Posted on: February 19th, 2016 by veronicap No Comments
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!
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.
Photo credit: Natasha Baucas from Flickr
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.
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.
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.
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!
Papua New Guinea’s biggest tourist attractions are the colorful sing sing festivals that go on throughout the year. The Goroka Show, started in the 50s, attracts hundreds of visitors each year to come experience the brightly colored union of over one hundred tribes in Papua New Guinea. This Goroka Show is definitely a must-see but it can overshadowed by some of the more intimate festivals in PNG, including one of our favorites, the Tumbuna Show.
The Tumbuna Show has over 300 tribesmen and women from 15 local tribes that come together in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.
Similar to the Goroka show, the tribesmen and women join together for tribal dance and song in a vibrant, traditional dress. Even though the Tumbuna Show is smaller than some of the other festivals in PNG, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be on your bucket list. In fact, it has an intimacy that is inviting to all who view it!
[Image Credit: Trans Nuigini Tours]
Tumbuna is the local language word for “ancestor”.
This word is the heart and spirit of the festival. Guests can see the tribes dress up in their bilas (traditional dress for the festival) before the dancing portion of the show begins. Around lunch time, an underground oven called a “mumu” is fired up and guests are invited to enjoy the meal with the residents of this ancient culture.
[Image Credit: Trans Nuigini Tours]
Guests are invited to join in with tribal performers!
The intimacy and friendly nature of the Tumbuna show can be felt throughout the whole ceremony. Visitors are free to explore the village in the Paiyagona Valley to get a true authentic experience of village life in Papua New Guinea. And many guests join in the festivities, dancing and singing with the local tribes.
Experiencing Papua New Guinea up close and personal is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You’ll truly feel welcomed and at home in the highlands of Papua New Guinea as you discover the power and reverence these tribes have for their “tumbuna.”
Get your ticket for the 2016 Tumbuna Show before it’s fully booked! Call us Toll Free 888-359-2877 (Mon-Fri 8:30am – 5:00pm Central US) or Request a Custom Quote!
Here’s our list of top 10 things to do during your vacation to Papua New Guinea (PNG)…
Attend a Festival: One of the top reasons to visit Papua New Guinea is to experience the thrill of seeing one of PNG’s many cultural festivals, or sing-sings. Many sing-sings are annual events with tribal groups traveling from all over Papua New Guinea that travel far to take part in the remarkable gathering of sights, sounds, color, beauty and culture. Some of the top festivals include the Goroka, Mt. Hagen & Hiri Moale festivals.
Scuba Dive: Papua New Guinea is also home to some of the world’s most amazing diving. Divers can enjoy beautiful barrier reefs, coral walls, fringing reefs and World War II wreck sites. With average water temperatures of 78 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit and great visibility year round you’ll be sure to enjoy the breathtaking biodiversity Papua New Guinea’s waters have to offer.
Stay in a Village: Village stays are one of the most unique ways to experience Papua New Guinea, but not for the fainthearted traveler. With over 800 distinct languages spoken, and a land filled with a mixture of traditional and modern living you’ll be sure to get a once in a lifetime experience. Immerse yourself into one of the many villages within Papua New Guinea and learn about men vs. women’s responsibilities, traditional customs and beliefs, and various rituals that happen throughout daily life.
Expedition Cruising: Boat cruising in Papua New Guinea can be one of the most relaxing ways to experience the beauty and culture of PNG. For cruise enthusiasts you’ll enjoy a slow-paced and informal setting as you cruise along one of PNG’s tributaries or relax in a “floating lodge”. Expedition cruises take you through the Sepik region or the island provinces that are saturated in mystery and mystique.
Go Hiking/Trekking: For those travelers looking for an action packed holiday, a hiking or trekking adventure would be a great choice. Papua New Guinea is a popular destination for those interested in mountain climbing and bushwalking. You’ll see beautiful towering peaks, national parks, hidden villages, World War II relic sites and much more. Those interested in hiking in PNG should be sure to be in good physical condition as many of the treks can be physically and mentally challenging, but in the end very rewarding.
Birding: For any bird watching aficionado Papua New Guinea is a birder’s paradise. You’ll have endless opportunity to see thriving bird populations, as well as endemic and exotic species of all kinds. One of the main highlights for those traveling to PNG, are the many species of the famous Birds of Paradise. These are found only in Papua New Guinea, and are truly a magnificent site to see.
Art Collecting: Papua New Guinea is home to some of the most mysterious and beautiful artwork in the world. On an art collecting adventure you’ll not only be able to bring amazing pieces of artwork home for your personal collection, but you can see some of the artwork PNG is known for such as their Spirit Houses decorated with carved ancestral figures, shell jewelry, woven fiber masks and so much more. Come back home with a piece of artwork found only in Papua New Guinea.
Kayaking: The islands & Fiordland regions of Papua New Guinea will take your breath away, and there’s no better way to experience these exceptional locations than by kayak. Encounter schools of playful dolphins, sea turtles and villages slipped away in idyllic settings. The best time of year to enjoy a kayaking adventure is from April to November when the seas are typically calmer. Colorful and bio diverse coral reefs, striking coastlines and untouched tropical waters are waiting for you to come enjoy.
Go Surfing: Papua New Guinea has unlimited surf potential from October to April, and thousands of miles of coastline waiting to be explored by surfing enthusiasts. Enjoy the warm waters, consistent waves, and pristine coastlines on your next surfing adventure.
Fishing: Papua New Guinea offers remarkable fresh and salt-water fishing, and enjoys isolated fishing grounds teeming with life. Try your hand at fishing for Barramundi, or maybe you’ll like being challenged by the Sailfish, Yellow fin tuna or Marlin that inhabit the waters around Papua New Guinea.
Article Written by Ashley Donaldson Papua New Guinea Travel Specialist
Trip planning questions? Please feel free to contact us, we’d love to help you travel to PNG for your next vacation.