Western Java - August 2009

Western Java (Gunung Halimun, Pamanukan, Muara Angke)


This report is based on a five day birding trip to Western Java from 8th to 12th August 2009, which was organised together with Indra Ferdinand (Freddy’s Homestay).  This birding trip was a continuation of the previous trip to Western Java in February 2009 and the focus was on the Javan endemics missed previously.  A total of 120 species were seen during the five days of birding.

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

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

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

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


The itinerary was as follows:
  1. 8 August - Departed Jakarta at 7am and travelled to Cikaniki Research Station in Gunung Halimun. Arrived at Cikaniki at midday and after lunch took a walk on the loop trail which passes through mid altitude rainforest and tea plantations. Stayed at Cikaniki Research Station.
  2. 9 August - Full day birding in the Gunung Halimun National Park walking on various trails through the rainforest and adjacent tea plantation. Stayed at Cikaniki Research Station.
  3. 10 August – Early morning birding from 5:30am on the Cikaniki entry road. Left Cikaniki at midday and travelled back to Jakarta and then eastwards to Pamanukan, arriving in the evening.  Stayed at Pamanukan Hotel.
  4. 11 August - Half day birding on the fish farms and mangrove wetlands to the north of Pamanukan. Travelled to Jakarta in afternoon stopping off at ripening rice paddies to see the White-capped Munia. Stayed at the Sanno Hotel in North Jakarta.
  5. 12 August – Early morning departure for Muara Angke. Spent the morning at the Muara Angke Wetland Reserve specifically to locate the Sunda Coucal. Drove to Mecure Rekso hotel in Jakarta after lunch and then to the airport in the evening.

Information on sites visited

Gunung Halimun National Park

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

Clapped-out transport used in National Park

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

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

Cikaniki Research Station

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

Blue Whistling-Thrush

Blue-winged Leafbird (Javan subspecies nigricollis)

In addition, at least four of the threatened Silvery Javan Gibbon (western subspecies) were seen close up calling and swinging through the trees.  Grizzled Leaf Monkey (Presbytis comata) were also seen eating large leaves in trees close to the visitor centre. 

Grizzled Leaf Monkey (Presbytis comata)

The national park has good walking trails and the main access road is also excellent for birding.  Of note was a Mountain Imperial Pigeon seen early in the morning on the main access road, and which was seen clearly whilst flying over. According to the field guide, this is a very rare bird in Java and has few recent records which include Halimun.


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

Fish and shrimp farms of Pamanukan

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

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

Remnant mangroves forests on left, fish farm on right

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

Muara Angke

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

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

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

South Jakarta

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

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

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

Literature Used

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

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

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

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

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


Bird Guiding Services      Indra Ferdinand (Freddy’s Homestay)
                                         Email: fecote@yahoo.com                 
                                         Website: www.if-ecoadventures.com
                                         Mobile: +(62) 857 2037 3169

Systematic List of Birds

The list indicates where the birds were first seen on the trip and total numbers at the sites.

Ducks, Geese & Swans (Anatidae)

Wandering Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna arcuata)             Muara Angke Wetlands             12

Sunda Teal (Anas gibberifrons)                                          Pamanukan Wetlands               2

Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)

Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)                                       Pamanukan Wetlands               140

Herons, Bitterns (Ardeidae)

Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis)                                  Pamanukan Wetlands               1

Cinnamon Bittern (Ixobrychus cinnamomeus)                   Pamanukan Wetlands               1

Black Bittern (Dupetor flavicollis)                                       Muara Angke Wetlands             2

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)           Pamanukan Wetlands               16

Striated Heron (Butorides striata)                                       Pamanukan Wetlands               20

Javan Pond Heron (Ardeola speciosa)                                Pamanukan Wetlands               48

Eastern Cattle Egret (Bubulcus coromandus)                     Muara Angke Wetlands             1

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)                                                Pamanukan Wetlands               6

Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)                                          Pamanukan Wetlands               2

Eastern Great Egret (Ardea modesta)                                 Pamanukan Wetlands               2

Intermediate Egret (Egretta intermedia)                              Pamanukan Wetlands               51

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)                                              Pamanukan Wetlands               10

Anhingas, Darters (Anhingidae)

Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster)                             Muara Angke Wetlands             12

Kites, Hawks & Eagles (Accipitridae)

Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela)                           Cikaniki Research Station          4

Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malayensis)                                   Cikaniki Research Station          1

Rails, Crakes & Coots (Rallidae)

White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)          Muara Angke Wetlands             6

White-browed Crake (Porzana cinerea)                               Muara Angke Wetlands             4

Black-backed Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio indicus)    Muara Angke Wetlands             2

Eurasian Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)            Muara Angke Wetlands             4

Plovers (Charadriidae)

Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)                                      Pamanukan Wetlands               2

Javan Plover (Charadrius javanicus)                                  Pamanukan Wetlands               14

Sandpipers, Snipes (Scolopacidae)

Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)                                     Pamanukan Wetlands               6

Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)                           Pamanukan Wetlands               8

Doves and Pigeons (Columbidae)

Feral Pigeon (Columba livia ''feral'')                                   Muara Angke Wetlands             10

Island Collared Dove (Streptopelia bitorquata)                   Pamanukan Wetlands               4

Spotted Dove (Stigmatopelia chinensis)                             Cikaniki Research Station          32

Ruddy Cuckoo-dove (Macropygia emiliana)                       Cikaniki Research Station          3

Common Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica)                   Cikaniki Research Station          1

Pink-necked Green Pigeon (Treron vernans)                      Muara Angke Wetlands             32

Mountain Imperial Pigeon (Ducula badia)                          Cikaniki Research Station          1

Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Sunda Coucal (Centropus nigrorufus)                                Muara Angke Wetlands             2

Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)                                  Pamanukan Wetlands               1

Lesser Coucal (Centropus bengalensis)                             Cikaniki Research Station          1

Chestnut-breasted Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris) Cikaniki Research Station         1

Plaintive Cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus)                          Muara Angke Wetlands             1

Frogmouths (Podargidae)

Javan Frogmouth (Batrachostomus javensis)                     Cikaniki Research Station          1

Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Savanna Nightjar (Caprimulgus affinis)                              Pamanukan Wetlands               1

Treeswifts (Hemiprocnidae)

Grey-rumped Treeswift (Hemiprocne longipennis)             Cikaniki Research Station          12

Swifts (Apodidae)

Cave Swiftlet (Collocalia linchi)                                          Blok M, Jakarta                        150

Trogons and Quetzals (Trogonidae)

Javan Trogon (Apalharpactes reinwardtii)                          Cikaniki Research Station          1

Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris)                        Cikaniki Research Station          5

Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus)                         Pamanukan Wetlands               5

Cerulean Kingfisher (Alcedo coerulescens)                        Pamanukan Wetlands               4

Blue-eared Kingfisher (Alcedo meninting)                          Pamanukan Wetlands               2

Bee-Eaters (Meropidae)

Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus)                         Pamanukan Wetlands               10

Asian Barbets (Megalaimidae)

Brown-throated Barbet (Megalaima corvina)                       Cikaniki Research Station          3

Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala)                Blok M, Jakarta                        1

Woodpeckers (Picidae)

Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker (Dendrocopos moluccensis)   Muara Angke Wetlands             3

Spot-breasted Pied Woodpecker (Dendrocopos analis)      Pamanukan Wetlands               6

Crimson-winged Woodpecker (Picus puniceus)                 Cikaniki Research Station          2

Thornbills (Acanthizidae)

Golden-bellied Gerygone (Gerygone sulphurea)                 Blok M, Jakarta                        27

Woodshrikes and allies (Tephrodornithidae)

Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike (Hemipus hirundinaceus) Cikaniki Research Station          1

Woodswallows (Artamidae)

White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus)      Cikaniki Research Station          24

Ioras (Aegithinidae)

Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia)                                         Blok M, Jakarta                        3

Cuckooshrikes (Campephagidae)

Sunda Cuckooshrike (Coracina larvata)                              Cikaniki Research Station          5

Pied Triller (Lalage nigra)                                                  Muara Angke Wetlands             1

White-shouldered Triller (Lalage sueurii)                           Muara Angke Wetlands             2

Small Minivet (Pericrocotus cinnamomeus)                       Muara Angke Wetlands             10

Sunda Minivet (Pericrocotus miniatus)                              Cikaniki Research Station          74

Vireos (Vireonidae)

White-browed Shrike-babbler (Pteruthius flaviscapis)        Cikaniki Research Station          2

Chestnut-fronted Shrike-babbler (Pteruthius aenobarbus) Cikaniki Research Station           5

Old World Orioles (Oriolidae)

Dark-throated Oriole (Oriolus xanthonotus)                        Cikaniki Research Station          2

Drongos (Dicruridae)

Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus)                                 Cikaniki Research Station          3

Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus remifer)                  Cikaniki Research Station          6

Fantails (Rhipiduridae)

White-bellied Fantail (Rhipidura euryura)                           Cikaniki Research Station          4

Pied Fantail (Rhipidura javanica)                                       Blok M, Jakarta                        4

Monarch Flycatchers (Monarchidae)

Black-naped Monarch (Hypothymis azurea)                        Cikaniki Research Station          1

Fairy Flycatchers (Stenostiridae)

Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher (Culicicapa ceylonensis) Cikaniki Research Station            4

Tits and Chickadees (Paridae)

Cinereous Tit (Parus cinereus cinereus)                             Cikaniki Research Station          6

Bulbuls (Pycnonotidae)

Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster)                   Blok M, Jakarta                        28

Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier)                      Blok M, Jakarta                        22

Grey-cheeked Bulbul (Alophoixus bres)                             Cikaniki Research Station          11

Sunda Bulbul (Ixos virescens)                                           Cikaniki Research Station          2

Swallows and Martins (Hirundinidae)

Pacific Swallow (Hirundo tahitica)                                      Pamanukan Wetlands               14

Bushtits (Aegithalidae)

Pygmy Bushtit (Psaltria exilis)                                           Cikaniki Research Station          2

Leaf warblers and allies (Phylloscopidae)

Mountain Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus trivirgatus)              Cikaniki Research Station          1

Sunda Warbler (Seicercus grammiceps)                            Cikaniki Research Station          1

Reed warblers and allies (Acrocephalidae)

Oriental Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus orientalis)                Muara Angke Wetlands             2

Clamorous Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus stentoreus)          Muara Angke Wetlands             2

Cisticolas and Allies (Cisticolidae)

Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis)                                   Pamanukan Wetlands               14

Bar-winged Prinia (Prinia familiaris)                                  Muara Angke Wetlands             12

Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata)                                              Pamanukan Wetlands               8

Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius)                        Blok M, Jakarta                        2

Ashy Tailorbird (Orthotomus ruficeps)                               Muara Angke Wetlands             2

Olive-backed Tailorbird (Orthotomus sepium)                    Cikaniki Research Station          1

Babblers and Parrotbills (Timaliidae)

Pygmy Wren-babbler (Pnoepyga pusilla)                           Cikaniki Research Station          1

White-breasted Babbler (Stachyris grammiceps)                Cikaniki Research Station          7

White-bibbed Babbler (Stachyris thoracica)                        Cikaniki Research Station          1

Javan Fulvetta (Alcippe pyrrhoptera)                                  Cikaniki Research Station          58

Spotted Crocias (Crocias albonotatus)                               Cikaniki Research Station          6

White-Eyes (Zosteropidae)

Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosus)                       Blok M, Jakarta                        10

Mountain White-eye (Zosterops montanus)                        Cikaniki Research Station          32

Javan White-eye (Zosterops flavus)                                    Pamanukan Wetlands               20

Nuthatches (Sittidae)

Blue Nuthatch (Sitta azurea)                                               Cikaniki Research Station          40

Starlings (Sturnidae)

White-vented Myna (Acridotheres javanicus)                      Muara Angke Wetlands             9

Thrushes (Turdidae)

Large Whistling Thrush (Myophonus caeruleus flavirostris) Cikaniki Research Station       3

Chats and Old World Flycatchers (Muscicapidae)

Sunda Robin (Myiomela diana)                                          Cikaniki Research Station          2

Sunda Forktail (Enicurus velatus)                                      Cikaniki Research Station          4

Little Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula westermanni)                    Cikaniki Research Station          5

Pale Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis unicolor)                             Cikaniki Research Station          3

Leafbirds (Chloropseidae)

Blue-winged Leafbird (Chloropsis cochinchinensis)          Cikaniki Research Station          45

Flowerpeckers (Dicaeidae)

Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker (Prionochilus percussus) Cikaniki Research Station         1

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma)      Cikaniki Research Station          6

Plain Flowerpecker (Dicaeum minullum)                            Blok M, Jakarta                        1

Blood-breasted Flowerpecker (Dicaeum sanguinolentum) Cikaniki Research Station          6

Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trochileum)           Blok M, Jakarta                        5

Sunbirds (Nectariniidae)

Ruby-cheeked Sunbird (Chalcoparia singalensis)              Cikaniki Research Station          2

Brown-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes malacensis)              Blok M, Jakarta                        3

Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis)                          Blok M, Jakarta                        3

Javan Sunbird (Aethopyga mystacalis)                              Cikaniki Research Station          3

Little Spiderhunter (Arachnothera longirostra)                   Cikaniki Research Station          1

Long-billed Spiderhunter (Arachnothera robusta)              Cikaniki Research Station          1

Old World Sparrows and Snowfinches (Passeridae)

Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)                        Blok M, Jakarta                        46

Waxbills, Munias and Allies (Estrildidae)

Javan Munia (Lonchura leucogastroides)                           Cikaniki Research Station          18

Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata)                      Blok M, Jakarta                        7

White-capped Munia (Lonchura malacca ferruginosa)        Pamanukan Wetlands              4

Pipits and Wagtails (Motacillidae)

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)                                         Cikaniki Research Station          1