Overview

This very special island-hopping cruise through the seldom-birded, far eastern Indonesian islands has been specially designed to maximise our chances of locating the regions unique endemic birds. During part of the next 3 weeks, we will cruise our way across some of our planet’s least explored seas and the myriad of jewel-like islands, including the Tanimbars, Babar, Damar, Wetar, Alor, Pantar, Kalaotoa, Kalao and Tanahjampea that host an amazing number of endemics and many little-known birds. This will be expedition cruising at its very best! With the exception of a handful of recent observations, very little is known about the avifauna of these rarely visited islands. The main tour, followed by an extension to the seldom explored Kai Islands, bodes well in finding most of the endemics and future endemic species too. We can expect to encounter a wide array of Asia’s least-known and most exciting and sought-after species!

The world's sixth largest nation, Indonesia supports around 12% of Earth's tropical forests and a vast storehouse of biological wonders and ethnographic curiosities. Of special interest to us, Indonesia hosts a total of some 1,700 species of birds including around 400 currently recognised endemics (but as many as 600 endemics if taking the new Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago into account!); at least 130 of which are considered globally threatened. The eastern islands are among the least explored of all with many having been visited by less than a handful of western ornithologists and it is these islands and their remarkable birds that will be the focus of our attention.

The extensive Indonesian archipelago that comprises the slightly enigmatic nation of the Republic of Indonesia encompasses some 17,000+ islands that girdle the equator for more than 6,000km. Like a string of emeralds adrift in seas adorned with myriads of turquoise coral reefs and blessed with dazzling beaches and deep, mysterious forests host to untold avian gems. Our journey will take us from the fabulous Tanimbar Islands all the way across the south-eastern edge of the mighty Banda Sea to Flores. The tour starts with our first few days exploring the Tanimbar Islands, enjoying a wide array of endemics. We then call into the island of Babar before our next island, Damar. home to the endemic and at one stage mythical Damar Flycatcher, which was only rediscovered in 2001 after its initial discovery in the 19th century. Further west we will pop into the island of Leti for one of Wallacea’s least known specialties - Grey (Kisar) Friarbird. Next stop is the large and quite mountainous island of Wetar. Lowly populated and still covered in large areas of lovely forest we will be in seventh heaven uncovering this island’s offerings. We then spend a day at sea, which has great potential for large numbers of seabirds and cetaceans before arriving on the poorly known island of Alor and then Pantar where several specials await us such as Olive-headed Lorikeet, Timor Stubtail, undescribed ‘Alor’ Myzomela, newly rediscovered Javan Bush Warbler and an undescribed Macropygia which is currently subsumed within the Little Cuckoo-Dove complex. Further genetic studies should give rise to a new species in the future – Eucalyptus Cuckoo-Dove! Another day at sea will see us arriving islands of Kalao and Kalaotoa, largely unbirded since 1895, will definitely excite our spirit of adventure too. The little explored and seldom visited Tanahjampea will be our last island, where we seek out Tanahjampea Monarch and Tanahjampea Blue Flycatcher – both only rediscovered in 1993 after their initial collection in 1927!

Just some of the birds we hope to encounter include: Tanimbar Megapode, Bulwer’s Petrel, Wetar Ground Dove, Wallace’s Fruit Dove, Elegant and Timor Imperial Pigeons, Flores Green Pigeon, Tanimbar Corella, Little (Pied) Bronze Cuckoo, Flores Sea Cuckoo-Dove, Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher, Blue-streaked Lory, Iris Lorikeet, Jonquil Parrot, Yellow-crested Cockatoo, Tanimbar Boobook, Moluccan Scops Owl, Elegant Pitta, Black-necklaced Honeyeater, Cinnamon-tailed Fantail, Black-bibbed Monarch, Damar and Timor Blue Flycatchers, Wetar Figbird, Olive-brown (Wetar) Oriole, Timor Stubtail and Slaty-backed, Orange-banded and Fawn-breasted Thrushes. Add to this a wealth of other localised endemics, a rich variety of seabirds, cetaceans, reef fishes and some wonderful butterflies and you have all the ingredients of an extremely exciting and memorable adventure.

Tour Facts Top Birds
Flores Sea, Timor, Tanimbar, Black & ‘Eucalyptus’ Cuckoo-Doves; Black-naped, Wallace’s, Rose-crowned & Banded Fruit Doves; Flores Green Pigeon; Wetar Ground Dove; Pink-headed & Timor Imperial Pigeons; Blyth’s Paradise Flycatcher; Elegant Pitta; Damar, Tanahjampea Blue, Timor Blue, Broad-billed & Mangrove Blue Flycatchers; Tanahjampea & Black-bibbed (Banda Sea) Monarchs; ‘Babar’, Rusty-breasted & Fawn-breasted Whistlers; Arafura Fantail; Rufous-sided Gerygone; Tanimbar Megapode; Orange-footed Scrubfowl; Black-fronted Flowerpecker; Flame-breasted Sunbird; Wallacean Cuckooshrike; Alor & Tanimbar Boobooks; Moluccan (Lesser) Masked Owl; Moluccan Scops Owl; Large-tailed Nightjar; Javan Bush Warbler; Rusty-breasted Cuckoo; ‘Alor’, Banda & Crimson-hooded Myzomelas; Chestnut-backed, Orange-sided’ Orange-banded & Sunda Thrushes; Red-legged Crake; Flores Hawk-Eagle; Yellow-crested Cockatoo; Tanimbar Corella; Jonquil & Great-billed Parrots; Olive-headed Lorikeet; Black-necklaced Honeyeater; Wetar Figbird; Timor Stubtail; Tricolored Parrotfinch; Zebra Finch; Five-colored & Black-faced Munias; Kisar & Tanimbar Friarbirds; Tanimbar Oriole; Kai Cicadabird; Mistletoebird; Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher; Metallic & Violet-hooded Starlings; Streaked, Wedge-tailed & Heinroth’s (rare) Shearwaters; Red-tailed Tropicbird; Tahiti & Bulwer’s Petrels; Matsudaira’s Storm Petrel; Red-footed & Abbott’s Boobys; Great & Christmas Frigatebirds.
Habitats Covered
primary and secondary moist lowland forest, hill forest, scrub, secondary woodland, islands, coastlines, mangroves, pelagic
Expected Climate
hot and humid with tropical showers in the lowlands. Cooler in the mountains, rain and mist possible
Max Group Size
10 with 2 Rockjumper leaders
Tour Pace & Walking
easy to moderate with some longer walks. Early mornings to maximize the best time of day, but midday breaks back at the boat when it heats up. Otherwise time spent cruising
Accommodation
comfortable ship cabins & lodgings
Ease of Birding
easy to moderate with some tricky species
Other Attractions
pristine forests, unspoiled reefs, snorkeling, swimming, visiting remote, little explored islands and seeing their associated local communities
Photographic Opportunities
good
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Tour Route Map Route Map Client Testimonials

This was a fabulous tour! Living on the Seahorse and going ashore each day to explore, in many cases, remote and under-birded locations was a truly exciting and wonderful experience. In addition, it was a fabulous and memorable experience to have Glen and Keith Valentine as leaders. They teamed seamlessly and ensured that everyone had a wonderful and got on to the birds. Oh, and of course, the sight of at least 4 male Wilson's Birds-of-Paradise displaying to multiple females was the stuff of dreams! Truly spectacular! And the local guides and drivers were all great, not forgetting the Skipper and crew of the Seahorse! The Buru extension for the Madanga and some of the owls was also so memorable, as were the few days in West Papua. All things considered, a truly wonderful and memorable tour!

David Ertrius is above all patient, with the birds, with the participants and the local guides. He very modestly shares his incredible knowledge of the birds.

Glen Valentine our leader really delivered. He was ultra-patient making sure everyone was comfortable and that everyone got on the bird.

My thanks to Keith and Glen Valentine for taking so much time in getting me on the birds. They are so patient and really nice.

Glen was again a wonderful guide who has excellent field skills and is always willing to help clients who are struggling to find the birds or who have other ‘issues’..

Dates, Leaders and Pricing
2021 DEPARTURES
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