D'Entrecasteaux and Trobriand Islands

Country/Territory Papua New Guinea
Area 3,400 km2
Altitude 0 - 2200m
Priority high
Habitat loss unquantified
Knowledge poor

General characteristics

There are five principal islands in this EBA: Goodenough (the highest of all of New Guinea's fringing islands, reaching 2,750 m), Fergusson and Normanby (in the D'Entrecasteaux Islands), and Kaileuna and Kiriwina (in the Trobriand Islands). Deep-water channels between these islands and the mainland of Papua New Guinea indicate separation in the late Pleistocene, and differences in their avifaunas reinforce this conclusion.

On Goodenough, the west and south of the island is covered in forest, with secondary growth near villages, and mossy forest at higher altitudes; the plains in the north and east are drier, and burning by local people has resulted in savanna with relict rain forest trees near streams (Bell 1970).

Restricted-range species

There are few data on the two species endemic to this EBA, but it is known that Manucodia comrii is found on all five islands at all altitudes and will apparently adapt to secondary habitats, while Paradisaea decora seems to be confined to primary hill forest on Fergusson and Normanby only.

Species IUCN Category
Curl-crested Manucode (Manucodia comrii) LC
Goldie's Bird-of-paradise (Paradisaea decora) VU

Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
IBA Code Site Name Country

Threat and conservation

There is little information on the threats to the EBA's birds, although there has recently been a proposal for large-scale agricultural development on Normanby involving logging and clearance, and replanting with cash crops such as maize and rice (Loney 1996). The scheme has yet to be evaluated but would be a grave threat to the island's lowland and hill forests and their birds (P. Gregory in litt. 1996), and to Paradisaea decora in particular. Though it is fairly common, this species is considered threatened because of its narrow altitudinal range. The species is not known to visit native gardens, even those abandoned and overgrown, so that the preservation of undisturbed forest is likely to be essential to its survival (LeCroy et al. 1984).

In 1988 the forest on Fergusson was reputed to be one of the most pristine mosaics of primary rain forest on a relatively large, mountainous island, anywhere on earth. The subsistence economy of local people appeared to be viable, and there was a locally initiated wildlife management area at Lake Lavu (26 km2) in a remote part of the centre of the island. However, it was recognized that a high proportion of the bird species on the island had characteristics which made them particularly vulnerable to logging, road-building and expansion of gardens, particularly below 1,500 m elevation (Ingram 1992). Even in this favourable context, it has still been possible for foreign logging operations to establish without any comprehensive land-use plan that considers local needs, without any decisions on a network of protected areas with representative tracts of primary rain forest, and without mechanisms to channel economic benefit back to local communities (Ingram 1994).

The Goodenough highlands and Fergusson and Normanby islands have all been identified as areas of important terrestrial biodiversity in Papua New Guinea by Beehler (1993), and Mt Kilkerran, a large forested massif on Fergusson, which has never been surveyed zoologically, is considered to be an important area for future study.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: D'Entrecasteaux and Trobriand Islands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 07/02/2023.