Birdwatching in Indonesia

Indonesia is the host for a total of some 1600 species of birds including 350 endemics; at least 120 of which are considered globally threatened. This fact has carried Indonesia as one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet. For the birdwatcher it is a veritable paradise abounding with colourful and emblematic groups such as pittas, bird of paradise, cockatoos, parrots, trogons, fruit doves and hornbills. However it is the richness of endemic species here that makes Indonesia a must-do destination for the world birder and each area in this vast archipelago has its own unique array of special birds.  

Sumatra; Sumatra is a fantastic island for birds. At Way Kambas in the southern lowlands some 300 species have been recorded among which the extremely rare White-winged Wood Duck and Storm’s Stork. Way Kambas has many exciting and colourful species such as broadbills , trogons and pittas but is perhaps best known amongst birders for its nightbirds .The bizarre  Large , Gould’s and Sunda frogmouths can be found as well as Oriental Bay and Reddish Scops owls and the rare Bonaparte’s nightjar. However it is in the montane zone that Sumatra really comes into its own with some very special endemic birds. At Kerinci-Seblat National Park the fabulous Schneider’s and Graceful Pittas are among the star birds along with Salvadori’s and Bronze-tailed Peacock Pheasants all supported by a cast of fabulous forest dwellers.

Java; Java is a heavily populated island but contains some wonderful pockets of forest in the mountains of the west and savannah grassland in the east . Perhaps the most famous area for birding is Mt. Gede- Pangrango near Bogor . Here one can spend a week searching on the slopes of this fabulous cone shaped volcano and the adjacent Cibodas Botanical gardens for endemics like Javan Hawk-eagle , Javan Cochoa , Javan Trogon , Javan Kingfisher , Pygmy Tit , Javan Hanging parrot , Crescent –chested Babbler , Spotted Crocias and Chestnut-bellied Partridge . At Baluran National Park in the far east of the island Green Peafowl and Green Junglefowl are the star attractions.

Bali and the Lesser Sundas; The most famous Indonesian island Bali holds one of the rarest and most beautiful of birds the Bali Starling . To the east lies a string of islands stretching towards the Australasian zone each with their own set of endemics and which can be covered in a 3 week trip. Flores with its endemic Crow , Monarch and recently rediscovered Scops Owl ; Sumba , incredibly holding its own Hornbill as well as the beautiful White-rumped Kingfisher and Red-naped fruit Dove ; West Timor , a much drier landscape and notably more australasian avifauna with its honeyeaters and figbirds .

Sulawesi/Halmahera; This increasingly popular tour combines two islands which between them boast over 120 endemics and in a 3 week trip one can expect to see over 80% of them . On Sulawesi it is hard to know where to start in singling out species to mention whether it be the rare and unique Maleo or the equally bizarre and elusive Geomalia. The range of brightly coloured kingfishers includes Green-backed, Sulawesi Dwarf, the exquisite Lilac-cheeked and the rare highland Scaly . Fiery-browed and Sulawesi-crested Mynas are among a group of endemic starlings and Red-eared and Maroon-chinned Fruit Doves are 2 brightly coloured endemic pigeons …. and there are 5 more here !  The otherworldly Satanic Nightjar can be found in Lore Lindu National Park and for nightbird enthusiasts there are 7 endemic owls to look for. On Halmahera there are more unbelievable avian riches  such as Ivory-breasted Pitta , Purple Dollarbird , White Cockatoo , Chattering Lory and the Invisible Rail , which contrary to its name has recently been seen on a couple of occasions . 

South Maluku; This poorly known area has recently become accessible again for tourism and those who venture here will find birds which very few birders have seen before . The islands of Seram , Buru , Ambon and Kai hold many rare and little known endemic species . Seram Cockatoo , Moluccan Red Lory , Lazuli Kingfisher , Long-crested Myna and Lesser Masked Owl are among the most colourful , bizarre and rare species that may be seen . Endemics which hold the island names sound exotic and very special ; Kai Coucal , Ambon Yellow White-eye , Seram Friarbird , Buru Racket-tail amongst them ..and , for the most adventurous , there are some species which have not been seen by anyone for a very long time , Black-lored Parrot and Blue-fronted Lorikeet .

There are many more islands to visit with their own set of endemic species including Tanimbar , Sangihe , Talaud , Togian and for the really hard core birder there remain some hard to find but ultimate prizes such as Sumatran Ground Cuckoo .

Papua; The largest island amongst Indonesia’s islands and second in the world after Greenland. Its terrain is combination of mangrove and peat-swamp forest on coastline, lowland forest up to the snow peak on Jayawijaya Mountain or sometime called as Snow Mountain which is considered as the highest peak between the Andes and Himalaya. This island is like a huge vast of ecological diversity and still covered by large size of undisturbed forest. Not many birdwatchers have visited Papua as it takes very serious preparation, complexity of permit arrangement, difficult terrain, limitation of facilities and high cost. Besides adventurous birdwatching journey Papua also provides a number of endemic bird species to see such beautiful Biak Paradise Kingfisher, Biak Red Lory, Biak Scops Owl, Biak Black Flycatcher, Numfor Paradise Kingsifer. Heading to the highland on the foot of Peak Trikora (3,200 m) the area is host for  Macgregor’s Bird of Paradise which has become the hot topic on a discussion whether this bird is an aberrant of honeyeater. Other montane specialties to enjoy here are Orange-cheeked Honeyeater, Snow Mountain Quail, Lorenz’s Whistler, Alpine Pipit, Western Alpine Mannikin, Splendid Astrapia, and the chance to see Archbold’s Bowerbird.

Going down to the nearby area of Cyclops Mountain is the place to see Pale-billed Sicklebill, Twelve-wired, King, Lesser Bird of Paradise, and Blue-black Kingfisher, Salvadori’s Fig-Parrot and Rufous-collared  Monarch.  Continue to Manokwari on the village of Wokwam starting point for exploration of Arfak Mountain, a number of must see species amongst other; Western Parotia, Arfak Astrapia and Long-tailed Paradigalla (rediscovered in 1989), Buff-tailed and Black Sicklebills, Magnificent Bird of Paradise, Flame and Vogelkop Bowerbirds. Vogelkop (Bird’s Head) Peninsula is the good place to end the exploration on Papua. Start from Sorong, by speed boat across to the Raja Ampat, one of world’s best diving paradise, the area offers the chance to see the endemic Wilson’s and Red Birds of Paradise as well as Western Crowned Pigeon.

Our tours on birdwathcing are custom tours. Together with the birdwatchers and bird photographers we set up the program that will give flexibilty but at the same time opportunity to see and photograph the birds in each site we visit. We also prefer small group not more than 6 persons. This way will help to maximise our service and at the same time giving bigger opportunity for the clients to fulfill their targets.

We have been working with a number of remarkable companies and individuals in the world of birdwatching including; Bird Tour Asia (www.birdtourasia.com), Ventbird (www.ventbird.com), Alpine Tour Service Japan (http://alpine-tour.com), Wings (www.wingsbirds.com), David Bishop (http://www.davidbishop.com.au), Susan Myers (http://susanmyersphotography.com/), and King Bird Tours