North Papuan mountains

Country/Territory Indonesia,Papua New Guinea
Area 4,700 km2
Altitude 1000 - 2200m
Priority high
Habitat loss possible
Knowledge poor

General characteristics

The mountain ranges included in this EBA are the Foya (or Gauttier) and Cyclops of the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya, and the North Coastal Range (including the Bewani, Torricelli and Prince Alexander mountains) of Papua New Guinea. The lower limits of the EBA have been defined by the 1,000 m contour although some restricted-range birds have been recorded below this, and there may be some overlap with the distributions of the restricted-range species which occur in the North Papuan lowlands (EBA 176). The natural vegetation is montane rain forest.

This EBA is ornithologically poorly known and little visited. The Foya mountains, for example, are uninhabited and there was no record of anyone ever having entered there for any purpose before 1979 (Diamond 1985).

Restricted-range species

All of the EBA's restricted-range species occur in hill and montane forest, but only Ptiloprora mayri is common to all three of the disjunct mountain ranges. Amblyornis flavifrons has the most limited distribution, being confined to one mountain range (Foya). Three restricted-range species occur more widely in other Papuan montane EBAs.

Species IUCN Category
Mayr's Forest-rail (Rallicula mayri) LC
Golden-fronted Bowerbird (Amblyornis flavifrons) LC
Mayr's Honeyeater (Ptiloprora mayri) LC
Greater Melampitta (Megalampitta gigantea) LC
Green-backed Robin (Pachycephalopsis hattamensis) LC
Smoky Robin (Peneothello cryptoleuca) LC

Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
IBA Code Site Name Country

Threat and conservation

Being inaccessible, the EBA is relatively secure. However, Rallina mayri was not found on a survey of the Cyclops mountains in 1992 (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994) and so is classified as Data Deficient. Amblyornis flavifrons is considered Near Threatened on account of its small range in the Foya mountains and because of this is vulnerable to any possible future change. Black Sicklebill Epimachus fastuosus is a widespread threatened species (classified as Vulnerable) which is known from a few localities in the Torricelli and Bewani mountains in this EBA.

Although the steepness of the terrain in this EBA makes the forests unsuitable for logging, the use of helicopters for timber extraction is becoming more widespread in Papua New Guinea and this practice could conceivably be employed in the future if more readily available supplies are exhausted (WWF/IUCN 1994-1995).

Considerable areas of hill and montane forest are included in the Foya Nature Reserve (10,000 km2), the second largest terrestrial conservation area in Indonesia, and in the Pegunungan Cyclops Nature Reserve (225 km2) (Sujatnika et al. 1995; see also Diamond 1986, WWF/IUCN 1994-1995). Nevertheless, the lowland forests near the Cyclops mountains are at risk, being so close to Irian Jaya's main town of Jayapura and a large transmigration settlement. It is not known what effects the loss of these lowland forests may have on upper-elevation species that may seasonally depend on food supplies lower down (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1996).

The North Coastal Range has been identified as an important area for terrestrial biodiversity in Papua New Guinea, with the Bewani mountains in particular being in need of further survey and research (Beehler 1993).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: North Papuan mountains. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/11/2020.