What is Bird Of Paradise?
The term "Bird of Paradise”, is a group of birds belonging to the family Paradisaeidae, which are native to the tropical rainforests of New Guinea, including the Raja Ampat Islands. These birds are known for their extraordinary plumage, elaborate courtship displays, and unique behaviors.
While Raja Ampat is primarily known for its stunning coral reefs and marine life, it is also home to species of Birds of Paradise. There are two endemic species of Bird of Paradise in Raja Ampat island; the famous Red Bird-of-Paradise, and Wilson’s Bird of Paradise. In total Papua has 45 different species of Bird of Paradise which makes the region a perfect location for birders. Most birders go to Raja Ampat to see the Red Bird of Paradise, as they are very rare and this is one of the only places in the world where you can see these amazing birds. The Red Bird-of-Paradise is endemic to Batanta, Waigeo, and Gam Island.
Most Birds of Paradise predominantly consume insects and fruits, with a particular emphasis on fruits. Their exceptional agility sets them apart from other avian species, granting them access to otherwise hard-to-reach fruits and enabling them to diversify their diet. Moreover, their digestive system is less destructive to seeds compared to other animals, rendering them vital seed dispersers. As a result, they play a crucial role in the ecosystem of Raja Ampat's forests, where they have become primary facilitators of fruit seed dispersion.
Soul scuba divers organize a trip to Gam Island to see the Bird of Paradise as an Adventure trip.
How to organize a trip to see them?
Observing Birds of Paradise in their natural habitat can be a thrilling and rewarding experience. However, it's important to note that these birds are protected species, and it is crucial to respect their environment and not disturb their behavior or habitat.
Soul scuba divers offer an opportunity for birdwatching tour that can provide visitors with a chance to witness the incredible displays of Birds of Paradise while supporting conservation efforts in the region.
Bird of Paradise Adventure trip with Soul scuba divers
To experience the awe-inspiring sight of the Red Bird-of-Paradise, our journey takes us to Gam, near the enchanting Dore Atri Lagoon. To catch a glimpse of these remarkable birds, an early start is imperative, as we must position ourselves at the perfect spot before sunrise.
Get there before sunrise we meet at our dive center at around 4:30 am. Our Adventure starts bright and early with our speed boat heading towards to the Gam island. We meet up with knowledgeable local birdwatching guides at Dore Atri. We park our boat to swap into smaller local “longboats, gracefully navigating through the picturesque Dore Atri Lagoon. Upon reaching a small dock, a delightful half-hour hike awaits, leading us to a serene clearing atop a hill. It is at this vantage point that the captivating Red Birds-of-Paradise reveal themselves. Adorned with mesmerizing long feathers, the male birds put on a flamboyant display of dance and melodious calls to court their comparatively more modest female counterparts. The experience of witnessing these magnificent creatures against the backdrop of nature's splendor is truly unforgettable. As the sun rises, the return journey through the tranquil Dore Atri Lagoon bathes the surroundings in the soft, golden light of early morning, presenting a spectacle of its own.
After the enthralling birdwatching excursion, our adventure continues with incredible diving experiences at Batu Lima and Friwen Wall before returning to Kri around lunchtime.
Batu Lima, "five rocks" in Indonesian, offers an intriguing coral garden with five distinct rock formations. Exploring this vibrant reef bustling with diverse marine life, we navigate through the intriguing rock formations, marveling at the underwater wonders. Batu Lima is an excellent dive spot for macro lovers, it also offers beautiful scenery and is very different from other dive sites in Raja Ampat.
Friwen Wall offers a more leisurely dive along the charming island of Friwen. As a region renowned for scarce wall formations, Friwen presents a refreshing change in our diving itinerary. The captivating sea fans of various shapes, sizes, and hues adorning the wall will undoubtedly leave you spellbound.
If Soul scuba divers aren’t doing the trip during your stay, you can also organize this trip with your homestay. As an adventure trip, we need a min of 6 people to join this trip. Sometimes the early start puts people off, but hey "the early bird catches the worm” and this is a case to witness these beautiful endemic birds in Raja Ampat.
2 Species of Bird of Paradise on Gam Island
Red Bird of Paradise
The Red Bird of Paradise is a symbol of the natural beauty and biodiversity of the Raja Ampat region. Witnessing its remarkable courtship displays and observing its vibrant plumage is an unforgettable experience for bird enthusiasts and nature lovers visiting the area.
The male Red Bird of Paradise is a vibrant bird with deep crimson plumage and elongated tail feathers. During courtship displays, the male will perform elaborate dances, spreading its wings and tail, while calling and bobbing its head.
The male Red Bird of Paradise is approximately 32-34 cm long, while the female is smaller, measuring about 30 cm. The male bird has bright red plumage with a yellow crown and black feathers on its chest. It also possesses long, wiry tail feathers that extend beyond its body.
The female, on the other hand, has predominantly brown plumage with buff-colored underparts.
The male Red Bird of Paradise is a vibrant bird with deep crimson plumage and elongated tail feathers. During courtship displays, the male will perform elaborate dances, spreading its wings and tail, while calling, and bobbing its head, it performs various acrobatic movements, such as hanging upside down or swinging from the branches, to capture the attention of the female.
The Red Bird of Paradise is endemic to the tropical rainforests of the Raja Ampat Islands in Indonesia, specifically on the island of Gam.
These birds inhabit lowland forests, often near riverbanks, where they find abundant fruits and insects for food. They prefer dense foliage and tall trees for roosting and nesting.
Wilson’s Bird of Paradise
Wilson's Bird of Paradise is endemic to the rainforests of the Raja Ampat Islands, specifically on the island of Gam. It primarily inhabits the dense lowland rainforest, usually found at elevations below 300 meters. The species is highly adapted to the forest understory and spends most of its time in dense vegetation.
This bird is renowned for its stunning appearance. The male has bright blue plumage on its head, while the rest of its body is adorned with a mix of green, yellow, and red feathers. During courtship, the male displays its colorful plumage in an intricate dance routine.
In contrast, the female Wilson's Bird of Paradise has more subdued plumage, with mainly brown feathers.
Observing the courtship displays in Wilson's Bird of Paradise is a remarkable experience. The combination of its striking plumage and intricate movements makes it one of the most sought-after and iconic species for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts visiting the Raja Ampat Islands
The Red- and Wilson Bird of Paradise, like many bird species, faces threats from habitat loss due to deforestation and human activities in its range. Conservation efforts, including protected areas and sustainable eco-tourism practices, are crucial for the long-term survival of this species.
Throughout the year, guided tours offer the opportunity to witness these enchanting birds, with the ideal months for observation being from June to November.
How to prepare for the hike
The tour starts in the early morning, the walk is easy to medium, depending on how many jungle walks you have done before.
What should I take with me?
The walk is best with walking/hiking shoes, bring some mosquito spray, a hat, and sunglasses, be sure to wear dark clothing and bring a rain jacket just in case. Gam Island it's tropical rainforest and little showers acquire time to time. We have one pair of binoculars, but if you have a pair please bring one also. Consider a camera with a telephoto lens if you wish to capture photos of the birds, Wilson's Bird of Paradise is very fast in its movements. Bring your own water bottle and remember to fill it up at the dive center or your homestay before we leave. We have water and snacks at the dive boat. Please remember to drink lots of water to stay hydrated, as jungle environments can be hot and humid Remember that you are a guest in the birds' natural habitat. Observe them from a distance, avoid disturbing nests or feeding areas, and keep noise to a minimum. Be patient, as birdwatching often requires quiet observation. Avoid picking plants or flowers, and refrain from leaving any trash behind. Follow the principles of "Leave No Trace" to preserve the beauty of the jungle for future generations.
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