The Wilson’s Bird-of-Paradise hide on Waigeo Island, Raja Ampat is reached after a 30 minute to one hour hike uphill in the morning (0.29752°S, 130.94156°E). It is a pretty hard walk uphill and consequently we arrived sweaty to the hide before dawn. As it was best not to be more than three people in a hide we divided into two groups. Mosquitoes are prevalent in the hide and repellent is recommended to minimize the annoyance and as a health precaution (malaria and dengue both occur here). No flash photography is allowed so video is the best option in the dark area. It is best to bring a tripod to keep the filming steady. It is important to be quiet as much as possible as the bird is rather shy (as are almost all of the birds here – 60,000 years of hunting seems to have trained them to respect humans).
The Magnificent BOP hide is found at 1300 meters in Arfak Moutains. The hike is a hard steep downhill trek on a slippery slope that takes about 1 hour. The trail continues in a circle back to the road near the village. Although farther, this route was easier. It seems that switchbacks have never been a consideration for West Papauans – all of the trails go straight up or down the hills.
It was great to watch the bird coming into view and see it displaying. It was less active than the Wilson’s, but still a good performer. The Magnificent male had moved a few weeks before from an old site so it was necessary to construct a new hide. It was completed during our visit and this work undoubtedly had some impact on the bird. Although it seemed to accept our presence quite quickly, it kept to the back of the court. However a juvenile Wattled Brush-Turkey came into view and walked right along the edge of the hide, see video below. A pair of Rusty Mouse-Warblers appeared together with Green-backed Robins.
The hide of the Western Parotia is found after a half hour steep hike at (1.10160°S, 133.90739°E). Here we experienced young males performing before the adult chased them away, on several occasions catbirds, bowerbirds, Bronze Ground-dove and Green-backed Robins passed by. It took us two visits, but the adult male parotia performed to its full when a female came in to the court on two occasions