David Erterius is an excellent birder and a great tour leader. Unfailing enthusiasm while birding, and a great manner during non-birding time. The combination of the birders and the guides made this probably the most enjoyable trip I have been on.
Indonesia, spread across 17,508 islands and boasting over 1,600 bird species and nearly 400 endemics (more than any other nation in the world), cannot be ignored by the international birder! Delving first into Western Indonesia, we base ourselves on the island of Flores in the Lesser Sundas. Here we search for an array of ornate species such as Glittering Kingfisher, sensational Elegant Pitta, Wallace’s Hanging Parrot, Leaf Lorikeet and the bizarre Bare-throated Whistler before embarking on one of the undoubted highlights of the trip to Komodo Island. Here, 10ft long Komodo Dragons roam this almost prehistoric paradise alongside Green Junglefowl and the beautiful, critically endangered Yellow-crested Cockatoo.
A short flight takes us to the island of Bali, most famous as a beach tourism Mecca. Situated at the eastern end of the Greater Sundas, we shall base ourselves near the famous Bali Barat National Park. Top of our priority list are the few remaining truly wild Bali Starlings, with a supporting cast of Black-winged Starling, Cerulean Kingfisher and Javan Banded Pitta!
Departing Bali, we head to the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, to explore the Javan hot spots of Cibodas and Gunung Gede National Park. These fabulous montane birding spots host all the possible Javan endemics, and we shall bird diligently for such highlights as Javan Trogon, Javan Kingfisher, Flame-fronted Barbet, Pygmy Tit, Orange-spotted Bulbul, Javan Hawk-Eagle, Javan Tesia and Yellow-throated Hanging Parrots. We depart Java on a short flight to southern Sumatra and head to Way Kambas National Park. Producing arguably the best nocturnal birding in the whole of South-East Asia, Way Kambas gives us excellent opportunities for such tantalizing species as the bizarre Oriental Bay Owl, Sunda and Reddish Scops Owls and Buffy Fish Owl as well as Gould’s, Sunda, Blyth’s and the rare Large Frogmouth. Not that we will bird at night only, for the forests here hold many delights including the marvelous Hooded and Malayan Banded Pittas, the strange mesite-like Rail-babbler, placed in its own monotypic family, Crested Fireback, Banded and Oriental Dwarf Kingfishers, White-crowned Forktail and Rufous-tailed Shama!
Bali Starling, White-winged Duck, Flores, Wallace’s, Reddish and Moluccan Scops Owls, Yellow-crested Cockatoo, Rail-babbler, Crested Fireback, Crested Partridge, Banded, Black-and-yellow, Black-and-red, Dusky & Green Broadbills, Javan Kingfisher, Javan Banded, Malayan Banded, Hooded & Elegant Pitta, Java Sparrow, Javan Plover, Javan, Scarlet-rumped, Diard’s & Red-naped Trogon, Oriental Bay Owl, White-browed Shortwing, Rusty-breasted, Violet & Sunda Cuckoo, Sunda Thrush, Dark-backed & Green Imperial Pigeon, Bare-throated Whistler, Leaf Lorikeet, Russet-capped Tesia, Thick-billed Heleia, Wallace’s Hanging Parrot, Flores Monarch, Chestnut-capped Thrush, Green Junglefowl, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Little Cuckoo-Dove, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Beach Thick-knee, White-tailed Tropicbird, Bulwer’s Petrel, Black-thighed Falconet, Pink-necked Green Pigeon, Chestnut-breasted, Raffles’s & Chestnut-bellied Malkoha, White-shouldered Triller, Racket-tailed Treepie, Olive-backed Tailorbird, White-breasted Woodswallow, Large-tailed, Malaysian & Bonaparte’s Nightjar, Lemon-bellied White-eye, Black-banded Barbet, Javan Flameback, Javan Cuckooshrike, Scarlet Minivet, Ruby-throated Bulbuls, Pale-bellied (or Javan) Myna, Sunda Teal, Javan Owlet, Buffy Fish Owl, Sunda Coucal, Javan White-eye, Yellow Bittern, White-flanked Sunbird, Trilling Shrike-Babbler, Salvadori’s Nightjar, Brown-throated & Flame-fronted Barbets, Pygmy Bushtit, Mees’s White-eye, Javan Hawk-Eagle, Javan Trogon, White-flanked Sunbird, Volcano Swiftlet, Yellow-throated Hanging Parrot, Blue Nuthatch, Crescent-chested Babbler, Orange-spotted Bulbul, Rufous-tailed Fantail, Chestnut-bellied Partridge, Javan Scops Owl, Javan Owlet, Spotted Crocias, Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush, Gould’s, Sunda, Blyth’s & Large Frogmouth, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Slender-billed Crow, Javan Munia, Lesser Adjutant, Storm’s Stork, Black, Bushy-crested, Wrinkled, White-crowned, Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon, Purple-naped, Ruby-cheeked, Plain & Crimson Sunbird, Orange-bellied, Golden-rumped, Scarlet-headed, Crimson-breasted & Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker, Checker-throated, Crimson-winged, Rufous, Buff-necked, Grey-and-buff, Maroon & Sunda Woodpecker.
Asian Palm Civet, Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Dugong, Crab-eating, Long-tailed & Pig-tailed Macaque, Ebony, Mitred & Sundaic Silvered Leaf Monkey, Javan Rusa Deer, Asian Palm & Black Giant Squirrel, Indian Muntjac, Barking Deer, Sunda Pangolin, Agile Gibbon, Siamang, Greater & Lesser Mouse Deer, Sunda Clouded Leopard, Asiatic Golden, Leopard, Marbled, Fishing and Flat-headed Cats, Binturong, Sunda Colugo, Malayan Porcupine and Sunda Slow Loris, Banded, Masked & Small-toothed Palm Civets, Malay Civet, Red Giant Flying Squirrel and Yellow-throated Marten
montane and lowland forests, volcanic mountains, rice paddies, rivers, islands, beaches
mostly hot to humid with cooler nights and mornings in the highlands
relaxed pace with some longer hikes
Day 1: Denpasar, Bali to Ruteng, Flores
Our Indonesia birding tour begins at Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar, Bali, where our group will meet for our flight to Ruteng. On arrival, we will head to Golo Lusang and bird the remainder of the afternoon at this stunning high altitude forest. Mixed feeding flocks may yield a number of localised specialities, including Little Minivet, Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker and Crested White-eye. The sweet song of White-browed Shortwing (occurring here as a highly distinctive subspecies, sometimes split as Flores Shortwing) may give its presence away in the dense undergrowth and we may also be fortunate to encounter Barred Cuckoo-Dove in the forest canopy. Other species that may entertain us in these highland forests include Mountain Tailorbird, Rusty-breasted and Sunda Cuckoos (the latter split from Oriental Cuckoo) and mouse-like Pygmy Wren-babbler in the dense, dark gullies. If we are very lucky, the rarely-seen Sunda Thrush and highly elusive Tawny-breasted Parrotfinch may also put in an appearance. The endemic race of Russet-backed Jungle-flycatcher (sometimes split as Flores Jungle-flycatcher) will also be a target.
At dusk, we will then try and track down one of the island’s least known and toughest endemics, the near-mythical Flores Scops Owl. Finding this species will, however, require exceptional effort and a fair amount of luck thrown in as well! While searching for this mega owl, we will also have further chances of finding both Wallace’s and Moluccan Scops Owls. Later in the evening, we will head back to our accommodation in Ruteng.
Day 2: Ruteng to Labuan Bajo
An early morning departure will take us back into the higher altitude forest at Golo Lusang. We will have a second opportunity to search for any species we may have missed yesterday. We may be rewarded with views of Dark-backed Imperial Pigeon, Scaly-crowned Honeyeater, Little Minivet, Brown-capped Fantail or the sought after Bare-throated Whistler, blasting out their calls from exposed perches.
After a thoroughly enjoyable morning around Golo Lusang, we depart the highlands and head west towards Labuan Bajo. En route we shall stop at the mid-elevation site of Pagal, where we shall search for Leaf Lorikeet, Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker, the tiny Russet-capped Tesia, Thick-billed Heleia, Oriental White-eye (of the striking yellow form) and Golden-rumped Flowerpecker. Fruiting fig trees could hold the desirable and elusive Wallace’s Hanging Parrot! Continuing westwards, we shall make one final birding stop in the beautiful forests of Paurlolo, a site famous for harbouring the incredibly rare Flores Monarch. Only discovered in 1971, it remains an almost mythical species! Paurlolo is also a good site for Elegant Pitta, Chestnut-capped Thrush, Rufous-chested Flycatcher, Wallace’s Hanging Parrot and a number of other Lesser Sunda forest endemics. After our afternoon’s birding, we will continue to Labuan Bajo on the western edge of Flores, where we will check into our beachside hotel. Time permitting, we may venture to the nearby coastal fields or exposed mudflats that attract the near-endemic, Javan Plover.
Day 3: Day trip to Komodo Island
Today will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the entire Indonesia birding tour! We will board a boat for the world-famous Komodo Island before dawn in order to arrive at the island with ample time for exploration and photography. On this arid 390sq km island, we will be met by one of the park’s rangers and will then head off to the savannas and forests of this remarkable island, now a national park, in search of its most famous resident – which we have an excellent chance of observing.
The Komodo Dragon was discovered by Westerners only in 1910 when an official of the Dutch Colonial Administration mounted an expedition of armed soldiers to investigate stories of fire-spitting dragons exceeding 23ft in length. Two theories exist as to the reasons for such a huge lizard evolving; the traditional thinking was that the Komodo Dragon was an example of island gigantism, a biological phenomenon whereby island forms tend to evolve into larger taxa (and conversely continental forms become smaller). However, recent evidence indicates that the Komodo Dragon is an ancient relict of giant lizards that evolved in Australia but became extinct with other megafauna during the Pleistocene era. Measuring up to 10ft 3in (over 3m) and tipping the scales at an average weight of up to 200 lbs (90 kg), the Komodo Dragon is the super predator on the island.
Any creature they can overcome and kill falls within their dietary range: from invertebrates and birds, fellow Komodo Dragons, right up to mammals as large as Water Buffalo and even humans! The bulk of their diet, however, consists of large mammals that have been introduced to these islands, notably Timor Deer, Wild Boar, Water Buffalo and goats. Animals up to the size of goats are swallowed whole; this process being aided by the dragons’ loosely articulated jaws, flexible skull and expandable stomach. Nevertheless, this can be a slow process despite the saliva lubricating the meal and Komodo Dragons have been observed to ram carcases against trees (sometimes even knocking trees down in the process) to force large prey items down their throats!
Komodo is home to far more than these incredible lizards: 32 mammal species, 128 birds and 37 reptile species are known from Komodo National Park. Native mammals occurring on the island include Asian Palm Civet and several bat and rodent species. Birds are prolific and we will search for Green Junglefowl, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, the Critically Endangered Yellow-crested Cockatoo, Green Imperial Pigeon, the lovely Barred Dove, Little Cuckoo-Dove, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Asian Koel, Black-naped Oriole, Black-naped Monarch, Wallacean Drongo, Collared Kingfisher, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Australian Golden Whistler, Olive-backed Sunbird, Helmeted Friarbird and, with a bit of good fortune, Beach Thick-knee.
After lunch on the island, we will have an opportunity to snorkel the remarkable coral reefs off Pink Beach before we begin our journey back to Labuan Bajo. En route we will keep an eye out for seabirds and possibilities include Lesser Frigatebird, White-tailed Tropicbird, Brown Booby and various terns, such as Black-naped, Lesser and Greater Crested, and Bridled. Schools of Bottle-nosed Dolphins may put in an appearance or perhaps even a Dugong, which we were very fortunate to see on our 2013 tour, and maybe even the tiny Bulwer’s Petrel, which generally prefers deeper waters, may pass by our boat. We should arrive back on the mainland in the late afternoon to freshen up and enjoy a final dinner on this fascinating island.
Day 4: Labuan Bajo to Denpasar and drive to Bali Barat National Park
After breakfast this morning on our Indonesia birding tour, we shall take a short flight from Labuan Bajo to Denpasar. Switching to vehicles, we will spend most of the morning driving up to the western edge of the island, where the world-renowned Bali Barat National Park is situated. On our scenic routes over the highlands of central Bali, we will soak in the unique Balinese Hindu culture with its abundant temples and acres of green rice paddies. We will also keep a lookout for birds along the way, including the stunning and near-endemic Javan Kingfisher, Long-tailed Shrike, Paddyfield Pipit, Pied Bush Chat and Black-crowned Night Heron.
Expanses of tall, seeding grass in and adjacent to the rice paddies could yield four very special birds in the form of White-capped, Javan and White-headed Munias and the beautifully patterned Java Sparrow, as well as the more common and widespread Scaly-breasted Munia. Greater and Lesser Coucals, Striated Grassbird, Cinnamon Bittern and Javan Pond Heron also occupy this habitat. We can expect to arrive at our luxurious lodge situated in Bali Barat National Park in the early afternoon, and our exploration of this epic reserve will then begin. This wonderful reserve remains the last refuge for one of the world’s rarest birds, the critically endangered, and striking Bali Myna. We will explore dry monsoon forests as well as lusher lowland rainforest, mangrove, saltpans and savanna areas during our time here at the western end of Bali and close (separated by the 2 mile Bali Strait) to the great island of Java, which can be seen from our lodge.
Days 5 & 6: Bali Barat National Park and surrounds
Our main target over the next two days of our Indonesia birding tour will be the mostly white (but sporting a blue eye-ring) Bali Starling. Not only is it one of the most eye-catching of all the world’s starlings, it also happens to be a bird on the brink of extinction. This is tragically due to the relentless trapping of the species for the international cage-bird trade and there are currently believed to be fewer than 20 birds left in the wild! We do, however, have an excellent chance of seeing this, Bali’s only endemic and much-desired species, during our time in the park.
Our lodge is situated on 382-hectares of natural monsoon forest and savanna right inside Bali Barat National Park. One of the main buildings is a five-story tower situated on a ridge in the park and offering superb birding opportunities. We will scan the surrounding forest and this is a particularly fine site for raptor spotting. On our most recent trip, we recorded Brahminy Kite, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Black Eagle and the tiny Black-thighed Falconet right from this tower!
The protected area around our lodge also harbours many other mouth-watering birds and we will be on the lookout for the rare and near-endemic Black-winged Starling, Pink-necked Green Pigeon, lovely Zebra Dove, stunning Black-naped Monarch, Chestnut-breasted Malkoha, Plaintive Cuckoo, Common Flameback (a stunning woodpecker), Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, White-shouldered Triller (an Indonesian endemic), flocks of Small Minivet, Lineated and Coppersmith Barbet, Oriental Dollarbird, Common Iora, Mangrove Whistler, Ashy and Hair-crested Drongo, Racket-tailed Treepie, Cinereous Tit, Oriental Magpie-Robin, Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker, regionally endemic Olive-backed Tailorbird, and Olive-backed Sunbird. Green Junglefowl is another localised target species that occurs in good numbers right on our lodge property, but is most easily encountered in the early morning or late afternoon.
Blue-tailed and the stunning Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters can both be found hawking insects from exposed perches, and White-breasted Woodswallows, Grey-rumped Treeswifts and both Cave and Edible-nest Swiftlets forage overhead. We may also flush Large-tailed Nightjars during our forays or tape it into view in the early evening when they start calling around our lodge. Another lodge speciality is the splendid Javan Banded Pitta (a recent split of the Banded Pitta) and we stand excellent chances of tracking down this beauty. They can even be heard below our deck as we enjoy breakfast!
During one of the days, we will head out by boat to a nearby islet that is also within the national park. Here we will have the opportunity to marvel at the wonder-world of colourful fish and other marine life that abound in truly fantastic numbers on the corals that proliferate here. A short walk on the island may reveal the small island specialist, Lemon-bellied White-eye and Freckle-breasted Woodpecker.
An early morning excursion into the lusher forests elsewhere in Bali Barat National Park should produce the scarce Fulvous-chested Jungle-flycatcher, the rare and elusive Black-banded Barbet, Black-naped Fruit Dove if we are lucky, and the cheerful Crescent-chested Babbler. A short, high-pitched call may alert us to the presence of another rainforest gem, the minuscule Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher that favours stream-side snags in the forest interior. We will also seek out the much larger Javan Flameback (a split from Greater Flameback) and floppy Oriental Pied Hornbills. Other birds we will look out for include Orange-breasted Green Pigeon, Javan Cuckooshrike, Scarlet Minivet, Sooty-headed and the uncommon Ruby-throated Bulbuls, and Pale-bellied (or Javan) Myna.
The nearby coastline may yield a few great birds, including the uncommon and often-elusive Beach Stone-curlew, Lesser Adjutant and Great-billed Heron, as well as Black-naped, Greater and Lesser Crested, Little and elegant Roseate Terns. A visit to a nearby salt works will produce a plethora of wetland species, including more Javan Pond Herons, our best chances of Sunda Teal, close encounters with Javan Plover, White-headed Stilt and the first of the overwintering migrant waders that should have arrived by now. We will also try our luck with some of the area’s rare owl species and, with a bit of effort and good fortune, we may find the sought-after Javan Owlet, Sunda Scops Owl, Brown Hawk-Owl or, if we are exceptionally lucky, Buffy Fish Owl!
Bali is not well known for its mammals and we are sadly too late to see the extinct Bali Tiger (the smallest of the Tiger subspecies, the last one was shot in 1937 although they were still reported as late as 1972) or Leopard, which is now also extinct in Bali. Banteng too are extinct, but these wild cattle are still present in their domesticated form, and we will commonly encounter these attractive animals.
Most people are surprised at the number of indigenous mammals that are encountered here, including the abundant Long-tailed Macaques, many of which live around the temples where they are held sacred and therefore fed. They can also be seen far out to sea on the reefs at low tide where they have earned themselves their alternative name of Crab-eating Macaque. Much rarer – and we will seek them out in the lusher forests – are Javanese or Ebony Leaf-Monkeys. This species is endemic to Java and Bali and troops of these black primates can be found in Bali Barat National Park and, if we are fortunate, we will also observe their bright chestnut youngsters. Javan Rusa Deer are common right in our lodge grounds and we should also see numerous Asian Palm Squirrels. Much tougher, however, is the huge Black Giant Squirrel, which prefers deeper forests. We should also observe Indian Muntjac or Barking Deer and Wild Boar, but we would need to be very fortunate to find Leopard Cat or Sunda Pangolin!
Day 7: Bali Barat National Park to Denpasar and flight to Jakarta
After breakfast this morning, we have a chance for some final birding in the Bali Barat area, before making our way back to Denpasar for our onward flight to Jakarta.
Day 8: Jakarta to Cibodas
This morning on our Indonesia birding tour, we explore wetland areas and rice paddies in the vicinity of Jakarta. Special birds we will be on the lookout for include Sunda Coucal, Javan White-eye and White-capped Munia, whilst more widespread but equally desirable birds to keep us entertained may include the near endemics – Javan Plover, Ruddy-breasted Crake and Yellow Bittern.
Thereafter, we will make our way up and into the hills, to the area around Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park. We begin our birding in the early afternoon, possibly seeing the first of many regional endemics, including White-flanked Sunbird and Trilling Shrike-Babbler. Birding after dark may also bag the rarely seen Salvadori’s Nightjar.
Days 9 & 10: Cibodas and Gunung Gede National Park
Home to the vast majority of Java’s endemic bird species, Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park (named after the two impressive volcanoes that dominate the park’s landscape) will be our primary focus for birding over the next two days of our Indonesia birding tour. Here, amidst lush forest, countless waterfalls and high peaks, we will search for such desirable species as Brown-throated and Flame-fronted Barbets, Pygmy Bushtit, Mees’s White-eye, Javan Hawk-Eagle, Javan Trogon, White-flanked Sunbird, Volcano Swiftlet, Yellow-throated Hanging Parrot, Blue Nuthatch, Crescent-chested Babbler, Orange-spotted Bulbul, Rufous-tailed Fantail, Chestnut-bellied Partridge, Javan Scops Owl and Javan Owlet. We will also spend time in the very bird-rich surrounds of the Cibodas Botanical Gardens where Sunda Minivet, Spotted Crocias and Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush may be among the regular flocks that we hope to encounter.
Day 11: Cibodas to Way Kambas National Park via Jakarta and Bandar Lumpung
This morning we depart Cibodas and drive to Jakarta Airport for our short flight to Bandar Lampung. Leaving Java behind, we make our way by road to Way Kambas National Park where we shall be based for the next three nights of our Indonesia birding tour. Our journey passes through farmlands and small rural villages before we arrive at the secondary forest at the edge of the national park and finally the forest proper. We should arrive in time to have some of the afternoon to begin exploring the rich lowland forest of Way Kambas National Park.
Way Kambas is famous for regularly producing what could arguably be classified as the best nocturnal birding in the whole of south-east Asia. The possibilities are mouth-watering to say the least and include such tantalising species as the bizarre Oriental Bay Owl, Sunda and Collared Scops Owls, the minute and difficult to see Reddish Scops Owl, Brown Hawk-Owl, Buffy Fish Owl, and Brown Wood Owl as well as Gould’s, Sunda, Blyth’s and the rare and impressive Large Frogmouths.
The forest edge may yield the harrier-like Malaysian Nightjar and more common and widespread Large-tailed Nightjar and we even stand a reasonable chance of seeing the very rare and seldom-recorded Bonaparte’s Nightjar, a Greater Sunda endemic, which has recently been recorded from the area.
Days 12 & 13: Way Kambas National Park
Way Kambas offers some of the best lowland forest birding in the whole of Sumatra and harbours an array of south-east Asia’s most difficult and sought-after species. We have two full days of our Indonesia birding tour to explore the tracks and trails of the area that bisect this amazing forest and we will no doubt turn up an incredible suite of rare and delectable avian specialities over the next few days!
The forest edge can be especially birdy and from here, we can expect sightings of the tiny Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot as well as Blue-rumped Parrots, dashing overhead and sometimes perching in the open atop bare trees, Crested Serpent Eagle, Changeable Hawk-Eagle, the diminutive Black-thighed Falconet, Greater Coucal, spectacular Red-bearded Bee-eater, Slender-billed Crow, Common Hill Myna, Oriental Dollarbird, Ashy and Rufous-tailed Tailorbirds, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Banded Bay, Rusty-breasted, Plaintive, Violet and Asian Drongo Cuckoos, the handsome White-throated Kingfisher, musical Oriental Magpie-Robin and furtive White-rumped Shama. White-breasted Woodswallow, Asian Palm Swift and Whiskered Treeswift circle above the forest and in grassy areas, the rare White-bellied Munia and with some luck, the near-endemic Javan Munia. Lesser Adjutant and the rare and endangered Storm’s Stork may put in an appearance and we should also witness fair numbers of hornbills flopping overhead and through the tall forest canopy, with species including Black, Bushy-crested and Wreathed, as well as the rare Wrinkled Hornbill and the shy, understory-dwelling White-crowned Hornbill.
If we are lucky enough to encounter fruiting trees, we may be entertained by a number of gorgeous barbets and a feast of doves that could include the superb Coppersmith, minute Blue-eared, dashing Red-crowned and subdued Brown Barbets as well as Little, Pink-necked and Thick-billed Green Pigeons, the usually rare and elusive Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon and the large Green Imperial Pigeon. Flowering trees could exhibit a variety of nectar and insect feeders like Purple-naped, Ruby-cheeked, Plain and exquisite Crimson Sunbirds, splendid Orange-bellied, Crimson-breasted and Yellow-breasted Flowerpeckers and the flighty Little Spiderhunter.
We will spend a lot of time in the forest interior searching for the many skulking understory species that inhabit the gloomy interior of Way Kambas. Here we can expect a different suite of birds that include some of Asia’s most spectacular species. Specialities we shall be on the lookout for include the marvellous Hooded and Malayan Banded Pittas and the strange Mesite-like Rail-babbler, which is placed in its own unique, monotypic family and is without a doubt one of the toughest of the world’s bird families to catch up with! Other delightful forest-floor species could include Crested Fireback (a brilliant pheasant), the outrageous Crested Partridge, a cacophony of relatively nondescript babblers, including Black-capped, Short-tailed, Chestnut-winged, Ferruginous, Rufous-crowned, Moustached, Sooty-capped, Scaly-crowned, White-chested and Chestnut-rumped Babblers, as well as Fluffy-backed and Pin-striped Tit-Babblers, Banded and Oriental Dwarf Kingfishers, Common Emerald Dove, White-crowned Forktail and Rufous-tailed Shama.
We should also encounter fairly regular mixed species flocks and we shall sift through these ‘bird waves’ for species like Black-winged Flycatcher-Shrike, Green Iora, Rufous-winged Philentoma, Greater Green, Lesser Green and Blue-winged Leafbirds, Bronzed and Greater Racket-tailed Drongos, Dark-throated Oriole, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Banded, Black-and-yellow, Black-and-red, scarce Dusky and mind-blowing Green Broadbills, Red-billed, Chestnut-breasted, Black-bellied, Raffles’s Malkohas and the rare Chestnut-bellied Malkohas, gaudy Red-naped, Scarlet-rumped and Diard’s Trogons, Fiery and Scarlet Minivets, a multitude of bulbuls such as Red-eyed, Spectacled, Cream-vented, Olive-winged, Hairy-backed, Buff-vented Bulbuls and Yellow-bellied Bulbuls, Black-naped Monarch, Pied Fantail, Asian Paradise, Grey-chested Jungle and Malaysian Blue Flycatchers, Black Magpie, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch and the unobtrusive Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler.
Woodpeckers also feature prominently and we can expect a range of striking representatives of this favourite family, ranging from the miniature Rufous Piculet to the giant White-bellied Woodpecker, as well as Checker-throated, Crimson-winged, Rufous, Buff-necked, Grey-and-buff, Maroon and Sunda Woodpeckers and the smart Common Flameback.
We will spend time exploring the swamps and forest along the Way Kanan River. Our main target species here is the rare and endangered White-winged Duck, which still survives here small numbers. Way Kambas is one of the few “strongholds” for this elusive and now extremely localised species and we stand an excellent chance of seeing this mega duck! Other species we are likely to encounter along the river include dazzling Blue-eared and gigantic Stork-billed Kingfishers, bullet-like Silver-rumped Spinetail, Lesser and Grey-headed Fish Eagles, White-bellied Sea Eagle, the uncommon Jerdon’s Baza and the snake-like Oriental Darter. Mammals are also well represented at Way Kambas and we may be fortunate enough to have encounters with Agile Gibbon and the impressive Siamang (another kind of gibbon). Many species of treeshrew and squirrel frequent the forest as do troops of Long-tailed and Pig-tailed Macaques, the endangered and endemic Mitred Leaf Monkey, the riverine dwelling Sundaic Silvered Leaf Monkey, Greater and Lesser Mouse Deer and Wild Boar. Way Kambas also harbours some very rarely seen mammals, most of them nocturnal, such as Sunda Clouded Leopard, Asiatic Golden Cat, Marbled, Fishing and Flat-headed Cats, Binturong, Sunda Colugo, Malayan Porcupine and Sunda Slow Loris, extremely endangered and mythical Sumatran Rhinoceros, Sun Bear, Malayan Tapir, Otter Civet and Banded Linsang as well as Tiger and Asian Elephant but we would be very lucky to see any of these species.
Species that are just as sought-after but are more likely to be seen include Leopard Cat, Banded, Masked and Small-toothed Palm Civets, Malay Civet, Red Giant Flying Squirrel and Yellow-throated Marten. We will embark on many more pre-dawn and post-dinner nocturnal excursions in search of the thrilling nocturnal species already mentioned and we hope to come away with an impressive night-bird list by the end of our stay.
Day 14: Way Kambas NP to Jakarta and depart, or begin Highlights of Eastern Indonesia
This morning, we will depart for Radin Inten II Airport in Bandar Lampung, for our flights to Jakarta where the tour will conclude. For some, this will be the end of their Indonesian adventures, while for others, we shall head off to the island of Sulawesi for the start of our Highlights of Eastern Indonesia tour.
What our clients say about tours to Indonesia
- BB, Sulawessi & Halmahera
The ultimate birding trip: stunning destinations, endemics galore, cruising through the Raja Ampats and Maluku on a lovely wooden boat with wonderful crew and great food, gorgeous sunsets, awesome snorkelling and two of the best Rockjumper guides – Keith and Glen Valentine. And to top it off, Wilson’s Bird-of-Paradise!!!!!!!!!SL, Remote Indonesian Islands Cruise 2017
David was notable in his high level of enthusiasm, how careful he is with identifications and how quick he is at spotting things. Our group was quite mixed in age and skills, and David was patient with members whose eyesight was not so good, and quick to get a spotting scope onto even difficult forest birds. I’d happily travel elsewhere with him and is every bit of what I could hope for in a guide. The overall group felt well run and there was always a plan B if one was needed. David’s knowledge and sense of humor also made him fun to travel with.MH, Lesser Sundas
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.LG, Sulawessi & Halmehera
As expected, I had a fabulous time on the Sulawesi and Halmahera trip. It was everything I wanted – amazing birds, fantastic guide, great tour participants, highly organised logistics and wonderful forests. I particularly appreciated that for one morning the group was split into two so some participants had the chance to head part-way back up the Anaso track while the others birded less strenuous areas.SL, Sulawesi & Halmahera 2017
I have been on birding trips for many years, but this is the first time with Rockjumper. The trip was easily the best birding trip I have ever been on. In particular, both David and Glen made life so easy and their birding knowledge was remarkable. Other members of the group were very easy to get on with. The birding was quite remarkable and it is difficult to pick out a highlight from the Birds of Paradise, the Chinese Crested Tern or the Madanga. There is no doubt that I will travel with Rockjumper again.NH, Indonesia – West Papua Cruise 2016
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.MM, Remote Indonesian Islands Cruise 2017
Glen and Keith Valentine worked seamlessly together to make this one of the best Rockjumper trips! The logistics went well, local guides were great, and the boat was quite comfortable and offered good food and variety. Best of all, the birds were plentiful and everyone got lifers galore. The bros Valentine did everything possible to be sure that everyone got onto the birds and they worked tirelessly doing so. I would travel with either or both of them anywhere, thanks guys!RB, Remote West Papuan Islands 2017
David Erterius was a really fantastic guide, like all the Rockjumper guides have been. He certainly maintained the high bar set by all my Rockjumper guides. He was organised and friendly and was onto birds in near-mythical speed. I didn’t have any problems on the tour, but if I did, I would be confident that he would be able to assist.SL, Sulawesi & Halmahera 2017