Thursday, January 3, 2013

Magnificent Birds of Paradise

by Charles Roring
Magnificent Birds of Paradise (Cicinnurus magnificus) live in the mountain range of Arfak. Birdwatchers from around the world go to Manokwari city to see the birds. Male bird clears ground by picking up fallen leaves and twigs among the tropical shrubs to attract the female magnificent birds of paradise. They eat red fruit (Pandanus connoideus). In the mornings and in the afternoons, they gather at their dancing grounds where male birds show their beautiful feather. Each adult male bird makes his own dancing ground to attract the female birds. When the sun rises, each male will call the females.
When they come, the male bird will expand his feather and play his antennas. The best place to watch the Magnificent Birds of Paradise is in the villages of Kwau and Syioubri. It takes around 2 hours by 4WD pick-up truck to reach one of the villages. As a tour operator, I have guided a lot of tourists and birdwatchers on various trips both to Arfak mountains and District Senopi of West Papua to watch paradise birds and other tropical birds such as cinnamon fruit dove, lesser birds of paradise, Blyth's hornbill, sulphur crested cockatoo, pinon imperial pigeon, kingfishers.
It's easy to recognize the male magnificent birds of paradise. He can be identified from his green chest and two tail antennas that look like sickles. When he opens his mouth, the inside part is green. 

The female bird has got brown feather and pale blue beak. When she hears the call of a male bird, she will come to the display or dancing ground to watch his courtship dance performance.
Ecotourism is one of the ways that I promote as an alternative income generation scheme for the local people. They will be able to earn money through the selling of goods and services that they provide to tourists. Ecotourism can improve their standard of living and at the same time encourage the villagers to preserve their environment.
If you are interested in watching birds in Manokwari, and need my service in providing guided tours and arranging transportation as well as accommodation, please, contact me by e-mail: peace4wp@gmail.com. 
Note:
The above photographs were given to me by Angela Peetz (from Germany) who visited Arfak mountains in late December 2012. I arranged her birdwatching trip in the mountains.