Literally half of New Guinea’s birds are found nowhere else – 399 endemics lurk on this huge, tropical island. Most birders visit the eastern half of this island, the country of Papua New Guinea, but West Papua (which is part of Indonesia) is equally good. This is Bird of Paradise country, and, to put it plainly, the MOST spectacular birds on the planet lurk here. Blue Bird-of-Paradise and Ribbon-tailed Astrapia are two desirables found only in Papua New Guinea – although it’s always a difficult choice which side of this “island continent” to visit because West Papua boasts equally impressive endemic birds-of-paradise such as Wilson’s. Tapping into local knowledge is essential for getting good views of all the weird and wonderful birds-of-paradise, as only a handful of people know the whereabouts of the traditional display sites of these birds. Without these, it is tough to even get glimpses of these wondrous but elusive birds.
Other spectacular birds that can be seen in the highlands, lowlands and smaller offshore islands of Papua New Guinea are jewel-babblers, paradise kingfishers, bowerbirds including the shining bright Flame Bowerbird, honeyeaters, massive Southern Crowned Pigeon and impressive Palm Cockatoo, to name but a few.
Apart from it being a no-brainer that every birder needs to visit New Guinea, this poorly explored yet staggeringly bio-diverse island has a lot more to entertain the world traveler than just its amazing birds. Papua New Guinea also has a very large count of endemic marsupial mammals such as Tree Kangaroos and Long-beaked Echidna, plus it boasts some of the planet’s best diving. And, Papua New Guinea is one of the world’s most culturally diverse nations, with 848 described languages! Contributor: Chris Lotz/Birding Ecotours.
Papua New Guinea has a high number of endemic species and is often referred to as a 'mega hotspot' for biodiversity! A few endemic species seen are the Huon Tree Kangaroo, Papuan Forest Wallaby, Bulmers Fruit Bat, Giant Bandicoot, Painted Ringtail and Bismark Flying Fox! There is also a rich diversity of endemic frogs ,reptiles and freshwater fish and is home to the worlds largest butterfly, Queen Alexandra's Birdwing!