HEADED WHISTLER (Pachycephala monacha) – Seen well in the valley below Kumul, and singing nicely. [E]
RUFOUS-NAPED WHISTLER (Aleadryas rufinucha) – Inexplicably scarce at Kumul this time with none by the feeders, but we did catch up with it at Ambua later after brief looks at Kumul car park. [E]
CRESTED PITOHUI (Ornorectes cristatus) – Heard at Ambua, a species we very seldom actually see. [E*]
Laniidae (Shrikes)
LONG-TAILED SHRIKE (Lanius schach stresemanni) – The distinctive race is endemic to PNG amazingly enough and I suspect could well be a split. We had great looks at Kumul and Ambua.
Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)
HOODED PITOHUI (Pitohui dichrous) – Seen very well at Varirata, the famous poison bird, now reallocated to orioles in the latest DNA work! [E]
VARIABLE PITOHUI (Pitohui kirhocephalus) – The other poison bird, also now reallocated to Oriolidae and not only that split into 3, this being the Southern Variable. We heard them at Kiunga. [E*]
BROWN ORIOLE (Oriolus szalayi) – A friarbird mimic and always one of the first endemics we see, this time being up at Varirata. A young juv. at the PAU was interesting, it still had downy feathers and was amazingly nondescript. [E]
AUSTRALASIAN FIGBIRD (Sphecotheres vieilloti) – A distinctive endemic race salvadorii is in S. PNG, and we saw them very well at the PAU.
Dicruridae (Drongos)
SPANGLED DRONGO (Dicrurus bracteatus carbonarius) – By voice the birds at Varirata are this taxon, a potential split, rather than migrants from Australia. Kiunga birds seem to be the same but some may have been the migratory form.
Rhipiduridae (Fantails)
NORTHERN FANTAIL (Rhipidura rufiventris) – A couple at Ok Menga showed very well.
WILLIE-WAGTAIL (Rhipidura leucophrys) – Seen almost very day and in all habitats except moss forest.
FRIENDLY FANTAIL (Rhipidura albolimbata) – Seen well at Kumul and Ambua. [E]
CHESTNUT-BELLIED FANTAIL (Rhipidura hyperythra) – A core species flock member at Varirata and seen very nicely. [E]
SOOTY THICKET-FANTAIL (Rhipidura threnothorax) – This skulker has a call very like jewel-babblers, trisyllabic here but disyllabic in the north. We heard them very close at Km 17, then got a quick look at one along the Boundary Track at Varirata. [E]
WHITE-BELLIED THICKET-FANTAIL (Rhipidura leucothorax leucothorax) – Heard at Dablin and the Elevala but none responsive this time. [E*]
BLACK FANTAIL (Rhipidura atra) – Good views along the approach road at Ambua, with a male and female showing well. [E]
DIMORPHIC FANTAIL (Rhipidura brachyrhyncha) – Also seen well above Ambua where they were quite vocal. [E]
RUFOUS-BACKED FANTAIL (Rhipidura rufidorsa) – A good look at one near the Greater BoP lek. [E]
Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)
BLUE-CAPPED IFRITA (Ifrita kowaldi) – No-one knows what this species really is, it's placed as uncertain by most checklists. We heard them above Ambua but none could be lured out this time. [E]
GOLDEN MONARCH (Carterornis chrysomela) – Great looks at Km 14 and back down the Boystown Road, a really striking species with the male amazingly black and yellow colored. [E]
BLACK MONARCH (Symposiachrus axillaris) – One was calling by Ambua lodge and showed for some of us, this one mimics Black Fantail of all things! [E]
SPOT-WINGED MONARCH (Symposiachrus guttula) – We did well for them at Varirata this time where they seemed to be be in most mixed flocks. [E]
FRILLED MONARCH (Arses telescophthalmus) – Fantastic looks at a male with his frill erected at Varirata, very responsive. [E]
SHINING FLYCATCHER (Myiagra alecto) – Seen well along the rivers above Kiunga, the rusty black and white females are very striking.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
GRAY CROW (Corvus tristis) – A few up river at Kiunga, and heard at Varirata. [E]
TORRESIAN CROW (TORRESIAN) (Corvus orru orru) – Fairly common, but as ever only around the Port Moresby area.
Paradisaeidae (Birds-of-paradise)
TRUMPET MANUCODE (Phonygammus keraudrenii) – One was seen calling and doing a short slow butterfly-like circling display flight after calling at km 17. Vocal but hard to see well, and probably several species in the complex, this is the taxon jamesi.
CRINKLE-COLLARED MANUCODE (Manucodia chalybatus) – We were lucky and got one at Ok Menga after missing it at Kiunga, then had another in the fruiting tree at Varirata. [E]
GLOSSY-MANTLED MANUCODE (Manucodia ater) – Quite common and vocal around Kiunga, the tuning fork-like rising whistle is distinctive. We also saw several doing a slow butterfly-like display flight over the Elevala River. [E]
KING-OF-SAXONY BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Pteridophora alberti) – Our usual site for many years near Ambua has been disturbed by a timber camp, but happily we found another not too far above here and had great looks at the male on two occasions. Those head wires are just so strange! Several female plumaged birds were seen too. [E]
CAROLA'S PAROTIA (Parotia carolae) – Heard at Dablin Creek but most of the fruiting trees have now been destroyed and none came close by the track this time. [E*]
LAWES'S PAROTIA (Parotia lawesii) – Nice looks at female-plumaged birds at Ambua and by the Blue BoP site. [E]
TWELVE-WIRED BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Seleucidis melanoleucus) – The first site upriver was a bust, but we just had time to motor up to a second and have a good look at a male calling from atop his snag perch. Another truly bizarre species. [E]
BLACK-BILLED SICKLEBILL (Drepanornis albertisi) – This is a really hard one that we seldom see, one did come in to a bush near the fruiting tree at Ambua and a handful of us got looks at it. Formerly called Buff-tailed Sicklebill, but some South American species bears that name as well so it has been renamed. [E]
SUPERB BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Lophorina superba) – Nice looks at female plumaged birds at the Ambua, with one coming onto the sides of the new motel unit and foraging for insects, a behavior I had not noted before. Males led us a dance but we eventually got views of a couple of birds at the Sooty owl site. [E]
MAGNIFICENT RIFLEBIRD (Ptiloris magnificus) – Declining and hard to get these days, we only heard one distant one at Kiunga. [*]
MAGNIFICENT RIFLEBIRD (GROWLING) (Ptiloris magnificus intercedens) – Much better, we had a quite responsive young male along the Boundary Track and got several flybys, then two came into the fruiting fig by the car park. This is going to be split in both the new NG field guides. [E]
BLACK SICKLEBILL (Epimachus fastuosus) – Heard below Ambua but sadly not able to be located. A rare and heavily hunted species. [E*]
BROWN SICKLEBILL (Epimachus meyeri) – Fantastic looks at a male and several females on the feeders at Kumul, what a bird! Also heard giving the 'tattattat" machine gun call here and at Ambua. [E]
SHORT-TAILED PARADIGALLA (Paradigalla brevicauda) – Joseph got us two perched up on a distant snag from the helipad, and some folks saw it at the fruiting tree, where Laszlo got a very nice shot of it. [E]
STEPHANIE'S ASTRAPIA (Astrapia stephaniae) – For the first time ever I did not see any at the fruiting tree at the Lodge, though we did have a nice female at the Blue BoP site. We scrounged up one beautiful lone male at the remains of the lek site above the lodge, now devastated by logging. [E]
RIBBON-TAILED ASTRAPIA (Astrapia mayeri) – One of my personal favorites, this, the last to be described of the bop's, is just so outlandish. There was a male with very short tail at Kumul, whom we christened Stumpy, and sundry young males and females there too. Happily an amazing full-tailed male was at 7-corner above Ambua and we had a tremendous view of him, though oddly there was another of these short-tailed males nearby too. [E]
KING BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Cicinnurus regius) – Two males were disputing a vine tangle up along the Elevala, and some folks saw a female there as well, yet another outlandish and beautiful bop. [E]
MAGNIFICENT BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Cicinnurus magnificus) – Heard up at Dablin but all the fruiting trees have been chopped; also heard at Ok Menga but too far back to be any use. [E*]
BLUE BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Paradisaea rudolphi) – One of the stars of the show, there was nice female-plumaged bird at the lodge, and then a brilliant and obliging vocal male below the lodge. he sat atop a prominent snag for ages, and called up till about 0900. Laszlo has a great shot of him plummeting off his perch, and I snagged a nice flight shot too- see the gallery at the FG website. [E]
LESSER BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Paradisaea minor) – Our usual and rather distant site is out of bounds these days due to unpaid fees, but happily there is another closer lek in casuarinas down the valley below Kumul, and we had good scope views of several males there. Our bus briefly disappearing meant we walked the road here, and had great looks at another two males coming up to forage, very nice indeed. [E]
RAGGIANA BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Paradisaea raggiana) – A memorable early morning encounter at the Varirata lek opened the account in style, and we saw some hybrids and females at Kiunga. No wonder this is the national bird. [E]
GREATER BIRD-OF-PARADISE (Paradisaea apoda) – The lek at Km 17 was a great experience, with an afternoon show had them calling loudly and showing briefly, and then the full display next morning with at least 8 males carrying-on. Most now look like pretty good Greaters rather than the hybrids that were predominating before, though a few obvious mixed parentage birds came in as well. [E]
LESSER MELAMPITTA (Melampitta lugubris) – Only Clements still has this as a BoP, the real affinities remain uncertain and it may well be its own family. We got one hop across the path in moss forest below Kumul, and heard it at Ambua. [E]
GREATER MELAMPITTA (Melampitta gigantea) – Heard late afternoon calling from the karst forest at Ok Menga, a rare and very seldom seen mysterious species. [E*]
Petroicidae (Australasian Robins)
LESSER GROUND-ROBIN (Amalocichla incerta) – Heard at several sites above Ambua, a lovely fluting cadence. [E*]
TORRENT FLYCATCHER (Monachella muelleriana) – Seen at Ok Menga and very well at the Sepik headwaters. See my photo in the website gallery. [E]
LEMON-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Microeca flavigaster) – I think some folks saw this along the Varirata approach road, where it was singing well. Sadly the mysterious birds at Dablin Creek of uncertain identification were not seen this year as they have cut down their favorite tree.
CANARY FLYCATCHER (Microeca papuana) – Good looks and some nice tape across the Tari Gap and above Ambua, very bright yellow with orange legs and feet. [E]
GARNET ROBIN (Eugerygone rubra) – A splendid male eventually woke up and responded to my tape, and we got some fine looks at him singing above Ambua, the garnet color is unique in my experience and the diminutive bird is quite Gerygone-like. [E]
WHITE-FACED ROBIN (Tregellasia leucops) – A nice look at one of these great clown-faced birds along the Boundary Track, they can be elusive.
BLACK-SIDED ROBIN (Poecilodryas hypoleuca) – Amazingly one showed at Km 14 without a 45 minute tape duel, a refreshing change for this very elusive species. [E]
BLACK-THROATED ROBIN (Poecilodryas albonotata) – Great looks at one giving the curious electronic song above Ambua, I posted this cut to xenocanto. [E]
WHITE-WINGED ROBIN (Peneothello sigillata) – Lovely looks by the Kumul feeders. [E]
WHITE-RUMPED ROBIN (Peneothello bimaculata) – Heard at Dablin Creek. [E*]
BLUE-GRAY ROBIN (Peneothello cyanus) – Seen well when we did the Waterfall Trail at Ambua, an attractive blue-grey species, aptly named. [E]
ASHY ROBIN (Heteromyias albispecularis) – Heard as usual above Ambua but a tough one to see. [E*]
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
PACIFIC SWALLOW (Hirundo tahitica) – Seen well at Port Moresby and Kiunga.
Phylloscopidae (Leaf-Warblers)
ISLAND LEAF-WARBLER (Phylloscopus poliocephalus) – Very nice views of this stripe-crowned Phyllosc below Ambua.
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)
TAWNY GRASSBIRD (Megalurus timoriensis) – Split some years back as Papuan Grassbird by most, the vocals are quite different to Tawny Grassbird and it's a montane species. We saw it nicely above Ambua and Dana got one below Kumul.
Zosteropidae (Yuhinas, White-eyes, and Allies)
BLACK-FRONTED WHITE-EYE (Zosterops minor) – Seen quite well at Varirata. [E]
CAPPED WHITE-EYE (Zosterops fuscicapilla) – Seen nicely by the Blue Bop site. [E]
NEW GUINEA WHITE-EYE (Zosterops novaeguineae) – This one showed well below Kumul, the white belly and yellow throat separate it from the all yellow Capped White-eye here. [E]
Muscicapidae (Old World Flycatchers)
PIED BUSHCHAT (Saxicola caprata) – Good views from Kumul and Ambua, also at the PAU.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
ISLAND THRUSH (Turdus poliocephalus) – Good looks at Kumul and the Tari Gap, I think the birds there are race erebus, they seem browner-headed than the Kumul ones.
Sturnidae (Starlings)
METALLIC STARLING (Aplonis metallica) – A few at the PAU and some at Kiunga.
YELLOW-EYED STARLING (Aplonis mystacea) – A flock of 9 flew by at Km 14 along the Boystown Road, shorter tailed than Metallics with a different flight call. Quite a rare and little-known species. [E]
SINGING STARLING (Aplonis cantoroides) – A couple of this short-tailed orange-eyed species were at the PAU.
YELLOW-FACED MYNA (Mino dumontii) – Strikingly ugly and weird, we saw them very well at the PAU and Varirata. The frog-like call is also great! [E]
GOLDEN MYNA (Mino anais) – This attractive golden-rumped species was seen up along the Elevala. [E]
Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers)
RED-CAPPED FLOWERPECKER (Dicaeum geelvinkianum) – Quite a good trip for them, we saw good males at both Varirata and Kumul.
Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)
BLACK SUNBIRD (Leptocoma sericea) – A couple of fine males and then a dull blackish orange-gaped juv. were at Km 17, also seen at Km 14.
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) – A few around Port Moresby and at Mt Hagen. [I]
EURASIAN TREE SPARROW (Passer montanus) – Three at Jackson's airport and then unexpectedly 2 at Finalbin village above Tabubil, this species is really colonizing PNG fast since the first records back in 2003. [I]
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
MOUNTAIN FIRETAIL (Oreostruthus fuliginosus) – Heard at Kumul but unseen. [E*]
BLUE-FACED PARROTFINCH (Erythrura trichroa) – A couple of flyovers by Ambua Lodge.
HOODED MUNIA (Lonchura spectabilis) – Great looks above Ambua, also seen below Kumul. [E]
GRAY-HEADED MUNIA (Lonchura caniceps) – Three flying over at Sogeri were the only sighting this trip. [E]

SPECKLED DASYURE (Neophascogale lorentzii) – A great look at one foraging in moss forest across the Tari Gap one wet afternoon. [E]
GREATER FLYING FOX (Pteropus neohibernicus) – Nice sightings from upriver Kiunga as usual, one of the largest of the family of fruit-bats.
HOUSE MOUSE (Mus musculus) – One at Tari Airport was uncommonly interested in our snacks..... [I]



Several sightings of New Guinea Freshwater Crocodile (Crocodylus novaeguineae) along the Elevala, we motored right past one by Kwatu that stayed put but entered the water as we turned back.

A Hypsilurus river dragon sp. was seen there too.

Spotted monitor- one nice spotted animal on a mudbank, maybe Varanus similis or perhaps V. panoptes.

Hercules moth (Coscinocera hercules) several by the lodge at Ambua, one of which met an untimely end with a Great Woodswallow. One of the largest moths in the world with a wingspan up to 27cm.

Ornithoptera priamus Green Birdwing Butterfly- males and females at Varirata.

Pearl Owl butterflies Taenaris sp. were seen at Varirata, Ok Menga and Kiunga.

An arboreal brown rat-like mammal with long blackish tail was seen below Kumul Lodge in the moss forest there. It was a lifer for Phil but I don't know what it is yet! It may be the Moss-forest Rat, Stenomys niobe.

Birds of the trip were varied and included courting Red-cheeked parrots, Palm Cockatoo, Papuan Lorikeet, Southern Crowned Pigeon, Brown Sicklebill, Ribbon-tailed Astrapia, King of Saxony and King Bop, Blue Bop, the various leks, paradise-kingfishers and Crested Berrypecker.

Totals for the tour: 302 bird taxa and 3 mammal taxa