The Best Spots to Bird Watch in Indonesia

West Bali National Park
West Bali National Park
Photo of Edira Putri
17 August 2017

Indonesia’s reputation as a paradise is held up not only by idyllic beaches and lush jungles, but also a rich variety of wildlife. The tropical weather and untouched rainforests have sustained the existence of at least 380 endemic species and hundreds more migratory species. Discover the best spots to bird watch in Indonesia.

Lore Lindu National Park

Park
Map View
Bird watching in Lore Lindu
Bird watching in Lore Lindu | © Ron Knight/Flickr
Hundreds of exotic bird species live naturally in this national park in Central Sulawesi, over 50% of which are endemic to Sulawesi. No need to scour the massive natural reserve, as the best bird watching is concentrated in an area around Lake Tambing and Anaso Track. Just walking around the lake will almost guarantee you encounters with the Blue-fronted Flycatcher, Malia, Cerulean Cuckooshrike, and if you’re lucky, the shy Great Shortwing and Maroon-backed Whistler. The Anaso Track lies upwards and further into the jungle. As you walk further upwards, you can see the bird habitat changing slowly, with the chance to spot Satanic Nightjars, Geomalia, and Great Shortwing after about 2-3 km.

Karimunjawa

Natural Feature
Menjangan Island, Karimunjawa, Indonesia
Menjangan Island, Karimunjawa, Indonesia | © Dwi Prayoga / Shutterstock
This archipelago off the shores of Central Java is often dubbed as the Caribbean of Java due to its marine and coastal beauty, with hundreds of exotic fish and coral species. But beyond that, the wildlife richness and diversity extends to above sea level. From the bird watching tower in the middle of the mangrove forest or by walking through the jungles on the islands, tourists can observe various outlandish bird species, such as the White-bellied Sea Eagle, Collared Kingfisher, Olive-backed Sunbird, Cave Swiftlet, and more. Not only birds, tourists can also observe other tropical species including turtles and monkeys.

West Bali National Park

Park
Map View
The white Bali Starling at West Bali National Park
The white Bali Starling at West Bali National Park | © Brian Gratwicke / Flickr
Located at the tip of Bali’s northwest area, this natural reserve is among the most preserved environment on the touristy island. The beautiful nature makes a home for many endemic and exotic species, including the rare white Bali Starling, Sacred Kingfisher, Javan Hanging Parrot, Green Junglefowl, and many more. The park covers areas from hills and mountains to idyllic beaches, presenting tourists with a rounded wildlife tour and numerous different habitats.

Puncak

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Puncak

Although located just two hours drive from the capital Jakarta, the Puncak area on the ridge of Mount Gede-Pangrango is a whole other world, compared to the busy urban scene. Aside from its strategic and near location from the city, this area is also popular among bird watchers for its wildlife richness, as a natural habitat to some Javan endemics, including the Javan Hawk-Eagle, Javan Frogmouth, Javan Trogon, Sunda Blue Robin, and more. Bird watching can be done while trekking through the jungly trail with breathtaking views to the waterfall and hot water spring. In October, the bird almanac of Puncak expands as migratory birds and raptors pass by the area.

Puncak, South Tugu, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia

Tangkoko National Park

Park
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A nightjar at Tangkoko
A nightjar at Tangkoko | © Nigel Voaden/Flickr
Sulawesi is one of Indonesia’s birding frontiers, and Tangkoko is arguably the most prominent and straightforward nature reserve on the island to bird watch. Located about one hour’s drive from Manado, North Sulawesi, this spot is home to a rich ecosystem of wildlife, from plants to animals, including exotic bird species. The endemic species in this nature reserve includes the elusive Maleo birds, Spot-tailed Goshawk, Pygmy Hanging Parrot, and Sulawesi Nightjar. The area is as alive at night as it is by day, when Minahassa Owls, Speckled Hawk-Owls, and other nocturnal birds emerge from the shadows.

Puar Lolo

Forest
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Puar Lolo

Compared to some national parks, Puar Lolo’s biodiversity may not be as rich. The endemic species are limited and there aren’t so many habitats in the area if compared to other popular bird watching sites. But Puar Lolo forest makes up for it with a well-preserved, pristine raw nature. The site also owes its popularity among domestic and international tourists to its prima donna, the Flores eagles. This mighty hawk-eagle is endemic to Flores and unfortunately is listed as critically endangered. Bird watchers can also observe other Flores endemic species, including the Flores corvus and Flores scops owl.

Puar Lolo Forest, Mbeliling, West Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia

Kerinci Seblat National Park

Forest, Park
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Kerinci Seblat National Park

Kerinci Seblat National Park is mostly known for being the habitat of tigers and tropical plants, but its wildlife variety actually includes hundreds of Sumatran endemic birds. Bird watchers have the chance to encounter almost all Sumatran endemics in this natural reserve, including the Salvadori’s Pheasant, Red-billed Partridge, Sumatran Peacock-Pheasant, Sumatran Treepie, and more. Although the park covers a vast 1.6 million hectares of forest, bird watching is usually concentrated in the Tapan Road or Gunung Kerinci summit trail. During the hike, tourists can also encounter unique plants species, like the world’s largest flower Rafflesia arnoldi and the tallest flower Titan arum.

Kerinci Seblat National Park, Koto Renah, Sungai Penuh City, Jambi, Indonesia