RED BIRD OF PARADISE
Discover the Endemic species of Raja Ampat
WILSON BIRD OF PARADISE
Previous
Next

THE BIRDS OF PARADISE

“When we behold a male bird elaborately displaying his graceful plumes or splendid colours before the female….it is impossible to doubt that she admires the beauty of her male partner”

– Charles Darwin

The birds-of-paradise have long been recognised as beautiful and spectacular species, thanks to the diversity in ornamental plumage, dazzling array of colours and the exaggerated, often bizarre, courtship displays.

You can find the most enigmatic and elusive bird species in our Raja Ampat birding tours . As birders ourselves, we share in your sense of excitement with each sighting, and in return, we offer you our unparalleled access to key habitats, right in the confort of our location. Tours operated by local guides which you support.

Birders and the birdwatching community, has long been attracted to Raja Ampat, particularly are drawn to the Birds of Paradise family, because of the exceptional appearances.

The birds-of-paradise are members of the family Paradisaeidae of the order Passeriformes. The majority of species are found in Papua New Guinea and West Papua (Indonesia) and eastern Australia. The family has 42 species in 15 genera.

Both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, developed the theory of natural selection and the process of sexual selection provide the framework to understand the remarkable extremes and diversity among the Birds of Paradise. New Guinea, being isolated from modern “interferences” has allowed the birds to evolve into incredible diversity as they have no predators.

Just in our location, you will see and our near area you will see two endemic Bird of Paradise: the Red Bird of Paradise and the Wilson Bird of Paradise. Plus, other non-endemic Birds of Paradise, and lots of other species flying around, among our favourite are the Blyth Hornbill, Great Billed Heron, White-Bellied Sea Eagle.. to name a few.

RED BIRD OF PARADISE

Endemic of Raja Ampat, only found in Batanta and Gam islands.

 

Endemic of Raja Ampat, only found in Batanta and Gam islands.
 
Although animals such as Spotted Cuscus, an array of colorful Butterflies and many forest birds can be seen, the main attraction is by far the Red Bird of Paradise as this is one of the only places in the world we can get to witness these truly amazing birds. We advise you to read up on some literature about them before doing this walk so as to maximize the enjoyment and magnitude of your walk.
These birds are very rare and they have their own special tree about 45 minutes easy trek from right at the back of our property. Upon reaching “base camp” you will soon be awarded by one of the most elegant and exotic displays in nature as there have been sightings of 4 male birds dancing and displaying to the females, vying for the chance to mate. These females are so choosy that it might take many visits by many evils before anything happens. After week upon week, day after day and countless hours some evils still never get the chance to mate!

Trekking

  • Easy to moderate
  • 2-3 hours long
  • Walking distance 35-45 minutes to “base Camp” one way.
  • Depart from the restaurant 5:00am – Return 7:30-8:00am
  • Cost IDR 150 000 per person (Subject to change)

Starting in the dark

There is something eerie yet calming about being awake before the birds and the sun. The earth is still and the only sounds you hear are the night creature’s settling down to rest after a night of activity. With this sensation of calm and quiet you will make your way to our jetty for 5am to meet Simon, your guide, with his long traditional wooden boat. You will silently make your way across the calm, dark waters, with the last of the night’s air gently hitting your face as the boat turns into a canal, surrounded by the hills of silent fauna and flora. As the dawn appears you will start to see the outlines of the hills above you while navigating your way, by boat, to the edge of the jungle, where you will begin your 30-40 min trek to the base camp.

 

Walking in the jungle

Walking through the jungle as the dawn slowly turns to morning and the darkness fades to light, the jungle will start to come alive around you. The best way to experience an Indonesian sunrise. This beauty is hard to come by in a city and something magical to experience. Slowly the insects will awaken with their morning chirps followed not long afterwards with the many species of birds, singing their welcome songs to a new day, a sunrise worth getting up for! Once you have reached base camp you will take a seat and use this time to listen to all the sounds and smells the jungle offers.

 

The birds at base camp

After a short while you will be rewarded with one of the most elegant and exotic shows that the male Red Bird of paradise puts on for the female. He puts on an extravagant performance of dancing while hanging upside down from a tree branch, or jumping around strutting his beautiful and brightly colorful plumage to the on looking female. His vivid reds, yellows and blues stand out against the relentless green of the rain forest all in the hope of wooing the female. The females are very picky and will only choose mates based on certain appealing characteristics, thus increasing the odds that those traits will pass from one generation to the next. This is where Alfred Russel Wallce compiled his study of the theory of Natural Selection and this can today be applied to the Red Bird of paradise. His theory asks the question, “why do we find this animal in this place” and through this he realized that just as animals are shaped by where they live, regions can also be defined by the animals that live there. By choosing only the best male for mating, the species can survive or evolve in an every changing environment and world.

  • Easy to moderate
  • 3-4 hours long
  • Walking distance 30-40 minutes to “base camp” one way.
  • Depart from the Jetty 5:00am – Return 8:00-8:30am
  • Cost IDR 250 000 per person (subject to change)
  • Waterbottle with water
  • Protective clothing – long pants and t-shirt
  • Binoculars
  • Torch or head torch
  • Spray insect repellant on you before you leave.
  • Closed walking/hiking shoes

In the footsteps of great naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace

The biodiversity found among the tropical islands in Raja Ampat inspired Alfred Russel Wallace, to come up with his own discovery of the mechanisms of speciation. In 1854, the young naturalist started his 8 year adventure traveling these islands and it was at the nearby Yenbeser village that Wallace stayed when he was doing his investigations of the Natural Selection theories (and you can visit a replica of the hut while on the trek to see the Red Bird of Paradise). When Wallace revealed his finding to Charles Darwin, it gave Darwin the push needed to publish his findings he had been sitting on for many years, which in turn, gave the world – On The Origin of the Species.

The Wallace line, named after Afred Russel Wallace. He noticed the area stretching between Borneo and sulawesi down to Bali and lombok split the animal life on either side: asian wildlife to the west, australasian organisms to the east

While navigating the area of “the Passage”, he have commented:

“Every islet was covered with strange-looking shrubs and trees, and was generally crowned by lofty and elegant palms, which also studded the ridges of the mountainous shores, forming one of the most singular and picturesque landscapes I have ever seen.” – excerpt from “The Malay Archipelago”

You can visit the replica of the hut that has been reconstructed following his measurements and description, seen in the photo below, where Sir Wallace stayed while studying the bird of paradise.
 

WILSON BIRD OF PARADISE

Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise Cicinnurus respublica is endemic to two islands of the Raja Ampat island.

There is only one Trek to see the Wilson bird as they only inhabit two islands, Waigeo and Batanta. They are the most colourful of all the birds of paradise. We are lucky to be just next to Waigeo. You will be taken by boat and then trek to “base Camp” with your Guide Deki.

Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise courtship behaviour in the wild was not described until the 1990s. To attract females for mating, males create and maintain a clearing, known as a court, on the forest floor, where they display on perches.

These displays are normally performed by solitary males, but as many as three adult males displaying simultaneously, with highly synchronised movements, in the presence of three female-plumaged birds. The male is easily distinguished by the brilliant turquoise crown of bare skin on the back of its head, which is criss-crossed by lines of fine velvety black feathers with a coppery-bronze iridescent sheen.

The female is much less ornately adorned than the male, with the bare skin on the back of the head a much less radiant lilac-blue, and with olive to reddish-brown upperparts, dull brown wings and buff-coloured underparts, with fine uniform brown-black bars. The female also lacks the spiral tail feathers. Immature males are very similar in appearance to the female.

  • Moderate – Hard
  • 4 hours long
  • 20-30 minute boat ride (in a traditional wooden boat)
  • Walking distance 60 – 80 minutes to “base Camp” one way.
  • Depart from the Jetty 4:30 am – Return 8:30 – 9:00am
  • Cost IDR 350 000 per person (subject to change)

Starting in the dark

Once again you start your trek while the sun and birds are still sleeping and the rhythmic sounds of the insects awaken your senses. You will make your way to the jetty for 4:30am to meet your guide Deki. He will be waiting for you in his traditional Papuan boat where you will jump in and silently glide over the calm dark waters towards Waigeo island, as the stars start to fade away in the sky to make way for the dawn.

Walking in the jungle

The boat will start to slow down as you turn into a cove with the most breath taking back drop of the jungle. It may still be dark, but you will be able to see the outlines of the rainforest as the light from the moon cascades over the tree tops and falls into the canopies below, lighting up the jungle in front of you as the boat glides onto the sandy beach. This is where you will climb out the boat and start your hour trek through the jungle to “Base Camp”.

The first 20 minutes of the trek are a steep uphill climb, but do not let this put you off, it is an amazing experience to be climbing higher into the forest as the dawn breaks and the sounds of the forest start to welcome your ears to the unique creatures that dwell in its canopies. It is truly wonderful to have all your senses awaken, in an environment strange to you. As the trek starts to flatten out the sun should be slowly creeping over the horizon and your eyes will start to take in the beauty of the jungle around you. The tall cascading trees, the rich abundance of moss and ground growth all engulfed around you to give you a rather insignificant feel compared to these ancient wonders. After an hour and a bit you should arrive at “base camp”, a sheltered hut with holes cut into the shade cloth for bird viewing.

The birds at base camp

Peeking through the holes in the shade cloth your eyes will come alive when you see the Wilson bird of Paradise preforming his unique dance. He starts off by actively clearing his area so that there is nothing on the ground to distract the female from his performance. He will then perch in a vertical branch in the middle of his court and start to flex his brilliant green florescent collar and calling out to the female sot attract them, weaving back and forth. The female will perch above the male to watch this show before she decides if she will mate with him, It is a truly spectacular performance and as Clifford Firth and Bruce beehler wrote in, The bird of paradise, 1998, “The spectacular and ornate plumages of these birds in fact represent the extreme expression of the process of sexual selection”.

The walk back

Once the performance is over you will make your way back through the jungle to the boat and then back to the Resort. Take this chance to take in the beauty of the jungle and possibly spot other birds, insect, butterfly species on your way down. At this time the jungle will be alive with all the animals welcoming the morning. To see these rare birds in their undisturbed natural habitat is a once in a life time experience and as Alfred Russel Wallace mentioned, “one of the most beautiful and wonderful of living things”.

 

  • Waterbottle with water
  • Protective clothing – long pants and t-shirt
  • Binoculars
  • Torch or head torch
  • Spray insect repellant on you before you leave.
  • Closed walking/hiking shoes

FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO KNOW MORE

The Birds of Paradise; The Facts

The birds-of-paradise have long been recognised as beautiful and spectacular species, thanks to the diversity in ornamental plumage, dazzling array of colours and the exaggerated, often bizarre, courtship displays

Conservation and The birds of Paradise

Raja Ampat Biodiversity supports and contributes to biodiversity conservation, including through appropriate management of our own property, and follows appropriate guidelines promotion of visits to natural sites in order to minimize adverse impacts and maximize visitor fullfillment.

Meet the guides

We promote Jungle Birding and Trekking excursions with local guides without receiving any benefit in exchange. They receive the money directly from guests and this in turn can be used to help support their families.
We support local entrepreneurs in the development and sale of sustainable products and services that are based on the area’s nature, history and culture

Karel Dimara

Local from Yenbeser village, and owner of the homestay next to our resort. He found the location of the display of the Red Bird of Paradise and made a trail (and maintains it).

Boni Dimara

Also from Yenbeser village, he found another location of the Bird of Paradise, and we use him also for the treks, this way, we want to diversify the economic input to the area.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

OTHER BIRDS FOUND IN RAJA AMPAT

You will be greeted every morning with many birds flying around the resort, and will be a great wakeup call!
White-bellied Sea-eagles, Gurney’s Eagle, Osprey and more than 7 Lesser Frigate-birds. The jetty of the resort is good for observing the hill-forest flanks on which Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Papuan Hornbills and Brahmany Kites are easily exposed

OTHER WILDLIFE FOUND AT BIODIVERSITY

Animals such as Spotted Cuscus, an array of colourful butterflies and many forest birds can be seen!