Andy Walker continues his report from Peleng Island
Our next morning was again spent birding in the mountains, motorbikes helping make easy work of what otherwise would have been a bit of a trek! We enjoyed repeat views of many of the same species as seen on the previous day, which was great given the rarity of many of these birds. We searched for Red-and-black Thrush but just couldn’t get close enough to see it. A stroll around a clearing yielded one of our big targets, the locally endemic Slaty Cuckooshrike (we took pictures of male and female birds and posted them on eBird, check them out here, where they were the first ones added to the database), which was later followed by Common Cicadabird (the local Banggai subspecies sometimes referred to as Foxy or Banggai Cicadabird) and Moluccan Drongo-Cuckoo.
However, one of the main highlights of the morning was the inexplicably colorful Sula Pitta. What a bird! After the shakeup of the former Red-bellied Pitta complex this bird was promoted to full species status recently. It is very different from the others with a glaring white eye as well as several plumage differences! Take a look at this stunner!
We sat and waited for the Sula Pitta to come out into view, and it was certainly worth it!
After the excitement of the Sula Pitta sighting we moved to a different forested area, where we found a fruiting that provided Black-naped Fruit Dove, Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon, Moluccan Starling, Sula Hanging Parrot, Hair-crested (Banggai White-eyed) Drongo, and Barred Rail. After a brief boat ride a nearby small island produced Island Monarchs and Drab Whistlers, along with Great-billed Kingfisher and Spotted Kestrel. Always great to see! We also enjoyed a picnic lunch and fresh coconuts straight off the tree on a beautiful palm-fringed beach.
On our final morning on the island while waiting for the ferry to take us back to Luwuk we enjoyed watching the local form of Ruddy Kingfisher, another interesting bird well worth looking for on the island.
A pair of Ruddy Kingfishers were very vocal around our accommodation for the duration of our stay on Peleng Island, but often shy and elusive.
Click here for Part 3…
If you’re interested in seeing some of these rare and endangered birds please contact us at [email protected] as we’d be pleased to help put together a custom tour for you, or consider looking at our July Sulawesi and Halmahera Tour (details here).