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VIRIRATA NATIONAL PARK (with Port Moresby & the Adventist University) 

PAPUA NEW GUINEA (compass n,e,s or w)

region (E of Port Morsby), (compass for region n,e,s or w)

00o00´S/00o00´W 5,000ha, hilly 
Protected/registered status besides that in title 
Best time for visit (time visited)


Birding Site Guide



The park is located approximately one hour drive from Port Moresby on the coastal lowland southeast. It offers good hiking opportunities that are not very difficult. It is best to leave Port Moresby before dawn, plan on bringing a snack or lunch and water. Plan on not returning to the city before mid afternoon. There is a tour agency located in the Holiday Inn, Port Moresby that can provide car, driver and bird guide who is able to gain entrance to the park very early in the morning. One word of caution: not unknown are night-hour roadblocks along the highway set up by local hooligans in order to rob cars and passengers; the risk is said to be less during daylight hours when there is more traffic. One should weigh this risk against the marvellous birding opportunities offered by the Virirata Park.

Shovel-billed Kingfisher, Andy Marshall May 2007

Yellow-Breasted Fruit-Dove, Papua New Guinea, Andy Marshall May 2007











The Park has open savannah areas interspersed with hilly wet forest areas and cut by small streams in the lower areas, allowing for a wide variety of bird life. An occasional check for leeches is advised when walking along wet trails. There are several old roofed constructions where one might seek shelter from rain showers. 

Doria's Hawk, Andy Marshall 2007


The Adventist University campus is located about half way between Port Moresby and the Park. Unless it is Saturday, this is a good place to stop on the way back to Moresby. One is free to drive around and stop at the ponds. Many of the observations recorded for Port Moresby were on the grounds of the Holiday Inn. 

Pink-spotted Fruit-Dove, Andy Marshall 2007


Species recorded during approximately six months in Port Moresby, December 2002 through May 2003 and two one-day visits to the National Park in the months of November and December 2002. 

Taxonomy is that used in Birds of New Guinea, by Bruce M. Beehler, Thane K.Pratt, and Dale A. Zimmerman, 1986 (55 color plates, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-02394-8).

Species seen 

Sightings in Port Moresby only 

  • Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel
  • Rock Pigeon Columba livia
  • Brown Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia amboinensis
  • Peaceful Dove Geopelia striata
  • Pied Imperial Pigeon Ducula bicolor
  • Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica
  • Willy Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys (widespread)
  • Leaden Flycatcher Myiagra rubecula
  • Olive Flycatcher Microeca flavovirescens
  • Black Sunbird Nectarinia aspasia
  • Yellow-tinted Honeyeater Lichenostomus flavescens
  • Meyer’s Friarbird Philemon meyeri
  • Singing Starling Aplonis cantorides
  • Figbird Sphecotheres viridis (savannah outside town)
  • Torresian Crow Corvus orru
  • Sightings in the Adventist University campus only
  • Pied Heron Egretta picata
  • Intermediate Heron E. intrermedia
  • Little Egret E. garzetta
  • Spotted Marsh Harrier Circus spilonotus
  • Whistling Duck Dendrocygna arcuata
  • Wandering Garganey Anas querquedula
  • Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa
  • Purple Swamp Hen Porphyrio porphyrio
  • Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles
  • Sightings in the Virirata National Park only
  • Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris
  • Little Pied Cormorant P. melanoleucus
  • Crested Hawk Aviceda subcristata
  • Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus
  • ?White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaetus leucogaster
  • Grey Goshawk Accipiter novaehollandae
  • Gurney’s Eagle Aquila gurneyi
  • Black-billed Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia nigrirostris
  • Great Cuckoo-Dove Reinwardioena reinwardii
  • Stephan’s Ground-Dove Chalcophaps stephani
  • New Guinea Bronzewing Henicophaps albifrons
  • Bar-shouldered Dove Geopelia humeralis
  • Superb Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus superbus
  • Dwarf Fruit-Dove P. nanus
  • Purple-tailed Imperial Pigeon Ducula rufigaster
  • Papuan Mountain Pigeon Gymnophaps albertisii
  • Dusky Lory Pseudeos fuscata
  • Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus
  • Red-flanked Lorikeet Charmosyna placentas
  • Palm Cockatoo Probosciger aterrimus
  • Orange-breasted Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta gulielmilerli
  • Large Fig-Parrot Psittaculirostris desmarestii
  • Red-cheeked Parrot Geoffroyus geoffroyi
  • Papuan King-Parrot Alisterus chloropterus
  • Malay Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus
  • Dwarf Koel Microdynamis parva
  • Common Koel Eudynamys scolopacea
  • Long-tailed Koel E .taitensis
  • Papuan Frogmouth Podargyus papuensis
  • Uniform Swiftlet Collocalia vanikorensis
  • Glossy Swiftlet C. esculenta
  • White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus
  • Rufous-bellied Kookaburra Dacelo gaudichaud
  • Blue-winged Kookaburra D. leachii
  • Forest Kingfisher Halcyon macleayii
  • Yellow-billed Kingfisher H. torotoro
  • Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx lepidus
  • Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
  • Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike Coracina novaehollandiae
  • Varied Triller Lalage leucomela
  • Emperor Fairy-Wren Malurus cyanocephalus
  • White-shouldered Fairy-Wren M. alboscapulatus
  • Green-backed Gerygone Gerygone chloronotus
  • Rufous Monarch Monarcha rubiensis
  • Lemon-bellied Flycatcher Microeca flavigaster
  • Grey Whistler Pachycephala simplex
  • Variable Pitohui Pitohui kirhocephalus
  • Black Berrypecker Melanocharis nigra
  • Black-fronted White-eye Zosterops atrifrons
  • Tawny Straightbill Timeliopsis griseigula
  • Tawny-breasted Honeyeater Xanthotis flaviventer
  • Helmeted Friarbird Philemon novaguineae
  • Chestnut-breasted Mannikin Lonchura castaneothorax
  • Spangled Drongo Dircurus hottentottus
  • Hooded Butcherbird Cracticus cassicus
  • Trumpet Manucode Manucodia keraudrenii
  • Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise Paradisaea raggiana 

    Other Fauna 

    A total of -- species of mammals. 

    There are -- recorded species of amphibians and reptiles. 


    Author: Dennis Sheets. Andy Marshall (photos)