West Java and Sumatra Birding Tour
1st – 24th October 2023: West Java and Sumatra birding highlights include Christmas Island Frigatebird, Javan Trogon, Schneider’s Pitta, Large Frogmouth, White-winged Duck, Javan Banded Pitta, Sunda Forktail, Salvadori’s Pheasant, Graceful Pitta, Reddish Scops Owl, Javan Cochoa, Sumatran Trogon, Sunda Coucal, Javan Plover, Bonaparte’s Nightjar, Red-billed Partridge, Sunda Frogmouth, Sumatran Ground Cuckoo – £4325 per person
- Dates: 1st – 24th Oct 2023
- Cost: £4325
- Single Supplement: £625
- Deposit: £650
- Tour length: 23 Days (21 days birding)
- Min/Max group size: 6 / 10
- Start/Finish: Jakarta
- Tour Type: Birding
- Photo Opps: Fairly Good
- Physicality: Moderate, some hiking
- Leaders: Nick Upton & Local Guides
If you have any questions about this trip please feel free to ask by contacting us at email@example.com
West Java and Sumatra Birding
Combine birding on the forested volcanic slopes of two famous mountains with some of the best lowland tropical birding in Southeast Asia interspersed with relaxing bird watching in two botanical gardens plus two boat trips and you not only get a birding tour full of avian diversity but also of landscape and culture. Visiting the two islands of Java and Sumatra this will be a memorable trip with a high number of endemic species and some excellent night birds as well as a positive experience of a culture that most of us are unfamiliar with. Selamat datang di Indonesia – Welcome to Indonesia!
The location of Java and Sumatra is to the west of the Wallace line, with the avifauna having a strong affinity to that of mainland Southeast Asia but also with high levels of endemism within each island. These levels of endemism are a reflection of the volatile physical geographic history of the area, dominated as it is by tectonic activity which has produced isolated bird populations that have taken their own evolutionary paths. The happy, welcoming population of Java and Sumatra make this an excellent place for birders to make their first foray into birding in Indonesia as well as interesting places to visit within their own right. The coastal areas close to Jakarta provide us with a number of water birds and open country species while the forests of the volcanic mountains of Gunung Gede and Gunung Kerinci will provide cooler temperatures and high altitude endemics. The lowlands promise a warmer climate along with some of the most endangered bird communities of the region.
The range and speciality of habitats gives a hint to the variety and quality of birds we expect to see on this West Java and Sumatra birding tour. On both islands we will give priority to the endemic species of the sites we visit along with those species that are rare throughout much of Southeast Asia but easier to find on Java and Sumatra. Colourful gems such as Sumatran Trogon, Black-banded Barbet, Rufous-collared Kingfisher and White-flanked Sunbird are a feature of this tour along with top quality species such as Schneider’s Pitta, Javan Cochoa, Javan Tesia and Red-billed Partridge. Added to this will be some of the best night-birding in the region with a good chance of five species of Frogmouth as well Oriental Bay Owl and five species of Nightjar.
Day 1, Arrival in Jakarta – 1st October 2023
The planned arrival time is around mid-afternoon at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. You will meet your guides here and travel to a nearby airport hotel, Here there will be dinner and a pre-trip briefing on West Java and Sumatra birding before a comfortable night’s sleep in preparation for the first day’s birds.
Day 2, Muara Angke/Pulau Rambut/Pulau Dua – 2nd October 2023
After a good, early breakfast at our hotel we commence our West Java and Sumatra birding tour by driving a short distance to Muara Angke wetland reserve for first light. This where we will start the first of two boats trips for the day. Although this site is a very degraded scrap of habitat, that includes mangrove, marsh and scrub, it still hosts good numbers of birds including a few regional specialities with the prime target being Sunda Coucal.
Birding by boat, along a river channel, is a relaxing way to start the trip and a good way to rack up a good number of species to begin with. We expect to see Teal, Bar-winged Prinia, Island Collared Dove, Javan Myna, Black-backed Swamphen, Javan Munia and Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker and the numbers will be made up by more widespread species including Oriental Darter, Small Minivet, Purple Heron, Javan Pond Heron and Pink-necked Green Pigeon. One thing is for sure there are plenty of species to enjoy with our first sightings of a number of species that we will see again along the way. If we are really lucky we might come across one of the few Black-winged Starlings that persist here.
After a few hours here we will transfer to our next site, an hour and a half away, where we board our second boat of the morning and head out into Jakarta Bay. Heading out to a series of poles that mark where fish traps have been placed we expect to have a very special experience with some monster birds in the form of Christmas Island Frigatebird. Groups of this critically endangered species loaf around on the poles and frequently steal fish from nearby Little Black Cormorants. We will be able to observe these beasts at very close range from the boat as they squabble among each other; there should be small numbers of Lesser Frigatebirds to pick out too. From here we will visit nearby Pulau Rambut, visiting a tower hide from where we can observe Black-naped Orioles, White-bellied Sea Eagle and smart Pied Imperial Pigeons in the treetops.
Returning to shore we will have lunch and make a fairly long drive to the fish ponds and mangrove fragments of Pulau Dua where we have a few hours in the late afternoon to witness another real avian spectacle; a flock of day-flying Savanna Nightjars. Although these birds are fairly common in the region it is almost unheard of to see so many of them active during daylight hours and it forms a memorable sight viewed from the roadside in a village where they nest. It is on the outskirts of this village where we might also find a small number of the declining Java Sparrow. The fish ponds themselves hold the beautiful Cerulean Kingfisher and Javan Plover while we might also have a chance to see Milky Stork or a migrant Sacred Kingfisher. The day will finish with an hour or so’s drive to our very comfortable accommodation at Carita Beach.
Day 3, Carita Forest Reserve – 4th October 2023
Today we will make our first foray into forest birding in Indonesia in the lowlands of Carita Forest Reserve. The forest is very close to our accommodation so we can get on-site very early to search for the cryptic Javan Frogmouth, if not in the dark perhaps on a day time roost after dawn.
As it starts to get light we will concentrate our efforts on finding a real jewel of the forest floor: Javan Banded Pitta. This shy bird is not uncommon here but we will need to be quiet to get the best views of it foraging in the morning and we will also hope to see Horsfield’s Babbler, the distinctive capistratum subspecies of Black-capped Babbler and Grey-faced (Javan) Tit-Babbler along the way. The time we have at Carita should ensure that we have the best chance of obtaining good views of Javan Banded Pitta plus this is where we hope to find one of the most colourful of Java’s endemic birds: Black-banded Barbet. This is also a good place to spot Grey-rumped Treeswift as it hunts for insects and we will make every effort to track down other endemics including Yellow-eared Barbet (formerly a subspecies of Blue-eared Barbet), Javan Sunbird and the difficult-to-spot Javan Owlet.
Carita represents our first chance of seeing the magnificent Javan Hawk Eagle and other raptors we often see here include Black Eagle, Crested Honey-buzzard and Changeable Hawk Eagle. Other species that we have should see here include Linchi Swiftlet, Common Iora, Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Collared Kingfisher, Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker and Brown-throated Sunbird.
After a mid-afternoon break we will revisit the forest in search of any key species we did not find in the morning. It is probable that we will need more time to try to find the infuriating Javan Owlet. If we still need to find Javan Frogmouth we can look for it before finishing the day with Sunda Scops Owl.
Day 4, Carita-Halimun – 5th October 2023
Given the proximity of the forest we will have time for another visit to look for any key species we might still be looking for; perhaps we want another sighting of Javan Banded Pitta or maybe some time to get a good view of Black-naped Fruit Dove. It is likely that we will need more time to find Javan Owlet although we are certain to have heard many of them already. Some species have evolved to torment birders!
After a few hours birding here we will begin a long journey to our next birding destination; Gunung Halimun/Salak National Park. The journey will take up much of the middle of the day but as we approach our destination we will make a series of stops in agricultural areas containing woodland fragments. In this man-made habitat we should be able to find Striated Grassbird, our first Sunda Minivets, Striated Swallow and Brown Prinia as well as visiting a reliable spot for the impressive Javan Kingfisher.
Day 5, Halimun – 6th October 2023
Staying at the research station within the national park we are perfectly situated to explore the trails and forest tracks in search of a wide variety of potential target species. The colourful Javan Sunbird can often be found here and it is one of our best chances to find the endemic Brown-throated Barbet and Streaky-breasted (Javan) Spiderhunter. Feeding flocks here often contain Trilling Shrike-Babbler, Cinereous Tit, Blue Nuthatch, Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike and the increasingly rare Javan (Blue-winged) Leafbird. Spotted Crocias often calls from the treetops, making itself tricky to spot, and the incredible Javan Trogon can sometimes be found here too while we have a good chance to locate Javan Hawk Eagle here either perched on a tree or soaring overhead.
Not all the species that occur here are easy to see but Sunda Forktail is one of the trickier birds that we can often find in the streams or along the tracks at Halimun and if we are really lucky the Javan form of Blue-banded Kingfisher may show itself at a pool close to the research station; in the past the secretive Sunda Thrush has performed well here.
More widespread Southeast Asian species that can be found here include Orange-breasted Trogon, Banded Kingfisher, Pale Blue Flycatcher, cute Black-thighed Falconet, Little Pied Flycatcher and Chestnut-breasted Malkoha. Birding here rewards the patient but there are a lot of potential species to be found in the high-quality forest here and mammals often include the endangered Silvery (Javan) Gibbon, Ebony Leaf Monkey and Common Palm Civet.
Day 6, Halimun-Cibodas Botanical Gardens – 7th October 2023
After breakfast we will walk from the research station through the forest in search of more of west Java’s birds which could include the surprisingly attractive White-breasted (Javan) Babbler, Pied Shrike-Babbler and Eyebrowed Wren Babbler. A few hours in the morning here can provide some good birding. We will use this final morning to find any key species not yet seen.
The journey towards Cibodas Botanical Gardens will begin by mid-morning arriving in time to check out some regular spots for Sunda Forktail and Javan Kingfisher. We should find some of the commoner key birds of the gardens such as Orange-spotted Bulbul, Flame-fronted Barbet and Olive-backed (Javan) Tailorbird but it is at dusk that we hope for a real star attraction in Salvadori’s Nightjar which we expect to get very good views of.
Day 7, Cibodas Botanical Gardens – 8th October 2023
After a few days involving quite a lot of walking and travel we have an easier day enjoying birding around the pleasant botanical gardens at Cibodas, just a short drive from our hotel. The open nature of this bird watching site means that we can make sure we get good views of a lot of west Java’s commoner endemic species such as Blood-breasted (Javan) Flowerpecker, Flame-fronted Barbet, Javan Fulvetta and White-flanked Sunbird. This is also the best place to find Yellow-throated Hanging Parrot as it visits flowering trees in the morning as well as finding roving flocks of Pygmy Bushtit, the smallest member of its family in the world.
If we still have not caught up with it this location gives us another great chance to find Javan Kingfisher. The forest edge holds feeding flocks of small groups including groups of stunning Blue Nuthatches, skulking White-bibbed Babblers, Javan Fulvettas and Sunda Minivets. Rusty-breasted Cuckoo is obvious by its voice while common species include Linchi Swiftlet, Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike and Javan Munia.
After a midday break we will spend the late afternoon at the nearby former golf course where we will expect to find Spotted Kestrel at a regular spot and possibly Striated Grassbird. Some other commoner birds should include Long-tailed Shrike, Javan Munia and Olive-backed Tailorbird. An early finish will allow us to be fresh for the hiking the mountain over the next two days.
Days 8-9, Gunung Gede National Park – 9-10th October 2023
Two days on this volcanic mountain give us the best chance of finding a large number of exciting species. An early start on our first day on the mountain sees us start hiking uphill at birding speed, possibly looking for Javan Frogmouth before first light if we have not seen it before. In the undergrowth we hope to find Sunda (Javan) Robin, secretive Chestnut-bellied Partridge and Sunda Thrush; if we find all three of these we will know we are in for a good day. The cute Pygmy Cupwing is rather common here as is Eyebrowed Wren Babbler while as the forest warms up we will anticipate feeding flocks of birds to include the very smart Sunda Warbler, Pied Shrike-babbler, Javan Heleia, Crescent-chested Babbler, White-flanked Sunbird, Sunda Minivet and Javan Fulvetta.
Often forest birding can be very quiet but Gunung Gede usually presents birders with fairly good levels of bird abundance. Here we should see many of the afore-mentioned species on multiple occasions over the two days on the mountain. White-bibbed Babbler is becoming harder to find but hopefully they will show themselves to us.
Reaching the mid-levels of the mountain we reach the domain of Javan Trogon which can take some effort to find although Javan Whistlingthrush should present less of a problem. Snowy-browed Flycatchers should make themselves apparent and the tiny Javan Tesia will play a cat-and-mouse game with us from the undergrowth as we get high enough to encounter Mountain Leaf Warbler, Rufous-tailed Fantail and Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo with its stunning tail.
As we get to the highest levels of the mountain we hope to locate Javan Cochoa by call and while this bird is never easy we have an excellent chance of finding at least one. Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush gets rarer every year but this represents the best opportunity to see this declining species. Spotted Crocias can also be elusive but should alert us to its presence with its raucous call. The insect-like call of Fire-tufted Barbet will help us locate this incredible bird and more flocks of birds should allow us to get good views of all of the smaller arboreal species as well as Checker-throated Woodpecker.
Porters will take all our camping equipment up the mountain before us and will be waiting after the hot springs where they will have pitched our camp and will prepare our dinner on the mountain. As it gets dark we will attempt to locate Javan Scops Owl; a tricky prospect.
Our second day on the mountain sees us retracing our steps, looking for any target species not yet seen and putting us in the right place to have a chance of bumping into one or two of the rarest birds of Gunung Gedge, perhaps a Pink-headed Fruit Dove or Mountain Serin if our luck is really in. As we head back down the mountain we have a second opportunity to find any of the birds we might want better views of or did not see on the way up; in some years there is a stakeout for Javan Woodcock – fingers crossed!
Day 10, Bogor Botanical Gardens – 11th October 2023
After two days of hiking our last morning of birding in Java will be rather more relaxed, visiting the botanical gardens in the centre of the city of Bogor. This surprisingly quiet and lush site should provide us with good views of several interesting and colourful species including the very distinctive roseus subspecies of Coppermsith Barbet. Although we may have seen it before there is no better place to get top-quality views of the colourful Black-naped Fruit Dove as it feeds in fruiting trees; a really spectacular bird when seen well.
There are several Bulbuls of interest here which include Ruby-throated Bulbul, Melodius (Grey-cheeked) Bulbul and the distinctive red-eyed prilwitzi subspecies of Cream-vented Bulbul. Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon, Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker and Black-naped Oriole are other birds we hope to see here before lunch and our journey back to Jakarta for the early afternoon to get a good night’s rest before the next leg of our West Java and Sumatra birding tour.
Days 11-14, Jakarta-Way Kambas National Park – 12th-15th October 2023
Conveniently we can get a good early breakfast at our hotel, on day 10, before taking an early flight from Jakarta airport which is very close by. On arrival at Bandar Lampung we will be met by our drivers and taken to our accommodation near Way Kambas in time for lunch.
Beginning on the afternoon of 3rd September we have an afternoon, two full days and a morning for birding at the superb lowland forests of Way Kambas National Park which contains a complete avifauna for the region, something that is very rare within Southeast Asia now. Lowland tropical rainforest is the most endangered habitats in Southeast Asia with only fragments remaining across the continent. However, Way Kambas is one of the biggest and best of those fragments hosting many of the region’s most endangered birds as well as mammals threatened with global extinction including Sumatran Tiger and Sumatran Rhino. Although these mammals are present it would require nothing short of a miracle to actually see them and a sighting of either would probably eclipse anything else we were likely to encounter.
The forest at Way Kambas is dense in places although there are a lot of enormous strangler fig trees with spreading canopies, complete with large epiphytic plants. Our birding here is all done on a flat, forested plain no more than a few metres above sea level. This landscape is intersected by narrow creeks and oxbow pools in which we might find some really rare birds feeding such as Lesser Adjutant and Storm’s Stork. Way Kambas gives us a great chance of seeing the rare White-winged Duck which we hope to find on one of its regular spots.
Colourful rainforest species are high on our agenda here with the incredible Malayan Banded Pitta being top of the target list. We will put in the effort to make sure we get a good view of this key bird, but stunning birds such as Diard’s Trogon, Rufous-collared Kingfisher, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Red-naped Trogon, Banded Broadbill, Scarlet-rumped Trogon and Red-naped Trogon will not be far behind on the wish-list. Birding at Way Kambas usually results in a lot of good woodpecker sightings with Olive-backed Woodpecker perhaps being the pick of the bunch in terms of rarity; Buff-necked Woodpecker, Grey-and-buff Woodpecker, Crimson-winged Woodpecker, Banded Woodpecker and White-bellied Woodpecker are all expected to name just a few of the possibilities.
Night birding is perhaps the highlight of a visit to Way Kambas and for those who like owls, frogmouths and nightjars this birding tour is a must. Our expert local guide is very proficient in finding species that include the incredible Large Frogmouth, a bird that is always on the shortlist for bird of the trip, as well as Reddish Scops Owl, Bonaparte’s Nightjar, Sunda Frogmouth, Brown Boobook, Gould’s Frogmouth, Malaysian Eared Nightjar, Large-tailed Nightjar and the spectacular Oriental Bay Owl. While this West Java and Sumatra birding trip gives an excellent chance to see many night birds we remember that observing these species always requires a lot of patience. However, time frame we have ensures that we have the best chance of finding most, if not all, of them.
Throw in birds such as Green Broadbill, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Dark-throated Oriole, Black Magpie and a whole host of babblers including Sumatran Babbler, Ferruginous Babbler, Chestnut-rumped Babbler, Black-capped Babbler and the amazing Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler then you have an enormous number of great birds to anticipate. Way Kambas really is one of the best birding sites in the whole of Southeast Asia and it always delivers.
On our last day birding in south eastern Sumatra we spend a full morning at way Kambas before traveling to Bandar Lampung airport for our afternoon flight back to Jakarta. We will spend the night in our comfortable airport hotel.
Day 15, Jakarta-Padang-Kerinci – 16th October 2023
This will be a travel day, getting ourselves to the remote Gunung Kerinci. After breakfast at our hotel we will catch a mid-morning flight to Padang from Jakarta. On arrival we meet our drivers and local guide for central Sumatra and then make the journey of around seven hours, by minivan, to the village of Kersik Tuo. In this village we will stay at Subandi’s Homestay, where they have been catering to bird watchers for over 25 years. We will have dinner along the way and arrive in time for a beer and discuss the next day’s plan.
Days 16-18, Gunung Kerinci – 17-19th October 2023
Three full days on Indonesia’s second highest mountain will be divided between the lower slopes and the upper levels both of which contain some really exciting birds. Usually first light allows us to see the peak of Gunung Kerinci and often there is a plume of smoke from the top which serves to remind us of the fact that this is a volcano. Although we will not be venturing to the top we will spend our time on the summit trail making daily excursions through the dense, moist forest from our nearby accommodation.
Walking at a slow, birding speed we will expect to see dueting Rusty-bellied Wren Babblers in the undergrowth of the lower levels as well as Lesser Shortwing and Snowy-browed Flycatcher. Schneider’s Pitta is the key target here and although it is hard to locate, over the last few years they have been appearing regularly at a stakeout so we are hoping for top-quality views of this endemic pitta. Other birds that often appear at stakeouts include Salvadori’s Pheasant, Shiny Whistlingthrush and even Bronze-tailed Peacock Pheasant but patience is always required when hoping to see shy birds of the forest floor.
Other birds we hope to find in the lower levels of the mountain include the stunning Sumatran Trogon, which can actually be fairly common on some trips, Large Niltava, Grey-throated Babbler, White-throated Fantail and with a little luck we will encounter a party of Red-billed Partridges. Hopefully we can see Sumatran Frogmouth on a day roost.
Hiking higher up the mountain involves some steep stretches but the distances involved are not great and it is worth making the effort for a good chance to see the amazing Sumatran Wren Babbler with its remarkable long bill. As we go uphill our chances of finding Sumatran Whistlingthrush, White-browed (Sumatran) Shortwing, Sunda (Sumatran) Robin and Sunda Bush Warbler increase but it is not until we get quite high up that we find ourselves in the habitat of the very elusive Sumatran Cochoa. Flocks of birds on the mountain should provide more chances to see birds seen previously on the trip including Indigo Flycatcher, Blue Nuthatch, Sunda Warbler, Sunda Minivet plus new birds in the form of Blyth’s Shrike-babbler and Rufous-vented Niltava.
At Kerinci we will have the opportunity to do some night birding with Rajah Scops Owl being the prime target. This is a difficult bird to find and will involve staying out some time after dark in order to find it and then hiking down the mountain. Barred Eagle Owl is another species we have a chance to see here along with Salvadori’s Nightjar.
Three days have been allotted for Gunung Kerinci as patience and persistence is needed to find many of the target species. Multiple forays up the trail are likely to be required but always at a slow pace in order to give us the best opportunity to get good views of as many of Kerinci’s iconic birds as possible without being in a rush.
Day 19, Tapan Road – 20th October 2023
After an early breakfast we leave our accommodation and drive a couple of hours to Tapan Road. Miles of high-quality forest should provide many new birds for our trip including a few really superb species. One of the biggest prizes at this site is the wonderful Graceful Pitta which we will be hoping to make our fourth pitta species of the trip, although the intricate plumage of Marbled Wren Babbler can challenge even this jewel for supremacy among the birds found in the moist gullies here.
Along the meandering road through the forest one of the main attractions among the arboreal species is the lovely Blue-masked Leafbird which often forages on flowering bushes and trees. Sumatran Treepie is another wonderful key species to be found here while Cream-striped Bulbul, Sunda Cuckooshrike, Spot-necked Bulbul, Sumatran Drongo, Sumatran Leafbird and Black-capped White-eye make up the set of endemic birds along here.
Birding along the road here is a lot easier than along the trail at Kerinci and we can expect to encounter flocks of birds which will include more widespread species including Black-and-crimson Oriole, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Chestnut-crowned Warbler, Golden Babbler, Blue-winged Leafbird, Mountain Leaf Warbler, Long-tailed Broadbill and Temminck’s Sunbird. In the mornings we will have a chance of spotting Sumatran Green Pigeon and Little Cuckoo Dove perched out in the open trying to catch the morning sunshine. There is a lot to keep us busy at Tapan Road for sure.
Day 20, Lempur Forest Trail – 21st October 2023
An early breakfast will allow us to arrive on site early enough to make a hike that gets us into the territory of a very special bird: Sumatran Ground Cuckoo. It will be important to get to the right place early enough to have the best chance of seeing this difficult-to-see bird which is unpredictable, being quite obliging at times but completely absent at others. Hiking a rough but gently-sloping trail we pass through some good forest where we are likely to see Sunda (Sumatran) Bulbul along the way as well as flyover views of Wreathed Hornbill and, probably, more views of Sumatran Trogon.
After spending the morning in our quest for the Ground Cuckoo we will hike out of the forest and in the late afternoon, we will make a stop at some lakeside rice fields to find the cute White-headed Munia alongside White-rumped Munia, Eastern Cattle Egret and Intermediate Egret. These munias are a nice way to end the day’s birding.
Day 21, Tapan Road – 22nd October 2023
A final day of easy birding along Tapan Road will allow us a second chance at any key species we did not get satisfying views of previously. We will also have time to explore further along the road where Bushy-crested Hornbill and Rhinoceros Hornbill dwell. Both Sumatran and Blue-masked Leafbirds are getting more scarce so we may need to visit more flowering trees to find them or just to get more views of these beautiful birds. Species such as Grey-bellied Bulbul, Spectacled Spiderhunter, Cinereous Bulbul, Red-headed Trogon, Rufous-chested Flycatcher, Rufous-bellied Eagle and Temminck’s Sunbird all occupy the forest along here so there is always plenty to search for.
We return to spend the night at Subandi’s Homestay, reducing the length of our journey on the final day.
Day 22, Kerinci-Padang-Jakarta – 23rd October 2023
The tour finishes with a travel day. We will leave early enough to get to Padang for our late afternoon flight to Jakarta, expecting to arrive at around 6pm. On arrival we will transfer to our hotel for our final night in Indonesia.
Day 23, Departure – 24th October 2023
A free shuttle bus will take you the short distance from our hotel to Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. The time for this can be agreed by you and the hotel according to their scheduled times. This concludes our West Java and Sumatra birding tour.
The following is a list of key species that we have a very good chance of finding based on the experience of previous visits. Although this is a long list it is not exhaustive and there are many other great birds that we will be searching for. However, these are some of the regional highlights that we will put effort into locating because they are memorable and/or are endemics. While we expect to find a very high proportion of these birds we obviously cannot guarantee that we will see all of them; these are wild birds after all.
- Sunda Teal – Anas gibberifrons
- White-winged Duck – Asarcornis scutulata
- Chestnut-bellied Partridge – Arborophila javanica
- Red-billed Partridge – Arborophila rubrirostris
- (Sumatran) Bronze-tailed Peacock Pheasant – Polyplectron chalcurum
- Salvadori’s Pheasant – Lophura inornata
- (Malayan) Crested Fireback – Lophura rufa
- Sumatran Green Pigeon – Treron oxyurus
- Black-naped Fruit Dove – Ptilinopus melanospilus
- Pied Imperial Pigeon – Ducula bicolor
- (Javan) Sunda Coucal – Centropus nigrorufus
- Sumatran Ground Cuckoo – Carpococcyx viridis
- Large Frogmouth – Batrachostomus auritus
- Gould’s Frogmouth – Batrachostomus stellatus
- Sumatran Frogmouth – Batrachostomus poliolophus
- Javan Frogmouth – Batrachostomus javensis
- Sunda Frogmouth – Batrachostomus cornutus
- Malaysian Eared Nightjar – Lyncornis temmincki
- Bonaparte’s Nightjar – Caprimulgus concretus
- Salvadori’s Nightjar – Caprimulgus pulchellus
- Javan Plover – Charadrius javanicus
- Christmas Island Frigatebird – Fregata andrewsi
- Javan Hawk Eagle – Nisaetus bartelsi
- Oriental Bay Owl – Phodilus badius
- Reddish Scops Owl – Otus rufescens
- Rajah Scops Owl – Otus brookii
- Javan Scops Owl – Otus angelinae
- Javan Owlet – Glaucidium castanopterum
- Javan Trogon – Apalharpactes reinwardtii
- Sumatran Trogon – Apalharpactes mackloti
- Red-naped Trogon – Harpactes kasumba
- Diard’s Trogon – Harpactes diardii
- Scarlet-rumped Trogon – Harpactes duvaucelii
- Fire-tufted Barbet – Psilopogon pyrolophus
- Brown-throated Barbet – Psilopogon corvinus
- Black-banded Barbet – Psilopogon javensis
- Flame-fronted Barbet – Psilopogon armillaris
- Yellow-eared Barbet – Psilopogon australis
- Coppersmith Barbet – Psilopogon haemacephalus roseus
- Maroon Woodpecker – Blythipicus rubiginosus
- Olive-backed Woodpecker – Dinopium rafflesii
- Checker-throated Woodpecker – Chrysophlegma mentale
- Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker – Picoides moluccensis
- Rufous-collared Kingfisher – Actenoides concretus
- Javan Kingfisher – Halcyon cyanoventris
- (Javan) Blue-banded Kingfisher – Alcedo euryzona (euryzona)
- (Javan) Yellow-throated Hanging Parrot – Loriculus pusillus
- Green Broadbill – Calytomena viridis
- Long-tailed Broadbill – Psarisomus dalhousiae
- Schneider’s Pitta – Hydrornis schneideri
- Javan Banded Pitta – Hydrornis guajanus
- Malayan Banded Pitta – Hydrornis irena
- Graceful Pitta – Erythropitta venusta
- Pied Shrike Babbler – Pteruthius falviscapis
- Trilling Shrike Babbler – Pteruthius aenobarbus
- Rufous-tailed Fantail – Rhipidura phoenicura
- Sumatran Treepie – Dendrocitta occipitalis
- Orange-spotted Bulbul – Pycnonotus bimaculatus
- Ruby-throated Bulbul – Pycnonotus dispar
- Cream-striped Bulbul – Alcurus leucogrammicus
- Spot-necked Bulbul – Alcurus tympanistrigus
- (Javan) Grey-cheeked Tit Babbler – Macronus flavicollis
- Crescent-chested Babbler – Cyanoderma melanothorax
- White-bibbed Babbler – Stachyris thoracica
- (Javan) White-breasted Babbler – Stachyris grammiceps
- Marbled Wren Babbler – Turdinus marmoratus
- Rusty-breasted Wren Babbler – Turdinus rufipectus
- Sumatran Wren Babbler – Rimator albostriatus
- (Sunda) Eyebrowed Wren Babbler – Napothera epilepidota (epilepidota)
- (Javan) Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush – Garrulax rufifrons
- (Javan) Spotted Crocias – Laniellus albonotatus
- Sunda Warbler – Phylloscopus grammiceps
- Pygmy Bushtit – Aegithalos exilis
- Javan Tesia – Tesia superciliaris
- Sunda Bush Warbler – Horornis vulcanius
- Pygmy Cupwing – Pnoepyga pusilla
- (Javan) Olive-backed Tailorbird – Orthotomus sepium
- Bar-winged Prinia – Prinia familiaris
- Blue Nuthatch – Sitta azurea
- Sunda Thrush – Zoothera andromedae
- Sumatran Cochoa- Cochoa beccarii
- Javan Cochoa – Cochoa azurea
- (Sumatran) Rufous-vented Niltava – Niltava sumatrana
- Indigo Flycatcher – Eumyias indigo
- (Javan) White-browed Shortwing – Brachypteryx montana (montana)
- (Sumatran) White-browed Shortwing – Brachypteryx montana (saturata)
- (Javan) Sunda Blue Robin – Myiomela diana (diana)
- (Sumatran) Sunda Blue Robin – Myiomela diana (sumatrana)
- Sunda Forktail – Enicurus velatus
- Shiny Whistlingthrush – Myophonus melanurus
- Javan Whistlingthrush – Myophonus glaucinus
- Sumatran Whistlingthrush – Myophonus castaneus
- Sumatran Leafbird – Chlorolophus media
- Blue-masked Leafbird – Chlorolophus venusta
- (Javan) Blood-breasted Flowerpecker – Dicaeum sanguinolentum
- Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker – Dicaeum trochileum
- White-flanked Sunbird – Aethopyga eximia
- Javan Sunbird – Aethopyga mystacalis
The map of West Java and Sumatra below displays the main locations visited on this birding tour.
1. Muara Angke
9. Way Kambas National Park
2. Pulau Rambut
6. Gunung Gede National park
10. Lempur Forest Trail
3. Pulau Dua
7. Cibodas Botanical Gardens
11. Tapan Road
4. Carita Forest Reserve
8. Bogor Botanical Gardens
12. Gunung Kerinci National Park
The following is a selection of the birds of West Java and Sumatra photographed at sites visited on this tour.
All above photographs copyright Nick Upton/Calidris Birding Tours.
Tour Cost: £4425 per person
Single supplement: £625 Depending on the number of participants, single accommodation may not be possible at Halimun. This is because the research station has a limited number of rooms.
Included in the tour cost; All transport including airport transfers, accommodation (based on two people sharing a room) including a hotel on the night preceding the tour and on the final night of the tour, flights within Indonesia, all meals, bottled water, national park entry fees and permits, services of English-speaking birding guide, translator and Calidris Birding Tours guide.
Not included in the tour cost; International flights, travel insurance, visa (most nationalities get visa-free entry), alcoholic drinks, tips, excess baggage fees, laundry and any other items of a personal nature. On the odd occasion camera fees are levied at some national parks; any fees that may be charged are not included in the tour cost.
Accommodation: All accommodation is convenient for accessing the birding sites and to simplify travel logistics. Accommodation includes a very comfortable airport hotel in Jakarta, a modern beach hotel at Carita, a basic research station with shared toilet facilities at Halimun, a comfortable hotel at Cibodas, one night camping at Gunung Gede (one tent per person), a simple but clean and comfortable wildlife lodge at Way Kambas, a basic but clean homestay at Kerinci and a comfortable hotel at Sungai Penuh. All accommodation, apart from that at Halimun, has en-suite shower and toilet facilities. Wifi is available at some locations but not all.
Physical Effort: Overall you will require a reasonable level of fitness/mobility to enjoy this West Java and Sumatra birding tour to its full. Days 1-4, 6-7, 10-15, 19 & 21-23 are fairly easy, requiring little to no hiking, some walking on undulating trails/tracks or very easy strolling and boarding/sitting in a boat. Day 5 involves a moderate walk with a few short, steep sections, along a forest trail. Days 8-9 & 16-18 involve hiking a mountain trail. This is always done at birding speed with lots of coffee/snack breaks. The trail is quite wide and well-stepped but these are long walks taking most of the day. Day 20 involves a two-hour hike along an inclined track with some short steep slopes, to get in place at the right time for the target species. Careful planning of the itinerary will ensure that harder days are broken up with days that are shorter and/or involve easy birding so that there is sufficient rest. Most people with good levels of mobility will be able to enjoy this trip. On a number of days there will be breaks in the middle of the day and a couple of early finishes before hikes on the next day.
Weather: Warm to hot in the lowlands with quite high levels of humidity. Most of the trip, however, is at higher altitude where much cooler temperatures are normal. We expect mostly dry and bright conditions but there can be some rain at any time. Overall weather conditions are not extreme.
Food: Indonesian food is typical of Southeast Asian cuisine, based on rice accompanied by a variety of stir-fried dishes, some of which are spicy, others of which are not. Vegetarian food is widely available with one of the best meat substitutes in the world (tempe) originating in Indonesia. People with food allergies can be catered for, but please notify us of these in advance.
Nick Upton has been birding since the age of seven and leading birding tours full-time since 2007. After travelling extensively in Asia he settled in Thailand in 1997, teaching English and science while establishing thaibirding.com. With a BSc (Hons) Wildlife & Countryside Conservation he is well placed to understand the ecology of birds as well as the conservation issues that affect them.
Nick is co-founder/director of Calidris Birding Tours.
While we make every effort to adhere to the advertised itinerary for this West Java and Sumatra birding tour we reserve the right to make changes in the case of unforeseen circumstances that are beyond our control. These include problems with accessibility, national park closures, unseasonal weather events or any other reason that may demand a change of itinerary.
Recommended Field Guide
Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago: Greater Sundas and Wallacea
Published in 2016 this is the most complete guide to the birds of Indonesia. We strongly recommend that all participants on this tour purchase a copy after booking to familiarize themselves with the birds we hope to see. The checklist that Calidris Birding Tours will issue for this tour will be based on IOC taxonomy with reference to the taxonomy used within this field guide.
When booking this West Java and Sumatra Birding Tour participants will receive a 10% discount code to use when ordering the book directly from Lynx Edicions.
Read our full review of the book here – Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago.
Related Blog Posts
- Gunung Kerinci Birds – posted by Nick Upton 01/10/19
- National Monument Jakarta – posted by Nick Upton 05/09/17
- Birds in Jakarta – posted by Nick Upton 09/10/16
- Way Kambas – posted by Nick Upton 02/10/16
Terms and conditions: Please read full Calidris Birding Tours terms and conditions which apply to the West Java and Sumatra Birding Tour.