Biodiversity Birding

//Biodiversity Birding

Biodiversity Birding

After a few previous, very pleasant and bird-rewarding visits, we decided to spend our holiday again in Raja Ampat, West Papua. Due to our preferences in combining birding and diving (snorkeling) in an ecofriendly environment we choose for the Raja Ampat Biodiversity Resort on Gam Island. The beautiful coral reefs in the vicinity of Gam and the good birding opportunities on Gam and the nearby island of Waigeo looked promising and we were not disappointed in this at all. Both diving (& snorkeling) and birding exceeded our expectations.

The Biodiversity Resort can be reached by ferry from Sorong to Waisai on Waigeo, where a boat pickup is arranged to Gam island. The boat trips offer good possibilities for pelagic birdwatching. On the way where seen Matsudaira’s Stormpetrel Pomarine Skua amongst all to be expected Terns. Floating trees are worthwhile for checking since the Terns use them as free transport between the islands. Reaching the resort we get a warm welcome from Rey, the manager, and his friendly staff who felt as friends. They inform us on the dive sites, excursions and birdwatching sites. Gam has several jungle tracks which are good for low and middle elevation bird species.

The first day started excellent when we spotted a thermal flock of birds in which were present: 2 White-bellied Sea-eagles (one adult and one immature), 1 Gurney’s Eagle, 1 Osprey and more than 7 Lesser Frigatebirds. The jetty of the resort is good for observing the hillforest flanks on which Sulphur-crested Cocatoos, Papuan Hornbills and Brahmany Kites are easily exposed. From the beach and the paths between the cottages a variety of birds can be seen. Noisy Helmeted Friarbirds, shining Metallic Starlings, alarming Sacred Kingfishers, bold Willy Wagtails and spiderhunting Mimic Meliphaga’s are the most common birds. Palm Cocatoos roam the beach in search of washed up nuts. Early morning walks among these paths produced also Pink-spotted, Wompoo and Superb Fruitdove, visiting the fruiting trees. The forest openings at the hillside of the resort are good for passerines like Shining Flycatcher, Northern Fantail and Hooded Butcherbird. But also for starbirds like Glossy Manucode and Common Paradise Kingfisher. One morning an on-expected Great Cuckoo-dove was present here. Between the cottages a Papuan Frogmouth kept us out of our sleep. Brown-headed crow was seen 2 times, close to the dining area.

Biodiversity Birding

Close the resort area two paths that lead into the jungle. One follows the coastline and goes the little village Yenbeser. The other one leads into the hills and ends at the display-site of the Red Bird of Paradise (guided by a local from the village). Early morning walks, but also mid-day and afternoon walks are very productive on the paths. On the coastal path all Pigeons seemed to congregate. Brown Cuckoo-dove, Stephen’s Emerald Dove and Moluccan Fruit-dove were present. Check the palm treetops for Sunbirds and Lories. Also active are loud Dollarbirds and a Brush Cuckoo were there. The Dollarbirds attacked a Collared Sparrowhawk, a very good species! When we reached the beach we watched a beautiful scene in which several Moustached Treeswifts mobbed a perching Osprey (how good can it get).

The jungle path to the Red Bird of Paradise site is especially good when you encounter mixed flocks, containing a wide variety of birds. Two mixed flocks were watched containing very curious and approachable Frilled Monarchs, 2 Myzomela species, Long-billed Honeyeater, Raja Ampat and Rusty Pitohui, Spot-winged Monarch and Thicket-fantails. Scanning the canopy in the passing of the flocks produced Flowerpeckers, Sunbirds and a very handsome Orange-fronted Hanging Parrot. To our surprise Fruitdoves, Drongo’s and a female Red Bird of Paradise (!) were active in the flock. Nicobar Pigeon was seen twice on the track.

The display-sites of Red Bird of Paradise and Wilson’s Bird of Paradise (the starbirds of the region) are both closeby the Biodiversity Resort. To the Red Bird location is a beautiful boat ride best done in the early morning. Although the Red Birds weren’t cooperative on our visits several other good species like Beach Stonecurlew, Great-billed Heron, Dwarf Fruitdove (!) and Largetailed Nightjar were seen. The Wilson’s site is on Waigeo, extra worth visiting. After some tracking in the dark (careful with snakes over there) we observed this jewel of the forest actively cleaning the display site for more then 1hour and we felt like David Attenborough. Close to the hide of the Wilson’s Bird of Paradise several Red Bird of Paradise were active.

In our two week visit over 100 bird species were seen on Gam (bird list below). Besides the excellent birding opportunities good dining facilities, nice cottages, very nice staff, best world diving sites (Pygmy Seahorse, Wobbegong, Rays, Sharks, Napoleon’s, Barracuda, Turtles, amazing and colorful corals, etc. etc.) and ecofriendly attitude makes a visit of Raja Ampat Biodiveristy Resort a very valuable and memorable nature experience.

Biodiversity Birding

Just one problem, you want to go back, again and again…

With kind regards,

Jurgen van der Meer

If you are interested in learning more information about birdwatching in Raja Ampat, check our section Birdwatching and Jungle Treks


  1. Dusky Scrubfowl
  2. Matsudaira’s Stormpetrel
  3. Pomarine Skua
  4. Wedge-tailed Shearwater (pale morph/dark morph)
  5. Lesser Frigatebird
  6. Sooty Tern
  7. Bridled Tern
  8. Brown Noddy
  9. Little Tern
  10. Black-naped Tern
  11. Lesser Crested Tern
  12. Beach Stonecurlew
  13. Striated Heron
  14. Little Egret
  15. Intermediate Egret
  16. Eastern Great Egret
  17. Eastern Reef Egret
  18. Great-billed Heron
  19. Brahmany Kite
  20. Eastern Osprey
  21. White-bellied Sea-eagle
  22. Gurney’s Eagle
  23. Collared Sparrowhawk
  24. Long-tailed Buzzard
  25. Brown Cuckoo-dove
  26. Great Cuckoo-dove
  27. Stephen’s Emerald Dove
  28. Wompoo Fruit-dove
  29. Pink-spotted Fruitdove
  30. Superb Fruitdove
  31. Beautiful Fruit-dove
  32. Dwarf Fruit-dove
  33. Claret-breasted Fruit-dove
  34. Moluccan Fruit-dove
  35. Spice Imperial Pigeon
  36. Nicobar Pigeon
  37. White-throated Pigeon
  38. Pinon’s Imperial Pigeon
  39. Eclectus Parrot
  40. Palm Cockatoo
  41. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
  42. Red-flanked Lorikeet
  43. Black-capped Lory
  44. Violet-necked Lory
  45. Red-cheeked Parrot
  46. Rainbow Lorikeet
  47. Great-billed Parrot
  48. Orange-fronted Hanging Parrot
  49. Blyth’s Hornbill
  50. Brush Cuckoo
  51. Papuan Frogmouth
  52. Large-tailed Nightjar
  53. Glossy Swiftlet
  54. Moustached Treeswift
  55. Uniform Swiftlet
  56. Tree Martin
  57. Pacific Swallow
  58. Common Paradise-kingfisher
  59. Oriental Dollarbird
  60. Rainbow Bee-eater
  61. Rufous-bellied Kookaburra
  62. Beach Kingfisher
  63. Collared Kingfisher
  64. Sacred Kingfisher
  65. Papuan Dwarf Kingfisher
  66. Rusty Mouse-warbler
  67. Ruby-throated Myzomela
  68. Papuan black Myzomela
  69. Long-billed Honey-eater
  70. Varied Honeyeater
  71. Helmeted Friarbird
  72. Mimic Meliphaga
  73. Puff-backed Meliphaga
  74. Mountain Meliphaga
  75. Tropical Scrubwren
  76. Fairy Gerygone
  77. Black Sunbird
  78. Olive-backed Sunbird
  79. Pygmy Longbill
  80. Olive-crowned Flowerpecker
  81. White-breasted Woodswallow
  82. Hooded Butcherbird
  83. Black-browed Triller
  84. Golden Cuckooshrike
  85. White-bellied Cuckooshrike
  86. Black Cicadabird
  87. Little Shrikethrush
  88. Raja Ampat Pitohui
  89. Rusty Pitohui
  90. Papuan Babbler
  91. Shining Flycatcher
  92. Frilled Monarch
  93. Golden Monarch
  94. Spot-winged Monarch
  95. Northern Fantail
  96. Willie Wagtail
  97. White-bellied Thicket-fantail
  98. Sooty Thicket-fantail
  99. Glossy Manucode (mature/immature)
  100. Brown-headed Crow
  101. Torresian Crow
  102. Wilson’s bird of paradise (male)
  103. Red Bird of Paradise (female)
  104. Black-sided Robin
  105. Olive Flycatcher
  106. Spangled Drongo
  107. Moluccan Starling
  108. Metallic Starling
  109. Brown Oriole
  110. Eurasian Tree Sparrow
  111. House Sparrow
  • Italic Birds=seen in the Sorong area or on the pelagic trip to Gam
  • Bold birds=highlights of the trip
By | 2017-09-18T20:34:58+00:00 September 7th, 2017|Customer experience|0 Comments

About the Author:

Leave A Comment