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Republic of Indonesia

Knobbed Hornbill Aceros cassidix ©Sam Woods Website

Birding Indonesia

Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is the world's largest island country, with more than seventeen thousand islands, and at 1,904,569 square kilometres (735,358 square miles), the 14th largest by land area and the 7th largest in combined sea and land area. With over 261 million people, it is the world's 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world's most populous island, contains more than half of the country's population. It has 34 provinces, of which five have special status. Jakarta, the country's capital, is the second most populous urban area in the world. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and the eastern part of Malaysia. Other neighbouring countries include Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia, Palau, and India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Lying along the equator, Indonesia's climate tends to be relatively even year-round.[84]Indonesia has two seasons - a wet season and a dry season - with no extremes of summer or winter. For most of Indonesia, the dry season falls between April and October with the wet season between November and March.[85]Indonesia's climate is almost entirely tropical, dominated by the tropical rainforest climate found in every major island of Indonesia, followed by the tropical monsoon climate that predominantly lies along Java's coastal north, Sulawesi's coastal south and east, and Bali, and finally the tropical Savanna climate, found in isolated locations of Central Java, lowland East Java, coastal southern Papua and smaller islands to the east of Lombok.

Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support a high level of biodiversity. Its flora and fauna is a mixture of Asian and Australasian species. The islands of the Sunda Shelf (Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and Bali) were once linked to mainland Asia, and have a wealth of Asian fauna. Large species such as the Sumatran tiger, rhinoceros, orangutan, Asian elephant, and leopard, were once abundant as far east as Bali, but numbers and distribution have dwindled drastically. Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara, and Maluku - having been long separated from the continental landmasses - have developed their own unique flora and fauna. Papua was part of the Australian landmass, and is home to a unique fauna and flora closely related to that of Australia, including over 600 bird species. Forests cover approximately 70% of the country. Indonesia is second only to Australia in terms of total endemic species, with 36% of its over 1,700 species of bird and 39% of its 515 species of mammal being endemic.

Its hardly surprising, therefore, that Indonesia has some of the best bird watching in the world! At over 1,700 species, or around 17% of the worlds birds, are found in Indonesia. Of these almost 600 are endemics: the most of any country in the world.

Birding highlights are too many to mention. From crowned pigeons and birds-of-paradise, to endemic pheasants and pittas. There are plenty of reasons to come once, come again, and then keep coming back!

Indonesia spans two continental regions – Asia and Australasia – with an island-region of its very own in the middle – Wallacea. Add to this 17,000 islands (making it the world’s largest archipelago) and you can start to understand the spectacular diversity and endemism among birds here.

Indonesia is huge, but its domestic travel network is good and getting better. Many excellent birding sites are well known and the access is straightforward. There are also many local guides and tour companies that can make birding easy. Alternatively, for those looking for adventure and discovery there is probably few better places to try than Indonesia. Many regions, including many smaller islands and mountains, are rarely ever visited by birders, and as a result there are probably more ‘lost species’, that have not been recorded for decades, than anywhere else. There are also undoubtedly new species still waiting to be discovered.

Top Sites

See Regional Pages

There are so many birding places, with such diversity, that it is impossible to pick individual sites as the top for the nation. Therefore, top sites are listed in each of the individual regional pages…


Nick Brickle

Burung-Nusantara / Birds-Indonesia



Number of Species

Number of bird species: 1711

(As at February 2019)

National Bird: Javan Hawk-eagle Nisaetus bartelsi


Number of endemics: 503

(The number widely differs between authorities, this figure is given by BirdLife International as the number of 'breeding endemics'.) For birds endemic to particular regions see that page.


iGoTerra Checklist for Indonesia North of the Wallace Line

iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

iGoTerra Checklist for Indonesia South of the Wallace Line

iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

Useful Reading

A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Indonesia

by Morton Strange | Periplus Editions | 2012 | Paperback | 544 pages, 920 colour photos, colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 9780804842006

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birding Indonesia

(A Bird-watcher's Guide to the World's Largest Archipelago) | Edited by Paul Jepson | Periplus Editions | 1997 | 284 pages, 120 colour plates, 40 maps |

ISBN: 9789625930718

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Java, Sumatra and Bali

By Tony Tilford & Alain Compost | Bloomsbury Publishing | 2017 | Paperback | 136 pages, 250 colour photos, 1 colour map |

ISBN: 9781472938183

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of South-East Asia

(A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia) | By Morten Strange | New Holland Publishers | 1998 | Paperback | 12 pages, Colour photos throughout |

ISBN: 9781853688799

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago: Greater Sundas and Wallacea

By James A Eaton, Bas van Balen, Nick W Brickle & Frank E Rheindt | Lynx Edicions | 2016 | Hardback | 496 pages, 2500+ colour illustrations, 1300+ colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 9788494189265

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of the Philippines, Sumatra, Java, Bali, Borneo, Sulawesi, the Lesser Sundas and the Moluccas

By Norman Arlott | William Collins (Harper Collins imprint) | 2018 | Hardback | 416 pages, 179 plates with colour illustrations; colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 9780008102395

Buy this book from NHBS.com


BirdLife - Burung Indonesia


To be the guardian of Indonesia’s wild birds and their habitats through working with people for sustainable development. To achieve this, Burung Indonesia has been working on: Promoting conservation of sites, species and habitats. Working with communities to promote collaborative conservation and natural resource management for sustainable development. Developing the organizational capacity for improved management of habitats, sites, and species. Founded in 2002 - Staff: 74 - Jl. Dadali 32, Bogor, ID, 16161 . Tel. +62 251 835 7222 Ext 101; Fax. +62 251 835 7961 birdlife@burung.org

Burung Indonesia


IdOU - Indonesian Ornithologists' Union


IdOU is a non profit membership-based organisation with the following objective: “To advance the ornithology of Indonesia by promoting the study of all aspects of Indonesian birds”. IdOU was established with the help of PILI- NGO Movement, and inaugurated at the Centre for Biology Research, Indonesian Institute of Sciences, (Cibinong, 23 August 2004). IdOU publishes Kukila, as well as facilitating relevant scientific fora as seminar, symposia, workshop, and invited talks.

Ornithological Society of Indonesia

Taman Burun TMII Bird Park, TMII, Jakarta (Timur) 13560. + 62 21 840 1722 netcap@indo.net.id

Wildlife Conservaton Society – Indonesia Program (WCS-IP)


The Wildlife Conservaton Society – Indonesia Program (WCS-IP) began working in Indonesia in 1965 and established a formal country program in 1991. Using a “muddy boots” method to conservation, we identify critical conservation issues, find sciencebased solutions to these problems, and achieve tangible, on-the-ground success that benefits wildlife and wild places…


Abbreviations Key

*See regional pages for national parks and reserves

Indonesia National Parks


An extensive list of the national parks with information about each and some nice photographs.

Nature Reserves


Indonesia comprises a vast area in which various geological and climatological circumstances occur. Geological, the country can be divided in three parts. Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan and Bali, together with parts of the Philipines, Thailand and Malaysia, lie on the Sunda continental shelf whereas Irian Jaya, together with Australia lies on the Sahul continental shelf. The sea bottom around Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara and Maluku forms no continuous shelf. These islands are seperated by very deep seas.

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Ecotours

Tour Operator

The fauna of the vast island country of Indonesia is characterised by high levels of biodiversity and endemism due to its distribution over a vast tropical archipelago.

Sultan Birding Tours

Tour Operator

Sultan birding tours based in Manado North Sulawesi of Indonesia, specialized in operating bird photography and bird watching within the island of Sulawesi (Tangkoko Nature Reserve, Tomohon Highland, Dumoga Bone national Park, Lore Lindu National Park), Halmahera and other birding destination in Indonesia…

Vacation Indonesia Tours

Tour Operator

Vacation Indonesia Tours, owned by Nurlin Djuni & Darwin Sumang, is your gateway to Indonesia. We can immerse you in our culture, heritage and our extraordinarily diverse natural history. The Islands of Indonesia are justly famous for birdwatching. Over 372 species have been recorded and many are found nowhere else. Nurlin Djuni specialises in Birdwatching/Holidays Tours in Sulawesi, Halmahera, Papua, Java, Bali, Kalimantan, Lesser Sundas and Sumatera…

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…


Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2014 [09 September] - Craig Robson - The Lesser Sundas

PDF Report

Highlights during the tenth Birdquest to this little visited part of Indonesia included Flores Hawk-eagle, Sumba Buttonquail, Timor Black Pigeon, Barred-necked Cuckoo-dove, Flores Green-pigeon, both Flores and Wallace's Scops-owls, Citron- and Yellow-crested Cockatoos, Pink-headed Imperial Pigeon, Wallace’s Hanging-parrot, Olive-shouldered Parrot, Iris Lorikeet, Sumba Hornbill, Cinnamon-banded and Whiterumped Kingfishers, Elegant Pitta, Chestnut-capped, Chestnut-backed, Orange-sided and Sunda Thrushes, Black-banded Flycatcher, Flores Monarch, Bare-throated Whistler, Tricoloured Parrotfinch, and Timor Sparrow....

2014 [10 October] - James Eaton - Banda Sea Cruise

PDF Report

...As we entered the open seas our first pelagic species began to appear with good numbers of Bulwer’s Petrels, our first Red-footed and Brown Boobies, and smaller numbers of Pomarine Skua and Rednecked Phalarope...

2014 [11 November] - Craig Robson - Remote Eastern Indonesia

PDF Report

...This tour is packed with a seemingly ever-increasing number of endemics, and there was a constant stream of other highlights: Forsten’s, Tanimbar and Moluccan Megapodes, Pygmy Eagle, Rufous-necked Sparrowhawk, Great CuckooDove, Wallace’s Fruit Dove, Moluccan (or Lesser) Masked Owl, Salmon-crested (or Seram) Cockatoo, Blueeared Lory, Moluccan King Parrot, Buru Dwarf Kingfisher, Buru, Seram and Tanimbar Boobooks, Buru and Papuan Pittas, Kai Leaf Warbler, Buru and Seram Bush Warblers, Rufescent Darkeye, Grey-hooded Whiteeyes, Long-crested Myna, Buru, Fawn-breasted and Slaty-backed Thrushes, and many more...

2016 [10 October] - Chas Anderson

PDF Report

...Among the seabirds, highlights included large flocks of Red-footed and Brown Boobies, huge numbers of Red-necked Phalaropes, three species of Frigatebird, four Tubenoses and ten species of Terns. On land, avian highlights included Orange-footed Scrubfowl (=Megapode), Yellow-crested Cockatoo, Wallacean Drongo and Flamebreasted Sunbird....

2016 [10 October] - James Eaton - Banda Sea Experience

PDF Report

... The Banda Sea Cruise provides a unique opportunity to look for the endemic birds of this region whilst living aboard our extremely comfortable private ship designed specifically for touring the remotest islands of Indonesia and catering exclusively for special-interest groups such as ours and, for example, divers seeking undisturbed coral reefs. Using the ships zodiacs, we were able to reach even remote unspoilt beaches where few foreigners have ever set foot....

2016 [10 October] - Richard Webb

PDF Report

Bird-wise Green Junglefowl, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, some large flocks of Red-necked Phalarope, three roosting (Sunda) Banded Pittas and three very obliging Elegant Pittas; Black-naped Fruit Dove, Yellow-crested Cockatoo; ten species of kingfisher including Javan, Rufous-collared, White-rumped and Cerulean; and four species of owl....

2017 [09 September] - Ross Gallardy - Lesser Sundas, Sulawesi, Sangihe, Talaud, Halmahera, & Moluccas

PDF Report

From June-August 2017, Melissa and I traveled independently throughout the Lesser Sundas, Sulawesi, Sangihe, Talaud and the Moluccas in Indonesia. In total we visited twenty-three separate islands. Since there are already many good reports that cover the majority of this region, I have decided to just give brief overviews of each spot we visited mostly focusing on updated locations for target birds and some updated cost information. For additional information on the region check out the reports from others (listed below) especially the reports from Gareth Knass which are still mostly current and very detailed. For information on exact species lists for each location visited, search in eBird. Overall the trip went very well and we thoroughly enjoyed our extended visit to Indonesia.

2018 [07 July] - Mike Nelson - Sumatra & Java

PDF Report

...Continuing to the center of the island we focused on the famous Mount Kerinci with a host of tempting targets which included Schneider’s Pitta, Red-billed Partridge, Barred EagleOwl, Sumatran Blue Robin, Sumatran Frogmouth, Salvadori’s Pheasant and a pair of Sunda Collared Owlets added to the enjoyment. Dropping down into the foothills we racked up another wonderful set of birds with close views of Graceful Pitta, an energetic pair of Marbled Wren-Babblers, Sumatran and Blue-masked Leafbirds, Sumatran Peacock-Pheasant, White-tailed Flycatcher, Ruby-throated Bulbul and Spot-necked Babbler to name a few..

2018 [10 October] - Mike Nelson - The Lesser Sundas, Sumba, Rote, Timor, Flores and Komodo

PDF Report

Our tour this year was filled with some fantastic birding that included such megas as Flores Scops Owl, Bare-throated Whistler and its amazing nightingale-on-steroids song, Red-naped Fruit Dove, Timor Nightjar, Rote Boobook drooping its wings in threat and concluded with the monstrous Komodo Dragon up close and personal. Beginning in Sumba we cleaned up on the local endemics with fine views of Sumba Myzomela, Orange-crested Cockatoo, Sumba Hornbill, Greater and Little Sumba Boobooks as well as Chestnut-backed Thrush...

2018 [12 December] - Michael Grunwell - Timor & Sumba

PDF Report

...Olive-headed lorikeets were common in the highest forest constantly screeching and flying through the treetops but very difficult to get a decent view. Timor whistling flycatcher were regular up here and I fluked onto a tricoloured brush-finch...

Regional Trip Reports

See the regional pages for other trip reports to specific parts of Indonesia…

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…



For trekkers there are incredible waterfalls and beaches to discover and while hiking through the tropical forests you can also search for the indigenous birds of Sumba Island. If you are looking for adventure, true natural beauty or just relaxing and really getting away to another world, Nihiwatu Resort, in Indonesia is the place to be.

Other Links

Birding in Indonesia


Indonesia consists of thousands of islands and more than 1500 species of birds are recorded in the country. Many of these islands are of great biological value. There are hundreds of nature reserves. I will describe a few of these, starting with some on Java, Bali and Lombok. In 1994 my wife and I spent five weeks on these islands. The pressure on bird habitats here is very high and many species are rather scarce as a result of massive capture for the pet trade. But still many places are worth a birding visit.

Birding on Bali


The Bali Barat National Park is located on the north west tip of Bali. This reserve is the last site for the endangered Bali Myna. At Tegal Bunder it is possible to visit the Bali Myna project release centre. Pulau Menjangan is a small island that belongs to the reserve. Here are very beautiful coral reefs and it is a good spot for Lemon-bellied White-eye. The park is pretty much left alone by the thousands of tourists that visit Bali each year.

Birding on Java


A number of different locations with access details, checklists etc.

Burung-Nusantara - Birds-Indonesia


Birding and bird conservation in Indonesia. Site-by-site birdwatching guides, maps, birding trip reports, Indonesia bird checklists, listings of local guides & services, photo galleries, local bird conservation groups, bird conservation projects, birding ID forums and more…

Javan Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus bartelsi


Until recently, little was known about this enigmatic bird of prey, but ecological research, including radio tracking, has provided information on prey species, breeding biology and the home range of non-breeding males…

Operation Wallacia


Operation Wallacea is a series of scientific wildlife survey and conservation expeditions to a remote corner of the island of Sulawesi. It has been running wildlife research and community development projects in SE Sulawesi for the last 6 years. In 2001 there were nearly 300 mainly University students, together with 35 scientists, a professional photographer, an artist, expert trackers and forest support teams, diving staff and extensive logistics team to support the wide range of projects completed.

Project Birdwatch


To develop locally owned, low-cost, ecotourism cooperatives which enable wild bird trappers and sellers to work as birdwatching guides and tour organizers. To promote conservation of threatened bird populations and draw wider attention to unsustainable practices in the existing wild-caught bird trade.