Port Moresby Nature Park, Papua New Guinea 4


The Port Moresby Nature Park (formerly the National Botanic Gardens), set on the outskirts of Papua New Guinea’s capital, is a great spot for those who, like me, are keen to espy some of PNG’s rare and elusive native fauna.

Sepik totems, Port Moresby Nature Park, PNG

Sepik totems, Port Moresby Nature Park. Photo credit: Benjamin White

The grounds feature a mix of native flora in its natural setting, alongside exotics contained in manicured parkland. Scattered about the Nature Park are cultural items representing the various districts of Papua New Guinea.

Raggiana Bird of Paradise

Raggiana bird of paradise, Port Moresby Nature Park, PNG

Raggiana bird of paradise, Port Moresby Nature Park. Photo credit: Benjamin White

Start with the national emblem: the Raggiana bird of paradise. If you’re lucky you’ll see the male clapping its wings and displaying for a female. The Raggiana bird of paradise is featured on the national flag, and its local name, the Kumul, is shared by the national rugby league team.

Victoria Crowned Pigeon

Victoria Crowned Pigeon, Port Moresby Nature Park, PNG

Victoria Crowned Pigeon, Port Moresby Nature Park. Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

The Victoria Crowned Pigeon, named in honour of the British monarch, is endemic to Papua New Guinea. They are a gregarious species, often seen together in pairs or small groups, searching the forest floor for fallen fruit.

Southern Cassowary

Southern Cassowary, Port Moresby Nature Park, PNG

Southern Cassowary, Port Moresby Nature Park. Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

The Southern Cassowary is the largest of the cassowary, and can be found in Queensland, Australia, as well as across Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. It is the third heaviest bird in the world (after the Common Ostrich and Somali Ostrich).

Northern Cassowary

Northern Cassuary, Port Moresby Nature Park, PNG

Northern Cassowary, Port Moresby Nature Park. Photo credit: Benjamin White

The Northern Cassowary is a touch smaller than its southern cousin, but still grows to a height of 1.8m. It is found in the northern regions of PNG and Indonesia.

Papuan Hornbill

Papuan Hornbill, Port Moresby Nature Park, PNG

Papuan Hornbill, Port Moresby Nature Park. Photo credit: Amrita Ronnachit

The Papuan Hornbill, also known as Blyth’s Hornbill, has long, pretty eyelashes (which are actually modified feathers). It’s found in PNG, Indonesia, and the Solomon Islands.

Blue-winged Kookaburra

Blue-winged Kookaburra, Port Moresby Nature Park, PNG

Blue-winged Kookaburra, Port Moresby Nature Park. Photo credit: Benjamin White

The Blue-winged Kookaburra is another animal shared between Australia and Papua New Guinea. It’s smaller than the more famous Laughing Kookaburra of Australia, but has a bigger, heavier bill.

Gray Dorcopsis

Gray Dorcopsis, Port Moresby Nature Park, PNG

Gray Dorcopsis, Port Moresby Nature Park. Photo credit: Benjamin White

It looks like a kangaroo or wallaby – and it is related to both – but it is actually a dorcopsis, a marsupial endemic to PNG and Indonesia.

Huon Tree Kangaroo

Huon Tree Kangaroo, Port Moresby Nature Park, PNG

Huon Tree Kangaroo, Port Moresby Nature Park. Photo credit: Benjamin White

Another marsupial, the Huon Tree Kangaroo, named so because it is found on the Huon Peninsula of PNG, sleeps for around 14 to 15 hours a day. They move slowly and sedately like a sloth, but are expert jumpers, able to make leaps of up to nine metres between branches.

Doria’s Tree Kangaroo

Doria's Tree Kangaroo, Port Moresby Nature Park, PNG

Doria’s Tree Kangaroo, Port Moresby Nature Park. Photo credit: Benjamin White

Doria’s Tree Kangaroo is commonly described as being bear-like in appearance, due to its stocky build. It is one of the largest tree kangaroos, and endemic to southeastern mainland PNG.

Black Flying Fox

Black Flying Fox, Port Moresby Nature Park, PNG

Black Flying Fox, Port Moresby Nature Park. Photo credit: Benjamin White

Last but not least, and present throughout the Nature Park in vast numbers: Black Flying Foxes. These bats are eaten by various communities in PNG, which is a little worrying as they are known to be a host of Lyssavirus, Hendra Virus, and Menangle Virus.

A nice thought to leave you with 🙂


More on Papua New Guinea:

Rabaul – tropical capital buried by volcanic ash

Little Pigeon Island, East New Britain

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4 thoughts on “Port Moresby Nature Park, Papua New Guinea

  • Joy

    When I visited the Nationa Botanic Garden years ago the animals were confined in tiny enclosures. The tree kangaroos especially looked at me with pleading eyes. I hope this situation has has improved with recent investments in the ‘nature reserve’.

    • Benjamin White Post author

      I think the enclosures have improved dramatically since you were there. The tree kangaroos in particular are now kept in large walk-through aviaries. Only the saltwater crocodile and hornbill were in noticeably-too-small cages. And the cassowary have enormous enclosures but still looked sad – I think this is because they are species that walk long distances every day and don’t take well to zoos.

      Thanks for reading!!!!