Monday, October 30, 2017

Red Bird of Paradise

Red Bird of Paradise
I have organized birding tours in West Papua for several years now. Most of the visitors come to watch paradise birds. One of the most favorite destinations is Raja Ampat. There are two species that are known to science, i.e. Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra) and Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica). There are a lot of places that we could go to watch the Red BOP. One of them is in the forest of Waigeo island. This year, I run several birding and snorkeling tours to Raja Ampat. To watch the birds, we have to wake up at 04.00 in the morning. We need to make some preparations such as preparing our clothing, hiking shoes, binoculars, camera and food. After having some tea and biscuits, we need to walk up slopes for approximately 45 minutes to reach the birding ground. Local villagers have build a birding platform made of wood. The raised wooden structure is 4 meters tall and is suitable for photographers who want to take pictures of birds.
A Male Red Bird of Paradise was performing courtship dance
Birds are usually active from 06.00 to 09.00. Male Red Birds of Paradise call their female counterparts and compete one another to win the heart of the female birds for mating. They perform their best courtship dance to impress the female birds. Red Birds of Paradise look similar to Lesser Birds of Paradise but they have got red feather.
To watch Red Bird of Paradise, visitors need binoculars. I highly recommend the ones manufactured by Zeiss, Swarovski or Nikon. The size can be 10×42 mm or even the 12×50 mm. There are also binoculars that are made by Chinese companies and are offered in more affordable prices. I personally use a pair of Visionking 10×42 mm binoculars. They are not the best in the market but they are good enough for birding and wildlife watching. So, if you plan to enjoy birding, don't forget to bring good quality binoculars to enhance your birdwatching experience.
Also read: Watching Red Bird of Paradise in Raja Ampat