Indonesia has some of the best bird watching in the world! Over 1,600 species, or around 17% of the worlds birds, are found in Indonesia. Of these almost 400 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.
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…
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 1603
Number of endemics: 368
(The number widely differs between authorities) National Bird: Javan Hawk-eagle Nisaetus bartelsi
Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder
* Field Guides & Bird Song
For a comprehensive list of recommended titles covering Asia as a whole - please see the Asia page of Fatbirder
A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia
Craig Robson Hardcover - 504 pages ( 1 February, 2000) New Holland Publishers (UK)
ISBN: 1843307464Buy this book from NHBS.com
A Photographic Guide to Birds of Java, Sumatra and Bali
Tony Tilford, Alain Compost (Photographer) Paperback - 136 pages ( 1 November, 2000) New Holland Publishers (UK)
ISBN: 9781847738318Buy this book from NHBS.com
A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Indonesia
by Morton Strange, Helm 2003 Helm
See Fatbirder Review
ISBN: 0713664045Buy this book from NHBS.com
A Bird-watcher's Guide to the World's Largest Archipelago - Edited by Paul Jepson Series: PERIPLUS ACTION GUIDES 284 pages, 120 col plates, 40 maps. Periplus Editions 1997
ISBN: 962593071XBuy this book from NHBS.com
Ornithological Society of Indonesia
Taman Burun TMII Bird Park, TMII, Jakarta (Timur) 13560. + 62 21 840 1722 firstname.lastname@example.org
Guides & Tour Operators
North Sulawesi is the places for living from 89 species (86% from the total 103 endemic bird on Celebes island and also of the shore islands and there is 13 species and several is endemic Birds khas North Celebes…
The island of Borneo, once a land of the mythical and mystical, has rapidly become one of the most exciting and richest destinations for wildlife. There are still vast tracts of forest remaining, in spite of widespread logging and clearings, supporting a wonderful and truly exotic array of animals and plants. A visit to Borneo is a marvelous and unforgettable experience.
Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…
Nature Travel Specialists
Nature Travel Specialists believes that travel is most enjoyable when it expands the horizons of both visitor and visited, when both give and receive from each other. With this in mind we design itineraries that enable our travelers to explore the natural areas of the world, in the company of English-speaking local tour guides who know their country and region intimately…
Sultan Birding Tours
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
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…
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
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
...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
...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...
2015 [03 March] - Steve Hilty - Best of Indonesia
Indonesia is a large and unusually complex country that consists of some 17,000 islands, by some counts. The title of this tour hints at an unusual and exotic route. There is little doubt that this route and the islands visited were selected in part because of absolutely superb snorkeling and diving opportunities virtually every day of the trip.
2016 [10 October] - Chas Anderson
...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
... 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
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....
2016 [11 November] - David Bishop - West Papuan Island Cruise & Buru
...Displaying Wilson’s and Red Birds-of-Paradise, Blue-black Kingfisher, Kofiau Paradise Kingfisher and Kofiau Monarch. Displaying Obi (Moluccan) Woodcock, Carunculated Fruit Dove, Blue-eared and Purple-naped Lories, Salmon-crested Cockatoo, Black-lored Parrot AND Madanga!....
Regional Trip Reports
See the regional pages for other trip reports to specific parts of Indonesia…
Places to Stay
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.
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…
Indonesia National Parks
An extensive list of the national parks with information about each and some nice photographs.
Kerinci Seblat National Park
The Kerinci area is home to more than 300 different bird species, including 17 of Sumatra's 20 endemic birds, making it of particular importance to ornithologists and bird-watching enthusiasts…
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.
Darwin Sumang’s Weblog
Organising birdwatching holidays & birding tours across Indonesia – Sulawesi, Halmaheraa, Papua, Java, Bali, Kalimantan, Lesser Sunda and Sumatra…
Birders of Borneo Island
birding and digiscoping birds of borneo…
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.
Birds of Sumba Island
The Lesser Sunda island of Sumba, like the Northern Nusa Tenggara EBA (EBA 162), is in Nusa Tenggara Timur province of Indonesia. It is a hilly island, with deeply dissected plateaus, but there is little land above 1,000
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…
Endemic Birds of Indonesia
Indonesia has more endemic birds than any other country. Indonesia's size, tropical climate, and archipelagic geography, support the world's second highest level of biodiversity (after Brazil)…
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 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.
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.
Sulawesi has a total bird count of 350 species, with 4 categories classified: residents 127, endemic 88, migrants 97, and counted as residents or migrants 32. These numbers exclude Sangihe and Talaud, Banggai and Sula islands. Sangihe has 3 endemics, Talaud has 2 endemics, and Banggai has 2 endemics. From the 88 endemic birds of the island, Lore Lindu National Park has the highest number with c. 72, Dumoga Bone 51, and Tangkoko 38 species. Two or three other endemic birds are found in South Sulawesi…