Sabah (Malaysia) & Sumatra (Indonesia) – August 2016

This was a 25-day trip to Sabah in Malaysian Borneo and Sumatra in Northwest Indonesia which included 20 days of effective birding. Both areas were new for me although I had visited Kalimantan in Indonesian Borneo for a few years previously.

For Sabah, I drove from Kota Kinabalu to Kinabalu National Park for a three-night stay, then onto Sepilok for an overnight stay and then spent two nights at a river lodge on the Lower Kinabatangan River. I then drove through to the Crocker Range for a three-night stay and then back to Kota Kinabalu airport. I had a rental car booked via Europcar (Proton Saga) and in general the driving and road conditions were good. I used Google Maps on my iPhone to navigate with and that worked very well.

Mount Kinabalu
For Northern Sumatra, I flew from Kuala Lumpur into Medan and stayed at Berastagi for two nights, then Lake Toba for a night before spending a further three nights at Gunung Leuser National Park. I had a driver and vehicle arranged by an Indonesian contact for Northern Sumatra, which was cost effective at about A$40/day.

Gunung Leuser National Park
For Central Sumatra, I flew from Kuala Lumpur to Padang and had transport and guiding organised by Pak Subandi.

The entire trip was a self-guided trip except for the four days birding at Kerinci-Seblat National Park with Pak Subandi. I met up with Peter Waanders at the Padang Airport and we birded the Kerinci-Seblat National Park together.  

Overall the weather was good, with the only poor weather experienced in Central Sumatra, where some heavy rain and high winds impacted on the birding.

I used Kuala Lumpur as my base as this was convenient for flights to and from Kota Kinabalu, Medan and Padang using both Malaysian Airlines and Air Asia. I flew from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur on Malaysian Airlines using frequent flier points. So much easier to book flights on Malaysian Airlines using frequent flier points than with Qantas. The flights within Asia were reliable, comfortable and cheap.

The nine days birding in Sabah was very successful with 135 birds seen plus 1 heard only, which produced 38 lifers. This included 21 of the 48 endemics for Borneo. The eleven days birding in Sumatra was also successful and resulted in 126 birds seen plus 4 heard only, which produced 27 lifers. This included 13 of the 32 endemics for Sumatra. For Southeast Asia, this latest trip brings up my total to 832 species of birds recorded. There is considerable overlap in species between Sabah, Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia, so my focus was to get as many of the endemic species as possible.

For Borneo, the field guide “Birds of Borneo” by Susan Myers was excellent and the detailed distribution maps are very useful. The field guide “Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali” by MacKinnon and Phillipps was the best available at the time but is way out of date with current taxonomy. A new field guide “Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago” by James Eaton et al was released in November 2016 and supersedes quite a few field guides for West Indonesia, Borneo and the Wallacea. This latest field guide is excellent and sets new standards for birding in South-east Asia. 

In general, the birding in Sabah was a lot easier than Sumatra, the difference being that Malaysia is conserving their resources and forests, despite extensive clearing for palm oil plantations. Sumatra on the other hand, is hard work due to extensive habitat clearance, trapping and poaching. I thought that Gunung Leuser National Park was slow going compared to Sabah, but Kerinci-Seblat National Park was just as slow even with the assistance of a local experienced guide.

Aside from birding, the highlight for the trip was seeing both Bornean and Sumatran Orangutan. Usually in Sumatra, one takes a guided three to five-day trip into the forests to see the Orangutan. I found a large family group quite close to the road, when I went up a little creek to get some water. Quite amazing to have them overhead and unperturbed by my presence.

Logistically Sabah is easy to travel around and has good accommodation close to or in the birding areas. Sumatra is hard work, with poor roads and long travel times. Comparing the national parks, Malaysia has good accommodation, restaurants and excellent walking trails, whereas Indonesia has overgrown trails, if you are lucky to find any, no accommodation and no facilities. In addition, Indonesia now charges Rp150,000 (A$15) per person per day for access to their national parks which have absolutely no facilities. This is expensive by first world standards and in the USA you can get an annual Federal National Parks pass for a family for US$80, which offers a lot more than any Indonesian national park.

Regarding costs, the trip to Sabah was a lot less than for a guided birding tour. Travel and accommodation in Borneo can be quite cost effective with a bit of research. Rental car costs in Borneo were just under A$50/day and fuel was very cheap. Most of the accommodation was booked through Agoda with free cancellation and payment made just prior to the stay. Costs in Sumatra were a lot lower but so was the standard of accommodation.

Overall the trip cost about A$200 per day including all international and domestic airfares, accommodation, meals, drinks, guiding and transport. This compares with typical guided birding tours costing between A$500 and A$700 per day for Sabah and between A$350 to A$500 per day for Sumatra, which excludes international airfares and comes with a single occupancy surcharge. These birding tours typically have 6 to 12 participants which makes it difficult for everyone to get good views of the birds, resulting in lots of tension and tour politics.  

Clearly there is a lot more birding to be done in Borneo and given the enjoyable birding and good logistics, the next trip to Borneo will probably include Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah. Brunei would be a good starting point with direct flights from Melbourne to Bandar Seri Begawan on Royal Brunei Airlines.

Sumatra also has many birds waiting to be discovered however given that it’s a huge island and travel is tedious and slow, its probably best to focus on one area at a time, such as Northern Sumatra. Despite the trapping and poaching, the extensive forests of Gunung Leuser still appear to be pristine and it's worthwhile spending a lot more time there.

Trip Report

Sabah, Malaysian Borneo

Friday 5th August: Melbourne to KL
Flew on Malaysia Airlines departing Melbourne at 14:05 and arriving at Kuala Lumpur at 20:40.

Overnight stay close to airport at Concorde Inn. Not the best of hotels and it burnt down shortly after my stay, so hopefully the rebuild is an improvement. 

Saturday 6th August: KL to Kota Kinabalu
Flew on Malaysia Airlines departing KL at 08:25 and arriving at KK at 11:05. After collecting the rental car, drove up to Kinabalu National Park, which is quite spectacular.

Arrived just before 15:00, to cool conditions and with some afternoon rain. Stayed in a huge two-bedroom chalet in the national park with views over the forest from the large outdoor deck. The restaurant for lunch and dinner was just over the road and served some excellent food.

Some birding from the accommodation had Ochraceous Bullbul, Yellow-breasted Warbler and Indigo Flycatcher showing nicely.  

Indigo Flycatcher
Sunday 7th August: Kinabalu National Park
The first bird seen in the morning as I went out onto the deck, was an Orange-headed Thrush, a rare resident for Northern Borneo.

Kinabalu National Park Trails

In the early morning, I walked various trails leading from the accommodation, as I made my way down to the main gate for breakfast. Sunda and Grey-hooded Laughingthrush were seen in a bush just outside the accommodation. Partway up the Pandanus Trail I saw my first Whitehead’s Trogon. Bornean Whistler were quite common in the forests.

After a late breakfast, which was excellent, I made my way up the Silau-Silau trail back to the accommodation. A pair of Bornean Forktail were seen in the fast-flowing stream making their way up the valley. The Bornean Forktail has white on the crown which doesn’t extend beyond the crest and looks very similar to the White-crowned Forktail which occurs on lowland dipterocarp forest streams. 

Other interesting birds for the morning were Philippine Cuckoo-dove, Grey-chinned Minivet, Hair-crested Drongo, White-throated Fantail, Grey-throated Babbler (occurs between 500m and 3,300m), Chestnut-crested Yuhina, Eyebrowed Jungle Flycatcher and Black-sided Flowerpecker.

Eyebrowed Jungle Flycatcher

In the afternoon, I spent four hours mainly on the Silau-Silau Trail, with the highlight being close-up views of Crimson-headed Partridge. I heard something near to the path, so moved quietly into the bush and had some good views of the partridge as it fed on the ground. Usually these are only seen briefly crossing the path. 

Other interesting birds included two Bornean Whistling Thrush, Bornean Green Magpie and Eyebrowed Jungle Flycatcher. The ID of the Eyebrowed Jungle Flycatcher had me puzzled for a while until I managed to get record shots of the bird.

Bornean Green Magpie

Monday 8th August: Kinabalu National Park
In the early morning, drove up to Timpohon Gate, the start of the summit trail to Mount Kinabalu. The trail was closed and there was quite a bit of construction activity near the gate, so not the best conditions for birding. Some good birds around the gate area included Bornean Green Magpie, Bornean Treepie, Checker-throated Woodpecker, Mountain Leaf Warbler, Sunda Bush Warbler, Mountain Blackeye, Black-capped White-eye and Temminck’s Sunbird.

Bornean Treepie
Headed back down the hill at about 9am for breakfast. After breakfast, took the Kiau View Trail following the mountain ridge and then back down the Pandanus Trail. Some good birding along this trail including pair of Whitehead’s Trogon, Golden-naped Barbet (common with calls heard throughout park), Maroon Woodpecker, Orange-backed Woodpecker, Blyth’s Shrike-babbler, Little Pied Flycatcher and Bornean Leafbird.

Little Cuckoo-dove
Did some birding in the late afternoon around the accommodation area.

Tuesday 9th August: Kinabalu National Park to Sepilok
In the early morning, walked along the Silau-Silau Trail. Had good views of a pair of Crimson-headed Partridge on the trail and managed to find a couple of White-browed Shortwing near to the stream, a notoriously difficult bird to get good views of. Also had a pair of Bornean Forktail plus three Bornean Whistling Thrush. 

The Whistling Thrush is currently split into nine species and ranges from India through to China. The Whistling Thrush are usually difficult to find and see in the dark undergrowth, typically seen close to streams, however the ones at Kinabalu were very easy to find.

After breakfast, checked out of the accommodation and drove to lowlands area of Sepilok, some 4 hours away. The road follows the route of the Sandakan Death Marches, which were a series of forced marches in Borneo from Sandakan to Ranau. These forced marches resulted in the deaths of 2,345 allied prisoners of war held captive by Japanese during the Pacific campaign of World War II in the Sandakan POW Camp. By the end of the war, of all the prisoners who had been incarcerated at Sandakan and Ranau, only six Australians survived, all of whom had escaped. It is widely considered to be the single worst atrocity suffered by Australian servicemen during the Second World War.

Arrived at the Sepilok Forest Edge Resort just before 14:00, which had lovely accommodation in thatched chalets. The resort grounds had some good trails and riverine forest. Birding that afternoon in the resort grounds produced Crested Serpent Eagle, Little Green Pigeon, Black-nest Swiftlet (race lowi), Blue-throated Bee-eater, Brown Barbet, Grey-and-buff Woodpecker, Black-and-red Broadbill, Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker, Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Thick-billed Spiderhunter and Brown-throated Sunbird.

Blue-throated Bee-eater
The dinner menu was very expensive by Malaysian standards, so I went to another restaurant at the Sepilok Jungle Resort, a few hundred meters down the road. A far better menu with reasonably priced meals and a few of the other guests at the resort had the same idea. 

Wednesday 10th August: Sepilok to Lower Kinabatangan River
In the early morning, I drove to the Rainforest Discovery Centre, arriving well before the ticket booth opens. I had checked the day before and there’s no problem accessing the Discovery Centre any time of night or day, just need to pay on the way out. Arrived at about 6am and just behind a large group of noisy tourists.

Birding around the Rainforest Discovery Centre was generally quite slow, even from the elevated walkway, but this site has many key target birds and is worth spending at least a few days exploring. It’s also a large area with many well laid out trails, so would take time to do the area justice.

In the three hours I spent there, the highlights included Wallace’s Hawk-eagle, Little Green Pigeon, pair of Black Hornbill, Blue-eared Barbet, Buff-rumped Woodpecker, Black-winged Flycather-shrike, Green Iora, White-crowned Shama, Lesser Green Leafbird, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird and Red-throated Sunbird.

Blue-eared Barbet with face stuffed full of figs and still managed to call repeatedly 

Mammals seen included Pale Giant Squirrel and Prevost’s Squirrel.

Headed back for breakfast and then drove to Sukau, about two hours drive, to Lapit Jetty on the Lower Kinabatangan River. Had to phone the resort for a boat for transfers to the accommodation.

On the way to Sukau, I was held up for half an hour as a tree which had just fallen over the road was cleared by local residents. Luckily quite a few had chain saws, so were able to cut up the tree and remove it from the road. 

Road block clearing

The accommodation at Sukau Proboscis Lodge was a nice spacious air conditioned chalet with a veranda overlooking the river. This was the best deal I could find for a three day, two night fully inclusive package, which cost A$325. The package included three boat trips, all meals, drinks, accommodation and transfers to/from Sukau.

Huge Tropical Swallowtail Moth "Lyssa zampa" on chalet door
The boats we had only took up to four guests and this compared with up to 20 guests on other lodge boats. As a result, I had a more personalised tour and had a guide who knew the local birds and mammals. We also spent some time exploring the quiet river tributaries looking for Bornean Ground Cuckoo and other birds, keeping well away from the many other boats on the river.

During the afternoon at the lodge and on the river cruise, the more interesting birds included Wallace’s Hawk-eagle, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Rhinocerous Hornbill, Malaysian Pied Hornbill (roosting in lodge grounds at night) and Ashy Tailorbird.

Blue-eared Kingfisher

Mammals included Crab-eating Macaque, Southern Pig-tailed Macaque, many Proboscis Monkey and Silvery Lutung.

Proboscis Monkey

A young Southern Pig-tailed Macaque

Also had a few Saltwater Crocodile in the side tributaries.

Saltwater Crocodile

Thursday 11th August: Lower Kinabatangan River
The morning cruise was to the Oxbow lake upriver from the lodge. We left early in order to get there before the crowds and had an excellent trip, seeing a single well hidden Bornean Orangutan along the way. 

Bornean Orangutan

After the cruise, I went for a walk along the palm oil plantations and a short way into the riparian forests. Walking alone is discouraged by the lodge staff as tourists have gone missing in the past. Returning from the oil plantations I spotted a White-fronted Falconet together with an Oriental Dollarbird, the Falconet being the highlight for the day. The Falconet is tiny and about half the size of the Dollarbird.

Interesting birds for the morning included Crested Goshawk, Lesser Fish Eagle, Little Green Pigeon, Green Imperial Pigeon, Rhinocerous Hornbill, Malaysian Pied Hornbill, Black Hornbill, Wrinkled Hornbill, Long-tailed Parakeet, Bold-striped Tit-babbler and the only Dusky Munia for the trip. 

Rhinocerous Hornbill

In the afternoon did another boat trip, this time down river to some quiet river tributaries. Stayed on the river till after sunset and highlights included Storm’s Stork, Lesser Fish Eagle, Lesser Coucal, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, three species of Hornbill and the attractive Common Hill Myna.

Storm's Stork
Just after getting back to my accommodation, I had a visit from the guide who had found a female Sunda Flying Lemur with a youngster on its back. Later on I saw another adult Lemur gliding between the trees just overhead.  The Sunda Flying Lemur is also known as a Malayan Colugo.  At the restaurant area I also saw a large and noisy Smith’s Green-eyed Gecko which was found by the helpful hotel staff.

Sunset on the Lower Kinabatangan River

Friday 12th August: Lower Kinabatangan River to Crocker Range
Did some birding around the lodge area before breakfast, saw a Collared Kingfisher and another Lesser Coucal, plus some other birds already seen on the trip. After breakfast, took the boat back to Lapit Jetty, and then drove through to Poring, some 4 to 5 hours drive. 

Lesser Fish Eagle

Stopped in at the Gomantong Caves but didn’t explore the area. Very nice forest habitat for birding plus the various nest swiftlet species that can be seen in the caves. Would require half a day to do the area any justice.

I had planned on staying at Kinabalu Poring Vacation Village but the accommodation looked awful and was located down a rough road well away from the town. I cancelled my stay there and after a few phone calls, arranged to stay for an exra night at the Crocker Range.
It took another three hours to get to Manis Manis Rooftop Resort situated in the Crocker Range National Park. This was a good move as the accommodation was excellent, with a good restaurant on site just down the hill, and excellent habitat for birding.

This is well south of the section of the Crocker Range typically visited by birders and it proved to have some of the best birding of the trip. Some birding in the late afternoon around the accommodation produced White-breasted Waterhen, Little Cuckoo-dove, Zebra Dove, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Ashy Drongo and quite a few Oriental Magpie-robin.

Saturday 13th August: Crocker Range National Park
Just after sunrise, headed up the road and along a well-maintained trail leading from the communications tower down into the forest. Some good birding along the way and had the forest to myself. Highlights included Thick-billed Green Pigeon, Maroon Woodpecker, White-bellied Erpornis, Dark-throated Oriole, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Scaly-breasted Bulbul, Spectacled Bulbul, Sunda Bush Warbler, Chestnut-winged Babbler, Pygmy White-eye, White-crowned Shama, Bornean Whistling Thrush plus Greater and Lesser Green Leafbird.

On the way back along the trail had a huge Reticulated Python, probably at least 5m in length, straddling the trail.

Reticulated Python

Later in the morning, birding around the accommodation area had a lovely pair of Jambu Fruit Dove, Golden-whiskered Barbet, Red-throated Barbet, Blue-eared Barbet and Orange-bellied Flowerpecker.

Pair of Jambu Fruit Dove

In the late afternoon, some birding around the accommodation area produced Little Cuckoo-dove, Common Emerald Dove, Black-bellied Malkoha and Common Iora.

Sunday 14th August: Crocker Range National Park
Left before sunrise, for the same trail I did the previous day, birding from 06:00 till 11:00. Amazing how different the birding can be on consecutive days for the same area and weather conditions. 

Highlights for the morning included Asian Black Eagle, Wreathed Hornbill, Crimson-winged Woodpecker, Green Broadbill, Whitehead’s Broadbill which flew past at head height and perched in a tree, Black-and-yellow Broadbill, calling Bornean Banded Pitta, Oriental Paradise Flycatcher, Brown Fulvetta, Chestnut-crested Yuhina, Pygmy White-eye, Asian Fairy-bluebird, Verditer Flycatcher, Bornean Leafbird, Little Spiderhunter and Bornean Spiderhunter.

Late afternoon birding produced good views of Golden-whiskered Barbet, Blue-eared Barbet and the tiny (12cm) Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot.

Monday 15th August: Crocker Range to Kota Kinabalu to Medan
Left early in the morning for the drive down to Kota Kinabalu airport. Saw an Indonesian Kite (race of the Black-winged Kite) along the way.

Flew with Malaysia Airlines from Kota Kinabalu via Kuala Lumpur to Medan, departing at 10:45 and arriving at 15:00.  Met up with my Indonesian driver and then drove through to Berastagi, in the hills to the southwest of Medan.

Stayed at the Hotel Sibayak Internasional in Berastagi, which was spacious and comfortable but in need of some maintenance.

Sumatra, Indonesia

Tuesday 16th August: Berastagi
Before breakfast, I had a look around outside and noticed a huge plume of smoke which I thought had been caused by a fire. It was only later on, when we were driving that I heard about the local volcano, Mount Sinabung. 

This volcano had been dormant for 400 years before erupting in 2010 and in 2014 an eruption killed at least 16 people. There have been a series of eruptions over the past six years and as recently as May 2016, an eruption killed two people. The volcano continues to be active with a report of an eruption in November 2016. The volcano was certainly very active during my visit, having three minor eruptions that day. When I arrived at Berastagi the previous day, I was wondering why everything was covered in a fine grey dust and this was due to the frequent eruptions.

Mount Sinabung

After breakfast, we took a drive to Sipiso-piso Waterfall which flows into the huge 100km long Lake Toba. As we were driving we saw another plume of smoke emerge from Mount Sinabung. The Sipiso-piso Waterfall is formed by a small underground river of the Karo plateau that hurls itself from a cave in the side of the Lake Toba caldera some 120 meters down to lake level. This is the highest waterfall in Indonesia.

Sipiso-piso Waterfall 

It’s a steep walk down to the waterfall but has some good habitat in the well watered valley. Birding highlights included Red-throated Barbet, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Cinerous Tit, Hill Prinia, Shiny Whistling Thrush and Javan Myna.

Northern end of Lake Toba looking down from Sipiso-piso Waterfall

At about 11:00 we drove to Lau Debuk-Debuk Hot Springs which was at the other side of Berastagi. Quite hot by the time we arrived and I did some birding on the lower slopes on Mount Sibayak (Gunung Sibayak). This is a small stratovolcano which last erupted more than a century ago, however geothermal activity in the form of steam vents and hot springs remains high around the volcano. The vents produce crystalline sulfur, which was mined on a small scale in the past.

Mount Sibayak

The lower elevation habitat was mainly dense bamboo in among the trees. Interesting birds seen included Pygmy Wren-babbler, Yellow-bellied Warbler, Mountain Tailorbird, Grey-throated Babbler and Golden Babbler.

Wednesday 17th August: Berastagi to Lake Toba
After breakfast, we took the three-hour drive to Parapat which is located on the shores of Lake Toba. It was Independence Day for Indonesia and there were many school kids marching along the roads as we travelled through the small villages and towns.

View of Lake Toba on drive down to Parapat

Stopped at a small patch of roadside forest just after 9:00 and had some good birding from the road. Interesting birds included Little Cuckoo-dove, Black-browed Barbet, Rufous Woodpecker, Grey-chinned Minivet, Blyth’s Shrike-babbler, White-throated Fantail, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Hill Prinia, Mountain White-eye and Temminck’s Sunbird.

Checked into Inna Parapat, which overlooks the huge Lake Toba (about 100 km long, 30 km wide and up to 505 metres deep), and then drove to some farming areas bordering some forest near Toba Samosir. Spent about 1.5 hours walking the farmlands which had White-breasted Woodswallow, Long-tailed Shrike, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Hill Prinia and Javan Myna.

Back at the hotel, I had a look along the shores of the lake and saw well over 200 Little Egret roosting on the fishing platforms.

View of Lake Toba from hotel at Parapat

The main purpose for visiting Lake Toba was to see the spectacular lake, although there are some good birding areas around Lake Toba. eBird has a few sites identified and has recorded over 140 species for Lake Toba. Pulau Samosir is easy to get to from Parapat with a ferry and has good accommodation plus some good birding areas. Just need time to explore the patches of suitable habitat. 

Thursday 18th August: Lake Toba to Ketambe
After breakfast, we took the 6 to 7 hour drive to Ketambe, located on the western side of the Gunung Leuser National Park, in the Aceh Province. The drive took us up the centre of Sumatra heading northwest, taking a route just south of Berastagi and past Mount Sinabung onto Kutakane and then Ketambe.  We made good time, thanks to an excellent driver, arriving at Ketambe at about 14:00.

Stayed at the Thousand Hills Guest Farm, a Balinese styled guest farm, with lovely gardens, nice open dining area and basic but comfortable chalets. The guest farm is very popular with backpackers who come to spend time in the rainforest looking for Sumatran Orangutan. There is other accommodation in the area, but very little can be found on the internet. The guest farm has a website ( and was very reasonably priced at Rp150,000 (A$15) per night with a nominal extra cost for meals and drinks. The owner/manager Joseph Sitepu and the staff were great hosts, and the dining area was a great place to spend the hot afternoons, watching the birds and chatting to the staff.

Flowers in the garden at Thousand Hills which attracts sunbirds and flowerpeckers

For me the advantage of this accommodation was the easy walking distance to the Gunung Leuser National Park, plus it was close to the large Alas River which had some good birding. The driver dropped me off and then returned on Sunday for the drive back to Medan. 

View up the Alas River towards Gunung Leuser, the forest on the left of the river is all part of the national park 

Birding around the accommodation grounds and along the Alas River in the afternoon was very pleasant and produced two Ruddy-breasted Crake (heard only), Lesser Coucal, at least 80 Black-nest Swiftlet, Rhinocerous Hornbill, Rufous Piculet, Bar-winged Prinia, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Orange-bellied Flowerpecker and Eastern Yellow Wagtail.

In the evening, I paid for a permit for the Gunung Leuser National Park but never got to see it. The local police visit the resorts in the morning and request payment of the daily entry fee for all the resident guests. As the guests, hikers and backpackers never get a copy of the permits, not sure how this is policed.

Friday 19th August: Gunung Leuser National Park
Left just before sunrise and walked up the road and into the pristine forest of the Gunung Leuser National Park. Trails that existed in the past and have been reported in previous trip reports, are now well overgrown and difficult to locate. I eventually took a small track leading up a creek into the forest, which starts near a run-down ablution block opposite the rainforest research station, however the track runs out after about 0.5km. 

After that I birded along the road, at forest cuttings and short distances into the forest wherever there were some openings. I then made my way back down the river which has some good habitat.

Alas River from one of the tracks off the road

Spending time in the forest and along the river produced some good birds including Western Osprey, Red-billed Malkoha, Blue-throated Bee-eater, Malaysian Honeyguide, Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Cream-vented Bulbul, Grey-cheeked Bulbul, Asian Red-eyed Bulbul, Pygmy Wren-babbler, Grey-headed Babbler (completely rufous body with dark head), Chestnut-rumped Babbler (largish babbler with blue lores, vertical streaking on breast, dark brown back plus rufous rump and tail), Pale Blue Flycatcher, White-crowned Forktail, Purple-naped Sunbird, Little Spiderhunter and Eastern Yellow Wagtail.

The Malaysian Honeyguide (or Sunda Honeyguide) is a scarce resident of the primary and secondary forest at less than 900m elevation. I saw the bird perched briefly above me in the forest and noted the dark olive upperparts, pale underparts with some streaking, yellow shoulder patches, thick stubby bill with slightly hooked beak and white on outer tail feathers. 

Got back to the accommodation at midday and relaxed in the afternoon. I had a chat with the local guides, who take visitors into the forests for three to five day hikes, and who can be hired from the accommodation. One of the guides has spent time studying birds and is available to guide birders for a nomial daily charge.

Some of the local guides are also voluntary rangers who assist with anti-poaching measures to preserve the last of the remaining Sumatran Rhinocerous, an uphill battle which is poorly funded. No more than 100 Sumatran Rhinos survive in very small and highly fragmented populations in southeast Asia. The largest populations of wild rhinos are found in Bukit Barisan Selatan, Gunung Leuser and Way Kambas National Parks in Sumatra and there is also a small population in Kalimantan. The species was recently declared extinct in the wild in Malaysia.

Huge Atlas Moth seen in dining area in the evening

Saturday 20th August: Gunung Leuser National Park
Left half an hour earlier than the previous day and walked the same trail I had found the previous day. Today was very quiet in the dark forest in the early morning, so I focused on roadside birding, walking quite a bit further up the road. I then returned along the road and then down the Alas River back towards the accommodation. Birding around the accommodation was excellent with many sunbirds and spiderhunters plus Changeable Hawk-eagle in the gardens.

Alas River

The highlight for the trip was seeing a family group of six Sumatran Orangutan. I had a drinking straw which allows you to safely drink water from streams and I had headed a short way up a stream to get some water. I heard some noise in the trees above me and looking up saw these orange monkeys, which I soon realised were Orangutan. I hadn’t expected to see any and the backpackers were doing three days hikes, including camping in the rain forest, to see them. The Orangutan were quite relaxed about my presence as they fed in the trees above, unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me. When I left, I met a guide and three European visitors, and showed them the Orangutan. They didn’t seem too excited about them or even thanked me!!

The 11 hours of birding for the day produced some good birds including Changeable Hawk-eagle (both light and dark morph birds), Chestnut-breasted Malkoha, Brown-backed Needletail, Blue-banded Kingfisher, Green Iora, Black-naped Monarch, Puff-backed Bulbul, Spectacled Bulbul, Grey-cheeked Bulbul, Hairy-backed Bulbul, Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker (heavy streaking on yellow breast with orange crown patch clearly seen), the rarely seen or identified Thick-billed Flowerpecker “race atjehensis” (small flowerpecker about 10cm, with dark brown back, grey streaking on pale breast and short stubby bill), Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker, Plain Sunbird, Long-billed Spiderhunter, Eastern Yellow Wagtail and Grey Wagtail.

In the latest field guide “Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago” the Thick-billed Flowerpecker is split into the Modest Flowerpecker. According to a recently published field guide “Birds of South Asia” by Rasmussen and Anderton, the Thick-billed Flowerpecker is scheduled to be split, with the western races “agile” occurring in India and “zeylonicum” in Sri Lanka remaining as Thick-billed Flowerpecker and the eastern races occurring in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to be known as Modest Flowerpecker. The IOC taxonomy does not recognise the split at this stage.

Considering how different the birding was from one day to the next, for the same habitats visited, indicates that time is required to see a good range of species. Not many birders visit Sumatra, even less visit northern Sumatra, and much of the limited information on birding sites is well out of date. Birding tour groups focus on Mount Kerinci in central Sumatra and Way Kambas National Park in southeast Sumatra, usually combining the trip with a visit to Western Java.  

Sunday 21st August: Gunung Leuser National Park to Medan
I had a couple of hours birding in the morning, before breakfast and driving back to Medan. I took a route straight up a hill, following a concrete road, into the forests which had been suggested by one of the guides. Nothing new up there but on the way back, I went down to the Alas River and found four Sumatran Babbler (Büttikofer's Babbler) which are endemic to Sumatra.

The Sumatran Babbler had a longish pale bill, upper bill darker than lower bill, long pale legs, short tail, grey facial markings with grey/brown back and lighter undersides. Overall a very pale brown/greyish looking babbler with a smudge of light rufous on the upper breast. They are locally common in Aceh in edge, scrub and forested clearings with dense understory.

Whilst having breakfast, I managed to see a Yellow-eared Spiderhunter which is slightly larger than the Little Spiderhunter with long curved bill and streaking on dark yellow/ green breast.

Olive-backed Sunbird 

The drive back to Medan took about 8 hours and we stopped briefly at a roadside stall for lunch on the eastern side of Berastagi. The locals were eating corn and then throwing the remains down to monkeys. This area has a walking trail down to a waterfall, which is a known birding site, however the litter was awful and with so many weekend visitors, it wasn’t worth visiting. The roads were very slow with weekend traffic out of Medan.

Arrived at the upmarket Hotel Aryaduta Medan in the late afternoon. Made a change staying in a decent hotel and it wasn’t expensive at A$82 per night.

Monday 22nd August: Medan to KL
After an excellent breakfast at the hotel, had a relaxing morning and then headed to the airport for the 15:45 fight to Kuala Lumpur. Stayed at the Tune Hotel at KLIA overnight, which cost the same as the hotel in Medan, but was cramped, hot and noisy. Convienient for an early morning Air Asia flight from KLIA2 airport but would avoid staying there next time. I had been booked to stay at the Concorde Inn but this hotel had burnt down.

I had tried to book on the direct Lion Air flight from Medan to Padang but their online booking system wouldn’t accept my credit cards. Lion Air are not particularly reliable and their flights are usually late, plus I have heard that they are in financial difficulties. In my experience, it’s best to use Garuda Airlines for internal flights within Indonesia.

Tuesday 23rd August: KL to Padang
Had breakfast at KLIA airport before taking the 07:50 Air Asia flight to Padang. Most of the foreign travellers on board were surfers, all travelling to islands off the west coast of Sumatra, for some top surfing spots. On arrival at customs at Padang airport I was asked to show my return ticket, a first for me, not sure why they thought I would want to overstay in Indonesia. Peter Waanders was flying in from Jakarta on Lion Air and his flight was delayed by a few hours, so had a bit of a late start.

I had organised a fully inclusive package with Pak Subandi including airport transfers, transport, park entry fees, accommodation, meals and guiding. The cost for the 6D5N package was A$550 per person which was very reasonable and this gave us four full days of birding. Whilst Pak Subandi does have an email (, I found it easier to talk directly on the phone (+62 812 7411 4273). If I did send an email, then I would follow up with a text message to let him know that I had sent an email.  

Pak Subandi had let me know a few months after I had made the initial trip booking that Birdtourasia were going to be staying at the same time as our visit. I did look at some alternatives, such as Endatno Een (, but he was already fully booked up. I wasn’t able to find any other alternatives and in addition accommodation at Kersik Tuo was very limited, this being the only town close to Gunung Kerinci.  

From what I have seen, Pak Subandi provides the best option for an all inclusive deal, which avoids the hassles of making your own transport, accommodation and guiding arrangements. Just avoid the big birding groups and use Pak Subandi and his son-in-law as guides. 

We met up with our driver at Padang Airport and took the six to seven hour drive to Subandi’s homestay in Kersik Tuo, which is close to the walking trail up Gunung Kerinci. Peter and I did a short walk through the adjacent tea plantations in the late afternoon and managed to flush a Barred Buttonquail.

View of Gunung Kerinci with tea plantations in foreground

In the evening, we caught up with the other birders and learnt that conditions on Gunung Kerinci were forecast for heavy rain and high winds. Of course, they had had a successful trip that day on Gunung Kerinci, with good weather and had seen nearly all their targets. Based on the weather forecast Pak Subandi suggested that we go to Tapan Road the following day.

Pak Subandi was our guide for the next four days, as his son and son-in-law had been taken by the Birdtourasia group who used them as porters!! We did speak with Dwi Wahyudi (son-in-law) who is a knowledgeable birder and he told us exactly where to find the Rajah Scops Owl and Short-tailed Frogmouth, which were at their daytime roosts.

Wednesday 24th August: Tapan Road – Kerinci-Seblat National Park
Had a very early breakfast and then drove down to Tapan Road, arriving at about 06:30. Initially we had misty weather with light rain but this developed into heavy rain by midday. Despite the weather, we were relatively sheltered from the wind and managed to get in some good birding. We birded along the road making our way down the hill till we got to a large river crossing and then worked our way back up the hill. Where ever there was a small stream on the side of the road, we would make our way up the stream and get away from the road. It was very wet and muddy for much of the off-road birding.

Tapan Road

Interesting birds seen included Green Imperial Pigeon, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Green-billed Malkoha, about 18 Fire-tufted Barbet, Greater Yellownape, Long-tailed Broadbill, Black-and-crimson Oriole, Sumatran Drongo, Sumatran Treepie, Cream-striped Bulbul, Orange-spotted Bulbul, Sunda Bulbul, Yellow-bellied Warbler, Mountain White-eye, Grey-throated Babbler, Sunda Laughingthrush, Black Laughingthrush (heard only), Lesser Shortwing and Temminck’s Sunbird.

Sumatran Treepie (photo by Peter Waanders)

We packed up at 15:30 and drove back to the homestay.

Thursday 25th August: Gunung Kerinci – Kerinci-Seblat National Park
With another poor weather forecast, we decided to visit Gunung Kerinci. After breakfast, we took the short drive up to the start of the trail, on the southern slopes of Gunung Kerinci, arriving at 06:00. Despite what has been written in some trip reports, the trail is very easy to follow and there are some side paths which was worth exploring as well.

Sign at the beginning of the trail up Gunung Kerinci

Although it was wet, the high winds were more of an issue with trees snapping off on the slopes of Gunung Kerinci. We only managed to get 23 species of birds over nine hours of birding but we did pick up some excellent birds. We also had Black Gibbon on the forested slopes of Kerinci.

Sumatran Trogon (photo by Peter Waanders)

Intersting birds included Rajah Scops Owl, Short-tailed Frogmouth, Sumatran Trogon, Black-browed Barbet, Maroon Woodpecker, Pygmy Wren-babbler, Mountain Leaf Warbler, Sunda Warbler, Golden Babbler, Grey-throated Babbler, Eyebrowed Wren-babbler, Rusty-breasted Wren-babbler, Sumatran Cochua (heard only), Indigo Flycatcher (seen at 2,200m elevation), White-browed Shortwing, Shiny Whistling Thrush, Brown-winged Whistling Thrush and Snowy-browed Flycatcher.

Rajah Scops Owl (photo by Peter Waanders)

The latest field guide “Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago” suggests that the Rajah Scops Owl should be split into the Sumatran Scops Owl and Bornean Scops Owl. The Birdtourasia check list already has Sumatran Scops Owl on the list, however none of the current taxonomies recognise this proposed split.

The Brown-winged Whistling Thrush (IOC) is a recent split from the Sunda Whistling Trush and is also known as Sumatran Whistling Thrush (Eaton et al) or Chestnut-winged Whistling Thrush (Clements). The Sumatran Whistling Thrush would be the logical name as it’s now an endemic to Sumatra.

Friday 26th August: Tapan Road and Gunung Kerinci – Kerinci-Seblat National Park
With more rain forecast we decided to spend most of the day on Tapan Road (just under 7 hours) and then late afternoon / early evening at Gunung Kerinci. We had heavy rain in the early morning which cleared to sunny conditions by mid-morning. Unlike the previous visit, birding on Tapan Road was slow and we managed to only get 20 species of birds.

Interesting birds included Green-billed Malkoha, Wreathed Hornbill, three Long-tailed Broadbill, brief views of Graceful Pitta as it was flushed from the steep roadside embankment and seen in flight down a gully near the stream, Lesser Cuckooshrike, Sumatran Drongo, about eight Sumatran Treepie, Spot-necked Bulbul, Horsfield’s Babbler and good views of a female Sumatran Cochua.

We then drove to Gunung Kerinci arriving at 16:00 and stayed there till 19:40. By now the weather was very pleasant with cool and partly cloudy conditions. Had some good birding with Barn Owl seen, Barred Eagle-owl heard, Collared Owlet seen and heard plus two Salvadori’s Nightjar seen and heard. Other interesting birds included Sumatran Trogon, Schneider’s Pitta (heard only) and an adult male Sumatran Cochua seen well.  

Golden Babbler (photo by Peter Waanders)
Despite a wet start to the day, overall we had a good day by combining both sites, and ended up with 34 species for the day with some excellent birds seen.

Saturday 27th August: Gunung Kerinci – Kerinci-Seblat National Park
We had sunny and cool conditions today on Gunung Kerinci, spending 11 hours on the mountain, which proved to be a very successful day.

Impressive and imposing Gunung Kerinci

Pak Subandi heard Red-billed Partridge calling from across a steep valley and it responded to play back. As they didn’t come in closer Pak Subandi and I clambered down the steep gulley and up the other side, where there was another trail leading up the mountain which is frequently used by poachers. We eventually had two birds calling quite close but they never ventured out into the open. These were birds that the Birdtourasia group spent most of the day walking up and down the trail to get the previous day.

After lunch a huge birding party moved in and stayed around for a while. Birding parties are always exciting to get and this party included Grey-chinned Minivet, Sunda Minivet, Blyth’s Shrike-babbler, Sumatran Drongo, Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher, Black-capped White-eye, Blue Nuthatch, Shiny Whistling Thrush, Brown-winged Whistling Thrush and a few other birds.

Snowy-browed Flycatcher female (photo by Peter Waanders)

Snowy-browed Flycatcher male (photo by Peter Waanders)

In the late afternoon, Pak Subandi picked up the call of Barred Eagle-owl. We headed towards where it was calling from and eventually had two birds seen in flight several times.  
Other interesting birds for the day included Indonesian Kite, Asian Black Eagle, Short-tailed Frogmouth, pair of Large Woodshrike, Pygmy Wren-babbler, Mountain Tailorbird, Mountain Leaf Warbler, Sunda Warbler, Rufous-vented Niltava (one of the key targets), Indigo Flycatcher, Lesser Shortwing, Snowy-browed Flycatcher, Little Spiderhunter and Grey Wagtail.

Short-tailed Frogmouth (photo by Peter Waanders)

Short-tailed Frogmouth (photo by Peter Waanders)

Despite a lot of searching we didn’t manage to see Schneider’s Pitta, a key endemic for this site. Neither did the Birdtourasia group have success with the Pitta and they had had some good birding before we had arrived.  

Sunday 28th August: Kersik Tuo to Padang
We left early in the morning for the six to seven hour drive to Padang airport. What was apparent as we drove back, was the size of the Gunung Kerinci and adjacent forests. There must be many trails up the mountain that could be used for birding. There are also good forests around Padang as one comes into the town from the south which must also offer some good birding.

On the way to Padang, we had two Rhinocerous Hornbill fly over.  

We both flew from Padang to Kuala Lumpur on an Air Asia flight leaving at 13:55. I stayed at the Pacific Regency Hotel Suites in Kuala Lumpur for a couple of nights before flying back to Australia.

Birding Resources

Birds of Borneo by Susan Myers, first edition 2009

Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali by John MacKinnin and Karen Phillipps, first edition 1993

Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago by James Eaton et al, first edition November 2016 (published after the trip and referenced for this report)

eBird which had many useful site lists for Sabah but was very limited for Sumatra

Aves Vox – iPhone app which is useful for downloading, sorting and storing any Xeno-Canto sound recordings


For the combined Sabah and Sumatra trip I recorded a total of 218 birds of which 65 were lifers and 5 were heard only.

The birds recorded according to the IOC taxonomy (as of December 2016), with subspecies identified where possible, was as follows:

Pheasants and allies (Phasianidae)
Red-billed Partridge (Arborophila rubrirostris)
Crimson-headed Partridge (Haematortyx sanguiniceps)
Storks (Ciconiidae)
Storm's Stork (Ciconia stormi)
Herons, Bitterns (Ardeidae)
Eastern Cattle Egret (Bubulcus coromandus)
Purple Heron (Purple) [manilensis] (Ardea purpurea manilensis)
Great Egret (Australasian) (Ardea alba modesta)
Intermediate Egret [sp] (Ardea intermedia)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Anhingas, Darters (Anhingidae)
Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster)
Ospreys (Pandionidae)
Western Osprey (Eurasian) (Pandion haliaetus haliaetus)
Kites, Hawks and Eagles (Accipitridae)
Indonesian Kite (Elanus caeruleus hypoleucus)
Crested Serpent Eagle [sp] (Spilornis cheela)
Changeable Hawk-eagle [sp] (Nisaetus cirrhatus)
Wallace's Hawk-eagle [nanus] (Nisaetus nanus nanus)
Asian Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malaiensis malaiensis)
Crested Goshawk [microstictus] (Accipiter trivirgatus microstictus)
Brahminy Kite [intermedius] (Haliastur indus intermedius)
Lesser Fish Eagle [humilis] (Haliaeetus humilis humilis)
Rails, Crakes and Coots (Rallidae)
White-breasted Waterhen [phoenicurus] (Amaurornis phoenicurus phoenicurus)
Ruddy-breasted Crake [fusca] (Porzana fusca fusca)
Buttonquail (Turnicidae)
Barred Buttonquail (Barred) [suscitator] (Turnix suscitator suscitator)
Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)
Rock Dove (Feral) (Columba livia ''feral'')
Spotted Dove (Eastern) [tigrina] (Spilopelia chinensis tigrina)
Philippine Cuckoo-dove [borneensis] (Macropygia tenuirostris borneensis)
Little Cuckoo-dove [sp] (Macropygia ruficeps)
Little Cuckoo-dove [sumatrana] (Macropygia ruficeps sumatrana)
Little Cuckoo-dove [nana] (Macropygia ruficeps nana)
Common Emerald Dove [indica] (Chalcophaps indica indica)
Zebra Dove (Geopelia striata)
Little Green Pigeon (Treron olax)
Thick-billed Green Pigeon [nasica] (Treron curvirostra nasica)
Jambu Fruit Dove (Ptilinopus jambu)
Green Imperial Pigeon [sp] (Ducula aenea)
Mountain Imperial Pigeon (Mountain) [badia] (Ducula badia badia)
Cuckoos (Cuculidae)
Lesser Coucal [javanensis] (Centropus bengalensis javanensis)
Red-billed Malkoha [pallidus] (Zanclostomus javanicus pallidus)
Chestnut-breasted Malkoha (Chestnut-breasted) [singularis] (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris singularis)
Black-bellied Malkoha [borneensis] (Phaenicophaeus diardi borneensis)
Green-billed Malkoha [tristis] (Phaenicophaeus tristis tristis)
Barn Owls (Tytonidae)
Western Barn Owl (Eastern) (Tyto alba javanica)
Owls (Strigidae)
Rajah Scops Owl [solokensis] (Otus brookii solokensis)
Barred Eagle-owl [sumatranus] (Bubo sumatranus sumatranus)
Collared Owlet [sylvaticum] (Glaucidium brodiei sylvaticum)
Frogmouths (Podargidae)
Short-tailed Frogmouth (Batrachostomus poliolophus)
Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)
Salvadori's Nightjar [pulchellus] (Caprimulgus pulchellus pulchellus)
Swifts (Apodidae)
Glossy Swiftlet [sp] (Collocalia esculenta)
Glossy Swiftlet (Western) [cyanoptila] (Collocalia esculenta cyanoptila)
Black-nest Swiftlet [sp] (Aerodramus maximus)
Black-nest Swiftlet [lowi] (Aerodramus maximus lowi)
Brown-backed Needletail [sp] (Hirundapus giganteus)
House Swift [subfurcatus] (Apus nipalensis subfurcatus)
Trogons (Trogonidae)
Sumatran Trogon (Apalharpactes mackloti)
Whitehead's Trogon (Harpactes whiteheadi)
Rollers (Coraciidae)
Oriental Dollarbird [sp] (Eurystomus orientalis)
Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)
Stork-billed Kingfisher [innominata] (Pelargopsis capensis innominata)
Collared Kingfisher (Collared) [laubmannianus] (Todiramphus chloris laubmannianus)
Blue-banded Kingfisher [peninsulae] (Alcedo euryzona peninsulae)
Blue-eared Kingfisher [meninting] (Alcedo meninting meninting)
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher (Rufous-backed) (Ceyx erithaca rufidorsa)
Bee-eaters (Meropidae)
Blue-throated Bee-eater (Blue-throated) (Merops viridis viridis)
Hornbills (Bucerotidae)
Rhinoceros Hornbill [borneoensis] (Buceros rhinoceros borneoensis)
Rhinoceros Hornbill [rhinoceros] (Buceros rhinoceros rhinoceros)
Malaysian Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris convexus)
Black Hornbill (Anthracoceros malayanus)
Wreathed Hornbill (Rhyticeros undulatus)
Wrinkled Hornbill [corrugatus] (Rhabdotorrhinus corrugatus corrugatus)
Asian Barbets (Megalaimidae)
Fire-tufted Barbet (Psilopogon pyrolophus)
Golden-whiskered Barbet (Gold-faced) (Psilopogon chrysopogon chrysopsis)
Red-throated Barbet [sp] (Psilopogon mystacophanos)
Red-throated Barbet [mystacophanos] (Psilopogon mystacophanos mystacophanos)
Black-browed Barbet (Psilopogon oorti)
Golden-naped Barbet (Psilopogon pulcherrimus)
Blue-eared Barbet (Black-eared) [duvaucelii] (Psilopogon duvaucelii duvaucelii)
Brown Barbet [sp] (Caloramphus fuliginosus)
Honeyguides (Indicatoridae)
Malaysian Honeyguide (Indicator archipelagicus)
Woodpeckers (Picidae)
Rufous Piculet [sp] (Sasia abnormis)
Grey-and-buff Woodpecker [sordidus] (Hemicircus concretus sordidus)
Checker-throated Woodpecker [humii] (Chrysophlegma mentale humii)
Greater Yellownape [sp] (Chrysophlegma flavinucha)
Crimson-winged Woodpecker [observandus] (Picus puniceus observandus)
Maroon Woodpecker (Blythipicus rubiginosus)
Orange-backed Woodpecker [xanthopygius] (Reinwardtipicus validus xanthopygius)
Rufous Woodpecker [badius] (Micropternus brachyurus badius)
Buff-rumped Woodpecker [grammithorax] (Meiglyptes tristis grammithorax)
Caracaras, Falcons (Falconidae)
White-fronted Falconet (Microhierax latifrons)
Old World Parrots (Psittaculidae)
Long-tailed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula longicauda)
Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot (Loriculus galgulus)
Broadbills (Eurylaimidae)
Green Broadbill [viridis] (Calyptomena viridis viridis)
Whitehead's Broadbill (Calyptomena whiteheadi)
Black-and-red Broadbill [macrorhynchos] (Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos macrorhynchos)
Long-tailed Broadbill [psittacinus] (Psarisomus dalhousiae psittacinus)
Black-and-yellow Broadbill (Eurylaimus ochromalus)
Pittas (Pittidae)
Schneider's Pitta (Hydrornis schneideri)
Bornean Banded Pitta (Hydrornis schwaneri)
Graceful Pitta (Erythropitta venusta)
Woodshrikes and allies (Tephrodornithidae)
Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike [intermedius] (Hemipus picatus intermedius)
Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike (Hemipus hirundinaceus)
Large Woodshrike [sp] (Tephrodornis virgatus)
Woodswallows, butcherbirds and allies (Artamidae)
White-breasted Woodswallow [leucorynchus] (Artamus leucorynchus leucorynchus)
White-breasted Woodswallow [amydrus] (Artamus leucorynchus amydrus)
Ioras (Aegithinidae)
Common Iora [sp] (Aegithina tiphia)
Green Iora [sp] (Aegithina viridissima)
Green Iora [viridissima] (Aegithina viridissima viridissima)
Cuckooshrikes (Campephagidae)
Lesser Cuckooshrike [sp] (Coracina fimbriata)
Grey-chinned Minivet [montanus] (Pericrocotus solaris montanus)
Grey-chinned Minivet [cinereigula] (Pericrocotus solaris cinereigula)
Sunda Minivet (Pericrocotus miniatus)
Whistlers and Allies (Pachycephalidae)
Bornean Whistler [sp] (Pachycephala hypoxantha)
Shrikes (Laniidae)
Long-tailed Shrike (bentet) (Lanius schach bentet)
Vireos, Greenlets (Vireonidae)
White-bellied Erpornis [brunnescens] (Erpornis zantholeuca brunnescens)
Blyth's Shrike-babbler (Blyth's) [cameranoi] (Pteruthius aeralatus cameranoi)
Blyth's Shrike-babbler (Blyth's) [robinsoni] (Pteruthius aeralatus robinsoni)
Figbirds, Orioles (Oriolidae)
Dark-throated Oriole [sp] (Oriolus xanthonotus)
Black-and-crimson Oriole [consanguineus] (Oriolus cruentus consanguineus)
Drongos (Dicruridae)
Ashy Drongo [sp] (Dicrurus leucophaeus)
Ashy Drongo (Bornean) (Dicrurus leucophaeus stigmatops)
Hair-crested Drongo [sp] (Dicrurus hottentottus)
Hair-crested Drongo [borneensis] (Dicrurus hottentottus borneensis)
Sumatran Drongo [sp] (Dicrurus sumatranus)
Fantails (Rhipiduridae)
White-throated Fantail [sp] (Rhipidura albicollis)
White-throated Fantail [atrata] (Rhipidura albicollis atrata)
White-throated Fantail [kinabalu] (Rhipidura albicollis kinabalu)
Malaysian Pied Fantail [longicauda] (Rhipidura javanica longicauda)
Monarchs (Monarchidae)
Black-naped Monarch [sp] (Hypothymis azurea)
Oriental Paradise Flycatcher (Blyth's) [borneensis] (Terpsiphone affinis borneensis)
Crows, Jays (Corvidae)
Bornean Green Magpie (Cissa jefferyi)
Sumatran Treepie (Dendrocitta occipitalis)
Bornean Treepie (Dendrocitta cinerascens)
Slender-billed Crow (Sunda) (Corvus enca compilator)
Fairy Flycatchers (Stenostiridae)
Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher [antioxantha] (Culicicapa ceylonensis antioxantha)
Tits, Chickadees (Paridae)
Cinereous Tit [ambiguus] (Parus cinereus ambiguus)
Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)
Cream-striped Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucogrammicus)
Spot-necked Bulbul (Pycnonotus tympanistrigus)
Black-headed Bulbul [sp] (Pycnonotus atriceps)
Scaly-breasted Bulbul [borneensis] (Pycnonotus squamatus borneensis)
Sooty-headed Bulbul [aurigaster] (Pycnonotus aurigaster aurigaster)
Puff-backed Bulbul (Pycnonotus eutilotus)
Orange-spotted Bulbul [bimaculatus] (Pycnonotus bimaculatus bimaculatus)
Yellow-vented Bulbul [analis] (Pycnonotus goiavier analis)
Yellow-vented Bulbul [gourdini] (Pycnonotus goiavier gourdini)
Cream-vented Bulbul [sp] (Pycnonotus simplex)
Cream-vented Bulbul [simplex] (Pycnonotus simplex simplex)
Asian Red-eyed Bulbul [brunneus] (Pycnonotus brunneus brunneus)
Spectacled Bulbul (Pycnonotus erythropthalmos)
Ochraceous Bulbul [sp] (Alophoixus ochraceus)
Ochraceous Bulbul [sumatranus] (Alophoixus ochraceus sumatranus)
Grey-cheeked Bulbul [tephrogenys] (Alophoixus bres tephrogenys)
Hairy-backed Bulbul [sp] (Tricholestes criniger)
Buff-vented Bulbul [charlottae] (Iole olivacea charlottae)
Sunda Bulbul [sumatranus] (Ixos virescens sumatranus)
Swallows, Martins (Hirundinidae)
Pacific Swallow [javanica] (Hirundo tahitica javanica)
Wren-babblers (Pnoepygidae)
Pygmy Wren-babbler [lepida] (Pnoepyga pusilla lepida)
Cettia bush warblers and allies (Cettiidae)
Yellow-bellied Warbler [papilio] (Abroscopus superciliaris papilio)
Yellow-bellied Warbler [schwaneri] (Abroscopus superciliaris schwaneri)
Mountain Tailorbird [cuculatus] (Phyllergates cuculatus cuculatus)
Mountain Tailorbird [cinereicollis] (Phyllergates cuculatus cinereicollis)
Sunda Bush Warbler [sp] (Horornis vulcanius)
Sunda Bush Warbler [oreophilus] (Horornis vulcanius oreophilus)
Leaf warblers and allies (Phylloscopidae)
Mountain Leaf Warbler [trivirgatus] (Phylloscopus trivirgatus trivirgatus)
Mountain Leaf Warbler [kinabaluensis] (Phylloscopus trivirgatus kinabaluensis)
Yellow-breasted Warbler [montis] (Seicercus montis montis)
Sunda Warbler [sumatrensis] (Seicercus grammiceps sumatrensis)
Cisticolas and Allies (Cisticolidae)
Hill Prinia [dysancrita] (Prinia superciliaris dysancrita)
Bar-winged Prinia (Prinia familiaris)
Yellow-bellied Prinia [sp] (Prinia flaviventris)
Yellow-bellied Prinia [latrunculus] (Prinia flaviventris latrunculus)
Dark-necked Tailorbird [sp] (Orthotomus atrogularis)
Ashy Tailorbird [sp] (Orthotomus ruficeps)
Ashy Tailorbird [borneoensis] (Orthotomus ruficeps borneoensis)
Babblers (Timaliidae)
Grey-throated Babbler [larvata] (Stachyris nigriceps larvata)
Grey-throated Babbler [borneensis] (Stachyris nigriceps borneensis)
Grey-headed Babbler (Stachyris poliocephala)
Chestnut-rumped Babbler [sp] (Stachyris maculata)
Chestnut-winged Babbler [sp] (Stachyris erythroptera)
Golden Babbler [frigida] (Stachyridopsis chrysaea frigida)
Bold-striped Tit-Babbler (Bold-striped) [bornensis] (Macronus bornensis bornensis)
Fulvettas, Ground Babblers (Pellorneidae)
Brown Fulvetta (Alcippe brunneicauda)
Rusty-breasted Wren-babbler (Napothera rufipectus)
Eyebrowed Wren-babbler [diluta] (Napothera epilepidota diluta)
Horsfield's Babbler [barussana] (Malacocincla sepiaria barussana)
Sumatran Babbler (Pellorneum buettikoferi)
Laughingthrushes (Leiothrichidae)
Sunda Laughingthrush [palliatus] (Garrulax palliatus palliatus)
Sunda Laughingthrush [schistochlamys] (Garrulax palliatus schistochlamys)
Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush [sp] (Garrulax treacheri)
Black Laughingthrush (Garrulax lugubris)
White-eyes (Zosteropidae)
Chestnut-crested Yuhina (Yuhina everetti)
Pygmy White-eye (Oculocincta squamifrons)
Mountain Blackeye [sp] (Chlorocharis emiliae)
Oriental White-eye [sp] (Zosterops palpebrosus)
Black-capped White-eye [sp] (Zosterops atricapilla)
Black-capped White-eye [atricapilla] (Zosterops atricapilla atricapilla)
Mountain White-eye [sp] (Zosterops montanus)
Fairy-bluebirds (Irenidae)
Asian Fairy-bluebird (Asian) [crinigera] (Irena puella crinigera)
Nuthatches (Sittidae)
Blue Nuthatch [expectata] (Sitta azurea expectata)
Starlings, Rhabdornis (Sturnidae)
Asian Glossy Starling [sp] (Aplonis panayensis)
Common Hill Myna [religiosa] (Gracula religiosa religiosa)
Crested Myna [sp] (Acridotheres cristatellus)
Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus)
Common Myna [tristis] (Acridotheres tristis tristis)
Thrushes (Turdidae)
Orange-headed Thrush [aurata] (Geokichla citrina aurata)
Sumatran Cochoa (Cochoa beccarii)
Chats, Old World Flycatchers (Muscicapidae)
Oriental Magpie-robin [sp] (Copsychus saularis)
Oriental Magpie-robin [adamsi] (Copsychus saularis adamsi)
White-crowned Shama [sp] (Copsychus stricklandii)
Pale Blue Flycatcher [harterti] (Cyornis unicolor harterti)
Rufous-vented Niltava (Niltava sumatrana)
Verditer Flycatcher [thalassoides] (Eumyias thalassinus thalassoides)
Indigo Flycatcher [ruficrissa] (Eumyias indigo ruficrissa)
Indigo Flycatcher [cerviniventris] (Eumyias indigo cerviniventris)
Lesser Shortwing [leucophris] (Brachypteryx leucophris leucophris)
White-browed Shortwing [erythrogyna] (Brachypteryx montana erythrogyna)
White-browed Shortwing [saturata] (Brachypteryx montana saturata)
Eyebrowed Jungle Flycatcher (Vauriella gularis)
White-crowned Forktail [sp] (Enicurus leschenaulti)
Bornean Forktail (Enicurus borneensis)
Shiny Whistling Thrush (Myophonus melanurus)
Bornean Whistling Thrush (Myophonus borneensis)
Brown-winged Whistling Thrush (Myophonus castaneus)
Snowy-browed Flycatcher [sumatrana] (Ficedula hyperythra sumatrana)
Little Pied Flycatcher [westermanni] (Ficedula westermanni westermanni)
Leafbirds (Chloropseidae)
Greater Green Leafbird [zosterops] (Chloropsis sonnerati zosterops)
Lesser Green Leafbird [cyanopogon] (Chloropsis cyanopogon cyanopogon)
Bornean Leafbird (Chloropsis kinabaluensis)
Flowerpeckers (Dicaeidae)
Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker [maculatus] (Prionochilus maculatus maculatus)
Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker (Prionochilus xanthopygius)
Thick-billed Flowerpecker [atjehensis] (Dicaeum agile atjehensis)
Orange-bellied Flowerpecker [sp] (Dicaeum trigonostigma)
Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Orange-bellied) [trigonostigma] (Dicaeum trigonostigma trigonostigma)
Black-sided Flowerpecker (Dicaeum monticolum)
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker [sumatranum] (Dicaeum cruentatum sumatranum)
Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)
Ruby-cheeked Sunbird [borneana] (Chalcoparia singalensis borneana)
Plain Sunbird (Anthreptes simplex)
Brown-throated Sunbird (Brown-throated) [malacensis] (Anthreptes malacensis malacensis)
Brown-throated Sunbird (Brown-throated) [bornensis] (Anthreptes malacensis bornensis)
Red-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes rhodolaemus)
Purple-naped Sunbird [hypogrammicum] (Hypogramma hypogrammicum hypogrammicum)
Olive-backed Sunbird (Olive-backed) [ornatus] (Cinnyris jugularis ornatus)
Temminck's Sunbird (Aethopyga temminckii)
Little Spiderhunter [sp] (Arachnothera longirostra)
Thick-billed Spiderhunter (Arachnothera crassirostris)
Long-billed Spiderhunter [robusta] (Arachnothera robusta robusta)
Yellow-eared Spiderhunter [chrysogenys] (Arachnothera chrysogenys chrysogenys)
Bornean Spiderhunter (Arachnothera everetti)
Old World Sparrows, Snowfinches (Passeridae)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow [saturatus] (Passer montanus saturatus)
Eurasian Tree Sparrow [malaccensis] (Passer montanus malaccensis)
Waxbills, Munias and Allies (Estrildidae)
Dusky Munia (Lonchura fuscans)
Scaly-breasted Munia (Scaled) [fretensis] (Lonchura punctulata fretensis)
Chestnut Munia (Chestnut) [jagori] (Lonchura atricapilla jagori)
Wagtails, Pipits (Motacillidae)
Eastern Yellow Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla tschutschensis)
Eastern Yellow Wagtail (Eastern) (Motacilla tschutschensis tschutschensis)
Grey Wagtail [cinerea] (Motacilla cinerea cinerea)

1 comment:

  1. Hello Bruce,

    My name is Andrey. I’m also a birder. I found your report on birding in Indonesia on I will go birding to Indonesia soon. I would be very thankful to you if you could share with me your collection of sounds of birds from Indonesia that you downloaded from I can share with you my collections of sounds of birds in return. I have the library of bird sounds from Madagascar, European part of Russia and Siberian part of Russia.

    With best regards,
    Andrey Vlasenko