Indoor Meetings about Birds and Wildlife

Papua New Guinea
by Dr Peter Gasson

Date: Thursday 15 February 2018 at 19:30


Brown Sicklebill bird
Brown Sicklebill  bird-of-paradise


Anyone with an interest in natural history will find Papua New Guinea an exciting destination, although birding there can be frustrating with tantalising sounds and often only fleeting views in the forests.Papua New Guinea is a very wild country with a limited road system and you need to fly to the best places for birding.

After visiting Varirata National Park near the capital Port Moresby we flew to Kiunga over endless tropical forest and explored this lowland area. Driving north to Tabubil we were at a higher elevation at 615m. It rained a lot, and with low cloud and dangerous flying conditions our flight to Mount Hagen was delayed for 24 hours.

Taenaris butterfly Plumed Whistling Ducks
Taenaris myops kirschii Plumed Whistling Ducks


We spent only one afternoon at Kumul Lodge at 2,800m in high moss forest, an area that could have kept us occupied for days and provided some of the best photographic opportunities of the whole trip. We then flew west to the Tari Gap where Ambua Lodge has an idyllic setting overlooking a forested valley with nearby upland grassland.

In 16 days we enjoyed the spectacular scenery in this wonderful country and saw 263 bird species, including 18 birds of paradise, various parrots, pigeons, kingfishers, fairy-wrens, cuckoo-shrikes, honeyeaters and berrypeckers. We watched butterflies, photographed some beautiful orchids and other plants and visited the local Huli wigmen, a digression that even an obsessive birder should not miss! In this talk I’ll show you a good selection of what we saw.

Ribbon-tailed Astrapias birds in a Schefflera Blyth's Hornbills in a tree
Ribbon-tailed Astrapias Blyth's Hornbills



Peter Gasson is a plant scientist at Kew Gardens, specialising in wood structure, various tree related subjects and timber identification. He has a BSc(Hons) in Agricultural Botany from Reading University and a PhD in botany/timber technology from Imperial College. He is an avid wildlife photographer and travelled naturalist. He has visited many parts of the world in pursuit and animals and plants.

Early morning clouds and forest from Ambua Lodge
Early morning clouds and forest from Ambua Lodge

All pictures are © Copyright. Do not reproduce without permission from Peter Gasson.