Indonesia - West Java, August 2009

Published by Bruce Wedderburn (birds AT

Participants: Bruce Wedderburn, Indra Ferdinand (organiser)



This report is based on a five day birding trip to Western Java which was organised together with Indra Ferdinand (Freddy’s Homestay). This birding trip was a continuation of the previous trip to Western Java in February 2009 and the focus was on the Javan endemics missed previously. A total of 120 species were seen during the five days of birding.

Birding highlights were Mountain Imperial Pigeon (rare in Java), Ruddy Cuckoo-dove, Sunda Cuckoo-shrike, Chestnut-breasted Malkoha, Javan Trogon, Spot-breasted Pied Woodpecker, White-breasted Babbler, White-bibbed Babbler, Javan White-eye, White-capped Munia, Cerulean Kingfisher and Sunda Coucal.

Comparing Gunung Halimun with Gunung Gede, Halimun is a lot more difficult to reach and as a result does not have crowds of visitors. In addition the accommodation is in the rainforest which is very pleasant for those not wanting to have to walk long distances to see the birds.

The trip took place during the dry season and the weather was warm and generally pleasant.

At this time of year Java was noticeably drier and was suffering from a lack of rain. The skies were hazy largely as a result of forest burn-off and general pollution.


The itinerary was as follows:

1. 8 August - Departed Jakarta at 7am and travelled to Cikaniki Research Station in Gunung Halimun. Arrived at Cikaniki at midday and after lunch took a walk on the loop trail which passes through mid altitude rainforest and tea plantations. Stayed at Cikaniki Research Station.

2. 9 August - Full day birding in the Gunung Halimun National Park walking on various trails through the rainforest and adjacent tea plantation. Stayed at Cikaniki Research Station.

3. 10 August – Early morning birding from 5:30am on the Cikaniki entry road. Left Cikaniki at midday and travelled back to Jakarta and then eastwards to Pamanukan, arriving in the evening. Stayed at Pamanukan Hotel.

4. 11 August - Half day birding on the fish farms and mangrove wetlands to the north of Pamanukan. Travelled to Jakarta in afternoon stopping off at ripening rice paddies to see the White-capped Munia. Stayed at the Sanno Hotel in North Jakarta.

5. 12 August – Early morning departure for Muara Angke. Spent the morning at the Muara Angke Wetland Reserve specifically to locate the Sunda Coucal. Drove to Mecure Rekso hotel in Jakarta after lunch and then to the airport in the evening.

Information on sites visited

Gunung Halimun National Park

This national park has an area of 40,000 ha and is located south west of Bogor. From Bogor take the Sukabumi road to the south until Purungkuda. Here you will find a sign to the park on your right side. Follow this sign until you reached the village of Cipenteng/Kabandungan. Distance Bogor-Kabandungan is 67 km. Here you will find the park headquarters (PHPA-office) where you can get the permits to enter the park. From here it is another 23 km along a rough cobbled track to the park. It’s more comfortable to walk the last 5 km to the visitor centre and is also good for birding.

The visitor centre, also named Cikaniki Research Station, is located in Gunung Halimun in the eastern part of the park and is surrounded by mid altitude rainforest. From the visitor centre there are several trails going into the forest and also to the nearby tea plantations.

The Cikaniki Research Station has good accommodation and facilities. It also has a large covered veranda overlooking a small pond, which is fantastic for relaxing and watching the birdlife, monkeys and odd snakes.

Birds seen from the Cikaniki veranda included Blue Whistling-thrush, Little Pied Flycatcher, Lesser Forktail, Sunda Robin, Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker, Blue-winged Leafbird, Chestnut-fronted Shrike-babbler, Spotted Crocias and Sunda Warbler.

In addition, at least four of the threatened Silvery Javan Gibbon (western subspecies) were seen close up calling and swinging through the trees. Javan Lutung (leaf monkeys) were also seen eating large leaves in trees close to the visitor centre.
The national park has good walking trails and the main access road is also excellent for birding. Of note was a Mountain Imperial Pigeon seen early in the morning on the main access road, and which was seen clearly whilst flying over. According to the field guide, this is a very rare bird in Java and has few recent records which include Halimun.


Pamanukan is located to the east of Jakarta and is close to the extensive fish and shrimp farms which have been developed on the northern coast of Java and are best seen on Google to get a perspective of the size of the area.

The accommodation at the Pamanukan Hotel was very noisy and it felt like I was sleeping on the highway with heavy trucks thundering by throughout the night. Instead of staying for the planned two nights we packed up and stayed in Jakarta for the second night.

Pamanukan is similar to Pulau Dua however it is far larger and does not have protected mangrove forest, although if one walks far enough into the fish farms then there are still some decent areas of remnant mangroves. As the area is a good food source and has protection for breeding birds, the area is a rich in bird species.

The target birds of the area, which were all seen, included the Cinnamon Bittern, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Savanna Nightjar, Javan White-eye and White-capped Munia. The latter bird was found in the nearby rice paddies in fields where the rice is ripening. The Javan White-eye is generally difficult to see at Pulau Dua in the dense mangroves, yet was easily seen at Pamanukan in a small open tree alongside rice paddies.

Muara Angke

Muara Angke Wildlife Reserve is a small wetland reserve in the north-western suburbs of Jakarta and is still a good place to connect with the rare Sunda Coucal. The wetland is nowadays surrounded by buildings and a huge shopping centre, however when viewed from the sea there are quite extensive mangrove forests.

Entry to the reserve needs to be arranged beforehand and payment of entry fees made to an office located in Jakarta. Refer to for further information and directions to the reserve.

The boardwalk has been refurbished and it’s an excellent birding spot for waterbirds, in particular we saw two Sunda Coucals which was the target bird for the visit. In total 49 birds were seen during the morning’s birding which included Black Bittern, Plaintive Cuckoo, Wandering Whistling Duck, Blue-eared Kingfisher and Golden-bellied Gerygone.

South Jakarta

I stayed at the Gran Mahakam hotel in South Jakarta which is in a fairly quiet part of Jakarta. At the back of the hotel the roads are closed to traffic and there are quite a few large trees making it a good area for birding, considering it’s in Jakarta. There is also a small stream (heavily polluted) running though a parkland which is good for birding.

In total 16 birds were seen during two hours birding which included Coppersmith Barbet, Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker, Brown-throated Sunbird, Collared Kingfisher, Pied Fantail and Golden-bellied Gerygone.

Unfortunately alongside the park where I was birding, were a number of stalls selling birds such as leafbirds, broadbills, barbets, mynas and the ever popular magpie robins.

Literature Used

1. A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and Bali, by John MacKinnon and Karen Phillipps, Oxford University press, recent reprint. Purchased from Nature’s Niche, a bookstore in Singapore

2. A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Indonesia, by Morton Strange, Helm 2003

3. Where to watch birds in Asia, Nigel Wheatley, 1996.

4. Birding Indonesia, Paul Jepson, Periplus press, 1997.

Of the literature used, only the Field Guide by John MacKinnon and Karen Phillipps is of any real use for birding in the field. The Photographic Guide is missing too many birds to be of real use for birding in Java.


Bird Guiding Services:
Indra Ferdinand (Freddy’s Homestay)
Mobile: +(62) 857 2037 3169

Species Lists

Wandering Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arcuata)
Sunda Teal (Anas gibberifrons)
Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis)
Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus)
Black Bittern (Dupetor flavicollis)
Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Eurasian Black-crowned Night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax nycticorax)
Striated Heron (Butorides striata)
Javan Pond Heron (Ardeola speciosa)
Eastern Cattle Egret (Bubulcus coromandus)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
Eastern Great Egret (Ardea modesta)
Intermediate Egret (Egretta intermedia)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster)
Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela)
Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malayensis)
White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)
White-browed Crake (Porzana cinerea)
Black-backed Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio indicus/viridis)
Eurasian Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus [chloropus-group])
Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
Javan Plover (Charadrius javanicus)
Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Feral Pigeon (Columba livia ''feral'')
Island Collared Dove (Streptopelia bitorquata)
Spotted Dove (Stigmatopelia chinensis)
Ruddy Cuckoo-dove (Macropygia emiliana)
Common Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica)
Pink-necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans)
Mountain Imperial Pigeon (Ducula badia)
Sunda Coucal (Centropus nigrorufus)
Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)
Lesser Coucal (Centropus bengalensis)
Chestnut-breasted Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris)
Plaintive Cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus)
Javan Frogmouth (Batrachostomus javensis)
Savanna Nightjar (Caprimulgus affinis)
Grey-rumped Treeswift (Hemiprocne longipennis)
Cave Swiftlet (Collocalia linchi)
Javan Trogon (Apalharpactes reinwardtii)
Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris)
Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus)
Cerulean Kingfisher (Alcedo coerulescens)
Blue-eared Kingfisher (Alcedo meninting)
Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus)
Brown-throated Barbet (Megalaima corvina) Heard
Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala)
Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker (Dendrocopos moluccensis)
Spot-breasted Pied Woodpecker (Dendrocopos analis)
Crimson-winged Woodpecker (Picus puniceus)
Golden-bellied Gerygone (Gerygone sulphurea)
Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike (Hemipus hirundinaceus)
White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus)
Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia)
Sunda Cuckooshrike (Coracina larvata)
Pied Triller (Lalage nigra)
White-shouldered Triller (Lalage sueurii)
Small Minivet (Pericrocotus cinnamomeus)
Sunda Minivet (Pericrocotus miniatus)
White-browed Shrike-babbler (Pteruthius flaviscapis)
Chestnut-fronted Shrike-babbler (Pteruthius aenobarbus)
Dark-throated Oriole (Oriolus xanthonotus)
Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus)
Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus remifer)
White-bellied Fantail (Rhipidura euryura)
Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica)
Black-naped Monarch (Hypothymis azurea)
Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher (Culicicapa ceylonensis)
Cinereous Tit (Parus cinereus cinereus)
Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster)
Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)
Grey-cheeked Bulbul (Alophoixus bres)
Sunda Bulbul (Ixos virescens)
Pacific Swallow (Hirundo tahitica)
Pygmy Bushtit (Psaltria exilis)
Mountain Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus trivirgatus)
Sunda Warbler (Seicercus grammiceps)
Oriental Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis)
Clamorous Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus stentoreus [stentoreus-group])
Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis)
Bar-winged Prinia (Prinia familiaris)
Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata)
Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius)
Ashy Tailorbird (Orthotomus ruficeps)
Olive-backed Tailorbird (Orthotomus sepium)
Pygmy Wren-babbler (Pnoepyga pusilla)
White-breasted Babbler (Stachyris grammiceps)
White-bibbed Babbler (Stachyris thoracica)
Javan Fulvetta (Alcippe pyrrhoptera)
Spotted Crocias (Crocias albonotatus)
Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus)
Mountain White-eye (Zosterops montanus)
Javan White-eye (Zosterops flavus)
Blue Nuthatch (Sitta azurea)
White-vented Myna (Acridotheres javanicus)
Large Whistling Thrush (Myophonus caeruleus flavirostris)
Sunda Robin (Myiomela diana)
Sunda Forktail (Enicurus velatus)
Little Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula westermanni)
Pale Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis unicolor)
Blue-winged Leafbird (Chloropsis cochinchinensis)
Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker (Prionochilus percussus)
Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma)
Plain Flowerpecker (Dicaeum minullum)
Blood-breasted Flowerpecker (Dicaeum sanguinolentum)
Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trochileum)
Ruby-cheeked Sunbird (Chalcoparia singalensis)
Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis)
Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis)
Javan Sunbird (Aethopyga mystacalis)
Little Spiderhunter (Arachnothera longirostra)
Long-billed Spiderhunter (Arachnothera robusta)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)
Javan Munia (Lonchura leucogastroides)
Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata)
White-capped Munia (Lonchura malacca ferruginosa)
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)