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Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting ©Ian Montgomery Website

Bali is an Indonesian island located at 8°25′23″S 115°14′55″E Co, the westernmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. It is one of the country's 33.0 provinces with the provincial capital at Denpasar towards the south of the island.

With a population recorded as 3,151,000 in 2005, the island is home to the vast majority of Indonesia's small Hindu minority. 93.18% of Bali's population adheres to Balinese Hinduism, while most of the remainder follow Islam. It is also the largest tourist destination in the country and is renowned for its highly developed arts, including dance, sculpture, painting, leather, metalworking and music.

The island of Bali lies 3.2 km (2 mi) east of Java, and is approximately 8 degrees south of the equator. East to west, the island is approximately 153 km (95 mi) wide and is approximately 112 km (69 mi) north to south; it's land area is 5,632 km². The highest point is Mount Agung at 3,142 m (10,308 feet) high, an active volcano that last erupted in March 1963. Mountains cover centre to the eastern side, with Mount Agung the easternmost peak. Mount Batur (1,717 m) is also still active; an eruption 30,000 years ago was one of the largest known volcanic events on Earth.

In the south the land descends to form an alluvial plain, watered by shallow, north-south flowing rivers, drier in the dry season and overflowing during periods of heavy rain. The longest of these rivers, Sungai Ayung, is also the longest on the island (approx. 75 km).

The principal city is the present provincial capital and largest city, Denpasar, near the southern coast. Its population is around 300,000. Bali's second-largest city is the old colonial capital, Singaraja, which is located on the north coast and is home to around 100,000 people. Other important cities include the beach resort, Kuta, which is practically part of Denpasar's urban area; and Ubud, which is north of Denpasar, and known as the island's cultural centre.

There is a coastal road surround the island, as well as three major two-lane arteries that cross the central mountains at passes reaching to 1,750m in height (at Penelokan). Minor roads branch off of these major highways. The Ngurah Rai Bypass is a four-lane expressway that partly encircles Denpasar and enables cars to travel quickly in the heavily populated south. Bali has no railway lines.

The island is surrounded by coral reefs. Beaches in the south tend to have white sand while those in the north and west have black sand. The beach town of Padangbai in the south east has both. Bali has no major waterways, although the Ho River is navigable by small sampan boats. Black sand beaches between Pasut and Klatingdukuh are being developed for tourism, but apart from the seaside temple of Tanah Lot, they are not yet used for significant tourism.

To the east, the Lombok Strait separates Bali from Lombok and marks the biogeographical division between the fauna of the Indomalayan ecozone and the distinctly different fauna of Australasia. The transition is known as the Wallace Line, named after Alfred Russel Wallace, who first proposed transition zone between these two major biomes. When sea levels dropped during the Pleistocene ice age, Bali was connected to Java and Sumatra and to the mainland of Asia and shared the Asian fauna, but the deep water of the Lombok Strait continued to keep Lombok and the Lesser Sunda archipelago isolated.

Bali has around 280 species of birds, including the critically endangered Bali Starling. The only endemic high-level predator of the island, the Bali tiger, became extinct in the 1930s.

The Bali Barat National Park, located on the north western side of the island, is a refuge for wildlife such as the Sunda Pangolin, Indian Muntjac, Mouse-deer, Leopard Cat, Black Giant Squirrel, and several species of macaque and leaf monkey.

Top Sites

Bali Barat National Park


Satellite View

The home of the Bali Starling, this park also hosts a good selection of other sundaic lowland species. There are several habitats in the national park, a savanna, mangroves, montane and mixed-monsoon forests, and coral islands.[3] The center of the park is dominated by remnants of four volcanic mountains…



Satellite View

Birding in the hills of central Bali. A good range of species can be found here, including one or two things that are not so easy elsewhere. Bedugul is a mountain lake resort area in Bali, Indonesia, located in the centre-north region of the island near Lake Bratan on the road between Denpasar and Singaraja. Bedugul is located at 48 kilometres (30 mi) north of the city of Denpasar. Other nearby lakes are Lake Buyan, and Lake Tamblingan.

Kuta Environs

Satellite View

More famous for its bars and beaches, its also not a bad spot to find Java Sparrow!

Pulau Serangan & Benoa


Satellite View

The best spot for migrant waders on Bali. Always worth a look for Indonesian rarities.

Sanur Environs

Satellite View

Good migrant wader action in season, this site has also turned up several Indonesian vagrant rarities.

Ulu Watu

Satellite View

Cliff top location is great for breeding White-tailed Tropicbirds and passing seabirds.


Nick Brickle

(Top Sites)

Burung-Nusantara / Birds-Indonesia




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Useful Reading

* Field Guides & Bird Song

For a comprehensive list of recommended titles covering Indonesia as a whole - please see the Indonesia page of Fatbirder

Birds on Fragmented Islands: Persistence in the Forests of Java and Bali

Bas van Balen Series: WAGENINGEN AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY PAPERS 30 181 pages, figs, tabs.Wageningen Agricultural University 1999

ISBN: 9058081508

Buy this book from NHBS.com


Abbreviations Key

Bali Barat National Park (Taman Nasional Bali Barat)


Satellite View

The home of the Bali Starling, this park also hosts a good selection of other sundaic lowland species. There are several habitats in the national park, a savanna, mangroves, montane and mixed-monsoon forests, and coral islands.[3] The center of the park is dominated by remnants of four volcanic mountains…

Guides & Tour Operators

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

Rockjumper Birding Tours

Tour Operator

The magical island of Bali has much to offer the birder and naturalist, providing superb birding and wildlife viewing, with the island’s most iconic bird, the beautiful and very rare Bali Myna or Bali Starling, being top of our hit list…

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.

2007 [07 July] - Martin & Gill Parr


The plan was to mix birding and wildlife photography with general sightseeing and touring – to keep Gill happy! We booked our flight via Dialaflight.com and pre-booked 2 nights on the web at the Dhyana Pura resort in Seminyak (361 730442) to get over the journey (Rph 350 – a lot cheaper than their top line advertised price as pre-booked, but found later that you can haggle over everything, including rooms)…

2009 [09 September] - Brendan Threlfall


…Birding wise, Paul Jepson’s Birding Indonesia is a fantastic guide and indispensable for any visiting birder. The Mackinnon field guide is also invaluable but as others have said does have its limitations (e.g. on the Babblers)…

2011 [04 April] - Oscar Campbell


…The key spot I found here was a small, smelly mangrove creek a little to the south of town. I reached it by following the concrete footpath along the beach southwards until the tourist development ended; there was then an open, scrubby area and finally a small river emptying into the sea via the aforementioned creek. This was the only place close to Sanur were the foreshore was suitable for waders; it was about 20 minute walk from the beach in front of the Bali Hyatt…

2011 [06 June] - Duan Biggs


…During our two hours on the rice fields we also had Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon, Zitting Cisticola, Pacific Swallow, Collared Kingfisher and Striated Swallow. Sumadi grew up near Ubud in a rice-farming family, and birding with her and hearing her stories from her childhood…

2014 [01 January] - Mike Comber



2014 [08 August] - Craig Robson

PDF Report

... Once again, we found a wide range of speciality birds, including Chestnut-bellied Partridge, Christmas Island Frigatebird, Milky Stork, Javan Hawk Eagle, Green Peafowl, Javan Plover, Sumatran Green Pigeon, Pink-headed Fruit Dove, Dark-backed Imperial Pigeon, Sunda Coucal, Yellow-throated Hanging Parrot, Sunda Scops and Spotted Wood Owls, Javan Frogmouth, Salvadori’s Nightjar, Volcano Swiftlet, Javan Trogon, Javan Kingfisher, Black-banded Barbet, Javan Flameback, Javan Banded Pitta, Pied and Trilling Shrike-babblers, Javan Cochoa, Sunda Blue Robin, Pygmy Bushtit (or Tit), Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush, White-breasted and White-bibbed Babblers, Spotted Crocias, Javan Tesia, Javan Bush Warbler, White-bellied Fantail, Black-winged Myna, Javan Sunbird, and White-capped Munia...

2014 [10 October] - David Hoddinott

Report PDF

...Some of the highlights included a good number of Sunda Teal, Little Pied and Little Black Cormorants, Australian Pelican – a nice surprise, sneaky Ruddy-breasted Crake, a plethora of waders including splendid Beach Stonecurlew and Javan and the very sought-after Oriental Plover, smashing Little Tern in full breeding plumage, Island Collared Dove, Savanna Nightjar, Cave Swiftlet hawking insects over the ponds, and cracking Cerulean Kingfisher....

2015 [02 February] - Jorgen Bech - Bali & East Java

Report PDF

In Bedugul I focused on species I had not seen on Ijen: The two Thrushes (between the two last bridges of the western circuit), Honeyeater (anywhere inside the B.G.), and the easily seen Short-tailed Starling.

2015 [06 June] - Rob Hutchinson - Sumatra and Bali

Report PDF

...Sumatra where highlights included Sumatran Babbler, Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon and a fine selection of Sundaic lowland species with Rufous-collared and Banded Kingfisher, Black-thighed Falconet, Malayan Crested Fireback, and Malayan Banded Pitta the highlights.

2015 [07 July] - James Eaton - Sumatra & West Java

Report PDF

...Javan White-eye, Javan Coucal, Javan Banded Pitta and Black-winged Myna were coastal highlights, while up in the endemic rich mountains Chestnut-bellied Partridge put on quite a performance, along with Javan Scops Owl, Javan Frogmouth, Javan Tesia, a brief Javan Cochoa, White-bibbed Babblers, Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush and Javan Hawk Eagles were just some of the highlights.

2017 [04 April] - Ian Hillery


...houghts of reminding Hery of this were quickly put to the back of the mind when no sooner had we exited the car than he picked up the first of 4 Java Sparrows. It seems that they are relatively easy to see at Bali Barat in the breeding season, but now was not that time, and this small refuge is one of the better sites out of season. Once common, they have been poached for cage birds, and are now a difficult bird to see. This even rang true this morning. The group of 4 favoured a large tree next to the car park and temple, but had a habit of hiding in the upper branches to the rear. Pinning them down took some time and patience, but despite the copious Yellow-vented Bulbuls trying to distract us from our task, we managed to prise views of the birds in the gaps...

Places to Stay

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

Turtle Bay Hideaway


Turtle Bay Hideaway is an exclusive enclave of 3 rustic wooden tribal cottages on a black sand and rock beach in East Bali. Only 90 minutes by car from Bali's international airport and a world away in tradition and amenities. Private swimming pools at the edge of the sea invite lounging and soaking. Ocean breezes and the sound of surf wash away cares and stress from sunrise over Lombok island to sunset behind verdant hills. Gunung Agung, Bali's sacred volcano, Home of the Gods, looms majestic over fields and forests surrounding Turtle Bay Hideaway. The villas are exquisite handmade 'Minahasa' tribal houses of beautiful cempaka wood from north Sulawesi Island...

Other Links

Birding in Java & Bali – Burung-Nusantara / Birds-Indonesia


Information about birding sites in Java and Bali, including key species, maps, access, local guides and resources. Birding in Java and Bali is many people’s introduction to Indonesian birds. The sites listed here include the best for the die-hard searcher of Java’s montane and lowland endemics, to those suited to a few hours break from a Bali beach holiday. Browse sites from the map or the table. Each site page will show links to birding trip reports, guides and other content that is relevant. Help us keep this information up to date by posting your experiences back here as comments…

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.