Birds of Paradise: The Best Birding in the World

Posted on: February 19th, 2019 by veronicap No Comments

Birding in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is still regarded as one of the most untouched locations in the world and the wildlife is brimming on and around country. While PNG is a popular destination for those who want to come and see the festivals of local tribes, like the Tumbuna Show, it is also on a bucket list of most bird watchers.

Home to almost 800 species of birds, including the variations of birds of paradise (which can only be found on PNG), the island offers a unique and exquisite experience for twitches all over the world.

Vibrant Birds of Paradise

While we can’t list all known bird species in Papua New Guinea, there are some that stand out! From the colorful mating dances to the unique feathers that make birds found on the island so famous, lets introduce you to just a few of the birds awaiting you in PNG. Larger birds like the Cassowary and the Papuan Hornbill are colorful and a must-see. Both birds can be found in and around Australasia but are sure to be spotted in Papua New Guinea!

Blyths Hornbill

Photo Credit: Trans Nuigini Tours


Photo Credit: Trans Nuigini Tours

Blyth’s Hornbill (Papuan Hornbill)
Finding it’s home in Papua New Guinea and other Australasia locations, the Papuan Hornbill is a large bird that lives in the forest canopies. The color of the Hornbill can vary depending on the surroundings but it is a magnificent bird to view. The sounds of the bird’s flight is often described as a steam train.

These birds look like they belong in a Jurassic Park movie but these majestic creatures still roam the earth on the island of Papua New Guinea. The casques on their heads are actually soft and sponge-like, making them look prehistoric. They’re also very fast for a bird of this size and can run around 30 mph!

The birds of paradise, native to Papua New Guinea, are what attract most twitchers. Their vibrant color, unique feathering and memorable mating calls are a sight to see.

Superb Bird of Paradise

Photo credit: Natasha Baucas from Flickr

ribbon tailed astrapia

Photo credit: Francesco Veronesi from Flickr

Superb Bird of Paradise (Male)
The male Superb Bird of Paradise has an iridescent sheen to it’s feathers, with a blueish shield as shown in the image above. The male is a bit of a surprise when it comes to its full spectacular color. With a dark body, the mating dance transforms this bird into something you have to see to believe! (Watch the video below to see the awesome transformation.)
 Ribbon Tailed Astrapia

Sometimes referred to as Shaw Mayer’s Astrapia, this gorgeous bird is a member of the birds of paradise found on Papua New Guinea. Named aptly after the two ribbon-like feathers that extend from its tail, these feathers can be over three times the length of it’s body! Unfortunately, this makes the feathers a desired commodity and this bird is on the “threatened list” due to hunting.

 Spectacular Mating Dances

The males of the the birds of paradise are usually the most vibrant of the pair. The fantastic examples of the mating calls these birds perform are about more than just their colorful plumes. The King Bird of Paradise (pictured below) looks like he’s busting a move to his favorite song but the flashier the show, the more likely he’ll attract a mate.

King Bird of Paradise Bernard DUPONT

Photo Credit: Bernard DUPONT from Flickr

The King Bird of Paradise is just one of many of these gorgeous birds that put on a performance to attract a mate. Some even go as far to clean and tidy up the area before beginning the mating call. Check out this video below of some of the unique mating calls for birds of paradise.

The Best Bird Watching Locations

Papua New Guinea i rich with dense expansive rain forests that remain remote and untouched by mankind. This type of landscape provides a vast number of places to see spectacular native bird life. For those visiting PNG, there are a number of locations that accommodate twitchers and provide a comfortable and authentic experience.

Kumul Lodge

Made out of native materials and owned & managed by locals, Kumul Lodge is an authentic experience that also supports the local economy. Their purpose is to preserve the forest that is home to some of the most exotic birds in the world. A visit to the lodge may see a number of birds, including some of the spectacular birds of paradise. The Empire Bird of Paradise is one of the most eye catching birds on Papua New Guinea.

Varirata National Park

This National Park can be found near Port Moresby and is another hot spot for birding. You can go with a group or hire a bird watching guide to help you locate the many birds of paradise that can be found in this part of the country. Some of the notable birds that can be seen include Brown-headed Paradise Kingfisher, Dwarf Cassowary,  & Wallace’s Fairy Wren.

Ambua Lodge

The Ambua Lodge is in the Hela Province and home to the Huli Wigmen. It is full of colorful culture, not only with the local people but also the local birds of paradise. The number of birds you can see here are endless with touring options available to visitors. Some of the notable birds you may see are the Crested Hawk, Plum Faced Lorikeet, Fan-tailed Cuckoo and the Crested Bird of Paradise.

Papua New Guinea is one of the best places to see the most unique bird life in the world. Planning a bird watching tour can be as unique as you’d like, because every bird watcher has different species to tick off their list. Let us know which species and birds you’d love to see and let us plan a trip you’ll never forget. Cross Papua New Guinea off your bucket list! Call us Toll Free 888-359-2877 (Mon-Fri 8:30am – 5:00pm Central US) or Request a Custom Quote!