Indonesia: 1-Day Bali Birding Tour Report, February 2022

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23 FEBRUARY 2022

 By Andy Walker

Bali 1-day ReportGreater Painted-snipe is a localized species in Bali and we had good views of three birds during this Bali birding day tour.




Finally, after almost two years of being closed due to Covid, Indonesia has started opening up again. Chad contacted us in early February about putting together a one-day birding tour out of Ubud, Bali, where he would be based for a few days. Andy has been living and birding in Ubud over the last two years and so a plan was hatched to visit a couple of nearby sites. Chad had already visited and birded in Bali a few times but still had a few species he was keen to see.


Detailed Report


We left Ubud at 5.15 am and made our way down to the Unda River Mouth, a site that is undergoing massive change due to an ongoing major infrastructure project, but one that Andy has birded extensively over the last few months and found several rare birds, including a Black-browed Reed Warbler in January 2022, which was a first for Bali!

We spent about six hours birding this coastal site as we walked out along the black sand beach and spent time scouring the reedbeds, freshwater marshes, adjacent rice paddies, and an old river route. As we made our way along the beach at first light, we found several Savanna Nightjars roosting in the tidal debris that line the beach.

Bali 1-day ReportSavanna Nightjars roost among the tidal debris and their camouflage works very well! 

As we got to one particular reedbed, we enjoyed fantastic views of Ruddy-breasted Crake and White-browed Crake, as well as three Greater Painted-snipes, all three big targets for the day! We also enjoyed good looks at Yellow Bitterns, several stunning Purple Herons, and a few Eastern Yellow Wagtails here. Barred Buttonquails also gave us some remarkable views.

Bali 1-day ReportWhite-browed Crake gave excellent views.

Bali 1-day ReportBarred Buttonquail was a big feature of the morning birding session, being a big target of Chad’s, and this one stood patiently right in front of us for what felt like an age!

We found plenty of other great birds during the morning, including Javan Plover, Pacific Golden Plover, Common Greenshank, and Wood Sandpiper. Herons and egrets were particularly well represented, with Intermediate Egret (breeding and non-breeding plumage), Great Egret, Pacific Reef Heron (both dark and pale-phase birds), Javan Pond Heron, Little Egret, and multiple Black-crowned Night Herons all enjoyed.

We soaked in close looks at Collared Kingfisher and prolonged views of the pretty Blue-eared Kingfisher. Blue-tailed Bee-eaters also provided a flash of color, as did Striated Swallow, Barn Swallow, and Pacific Swallow as they fed overhead, with the less colorful House Swift, Cave Swiftlet and Edible-nest Swiftlet also flying around above us.

Other interesting birds seen during our time here included Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler (one bird giving particularly good views), Oriental Reed Warbler, Olive-backed Tailorbird, Malaysian Pied Fantail, Pied Triller, Pied Bush Chat, Golden-headed Cisticola (looking absolutely stunning in full breeding plumage), Zitting Cisticola, Streaked Weaver, White-headed Munia, Scaly-breasted Munia, and Javan Munia.

Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler is often a super-skulking species, but we did get some good views during our day of birding in Bali and heard some birds singing too.

After a long and exciting morning birding session (extended due to the surprising lack of heat in the day), we grabbed lunch and then commenced our journey part of the way up Gunung (Mount) Agung, Bali’s highest point and a spectacular cone-shaped volcano too. This site has been very good recently with some excellent rare resident species and some scarce migrants. Unfortunately, a couple of families had decided to spend the afternoon playing very loud games in our prime birding spot, meaning that activity was far lower than it should have been. Nevertheless, we connected with several different species during our couple of hours birding.

As we drove up the mountain we saw a few Crested Honey Buzzards flying west across the island, continuing their long journey north, raptor migration started in mid-February this year. Our primary birding area yielded Javan Whistling Thrush, Sooty-headed Bulbul, and a brief Orange-spotted Bulbul. A flock of Mees’s (Javan Grey-throated) White-eyes were busily feeding in the fruiting trees and they were eventually joined by a pair of Warbling White-eyes, which gave some prolonged views. One of the highlights of the afternoon birding session was a low flyby from a stunning Peregrine Falcon, also likely migrating north. Several other very good migrant species were keeping very well hidden, including Siberian Thrush, Eyebrowed Thrush, and Mugimaki Flycatcher, their calls giving them away as they flushed, but they were proving very elusive, no doubt due to all the commotion in their preferred feeding area.

Bali 1-day ReportWarbling White-eye gave some good views while we were birding at Gunung Agung.

A short walk to get away from the noisy locals gave us brief glimpses of Long-tailed Shrike, with both Lesser Shortwing and Javan Bush Warbler calling from a dense patch of undergrowth and unwilling to come out into view. A small family group of vocal Javan Cuckooshrikes flew over and a gorgeous Flame-fronted Barbet gave some excellent views as the light was starting to beat us, with this bird providing a fitting end to our day out birding.

The drive back was uneventful, but we did have Javan Kingfisher on the outskirts of Ubud and then at Chad’s drop off point at 7 pm in central Ubud a couple of very vocal Savanna Nightjars were flying around.

A huge thanks to Chad for making the day such an enjoyable Bali birding experience, it was a fun-filled day with lots of great birds and a surprising lack of rain given the previous few days and the forecast! The bird list for the day follows, below.

Bali 1-day ReportFlame-fronted Barbet proved one of the highlights of our afternoon birding.


Bird ListFollowing IOC (12.1)


Birds ‘heard only’ are marked with (H) after the common name, all other species were seen.


Common Name Scientific Name
Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)
Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis
Swifts (Apodidae)
Cave Swiftlet Collocalia linchi
Edible-nest Swiftlet Aerodramus fuciphagus
House Swift Apus nipalensis
Cuckoos (Cuculidae)
Plaintive Cuckoo (H) Cacomantis merulinus
Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)
Rock Dove Columba livia
Spotted Dove Spilopelia chinensis
Little Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia ruficeps
Zebra Dove Geopelia striata
Rails, Crakes & Coots (Rallidae)
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Ruddy-breasted Crake Zapornia fusca
White-browed Crake Poliolimnas cinereus
White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus
Buttonquail (Turnicidae)
Barred Buttonquail Turnix suscitator
Plovers (Charadriidae)
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva
Javan Plover Charadrius javanicus
Painted-snipes (Rostratulidae)
Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis
Sandpipers, Snipes (Scolopacidae)
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)
Greater Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii
Herons, Bitterns (Ardeidae)
Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Striated Heron Butorides striata
Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa
Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
Great Egret Ardea alba
Intermediate Egret Ardea intermedia
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra
Kites, Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)
Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus
Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)
Javan Kingfisher Halcyon cyanoventris
Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris
Cerulean Kingfisher (H) Alcedo coerulescens
Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting
Bee-eaters (Meropidae)
Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus
Asian Barbets (Megalaimidae)
Flame-fronted Barbet Psilopogon armillaris
Caracaras, Falcons (Falconidae)
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Australasian Warblers (Acanthizidae)
Golden-bellied Gerygone Gerygone sulphurea
Woodswallows, Butcherbirds & Allies (Artamidae)
White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorynchus
Ioras (Aegithinidae)
Common Iora Aegithina tiphia
Cuckooshrikes (Campephagidae)
Javan Cuckooshrike Coracina javensis
Pied Triller Lalage nigra
Whistlers & Allies (Pachycephalidae)
Rusty-breasted Whistler (H) Pachycephala fulvotincta
Shrikes (Laniidae)
Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach
Drongos (Dicruridae)
Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus
Fantails (Rhipiduridae)
Malaysian Pied Fantail Rhipidura javanica
Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)
Orange-spotted Bulbul Pycnonotus bimaculatus
Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier
Sooty-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus aurigaster
Swallows, Martins (Hirundinidae)
Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Striated Swallow Cecropis striolata
Reed Warblers & Allies (Acrocephalidae)
Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis
Grassbirds & Allies (Locustellidae)
Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler Helopsaltes certhiola
Javan Bush Warbler (H) Locustella montis
Cisticolas & Allies (Cisticolidae)
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis
Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis
Plain Prinia Prinia inornata
Olive-backed Tailorbird Orthotomus sepium
White-eyes (Zosteropidae)
Mees’s White-eye Heleia javanica
Warbling White-eye Zosterops japonicus
Babblers, Scimitar Babblers (Timaliidae)
Javan Scimitar Babbler (H) Pomatorhinus montanus
Starlings, Rhabdornis (Sturnidae)
Short-tailed Starling Aplonis minor
Thrushes (Turdidae)
Siberian Thrush Geokichla sibirica
Eyebrowed Thrush Turdus obscurus
Chats, Old World Flycatchers (Muscicapidae)
Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatcher (H) Cyornis olivaceus
Lesser Shortwing (H) Brachypteryx leucophris
Javan Whistling Thrush Myophonus glaucinus
Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki
Pied Bush Chat Saxicola caprata
Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)
Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis
Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis
Old World Sparrows, Snowfinches (Passeridae)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
Weavers, Widowbirds (Ploceidae)
Streaked Weaver Ploceus manyar
Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus
Waxbills, Munias & Allies (Estrildidae)
Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata
Javan Munia Lonchura leucogastroides
White-headed Munia Lonchura maja
Wagtails, Pipits (Motacillidae)
Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis


Total seen 74
Total heard only 7
Total recorded 81



This is a sample trip report. Please email us ([email protected]) for more trip reports from this destination.

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