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A Report from

South Maluku, Indonesia, July 21st- 19th August 2007 ,


Ron Hoff, Clinton, Tennessee, USA

When I first saw this trip advertised, I knew I wanted to go. Not many people have been birding in these islands and there are many endemics available. Our trip was organised and led by Ben King of King Bird Tours. The seven participants other than my wife (Dollyann Myers) and me were Bob Bates, Dan Guthrie, Ellis Gelhorn, Don and Elaine Mahaffey, Cliff Pollard, and Philip Rostron. We all met and started this trip in Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta. We also had a young man who was with us the whole trip named Raja and he was fantastic, taking care of us, translating, and sorting out problems we encountered.

I’ll go through the itinerary on a daily basis, telling where we went and what we did, highlighting the new species we found that particular day, but not all the common ones. At the end of this report, I’ll include a total checklist with dates and comments. When I use the symbol (E), that represents a bird endemic to either the South Maluku region or maybe that particular island. (RE) means a bird that is endemic to the region which includes the northern Moluccas, like Halmahera or West Papua.


Apparently this area is a logistic nightmare to go to in terms of set itineraries. The first morning Ben told us that our current itinerary was the 4th in the past 6 weeks! The reasons for this are primarily the air schedules. They can change at the last minute and knock someone off the flight, and you just can’t leave one member of the trip behind. The trick to birding here is that you need to have some “flex” days built into the itinerary so if something does happen, you have the chance to make it up somewhere.

July 22 – Early on the morning of July 22nd, we went to the airport and flew 3.5 hours back east to the island of Ambon, which is the administrative capitol of the South Moluccas, or South Maluku as they call it. Ambon seems to be the wettest place in these islands, as it was almost always having bits of rain, wind, and heavy clouds. We checked into our hotel, had lunch and a bit of a lie-in (Ben doesn’t bird much in the middle of the day usually). We went birding in the afternoon from 3-6 p.m. in some higher hills not far to the north from our hotel. Birds seen included Spotted Kestrel, a female Superb Fruit-Dove, Red-cheeked Parrots, Common Paradise-Kingfisher, Blythe’s Hornbill, Golden Bulbul, Ashy Flowerpecker (E), Ambon White-eye (E), and Black & Olive-backed Sunbirds, both of which were common and seen during most of the trip. Night at the Baguala Bay Resort Hotel. Pretty decent rooms and good food.

July 23 – Today our trip was supposed to start by going to Buru, but the ferry was canceled because they said the seas were too rough (we found out later in the trip that the problem was that when the ferries go around the southwest point of Ambon, the seas can get quite rough there and the ferries won’t run if it’s dangerous; a week before our trip started, a ferry capsized somewhere in the region in rough seas after its engine conked out and about 30 people died). The canceled ferry was beyond our control, and there are no air flights into Buru that are feasible. All we could do was go birding on Ambon. We went to a few places by car in the morning and then again from 3-6 p.m. The habitat on Ambon is mostly hacked over, so there are no “default” places to go. In spite of this we managed to find a few things. The highlight for me was a Moluccan Goshawk that I spotted in a tall tree by the road. Unfortunately I was not able to show it to anybody else before it flew away. The sighting did not make it into our “official” trip list but I feel very good about the ID, so I include it here. Other birds added were Great Frigatebird, Wood Sandpiper, Pied Stilt, Red Lory (RE), Sooty-headed Bulbul, Chestnut Munia, and Moluccan & Metallic Starlings. Sacred and Collared Kingfishers were seen throughout our trip, along with Eurasian Tree Sparrows. Night - Baguala Bay Resort.

July 24 – We talked it over last night and since we had no idea when the Buru ferry might run, we decided to change our itinerary and take the ferry to Seram today. The ferry took 3 hours and produced no seabirds other than Lesser Frigatebird and some herons/egrets near shore. We arrived at noon and then organized our cars to drive over the center of the island to a small town called Wahai, on the northeast coast. The drive took about 6-7 hours and we did a small amount of birding along the way. Most of the people on Seram live around the coast and there was a lot of primary forest along the road. The road goes through the Manusela National Park which appears to have loads of habitat, but there are few trails and no roads into it. The trails that are there are steep and can be dangerous during heavy rains; not good for a group. We did have some nice birds along the way. Seen were Black Eagle, Oriental Hobby, White-eyed Imperial-Pigeon (RE), Pied Imperial-Pigeon, Great-billed Parrot, Eclectus Parrot, Lesser Coucal, Glossy and Moluccan Swiftlets were common, Moustached Treeswifts, Pale-gray Cuckoo-shrike (RE), and Long-crested Myna (E - Seram).

Night at a guest house in the town of Wahai. It was clean and we got our meals at a local restaurant which served up some nice food.

July 25 – All our birding today, a.m. and p.m., was about 5-10 km. east of Wahai along the main road in the lowlands. It was fairly birdy and we only had a little rain. Highlights were Australian Ibis, Pacific Baza, Buff-banded Rail, Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove, Claret-breasted Fruit-Dove, many Red Lories, Moluccan Scops-Owl (at last light before returning), Variable Kingfisher, Moluccan Cuckoo-shrike (RE), Moluccan Flycatcher (RE), Black-crowned White-eye, Seram Myzomela (E), Seram Friarbird (E), Black-faced Munia, Spangled Drongo, White-breasted Woodswallow, and Slender-billed Crow. Night at Wahai guest house.

July 26 – All day spent in the same area as yesterday in the lowlands. Sightings of interest included a Radjah Shelduck only seen by a couple of folks, Purple Swamphen, 7 Lazuli Kingfishers during the day (E), somebody got on a Spectacled Monarch, and Seram Oriole (E). Night at Wahai guest house.

July 27 – Some of the harder endemics on Seram are only available at higher elevations, so we decided to drive to the highest point accessible to us, which was the high point on the cross-island highway at 1275m. The weather was clear and crisp early, but eventually gave way to rain most of the middle part of the day. We did some birding on our way up there, especially to look for the Salmon-crested Cockatoo on the slopes just below the high point. We eventually saw and got decent scope looks at the cockatoo. Other new birds for the day were Long-tailed Mountain-Pigeon (E),

, Ben got a glimpse of a Blue-eared Lory (E) flying over but nobody else was able to get on it, Red-flanked Lorikeet, a fabulous look at a Moluccan King-Parrot, Mountain Tailorbird, Island Leaf-Warbler, Little Pied Flycatcher, Island Flycatcher, Streak-breasted Fantail (E), Golden Whistler, Mountain White-eye, and somebody managed to get on a Wakolo Myzomela (E). On our way to the small town of Suwai to spend the might, we stopped off at a place where they are working on re-introducing some of the regional parrots back into the wild. I never did understand if they were breeding birds here or not, but we got to see many of the regional parrots up close, including the Salmon-crested Cockatoo.


It was sad to see these birds in cages, but they are getting hammered in the wild for the local and international caged bird trade. Maybe the rest of the world will look at the example the EU set when they recently banned all trade in birds (and maybe other species – I don’t know how comprehensive that decision was). Kudos to the EU for taking this stance. Our hotel in Suwai was out over the water and quite adequate. Don’t know the name of the place.

July 28 – We began the day at dawn at the high point on the road. The weather was clear and cool and the birds were active until about 9 a.m. New birds encountered for the day included Little Heron, Little Eagle (I think Ben said this was the first record for the Moluccas), White-breasted Fruit-Dove, another sighting of Salmon-crested Cockatoo, we heard a Red-bellied Pitta, Gray-hooded White-eye (E - Seram), Seram Honeyeater (E – Seram), and Wakolo Myzomela (E).

We had to get back to the ferry port by about 1 p.m. to catch our ferry back to Ambon. When we got there we found out that our ferry was sick (?!? – we found out later they had blown an engine). Our logistics helpers got some information and we eventually drove another 2.5 hours to the west where we caught a different ferry back to Ambon. Night at Baguala Bay Resort.

July 29 – Last night one of our other local helpers, named Caesar, found out that there was a small reserve on the nearby island of Haruku for the Moluccan Scrubfowl. We decided to take a boat over this morning in the hopes of seeing it. As it turns out, it is a reserve, but the birds are primarilly active in the night and mostly so only during the egg laying season, which this wasn’t. The reserve manager did say that one came in last night anyway. I’m not sure how he knew this. I can’t imagine him staying up all night to watch for them. I mention this as this little reserve IS a place where the local people have historically collected eggs from the scrubfowl for food. During the proper season, it should result in a relatively easy sighting of a hard bird to see. On the way back from Haruku, we spotted a Black-naped Tern. That was it for the day. This was a travel day. We left later in the afternoon for our flight south to the Kai Islands, landing at Langgar on Kai Kecil (pronounced Kay Kechil). The next few nights we stayed at a nice, 4 story hotel in downtown Tual. The rooms were nice and the food was the best of the trip, I thought. I don’t remember the name of the hotel.

July 30 – This morning we went to the NW part of the island to place called Ohoililur Beach Resort. There is some decent forest there and it was fairly birdy, besides being a gorgeous location. Most of the rest of the island is pretty much cut over, with only remnant patches of trees and lots of scrub habitat. The weather was good and we never had any rain on these islands. New birds for today were Little Pied Cormorant, Variable Goshawk (sylvestris ssp), Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Great Crested Tern, Uniform Swiftlet, Barred Dove, Wallace’s Fruit-Dove (RE), Elegant Imperial-Pigeon, Tanimbar Corella (E), Kai Coucal (E – Kai), Kai Cuckoo-shrike (E – Kai), Varied Triller,  Cinnamon-chested Flycatcher (E) ( I was the only person to see this little cutie; it vanished before I could get anybody else on it), Island Monarch, White-tailed Monarch (E – Kai), Northern Fantail, Rufous Fantail, Island Whistler (RE), Gray-headed Whistler, Drab Whistler (RE), Mistletoebird, Lemmon-bellied White-eye (seen by only a couple of people), Little Kai White-eye (E – Kai), Black-faced Friarbird (RE), Australian Figbird (recently split from Green Figbird), and Wallacean Drongo. Night in Tual hotel.

July 31 – This morning we went to the south part of the island in hopes of finding some forest, but all we found is more cut-over scrub and forest remnants. We managed to pick up a few new ticks. In the afternoon, we went to a fairly large interior freshwater lake, where we were able to find some other new trip birds. New for the day were Little Grebe, Little Black Cormorant, Australian Darter, Spotted & Lesser Whistling-Ducks, Green Pygmy Goose, Eurasian Coot, One person saw a couple of Blue-streaked Lories, Australian Koel, and Large-tailed Nightjar. One interesting  thing we found was a Wallacean Cuckoo-shrike with a chick on the nest. The nest was on an exposed branch.

August 1 – This morning we took a 1 hour boat ride over to the other main island in this group, called Kai Besar. This is home to the Great Kai White-eye and we found it without too much trouble on the main road that bisects the island (we had 12 total). There seemed to be more forest on this island but the birds were still thin on the ground. We stayed until about noon and then returned to Kai Kecil. The afternoon was spent back on the NE part of the island. The birding was pretty slow but it was very windy and this probably kept activity to a minimum. Sightings of interest included Emerald Dove, Red-flanked Lorikeet, Brush Cuckoo (on Kai Besar), and Wallacean Whistler. Night in Tual hotel.

August 2 – Today we went back to the NW part of the island and the Ohoililur Beach Resort forest to try to re-find the Cinnamom-chested Flycatcher I had the other day. Despite intense looking, we did NOT re-find it. The weather was very pleasant but the birding was pretty slow with only a few small flocks moving through. The afternoon found us going back to the NW again and we stayed until after it got dark to try to find any owls. No luck with the owls. Trip birds added today included the trip’s only Intermediate Egrets, Variable Goshawk (Ben says this should be split as Sunda Goshawk), Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove (the ssp. here, xanthogaster, has a grey crown), Little Bronze-Cuckoo (this ssp. might be split as Pied B-C), and White-breasted Woodswallow. Night at Tual hotel.

August 3 – This was supposed to be only a travel day, but as luck would have it, we got a flight out of Kai at 0600, flew back to Ambon, was only there about 30 minutes, and then caught a flight to the Tanimbar Island group, arriving on the large main island of Yamdena at 1015. The airport is located on the southeast part of the island near a city called Saumlaki. We got our bags to our hotel and settled in while Ben and our helpers tried to find someone in the forestry department who might be able to tell us where to find the best forest on the island that would be accessible to us for birding. There is

basically only one road on the island and it runs from Saumlaki northeast, along the coast, to a couple of small towns. We went back out about 3 p.m. and drove this road about 29 km from Saumlaki, birding any patches of trees we could find. We never found any great expanses forest so we just birded along the road, which had very little traffic to contend with. It only took us about 2.5 hours to add 10 new species, as the overall birding was pretty good, with more individual birds than any place we had been to yet on the trip. New birds were Dusky Cuckoo-Dove, lots of Blue-streaked Lories,

Moluccan Boobook (RE), White-browed Triller (E – Tanimbar), Cinnamon-tailed Fantail (RE), Long-tailed Fantail (RE), Golden-bellied Flyrobin (RE), Ashy-bellied White-eye, White-tufted Honeyeater, Banda Myzomela (RE), Scaly-breasted Munia, and Tanimbar Starling (RE). Night at our hotel in Saumlaki.

August 4 – Due to scheduling of our flights, we were unable to fly out until August 10th, so we had plenty of time to figure out where to go birding. We went back along the main road, this time to about km 30. There were a couple of local workers living near the road, so our helpers asked them if there were any trails into the forest that we might walk to look for birds. They said yes and showed us a small trail that they probably used to hunt in the forest. We went in and found some more new birds. The activity level was good until about 11 a.m., when it slowed down considerably. We went back to the hotel for lunch and went back out about 3 p.m. About 18 km from Saumlaki, there is a road off to the left that goes past some very badly cut-over forest and a massive construction project. When we got as far as our vehicles could go, we got out and walked about 3-5 km. New birds for the day were Bonelli’s Eagle, Pink-headed Imperial-Pigeon, Slaty-backed Thrush (RE - very pretty!), Tanimbar Bush-Warbler (RE), Rufous-chested Flycatcher, Rufous-sided Gerygone Loetoe Monarch (E), Black-bibbed Monarch (RE), Shining Flycatcher, Broad-billed Flycatcher

and Five colored Munia. Night at Saumlaki hotel.

August 5 – Breakfast was at 0430, so we could get to the birding area about 30 km out by daylight. This day was a repeat of yesterday, mostly birding along the road. We did get a great show from an Australian Hobby that was feeding on some small bats as they were going to roost at daylight. Very cool spectacle. The afternoon found us back at the side road construction site, where we asked the local workers if there was any good forest left nearby. We found a half-way decent looking patch near the road and went into it until dusk. The forest looked fairly good but the activity was low. Beside the hobby, the other new ticks for the day were Channel-billed Cuckoo and, strangely enough, Buru Oriole (RE). The oriole occurs here and on Buru. Night at Saumlaki.

August 6 – We again birded the main road around km 28-30. We went into the forest some and tried for Tanimbar Scrubfowl, but no luck, even though we heard one or two. The Australian Hobby put on another bat-eating show for us. New birds this morning were Tawny Grassbird and a couple of Tricolored Parrotfinches that only a couple of people got onto. After 3 days of talking to some of the forestry people, we finally figured out that the only accessible good forest was further along the road that went past the mega-construction site. Unfortunately our vehicles didn’t have enough clearance to drive on it. We therefore managed to hire a flat bed logging truck and a driver to take us another 15-20 km into the forest. This road had been badly rutted by trucks during wet weather and now had very deep ruts that only could be driven by that type of truck. The plan now was to take the rest of the day off and leave our hotel at midnight in order to get to some good forest at night so we could try for the Lesser masked-Owl.

August 7 – We left at midnight in our vehicles, picked up the logging truck at the beginning of the bad section and went about 15-18km into the forest. There we started walking and listening for owls. Finally one of us saw something fly overhead and land in a nearby tree. Ben got the spotlight on it and there it was, the Lesser Masked-Owl !!

After reading about this bird in the field guide, only about 6 people have seen this species in the last 84 years. Also, as far as I could tell, this is only the second photo ever of it. Needless to say we were all very thrilled. It was very accomodating and sat there for what seemed like 5-7 minutes, only about 25m from us and about 15m up in a tree. During our encounter with this bird we probably heard it call about 4-5 times (although not while we were actually watching it), sounding very much like a Barn Owl’s harsh screech. The forest here is better than any other place we found, but it has still been logged. The birding was good early in the morning until around 10 a.m., then it tailed off. Before daylight, we ran into some little biting somethings (midges?). They were very bothersome and required covering up most of our faces and bare parts. About 30 minutes after daylight they went away. We stayed until noon and then went back to the hotel. No more birding that afternoon as we were going to repeat the very early departure again next morning. Other sightings today included 2 Black-bibbed Monarchs, 6-8 Tricolored Parrotfinches, and the local ssp. of Torresian Crow.

August 8th – We went back to the same forest as yesterday. We decided that we didn’t need to walk to road in the dark so we left at 0230 and arrived at the Owl site about 0445. We walked up and down the road listening but only one person said he heard the Masked-Owl call this morning. It was a bit overcast, so that might have had something to do with it. Again we birded this road until about noon and then went back to the hotel for the rest of the day. The morning produced our first look at Tanimbar Scrubfowl (RE) but nothing else new for the trip.

August 9 – This was our last full day on Yamdena. We again left the hotel about 0245 and arrived at our “owl spot” about 0500. On the way in, about 5 km from where we got on the logging truck and the bad road starts, I saw something fly through the halo of the truck’s headlights. We stopped the truck and looked to our left and there sat another Lesser Masked-Owl on the top of a slender, bare, thin tree trunk, but this time it was only about 10m from us. Unfortunately it only stayed for about 10 seconds before it flew off. We never saw or heard another one the rest of the morning. This sighting was several km from the original one and I suspect it was a second individual. When it got light we concentrated on trying to find the Fawn-breasted Thrush (E) and the Elegant Pitta. We did not find either one, but Ben says he heard the pitta call one time. Another species that was supposed to be on Yamdena was Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher. Despite looking at countless horizontal limbs and treetops, we dipped. We did not add anything else to the trip list today again. Some of the group didn’t come along today and saw some Australian Pelicans at a beach near Saumlaki.

August 10 – Today was the day we finally got to leave Yamdena. We were flying back to Ambon. One thing the airline forgot to tell us before we left Ambon was that while we brought all our luggage with us coming down, we were now limited to 10 kg apiece going back !?!? We put Raja to work and we managed to get most of our luggage on a second flight that was going directly back to Ambon. Our flight was stopping over at Kai Kecil for 30 minutes and then on to Ambon. The only luggage that didn’t make it was Raja’s 2 pieces and one of Ben’s. They arrived 2 days later. We eventually got back to Ambon about 12:45 and went immediately to the ferry station to try to find out if the ferry was going to Buru the next day. As it turns out, there are actually 2 ferries. A slow ferry that takes about 11 hours and a fast ferry that takes about 3 hours. The slow ferry was leaving tomorrow, if the seas were not too rough. The fast ferry wasn’t leaving until the following day. Not wanting to waste another day in Ambon, we opted for the slow ferry if it ran. No birding today on Ambon, but we did spot 17 Australian Pratincoles on the runway at Yamdena airport..

August 11 – We did indeed catch the slow ferry. At times it seemed like I could swim faster! The up side of this ferry was that it was fairly steady on the open water and we managed to find some rather spectacular seabirds. Several people managed to catch a glimpse of an Abbot’s Booby along with some Brown Boobies. One person saw a couple of Masudeira Storm-Petrels, and a few of us saw Bulwer’s Petrel. Not everybody saw all these birds. There were some bunk beds on the ferry and some of us were lying down resting when the rarities showed up. By the time we (mostly Dollyann and I) got to a place to try for the birds, they were out of sight. We arrived in Namlea, Buru after dark, so we went straight to our recently constructed hotel. I don’t know the name of it.

August 12 -  We started early, driving 3.5 hours to the small village of Wamlana. The plan here was to get permission from the village leader to go birding on their land, which is in the process of being logged. The village leader agreed and even found us some guest houses in the village to stay in, thereby saving us 6 hours of driving every day. Next we got permission from the logging company to bird along their access road, which goes about 40 km into the interior of the island. No problem here either. They said we could even ride in their trucks to get to where ever we wanted to go birding. We did a bit of birding along the road and went back to Namlea for the night. New birds for the day included Spotted Dove (also seen on Seram), Moluccan Swiftlets (which we also had on Seram), and Golden-headed Cisticola.

August 13 – We left very early in the morning in order to get to the logging company grounds early so we could get in the truck and be at some good habitat by daylight. It wasn’t to be. Enter the local security guard. I guess this was his day to exercise what little power he has, and he told us that he would not let us go until we had a signed paper from the local police chief. No one had mentioned this yesterday, so we had to  wait around until our helpers got this taken care of. This took until 0930. Now we can go birding, right? Where’s the truck? The truck turned out to be a 12 foot high dump truck with a terrible ladder on the side to climb up into it with. Then you had to drop about 4 feet down into the bed, which had dirt, diesel fuel, trash, etc. in it. I guess this is fine for young people but 6 of our group were 70+ years old. It wasn’t pleasant. Raja eventually got a ladder to get into and out of the truck the next morning. Now all we had to do was pick up the other workers that would ride with us into the logging areas to go to work; all 30 of them! We finally got about 20-25 km into the island where we began birding about noon. Not much left of the day, but we managed to find 3 new endemics; Buru Racquet-tail, Buru Jungle-Flycatcher, and Buru White-eye. One member of our group managed a quick look at a Cinnamon-backed Fantail. Bird activity was pretty slow most of the day. A couple of other trip ticks were Gurney’s Eagle and Brush Cuckoo. We came back down in the truck about 6 p.m. The guest houses were quite adequate and the people living in them went out of their way to make us comfortable and feed us. It was a long, frustrating day and sleep came quickly.

August 14 – The plan today was to try birding at the highest elevation on the road, which turned out to be 1250m. We got in the truck about 0700 with 50 other people!


We got to the high point (km19) about 0845. We brought lunch and stayed out all day, walking about 8 km in the process. Birds were very hard to come by. We added no new birds today. It was very frustrating and slow.

August 15 – We finally got the truck to ourselves this morning and got to km 11 at daylight. In spite of being there at dawn and staying out all day, the activity was still pretty slow and again we added no new birds. To top it off, we had some late afternoon showers. We finished about 6 p.m. and went back to the guest houses to eat supper and pack up. Then came the rough drive back to Namlea. We got back well after dark and dog-tired.

August 16 – Today we managed the fast ferry back to Ambon. The plan was to spend all our boat time outside looking for some of the seabirds we had coming over, but the ferry people said they didn’t want anybody outside, despite the fact that there was a safe area to sit in. We got back in 3 hours and went back to the Baguala Bay Hotel. We didn’t do any birding the rest of the day, just some shopping downtown Ambon City.

August 17 – We went birding in the higher area just north of our hotel again this morning. We did not add anything new to the trip list but we did hear some Rufous-tailed Bush-hens. We tried a tape but had no luck drawing them out. This was it for birding on this trip. Some of the group went shopping in the afternoon.

August 18 – We flew out of Ambon at 1100 and got back to Jakarta in the early afternoon. One of the group members went to a marsh area about 30 minutes from our hotel, where there are Java Coucals and Black-winged Starlings. Night at Harris Hotel.

August 19 – International flights home.


The numbers after the species indicates the date that species was seen or heard (H). If someone in the group saw it but not me there will be a (G), along with the date. If someone in the group heard it but not me it will be (GH). C = common, FC = fairly common. Numbers like 5-9 means that bird was seen on consecutive days from the 5th to the 9th. Numbers 22-31 are July, lower numbers are August. Example – Bulwer’s Petrel; I saw it on the 11th and someone in the group had it on the 16th.

Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) - 31
Bulwer's Petrel (Bulweria bulwerii) – 11, G 16
Matsudaira’s Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma matsudairae) – G 11
Australian Pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus) – G 9
Abbot’s Booby (Sula abbotti) – G 11
Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) – 11, G 16
Little Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris) – 31, 2, 6
Little Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax melanoleucos) - 30, 31, 2, 4, 16
Darter (Anhinga melanogaster) - 31
Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) – 23, 11, 12
Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel) – 24, 25, 30, 31
Great Egret (Ardea alba) - FC
Intermediate Egret (Egretta intermedia) - 2
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) – 24, G 5
Pacific Reef-Heron (Egretta sacra) - FC
Striated Heron (Butorides striata) – 26, 28, 5-9
Australian Ibis (Threskiornis molucca) – 25, 26
Spotted Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna guttata) – 31 (6 birds)
Lesser Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna javanica) - 31
Radjah Shelduck (Tadorna radjah) – 26, G 27
Green Pygmy-goose (Nettapus pulchellus) - 31
Osprey (Pandion haliatus) – G 25
Pacific Baza (Aviceda subcristata) – 25, 26, G 30, 17
Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus) - FC
White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) – 26, 29, 2, 12
Variable Goshawk (Accipiter hiogaster) – G 30, 2-6, 8, 9
Moluccan Goshawk (Accipiter henicogrammus) - 23
Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malayensis) – 24, 27, 28, 13-15
Gurney's Eagle (Aquila gurneyi) – G 28, 13
Bonelli's Eagle (Aquila fasciata) - 4
Little Eagle (Aquila morphnoides) - 28
Spotted Kestrel (Falco moluccensis) - C
Oriental Hobby (Falco severus) – 24, 27, 14
Australian Hobby (Falco longipennis) – 5, 6
Tanimbar Scrubfowl (Megapodius tenimberensis) – H5, G 7, 8, 9
Orange-footed Scrubfowl (Megapodius reinwardt) – 30, H 31, H2
Buff-banded Rail (Gallirallus philippensis) - 25
Rufous-tailed Bush-hen (Amaurornis moluccana) – H 17
Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) – G 25, 26, 12
Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) - 31
Pied Stilt (Himantopus leucocephalus) – 23, G 10, 16
Australian Pratincole (Stiltia isabella) – 10 (group of 17)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) - 9
Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) – 23, 6
Bridled Tern (Onychoprion anaethetus) - 11
Black-naped Tern (Sterna sumatrana) - 29
Great Crested Tern (Thalasseus bergii) – 30, 2, G 12
Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) - C
Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) – G 25-28, 12
Dusky Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia magna) – 3-8 (common on Yamdena)
Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove (Macropygia amboinensis) – 25-28, 31, 13-15, 17
Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica) – G27, G1, 3, G4, 6, G7, G8
Barred Dove (Geopelia maugei) – 30-4, 6-9
Wallace's Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus wallacii) – 30-9 (common on Kai and Yamdena)
Superb Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus superbus) – 22, 28, G15
Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus regina) – 2, 4-9
White-breasted Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus rivoli) – 28, 30, 31, 2,13-15
Claret-breasted Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus viridis) – 25-27, 15, 17
White-eyed Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula perspicillata) – 24-28, 13-15
Elegant Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula concinna) – 30-9 (common)
Pink-headed Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula rosacea) – 4-9 (FC)
Pied Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula bicolor) - FC
Long-tailed Mountain-Pigeon (Gymnophaps mada) – 27, 28, G15
Tanimbar Corella (Cacatua goffiniana) – 30, 31, 3-9 (common on Yamdena)
Salmon-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis) – 27, 28
Red Lory (Eos bornea) – 23-28, G1, 12-15, 17
Blue-streaked Lory (Eos reticulata) – 31, 3-9 (common on Yamdena)
Blue-eared Lory (Eos semilarvata) – G27 (only Ben saw this one)
Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) – 24-28
Red-flanked Lorikeet (Charmosyna placentis) – 27, 31, 1
Red-cheeked Parrot (Geoffroyus geoffroyi) – Common throughout
Buru Racquet-tail (Prioniturus mada) – 13-15 (fairly common)
Great-billed Parrot (Tanygnathus megalorynchos) – 24-28, G4, G6, 7
Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus) - FC
Moluccan King-Parrot (Alisterus amboinensis) – G26, 27, G28, 15
Brush Cuckoo (Cacomantis variolosus) – H31, 1, H2, 13, GH14, GH15, 17
Little Bronze-Cuckoo (Chrysococcyx minutillus) - 2
Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) – H25-27, GH12, H13, H15
Australian Koel (Eudynamys cyanocephalus) - 31
Channel-billed Cuckoo (Scythrops novaehollandiae) – G5, 6
Kai Coucal (Centropus spilopterus) – 30-2
Lesser Coucal (Centropus bengalensis) – 24, H25, 26, 28, 6, H12
Lesser Masked-Owl (Tyto sororcula) – 7, GH8, 9
Moluccan Scops-Owl (Otus magicus) – 25, H26, GH27, H28, H13
Moluccan Hawk-Owl (Ninox squamipila) – 3, H7, 8, H9
Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus) – G28, 31, 1, H13, GH14, 15
Glossy Swiftlet (Collocalia esculenta) - C
Moluccan Swiftlet (Aerodramus infuscatus) – C24-27, C12-15
Uniform Swiftlet (Aerodramus vanikorensis) – C30-9
Moustached Treeswift (Hemiprocne mystacea) – 24-28, 14, 15
Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) – 26. 12, 13
Variable Kingfisher (Ceyx lepidus) – 25, G26, 3
Lazuli Kingfisher (Todiramphus lazuli) – 26, 27
Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris) - C
Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus) - FC
Common Paradise-Kingfisher (Tanysiptera galatea) – 22, H26, H27
Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus) – 24-27, G1, 12-15
Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis) – 24-30, G2, 12, 13
Blyth's Hornbill (Aceros plicatus) – 22, 24-28
Red-bellied Pitta (Pitta erythrogaster) – H28
Elegant Pitta (Pitta elegans) – GH9
Pacific Swallow (Hirundo tahitica) - C
Wallacean Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina personata) – 31-9 (FC)
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina novaehollandiae) – G3
Moluccan Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina atriceps) – 25, 26
Kai Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina dispar) – 30-1
Pale-gray Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina ceramensis) – 24, G26, 13-15
White-browed Triller (Lalage moesta) – 3-5, G8, G9
Varied Triller (Lalage leucomela) – 30, 31, 2
Sooty-headed Bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster) – 23, 17
Yellow-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) – 23
Golden Bulbul (Alophoixus affinis) – 22, 26-28, 13-15
Slaty-backed Thrush (Zoothera schistacea) – 4, 7, H8, 9
Golden-headed Cisticola (Cisticola exilis) – G25, 12, 17
Tanimbar Bush-Warbler (Cettia carolinae) - 4, H6-9
Mountain Tailorbird (Orthotomus cuculatus) – 27, H28, G13-15
Island Leaf-Warbler (Phylloscopus poliocephalus) – 27, 28, 13-15
Tawny Grassbird (Megalurus timoriensis) - 6
Buru Jungle-Flycatcher (Rhinomyias additus) – 13, 15
Rufous-chested Flycatcher (Ficedula dumetoria) – G4, 6-9
Cinnamon-chested Flycatcher (Ficedula buruensis) - 30
Little Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula westermanni) – 27, G28
Island Flycatcher (Eumyias panayensis) – 27, 28
Northern Fantail (Rhipidura rufiventris) – G26, 30-2, 13-15
Willie-wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys) – 22-27, 12, G17
Cinnamon-tailed Fantail (Rhipidura fuscorufa) – 3-9 (FC)
Cinnamon-backed Fantail (Rhipidura superflua) – G13
Streaky-breasted Fantail (Rhipidura dedemi) – 27, 28
Long-tailed Fantail (Rhipidura opistherythra) – 3, 4, 6-9
Rufous Fantail (Rhipidura rufifrons) – 30, 2-7, 9
Island Monarch (Monarcha cinerascens) – 30-2
White-naped Monarch (Monarcha pileatus) – 13, 15
Loetoe Monarch (Monarcha castus) – 4, 6-8, G9
Black-bibbed Monarch (Monarcha mundus) – G4, 7
Spectacled Monarch (Monarcha trivirgatus) – G26
White-tailed Monarch (Monarcha leucurus) – 30-4
Moluccan Flycatcher (Myiagra galeata) – 25, H26, G17
Broad-billed Flycatcher (Myiagra ruficollis) - 4, 6-9
Shining Flycatcher (Myiagra alecto) – 4-6, GH9, GH17
Golden-bellied Flyrobin (Microeca hemixantha) – 3, 4, G7, 8
Island Whistler (Pachycephala phaionota) – 30, 2
Gray-headed Whistler (Pachycephala griseiceps) – 30, 2
Golden Whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis) – 27, 28, 4, 6, 7, 9, 13-15
Drab Whistler (Pachycephala griseonota) - 30-2, 13-15
Wallacean Whistler (Pachycephala arctitorquis) – 1, 3-9
Rufous-sided Gerygone (Gerygone dorsalis) – 4-9
Black Sunbird (Leptocoma sericea) – FC,except Yamdena
Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) – FC, except Yamdena
Flame-breasted Flowerpecker (Dicaeum erythrothorax) – 13, 15
Ashy Flowerpecker (Dicaeum vulneratum) – 22, 23, 25-28, 17
Mistletoebird (Dicaeum hirundinaceum – 30-4, 6-8
Mountain White-eye (Zosterops montanus) – 27, 28
Yellow-bellied White-eye (Zosterops chloris) – G30, G2
Ashy-bellied White-eye (Zosterops citrinella) – 3-9
Great Kai White-eye (Zosterops grayi) – 1 (FC on Kai Besar)
Little Kai White-eye (Zosterops uropygialis) – 30, 31, 2
Black-crowned White-eye (Zosterops atrifrons) – 25, 27, 28
Buru White-eye (Zosterops buruensis) – 13-15 (FC)
Ambon White-eye (Zosterops kuehni) – 22, 23, 17
Gray-hooded White-eye (Lophozosterops pinaiae) - 28
White-tufted Honeyeater (Lichmera squamata) – 3-10 (C on Yamdena)
Seram Honeyeater (Lichmera monticola) – 28 (one bird only)
Seram Myzomela (Myzomela blasii) – 25, 27, G28
Wakolo Myzomela (Myzomela wakoloensis) – G27, 28, 14, 15
Banda Myzomela (Myzomela boiei) – 3-9 (C on Yamdena)
Black-faced Friarbird (Philemon moluccensis) – 30-9, 12-15
Seram Friarbird (Philemon subcorniculatus) – G24, 25-28
Buru Oriole (Oriolus bouroensis) – 5, 7, G8, GH9, 13-15
Seram Oriole (Oriolus forsteni) – 26, 27
Green Figbird (Sphecotheres viridis) -
Wallacean Drongo (Dicrurus densus) – 30-2, G5, 6
Spangled Drongo (Dicrurus bracteatus) – 25-27, 29, 12, G15, 17
White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus) – 25, 2-9, G12
Slender-billed Crow (Corvus enca) – 25-27
Torresian Crow (Corvus orru) – G4, 7, H9
Metallic Starling (Aplonis metallica) – FC, except Yamdena
Tanimbar Starling (Aplonis crassa) – 3-9
Moluccan Starling (Aplonis mysolensis) – 23-26, 13-15
Long-crested Myna (Basilornis corythaix) – 24, 26, 27
Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) - C
Tricolored Parrotfinch (Erythrura tricolor) – 6-8
Black-faced Munia (Lonchura molucca) - FC
Nutmeg Mannikin (Lonchura punctulata) – 3-6, 12
Chestnut Munia (Lonchura atricapilla) – 23, 28, 10, 16
Five-colored Munia (Lonchura quinticolor) – 4, G6


1 – Clements’ Checklist of the birds of the world, 6th edition, was used for the taxonomy in this report.

2 – It would probably be a smart idea to build in some “flex” days into any birding tour to this part of Indonesia, as plane schedules are often changed at the last minute, inter-island ferries can cancel their run without notice, weather conditions can prompt changes in either, etc.

3 – Car travel on the islands is generally slow, because of poorly maintained roads. Average speed is usually only about 40 km/hr.

4 – Supposedly the government is building a longer runway on Yamdena so larger planes can land and take off. This will help with the baggage limits in the future.

5 – Directions to the Lesser Masked-Owl site. Take the main road to the northeast. You will be on the coast most of the way, until you go through a small town with a double 90 degree turn in it. A bit further, you will start up a noticeable hill. At the top of this hill there is a road off to the left. Basically it’s the ONLY road off to the left and about 10-15 km from Saumlaki. You travel out this road approximately 8-10 km until the road starts to go down. This is where we had to change vehicles to the big truck. From here, we drove another 15-20 km to get to the best forest. The owl can be anywhere along this road, as our second sighting was only about 5 km in, and the first sighting was about 18 km in.

6 – As always, I have tried to be accurate in this report but, as always, there are probably some errors. If so they are mine alone and I can be contacted at


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