Phil and I arrived in Obo last week. Obo is situated in the middle fly region of Papua New Guinea, or roughly halfway between the mountains and the ocean in Western Province. We’re a days paddle from the Indonesian border and a ten hour boat ride from the nearest town.
Obo is a small village with locals who make a living selling either fish (barramundi and black bass) and crocodile skins (both fresh and saltwater). Compared to our other site on Milne Bay, they are also much more dependent on bush meat and most families regularly hunt wallabies, pigs, cassowary, or the introduced deer population.
Of note for our work, we enjoy the healthy Savannah here that is full of the lorentzi subspecies of White-shouldered Fairywren! In this population, females are brown and strongly contrast the male’s ornamentation.
I am interested in why this population is so different than the birds in Milne Bay (see previous post!). This year, we are collecting samples and experimental data that will help us better understand this striking pattern of female ornamentation.