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Bird's Head Peninsula

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Title: Bird's Head Peninsula  
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Subject: Sorong (city), New Guinea, List of Indonesia-related topics, Fakfak, Manokwari
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Bird's Head Peninsula

Bird's Head Peninsula (Kepala Burung)
Doberai Peninsula
Bird's Head Peninsula seen from space (false color)
Country Indonesia
Provinces West Papua
Cities Manokwari, Sorong, Aimas, Bintuni, Teminabuan, Sausapor
Highest point Pegunungan Arfak
 - location Arfak Mountains
 - elevation 2,955 m (9,695 ft)
Lowest point
 - location Along coast
Area 55,604 km2 (21,469 sq mi)
Population 402,126 (2010)
Density 7 / km2 (18 / sq mi)
Timezone EIT (UTC+9)
ISO 3166-2 ID-IJ
License Plate DS

The Bird's Head (Indonesian: Kepala Burung, Dutch: Vogelkop) or Doberai Peninsula is a large peninsula that makes up the northwest portion of the island of New Guinea and the Province of West Papua, Indonesia. (See also Bird's Tail Peninsula.)

Location and geography

The Bird's Head Peninsula forms the northwestern end of the island of New Guinea. To the east is Cenderawasih Bay and to the south Bintuni Bay. To the west, across the Dampier Strait is Waigeo island of Raja Ampat, and Batanta island lies just off the northwest tip. The peninsula south is Bomberai Peninsula.

The peninsula is around 200 by 300 kilometers, and is bio-geographically diverse, containing coastal plains to the south. The Arfak Mountains are a 2900-meter-high mountain range that are found in the east. Slightly shorter than the Arfak Mountains, the Tamrau Mountains are found in the north. Bon Irau is the highest mountain in the Tamrau Mountains, at 2,501 meters (8,205 feet). The highest mountain on the Bird's Head Peninsula is Pegunungan Arfak. It is 2,955 meters (9,695 feet) high and is located 21 miles southwest of Manokwari. Both of the mountain ranges have a diverse mix of sandstone, limestone, and volcanic rock. A large basin called the Kebar Valley divides the two mountain ranges apart. [1]

Flora and fauna

The peninsula is covered by the Vogelkop Montane Rain Forests Ecoregion. It includes more than 22,000 km2 of montane forests at elevations of 1,000 m and higher. Over 50% of these forests are located within protected areas. There are over 300 bird species on the peninsula, of which at least 20 are unique to the ecoregion, and some live only in very restricted areas. These include the grey-banded munia, Vogelkop bowerbird, and the king bird-of-paradise.[2]

Road construction, illegal logging, commercial agricultural expansion and ranching potentially threaten the integrity of the ecoregion.[2] The south-western coast of the Bird's Head Peninsula forms part of the Teluk Cenderawasih National Park.[3]

The king bird-of-paradise is one of over 300 bird species on the peninsula.


Archaeological findings indicate that local settlement dates back at least 26,000 years BP.[1] Today, most people live in villages along the coast, with small concentrations inland. Villagers practise subsistence farming by shifting cultivation of copra, rice, corn and peanuts, as well as hunting.[2] There are more than 80 villages scattered around the peninsula. There are about 18 main settlements that are the principal town of one of the five regencies found on the peninsula. These cities include Bintuni, Teminabuan, Sorong, Aimas, and Manokwari. Although, the largest settlements are the city of Sorong on the west coast and Manokwari on the east coast. Manokwari is the largest city with as of 2010 a population of 135,000 and a metropolitan area of 155,000. The city of Sorong has a population of 125,000 and a metropolitan area of 170,000. This city also has the largest metropolitan area.

There are a large number of traditional languages spoken on the peninsula, classified as South Bird's Head languages, East Bird's Head languages, or West Papuan languages.


  1. ^ a b , in Irian Jaya Studies Programme for Interdisciplinary Research (IIAS) Newsletter nr.37, June 2005A bird’s eye view of the Bird’s Head PeninsulaFlip van Helden: , retrieved 11 May 2010
  2. ^ a b c WWF: Bird wonders of New Guinea’s western-most province, retrieved 11 May 2010
  3. ^ Ministry of Forestry: Teluk Cenderawasih NP, retrieved 11 May 2010

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