Heavy rains during the last night made the path through the steep slopes of the rainforest almost impassable. Again and again I sink up to my knees in the mud while I try to follow my guide, who is carrying my luggage and using his machete to help us through the thicket of lianas and branches. Suddenly we hear a short whistle: That must be the courtship call of a Magnificent Bird-of-Paradise (Cicinnurus magnificus). Although we can spot no bird, a courtship area can be clearly seen in front of us on the forest floor. My guide builds a provisional hiding place out of leaves and a few hours later we visit the place again. But since it starts to rain again, no bird can be seen. Over the next five days I keep trying my luck in the hide, but unfortunately it rains almost all the time. Only in the rain breaks does a male stop by and inspect the courtship area. After all, I am rarely lucky enough to see a Red-bellied Pitta (Pitta erythrogaster) which is now split taxonomically and called a Papuan Pitta (Erythropitta macklotii). This species is extremely shy and difficult to observe. The annual rainfall in this area of New Guinea is 6,000 millimeters, so rain (mostly at night) is quite the order of the day. I set my trip in the dry season, but unfortunately, according to the locals, I apparently had hit a particularly wet dry season. After that unsuccessful experience, I changed location to the Central Highlands around Mt. Hagen in the middle of the island. Here I was accomodated in the rustic lodge, the Kumul Lodge, and my success level developed much better. Here I shot the image of the blog, the female Crested Bird-of-paradise.
When the first scientists from Europe saw New Guinea’s birds-of-paradise at the beginning of the 19th century, they were completely perplexed: “I was too amazed to shoot the bird,” wrote the French Continue reading Magnificent Bird-of-paradise in the rainforest
Right from the boat in a loop of the Kwatu River (one of the tributaries of the mighty Fly River), we discover an open-topped bowl of the Willie Wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys) which is also written Willie-wagtail. I have to photograph the nest with the 3 nestlings. We see how an adult Willie Wagtail has brought a dragonfly to its brood. Early in the nestling period, the chicks are unable to eat such large prey, but they are now fairly well developed and almost ready to leave the nest.
The nests of Fantails of the family Rhipiduridae in general are smooth, bowl-shaped structures. Both sexes contribute to the nest- building process, which takes 8-15 days. The first stage involves twisting spider’s webs around the chosen branch or fork to create a platform. The second involves building up the outer walls with rootlets, bark strips and plant fibers. During the final stage the whole structure is plastered with spiders’ webs, which are gathered using the head or body and then wiped over the cup to bind the materials together. The nest of the Willie Wagtail is comparatively robust and therefore usually built on top of a broad branch or other level surface.
Because incubation begins with the last egg, hatching is synchronous in Fantails, and as a result it is usual for all members of a brood to fly within a period of a few hours. Observations of this Continue reading Willie Wagtail at a nest
Direkt vom Boot aus in einer Schleife des Kwatu-Rivers (einem der Nebenflüsse des Fly Rivers) entdecken wir ein oben offenes Napfnest des Gartenfächerschwanz (Rhipidura leucophrys). Das muß ich mit den 3 Nestlingen unbedingt fotografieren. Die Jungen sind schon groß und werden sicher bald ausfliegen. Wir sehen, wie ein erwachsener Gartenfächerschwanz eine Libelle zum Nest bringt und an seine Jungen verfüttert. Zu Beginn der Nestlingszeit können die Küken keine so großen Beute fressen, aber sie jetzt schon ziemlich gut entwickelt.
Die Nester der Familie der Fächerschwänze (Rhipiduridae) weisen im Allgemeinen glatte, schalenförmige Strukturen auf. Beide Geschlechter helfen sich beim Nestbau. Um das Nest zu vervollständigen könnten gut und gerne 15 Tage vergehen. In einem ersten Schritt werden Spinnennetze um den ausgewählten Zweig oder die Gabel gedreht, um eine Plattform zu bilden. Die zweite besteht darin, die Außenwände mit Wurzeln, Rindenstreifen und Pflanzenfasern aufzubauen. In der letzten Phase wird die gesamte Struktur mit Spinnweben verputzt, die mit ganzem Körpereinsatz über das Napfnest gezogen werden, um die Materialien des Nests zu verbinden. Das Nest de s Gartenfächerschwanz ist daher Continue reading Gartenfächerschwanz auf dem Nest in Papua-Neuguinea
In the Central Highlands of PNG I found this nice Black Sittella (Daphoenositta miranda) . This species belongs in the Neosittidae family. It is found in several mountainous areas in New Guinea. There is not much known about this close relative of the more common Varied Sittella. Even Wikipedia does not show much more. For more details of Black Sittella (Daphoenositta miranda) – HBW 12, p. 641 or look at their website The subspecies kuboriensis occurs in the Central Highlands (Kubor Range and Mt Giluwe), in EC New Guinea. This nice male individuum Continue reading Black Sittella in Papua New Guinea