​​​​​​​​​​​​Cendrawasih Bird Watching: Fun & Educational Ecotourism at Raja Ampat

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EditDescription:Saporkren Village, Raja Ampat District
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Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,500 islands, holds a great potential for ecotourism development. Its long coastlines, pristine white sandy beaches, crystal clear seas, blue skies, and radiant sun form an exquisite scenery. Coupled with amazingly rich biodiversity and diverse arts and culture, we can say Indonesia is "a piece of heaven on earth".

One of the world-renowned ecotourism sites in Indonesia is Raja Ampat. Popular among both foreign and domestic tourists, the region is widely known for its natural beauty: white sandy beaches, the water so clear you can see fish, corals, and biota underneath.

Not to mention groups of small islands with karst hills cloaked in unique vegetations at the center of the blue ocean, painting another magnificent view. It is little wonder that countless tourists enjoy the various activities offered by the region: diving, snorkeling, canoeing, and taking pictures with breathtaking views such as in Wayag and Pianemo.​

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EditDescription:Partcipant of study group was searching for Bird-of-Paradise
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​The forests of the beautiful karst hills provide tourists with a different experience through a Cenderawasih bird watching activity around the West Waigeo Nature Reserve. One of the spots to do this activity is located in Saporkren village, where you will be guided by Orgenes Dimara, a skilled tour guide who studies bird's behavior.

Equipped with water bottles, small flashlights to light up the way at dawn, and wooden staffs to help us climb, we, the CI-SLP comparative study group, had a chance to see for ourselves the uniqueness of the famous Cenderawasih birds. We began at 5.30 a.m. Eastern Indonesian Time, setting out from the back alley of Mandors Guest House. Our group was accompanied by several other people and guides who carried binoculars to help with our observation.

According to Orgenes, Waigeo Island ha​​d approximately 171 species of birds. During our walk, we were serenaded by the melodious chirps of those birds. Orgenes, who seemed very familiar with the area, explained that the birds built their nests on the trees, including those the locals used for medicines.​


We set out to watch Cenderawasih, but along the way we saw various other bird species, such as hornbills, black cockatoos, yellow-crested cockatoos, green parrots, kingfishers, and many more.

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After 45 minutes of walking and listening to our guide, we arrived at long wooden benches where we would wait for the birds. Our group was then divided into two smaller groups. My group waited for almost 20 minutes, but none of the Cenderawasih came into sight.

The other group, on the other hand, managed to see male birds dancing and showing off their beautiful feathers. Curiosity drove us to move to the other side. However, as more people came, the birds stopped dancing and flew away one by one. Nevertheless, our waiting was not in vain because we got to record a video of a female bird singing. Unfortunately, we could not record the male birds as they moved around so fast. Hopefully, we will get another chance to observe and record them in another occasion.

Cenderawasih is an endangered endemic bird to Papua. Therefore, we all should pay more attention and protect them for the sake of our next generations.

Long live Cenderawasih, and may you enjoy a peaceful life! (Budi Iraningrum/May, 3 2016)​


Read Also: Lessons Learned: Beautiful and Pure Nature and Culture, as well as Community Participation are Keys to Successful Ecotourism in Raja Ampat

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