Papua New Guinea & New Britain Extension

August 12 – September 2, 2011

Papua New Guinea © Chris Leahy, Mass Audubon
© Chris Leahy, Mass Audubon


Leader/naturalist Chris Leahy and seven very hale and hearty travelers just returned from what Chris describes as “the most different place on earth – sort of like visiting another planet with some similarities to one’s own”- Papua New Guinea and extension to New Britain.  

Home to one of the world’s most extraordinary avifaunas – notable especially for its spectacular birds-of- paradise – it is also possibly the most challenging birding on any continent! The trip was arduous yet every day seemed eventually to yield spectacular rewards, such as:

  • That first raggiana bird-of-paradise lek at Varirata;
  • The dramatic entrance of a blyth’s hornbill or a southern crowned pigeon or a twelve-wired bird-of-paradise
  • The arrival of a male ribbon-tailed Astrapia at the bird table at Kumul;
  • A short-tailed paradigalla, a black sicklebill, a blue bird-of-paradise and a pair of Papuan king parrots at Tari - seemingly all arriving at once

Papua New Guinea requires time, patience, flexibility and a sense of humor. This trip allowed enough time to fully explore this strange place, and the sometimes unforgiving forest habitat, with some thoroughness. 

The group came home with a total list of 375 birds, including:

  • 31 species of pigeons and doves
  • 28 species of parrots
  • 14 kingfishers
  • 28 honeyeaters
  • and (drum roll!) 21 species of birds-of-paradise,

Thanks in no small part to the extraordinary talents and experience of our local guides and the talents and patience of the group.