The intricate social system of its clans has been affected little by change. It is one of the few places where traditional ways of life are still seen: people observe rituals, wear traditional dress and build huts from bush materials
Due to its isolation, the province is home to New Guinea’s most fascinating tribal culture. Tradition has always held sway, particularly in the Tari Basin, where the Huli and Duna Wigmen are famed for their elaborate wigs and body art. They have great reverence for birds, imitating them in ceremonial dances and decorating their wigs with feathers, flowers and the fur of the marsupial cuscus. They cultivate everlasting daisies for their wigs, and paint their faces yellow and ochre. In contrast, women wear sombre black at their wedding, and coat themselves with blue-grey clay when mourning.
Tari Valley is known for providing easy access to a range of elevations, but you can see several remarkable birds in the grounds of the lodge, such as superb bird-of-paradise, Lawe’s parotia, great woodswallow and occasional short-tailed paradigallas. At lower elevations the forest is still relatively intact, and offers good opportunities to see birds-of-paradise – it is not unheard of to record eight species in a single day! This is a good location to spot the iridescent blue bird-of-paradise, and the weird black sicklebill with its bizarre display.
Other species found in the cool montane forest include lesser melampitta, Stephanie’s astrapia, yellow-browed melidectes and Forbes’s forest-rail, notorious for its skulking behaviour. Ambua will delight parrot aficionados – you may see Papuan king-parrot, lorikeets and tiger-parrots. Many rarer birds are found here too, but you will need luck to find Papuan treecreeper, New Guinea harpy eagle, northern logrunner, and the timid Sanford’s bowerbird.
Ideal for viewing: great woodswallow, short-tailed paradigalia, blue bird of paradise, black sicklebill, Papuan king parrot
Where: Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea
is featured in the following itinerary:
An ideal location for birders, Papua New Guinea’s forests are home to a remarkable 700 species that includes 38 of the world’s 43 birds of paradise. Based in excellent remote wilderness lodges, knowledgeable local guides will introduce you to the country's extraordinary wealth of culture and wildlife.