Saturday, August 28, 2021

Birds of Paradise in Sketches and Drawings

Birds of Paradise are beautiful animals. Before the covid pandemic, I often guided visitors on trips across West Papua to watch them. We spent between 3 and 21 days to watch as many of them in the forest both in lowland, lower montane and higher montane forests. Some of the 42 species that I have seen in West Papua include Glossy-mantled Manucode, Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Western Parotia, Black Sicklebill, Long-tailed Paradigala, Vogelkop Superbird of Paradise, Red Bird of Paradise, and Wilson's Bird of Paradise. There was a bird whose physical appearance was similar to Ribbon-tailed Bird of Paradise that I saw in Tambrauw mountains but I was not sure which species it was because I did not take pictures of it. I was soaking myself in a river when I saw it flying above me over the river. I saw Wallace Standard Wing in Halmahera. 

Digital art of Bird of Paradise created by Charles Roring
Vector illustration of Lesser Birds of Paradise

drawing of cendrawasih kuning kecil
A colored pencil drawing of a male Lesser Birds of Paradise

Because my hobby is drawing, I like to make sketches, drawings and watercolour paintings of these beautiful birds. Although I don't draw birds very often now, I still have got some photos of the artworks in my folder. 

paradise bird art in watercolor painting
Male and Female Lesser Birds of Paradise in watercolour
The availability of digital drawing application such as Autodesk Sketchbook has enabled artist to create illustration directly from the surface of their cell phone and tablets using a stylus. The artwork can then be offered to customers as printed illustrations on a lot of products such as t-shirt, mugs, skirt, cell phone case, pillow, shower curtain, and a lot more. I used to create vector illustrations using Macromedia Freehand and Inkscape. Later, I decided to use a bitmap based drawing app - the Autodesk Sketchbook. Drawing with stylus is more intuitive than with a mouse. 
illustration of Cendrawasih Merah created using Autodesk Sketchbook
Digital drawing of a Male Red Bird of Paradise
However, I still like creating sketches and drawing of animals, flowers, boats, fish and human figures manually using pencil on paper. I have got more freedom when I hold a graphite pencil. 
Most of the artworks are now available to anyone who is interested in having it as printed illustration on various goods such as t-shirts, mugs, and even bed cover on the following online shop: Birds of Paradise and Wildlife Art. Your purchase of products in this shop greatly helps me maintain this blog. This is written by Charles Roring. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Where to watch Birds of Paradise

According to Wikipedia, there are 42 species of birds of paradise that are known to science. Most of them live in tropical rainforest of New Guinea (i.e. Papua New Guinea + West Papua). Some species can be found in Halmahera, Aru islands and Australia. Their population is experiencing serious pressures due to hunting, ilegal logging, conversion of their natural habitat into human settlements, roads, mono-culture palm oil, cocoa, and coffee plantations and a lot more. 

Birdwatching tourism is still considered as one of the most viable solutions for the protection of birds of paradise and other wild animals in the forest, as well as the preservation of rainforest as a whole.

Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor) in rainforest
Lesser Birds of Paradise
European tourists in rainforest of West Papua
Visitors from Poland were walking in Tambrauw mountains to watch birds and other wild animals

In West Papua region (the provinces of Papua and Papua Barat) of Indonesia, the birdwatching tourism attracts thousands of visitors from abroad and inside the country. There are a number of villages and forest areas which tourists can visit to watch birds. Here are some of them:

Wondama Bay Regency

  • Yoppangar Village
  • Aisandami Village

Manokwari

Arfak mountains
The forests in the villages of Syioubri, Kwau, Maibri, and Mbenti are important birding sites because they are the habitat of a lot of endemic paradise birds such as Long-tailed Paradigala, Black Sicklebill, Western Parotia, Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise; and other tropical birds such as Vogelkop Melidectes, Masked Bowerbird, Vogelkop Bowerbird, and etc.

Sorong regency
  • Klatomok Village in Klasouw Valley
  • District of Klayeli
  • Sorong's ridge forest of Batu Lubang village
  • Mangrove forest
Tambrauw Mountains

  • Weyos Beach
  • Ases Valley and Mount Sakofsiah
  • Ayapokiar village
  • Fef
For Raja Ampat, the endemic birds of paradise are Red Bird of Paradise and Wilson's Bird of Paradise which can be watched in Waigeo, Gam and Batanta. However, islands such as Misool, and Salawati also have got some species of birds of paradise that are the same as the ones in lowland and lower montane forest of mainland West Papua. 
Most birders will bring a pair of binoculars (famous brands such as Swarovski, Nikon, Zeiss are their preferred choice), and a field guide book. In a group of birdwatchers, a leader will bring a spotting scope. 
Birdwatching tourism enables indigenous people to generate income from the forest that they have through the selling of services, and goods. They can work as guides in the forest, porters, sellers of fuits, and vegetables to visitors, homestay owners and handicraft makers. 
Male Western Parotia (Parotia sefilata)
A Male Western Parotia
When the indigenous people get the positive benefits from rainforest, they will protect their precious environment. They cannot easily be tempted by investors who want to buy their land for mining concession or massive palm oil plantation. This is written by Charles Roring. 

Also read:

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Paradise Riflebird Call

Magnificent Riflebird is a species of bird of paradise that lives in tropical rainforest of Tanah Papua (in English, it is called New Guinea). It can be found in lowland and lower montane forests. The call of the bird can be heard in almost all day. Here is a video of the paradise bird that I recorded using Canon D-SLR camera that was equipped with 600 mm telephoto lens. Although the bird can be heard calling nearly all day, it is quite difficult to find him due to its dark feather. 

The dancing site of this paradise bird can be a hanging vine or a branch of a tree that is in horizontal position. 

Paradise riflebird in Susnguakti forest of Arfak mountains
Magnificent Riflebird in Manokwari

Birdwatching Sites - There are a lot of places in West Papua where visitors can go to watch the Magnificent Riflebird. Some of them that I know include:

  • Klatomok Village in Sorong regency. Visitors who fly to Sorong city in order to take a holiday in Raja Ampat can also take a rainforest tour to Klatomok village by a 4WD car to find this bird and a lot of other tropical bird in the forest. The forest in Klatomok is also the habitat of wallaby, wild pigs, deer, echidna, soa-soa lizard, snake, cuscus possum and etc.
  • Tambrauw - This regency has got hundreds of birding sites which visitors can explore to find not only the riflebird but also a long list of birds and other wild animals that are endemic to rainforest of West Papua. 
  • Susnguakti forest of Manokwari, and 
  • Aisandami Village of Wondama regency. 

Magnificent Paradise Riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus)
Silhouette of the Paradise Riflebird

birding in the forest of West Papua, Indonesia
Magnificent Riflebird (Ptiloris magnificus)
Other interesting tropical birds that can be watched include Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Western-crowned Pigeon, Orange-bellied Fruiy Dove, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Glossy-mantled Manucode, King Bird of Paradise, Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Large Fig Parrot, Double-eyed Fig Parrot, and a lot more. 

Also read:


Thursday, August 12, 2021

Birding in Klatomok Village of Klasouw Valley

Klatomok is a village in Sorong regency of West Papua Province of Indonesia. It is a recommended destination for visitors who are interested in birding and wildlife watching. 

Blyth's hornbill in rainforest of West Papua
Blyth's Hornbill (Rhyticeros plicatus)
The forest around the village is the natural habitat of such birds as Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Red-cheeked Parrot, Large Fig Parrot, Black Lory, Black-capped Lory, Coconut Lorikeet, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Orange-bellied Fruit Dove, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Slender-billed Cuckoo Dove, Magnificent Riflebird, King Bird of Paradise, Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Sacred Kingfisher, Blue and Black Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, and a lot more.
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita)
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Visitors who go to Klatomok village need to bring binoculars, camera with telephoto lens and, if possible, a spotting scope that is mounted on a tripod.  Local villagers can work as porters to help carry these devices when visitors explore the forest. 
Klatomok village is in Klasouw valley
Klatomok Village is located in the east of Sorong city
Traveling to Klatomok village is easy. Visitors can go by a 4WD car. It takes around 2 hours from Sorong city to Klatomok village. Visitors usually need to buy food materials such as instant noodles, bread, peanut butter, eggs, smoked fish, biscuits, and bottled mineral water, in supermarket or local market in Sorong city. 
Western-crowned Pigeon in Klasouw valley of Sorong regency
Western-crowned Pigeon in the forest of Klasow Valley
There are homestays in the village which are available for visitors to stay for a few days while exploring the surrounding rainforest. The rooms are not luxurious ones like in other famous tourist destinations around the world. There are mattresses, mosquito nets and toilets which visitors can stay for a few days up to  a few weeks in the forest. 
birdwatching destination in Sorong regency of Indonesia
A European visitor at a homestay in Klatomok village
In addition to birds, visitors may also see other animals such as forest dragon lizard, deer, soa-soa monitor lizards, and a lot more.
nocturnal animal in the jungle of West Papua, cuscus possum
Cuscus Possum in rainforest
Local villagers often conduct night tour in the forest for visitors to see animals such as wallaby, snake and cuscus possum. Visitors need to bring head lamps which will enable them to walk through the forest in the dark.  This is written by Charles Roring.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Parrots and Cockatoos in Rainforest of Klasow Valley

Tropical rainforest of West Papua is the natural habitat of hundreds of species of birds including parrots and cockatoos. In lowland and lower montane forests, we could see Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Red-cheeked Parrot, Large Fig Parrot, Coconut Lorikeet, Black-capped Lory, Black Lory, Red-flanked Lorikeet, Double-eyed Fig Parrot, Brehm's Tiger Parrot and a lot more.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita)
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita)

Before the Covid Pandemic reached Indonesia, thousands of visitors travelled to Klasow valley of West Papua to watch birds and see other animals and plants in the forest. One of their destinations was Klasow valley in Sorong regency. There was a village in the valley. Its name was Klatomok Village. Visitors stayed there between 3 days to 1 week to explore the rainforest and see its biodiversity. 

Palm Cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus) in rainforest of Indonesia
Palm Cockatoo in Klasow valley (Photo: Kostan Magablo)

Local villagers in the forest guided them during the days and nights. In addition to birds, they also saw soa-soa lizards, snakes, cuscus possum, wallaby, deer, butterflies, beetles, and etc. Most visitors brought binoculars and camera with telephoto lens. 

Large Fig Parrot (Psittaculirostris desmarestii) in the jungle of Klasow valley of West Papua
Large Fig Parrot in Klasow valley

Klatomok village was located in Sorong regency of Indonesia. It could easily be reached by 4WD cars from Sorong city. It took around 2 hours ride from Sorong to Klatomok. Visitors stayed in the houses of the villagers which were called homestay. The accommodations  were simple rooms with mattresses and mosquito-nets and toilets. 

birding destination in Indonesia
Google Map Location of Klatomok Village

Before going to Klatomok village, visitors bought food materials in the supermarkets of Sorong city and brought them to the village by car. Local villagers would cook the food in combination with food materials from the village such as sweet potatoes, and vegetables. Local fruits such as bananas and papayas could also be bought from villagers. 

a homestay in Klatomok village of Sorong regency
West Papua province of Indonesia

The indigenous Papuan people who lived in Klatomok village worked as farmers. Their forest provided them with plenty of sago trees which they processed to make sago flour. Seeing how the mothers extracted sago flour from the trunk of sago tree was an interesting attraction. They also hunted wallaby, wild boar and deer as well as caught fish and shrimp in the river as the source of protein for their meals. 

When the Covid pandemic has been over, visitors may be allowed by government to visit Indonesia again. We hope that this village will be able to receive guests again so that they will be able to generate income while at the same time preserve their precious rainforest environment. This is written by Charles Roring.

Dear Readers,
I am raising fund to buy binoculars and spotting scopes for local guides who accompany visitors watching birds of paradise in the jungle. Please,