Indonesia Birding Tours

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The Republic of Indonesia (“Indonesia” hereafter) is a vast and sprawling country in Southeast Asia consisting of over 17,500 islands, with some of the larger islands including Sumatra, Java, Borneo (the state of Kalimantan), Sulawesi, and New Guinea (the states of Papua and West Papua). Java is the most populous island with over half of the country’s 267 million people residing there. It is unsurprising to learn that Jakarta, on Java, is the capital city of Indonesia, though this is scheduled to change to a new mega-city in Kalimantan, Borneo. Indonesia has the 4th highest population of any nation in the world.

Indonesia is bordered on land by Papua New Guinea in the east (on the island of New Guinea), East Timor in the southeast (adjacent to West Timor), and by East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo) in the north. Other neighboring countries include Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia, Palau (part of Micronesia), and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (India). Indonesia has had an interesting past with trade between China and the Indian Subcontinent ongoing since around the 7th century AD. The Dutch have been the major colonial power in the country, with Indonesia gaining independence in 1949.

Indonesia’s size (it is 3,181 miles/5,120 kilometers from east to west, and 1,094 miles/1,760 kilometers from north to south), its tropical climate (Indonesia straddles the equator), and its geography results in the country supporting one of the world’s highest levels of biodiversity. The country is split in two by the invisible “Wallace Line” with western parts of Indonesia having a fauna of Asian origin and eastern parts of Indonesia having a fauna of Australian origin. The area where these two biogeographical zones merge is known as Wallacea, where there is a limited amount of mixing of fauna from both regions.

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Following International Ornithological Congress (IOC) taxonomy, v10.2 (October 2020), the Indonesia bird list is considered to stand at a staggering 1,779 bird species, with an equally impressive total of 459 endemic species. As our knowledge of taxonomy and how to define a species alters, this total is likely to rise substantially, making Indonesia one of the must-visit destinations for bird watchers. It is however a major concern that there are 155 globally threatened species in Indonesia, many falling foul of the illegal pet trade, such as Bali Myna, Yellow-crested Cockatoo, and Javan Green Magpie, other globally threatened species include Flores Hawk-Eagle, Flores Scops Owl, Sumatran Ground Cuckoo, and Banggai Crow. This number is also unfortunately likely to increase. Bird conservation is increasingly crucial in Indonesia where bird-keeping has been an intrinsic part of life for centuries, though never quite on current levels as this tradition has developed into a large-scale business. According to BirdLife International (and local BirdLife Partner: Burung Indonesia) there are 38 Endemic Bird Areas (EBAs), and 225 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Indonesia, several of these fall within natural reserves, nature reserves, and national parks, however many are currently unprotected, such as important mangrove forests.

We currently have three fascinating tours (outlined below in chronological order) for those people interested in going birding in Indonesia, though watch this space as we will be adding several further amazing tours very soon. We are working with some excellent local guides to help maximize the many difficult birds seen on our tours:

 

Indonesia: The Lesser Sunda Islands – Comprehensive Tour

This thorough tour of the Lesser Sunda region starts and ends in Denpasar, Bali and covers the islands of Sumba, Rote, West Timor, Alor, Flores, and Komodo Islands. On this birding adventure we will seek out many endemic birds, such as Sumba Buttonquail, Sumba Hornbill, Little Sumba Hawk-Owl, Rote Boobook, Rote Myzomela, Timor Friarbird, Black-banded Flycatcher, Alor Myzomela, Flores Hawk-Eagle, Flores Crow, Flores Monarch, and Glittering Kingfisher. The non-avian highlights are sure to be Komodo Dragons! There are several species currently undescribed and new to science along our route and we will look for those too, such as ‘Mt Mutis Parrotfinch’.

 

Indonesia: Sulawesi and Halmahera – Spectacular Endemic Birding

This incredible tour looks for many spectacular endemic birds of Sulawesi and Halmahera (North Moluccas), with some of the best including (Wallace’s) Standardwing – a unique bird-of-paradise that we will look for at its display lek, Maleo, Hylocitrea (monotypic endemic family), Purple-breasted Bee-eater, Ivory-breasted Pitta, North Moluccan Pitta, Sulawesi Pitta, Green-backed Kingfisher, Scaly-breasted Kingfisher, Lilac Kingfisher, Blue-and-white Kingfisher, Malia, Geomalia, Knobbed Hornbill, Ashy Woodpecker, Satanic Nightjar, Halmahera Boobook, Moluccan Owlet-nightjar, and a wide-range of parrots, fruit doves, and so many more. Join us as we bird watch in this endemic-filled region of Indonesia.

 

Indonesia: West Papua – Birds-of-paradise and Endemics of the Arfaks and Waigeo

This exciting, short, small-group, West Papua birding trip looks for up to 15 species of birds-of-paradise, such as Wilson’s Bird-of-paradise (considered one of the most-attractive birds in the world by many who have enjoyed seeing it), plus other gorgeous birds-of-paradise such as Red Bird-of-paradise, King Bird-of-paradise, Black Sicklebill, Arfak Astrapia, Long-tailed Paradigalla, Crescent-caped Lophorina (formerly Superb Bird-of-paradise), Western Parotia, Trumpet Manucode, and Lesser Bird-of-paradise (along with many more). There is an almost endless list of amazing birds possible on this tour,  including Common Paradise Kingfisher, Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Western Crowned Pigeon, Vogelkop Bowerbird, Masked Bowerbird, Arfak Catbird, Spotted Jewel-babbler, Lesser Melampitta, Pesquet’s (New Guinea Vulturine) Parrot, White-striped Forest Rail, Mottled Berryhunter (a monotypic family), Papuan Pitta, Blue-black Kingfisher, and lots more!

 

Our new Indonesian tours will be covering Sumatra and West Java, Bali and East Java, Biak, Numfor, and Kofiau, and Papua Province for starters. On these tours we will be focusing on seeing the endemic birds of each region, a thrilling prospect!

Indonesia: Sulawesi and Halmahera – Spectacular Endemic Birding July 2021/2022/2023

Indonesia: Sulawesi and Halmahera – Spectacular Endemic Birding July 2021/2022/2023

2022-07-14

Indonesia: West Papua – Birds-of-paradise and Endemics of the Arfaks and Waigeo August 2021/2022/2023

Indonesia: West Papua – Birds-of-paradise and Endemics of the Arfaks and Waigeo August 2021/2022/2023

2023-08-03

Indonesia: The Lesser Sunda Islands – Comprehensive Tour June 2022/2023

Indonesia: The Lesser Sunda Islands – Comprehensive Tour June 2022/2023

2023-05-27

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