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The Maluku Archipelago

Moluccan Scops Owl Otus magicus ©James Eaton Website

Maluku is a province of Indonesia, comprising, broadly, the southern part of the Maluku Islands (also known as the Moluccas, Molucca Islands or Moluccan Islands). Maluku traditionally, geographically belongs to Melanesia.

The main city and capital of Maluku province is Ambon on the small Ambon Island. The province has a population of 1,313,022 (2004).

All the Maluku Islands formed a single province of Indonesia from 1950 until 1999. In 1999 the Maluku Utara Regency and Halmahera Tengah Regency were split off as a separate province of North Maluku.

Top Sites


Satellite View

The travel hub of central and southern Maluku. Got a few nice birds too.


Satellite View

This is where Wallace first discovered the Standardwing now named after him, but he may also have been the last person that visited this island!


Satellite View

It looks big on the map, but getting there and getting around is for the adventurous. If you try it the birds are all there somewhere.


Satellite View

There is an endemic flycatcher here, and who knows what else.


Satellite View

Packed with north Moluccan endemics including the stunning Standard wing and Ivory-breasted Pitta. A trip to Halmahera is on many people's wish list.


Satellite View

Relatively easy to get to, nice beaches, two endemic white-eyes and an endemic coucal. Can't say better than that, can you?


Satellite View

If you make it this far you will be on your own. There is a woodcock here somewhere. Good luck!


Huge mountains, obscure islands, Salmon-crested Cockatoo and a whole load more central moluccan specialities and Seram endemics await.


Satellite View

If you can figure out how to get here then there are a load of gripping endemics to be seen!


Satellite View

The far south of Maluku and not easy to get too. If you make it, the reward is accessible forest packed with endemics.


Nick Brickle

(Top Sites)

Burung-Nusantara / Birds-Indonesia




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iGoTerra Checklist for the South Moluccas

iGoTerra Checklist

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

iGoTerra Checklist for the North Moluccas

iGoTerra Checklist

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

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

Guides & Tour Operators

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

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

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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 [08 August] - Ron Hoff


…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…

2009 [10 October] - Dave Farrow


Another splendid Birdquest tour to Sulawesi and Halmahera, and one that was rather different to usual, in that we did not see rain until our penultimate day! Everywhere was very hot and dry, some areas not having had any rain for three months, perhaps the effect of an ‘El Nino’ weather event. This however didn’t seem to have any negative effect on the birding, and we recorded a very handsome total of 283 species…

2009 [10 October] - Nicolaas & Robert van Zalinge


In total we saw 210 bird species. As we had been to Sulawesi before, we mostly limited ourselves to areas not visited previously: Dumoga-Bone and Gunung Ambang, but revisited Tangkoko. The island of Halmahera was new to us and therefore we spent nearly half the time there. For us the top ten birds were: Spotted Harrier, Maleo, Moluccan Owlet-Nightjar, Great-billed -, Scaly – and Paradise Kingfishers, Purple Roller, Ivory-breasted and Red-bellied Pittas and Wallace’s Standard-wing Bird of Paradise…

2010 [08 August] - Stijn De Win


Highlights in Lore Lindu National Park were numerous, Piping Crow, Sulawesi Thrush, Diabolical Nightjar, Savannah Nightjar, Red-eared Fruit Dove, Blue-faced Parrotfinch, Purple-bearded Bee-eater, Greater Sulawesi Honeyeater, the hard to find Maroon-backed Whistler gave away great views in the end and we found an obliging Great Shortwing for excellent photo opportunities even though the species wasn’t active singing during our stay…

2010 [09 September] - Dave Farrow


Another great Birdquest tour to Sulawesi and Halmahera, and once again quite different climatically to previous visits, as we experienced rain on almost every day. It didn’t dampen our birding though, and we enjoyed great success with 278 species recorded, On Sulawesi we enjoyed many superb endemics such as Green-backed, Lilac-cheeked, Sulawesi Dwarf and Great-billed Kingfishers (some of the 12 species seen)…

2014 [08 August] - Rob Gordijn

PDF Report

A three week independent trip to Sulawesi and Halmahera, a popular combination of islands since they offer two very different sets of species with lots endemics on both islands. In the first two weeks we visited Central and North Sulawesi: Lore Lindu, Tangkoko, Dumago Bone and Gunung Ambang. The last week we travelled to Halmehera to visit three more sites: Binagara, Galela and Weda...

2014 [09 September] - Dave Farrow

PDF Report

Another great Birdquest tour to Sulawesi and Halmahera, we enjoyed great success despite the effects of ever-increasing habitat destruction at some sites. On Sulawesi we enjoyed many superb endemics such as Green-backed, Lilac-cheeked, Sulawesi Dwarf and Great-billed Kingfishers, (some of the 14 Kingfisher species recorded!), a daytime roosting Sulawesi Scops Owls and both Ochre-bellied and Speckled 2 BirdQuest Tour Report: Ultimate Sulawesi & Halmahera www.birdquest-tours.com Boobooks, Cinnabar Boobook, Sulawesi Masked Owl, Sulawesi and Satanic Nightjars (to make five Nightjar species seen), that marvel of evolution the Maleo, Knobbed and Sulawesi Dwarf Hornbills, Red-eared and Oberholser’s Fruit Doves, Sulawesi Serpent Eagles, Sulawesi Hawk Eagles, Spot-tailed and Sulawesi Goshawks, Small Sparrowhawk, Purple-bearded Bee-eaters...

2014 [09 September] - David Hoddinott - Wallacean Endemics

PDF Report

... Here we found a good variety of species including the range-restricted Javan Plover and, most importantly, the south Sulawesi endemic, Palebellied Myna. Other notable sightings included a splendid Spotted Harrier, White-headed Stilt, Long-toed Stint and breeding Little Tern, Sacred Kingfisher, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Clamorous Reed Warbler, Pied Bush Chat, Pale-headed Munia and Paddyfield Pipit....

2014 [09 September] - Peter Ericsson


...Scarlet Mysomela is a tiny bird with a bright red head and something everyone enjoyed. Several were seen. Slender-billed Cuckoo Doves were common, a Great Sulawesi Hanging Parrot showed well. A juvenile Rufous-bellied Eagle came crashing through the woods being mobbed by some Slender-billed Crows. Sulawesi Babbler also gave reasonable views as did Island Verditer Flycatcher. The Barred Rail came in full view on the roadside and a Black Eagle soared on high....

2014 [09 September] - Rob Hutchinson

PDF Report

...On Sulawesi the list of star birds is a long one but the likes of Geomalia, Maleo, Sulawesi Thrush, Great Shortwing, Maroon-backed Whistler, Scaly Kingfisher (among a whole set of stunning endemic kingfishers), Red-backed Thrush certainly stand out. Mention should also be made of the Hylocitrea which is now a monotypic family found only in the uplands of this island and a fine set of night-birds of which we saw all expect species including Cinnabar Boobook, Sulawesi Masked Owl and both Diabolical Nightjar and Ochre-bellied Boobooks at their day roosts. A short hop across the water to Halmahera gave us a whole new set of species, best of which was arguable the amazing Wallace’s Standardwing display, although there is stiff competition from the likes of Moluccan Scrubfowl, Moluccan King Parrot, all night-birds including the bizarre Moluccan Owlet Nightjar, Ivory-breasted Pitta and the fabulous Purple Dollarbird....

2014 [10 October] - Frank Lambert

PDF Report

...The birds made us work hard as usual, and we had many early-morning starts, but our commitment paid off with excellent views of nearly all the species seen. Highlights on Sulawesi included species such as Geomalia, Maleo, Red-backed Thrush, Malia, Purple-bearded Bee-eater, Great Shortwing, Purple-winged Roller, Matinan Flycatcher, Hylocitrea, four species of endemic myna, Sulawesi Pitta (split by Clements), several stunning endemic kingfishers, and three of the four endemic Accipiter species. We also had some surprise species such as the rarely observed Sulawesi Ground Dove and the undescribed ‘Sulawesi Brown Flycatcher’...

2014 [10 October] - Rob Hutchinson - Boano, Seram, Buru, Kai

PDF Report

...The boat ride over was pleasantly calm and we were able to see Little Black and Little Pied Cormorants, numerous Lesser Frigatebirds, Brown Noddy, Bridled Tern, Seram Swiftlets and a Pacific Swift on the way...

2015 [03 March] - Arjan Brenkman & Jan van der Laan - Halmahera

Report PDF

...At first we drove south, with several stops underway where we saw or heard interesting birds like Spotted Kestrel, Metallic and Moluccan Starling, Violet-necked Lory, Halmahera Swiftlets, Brush Cuckoo, Blueand-white Kingfisher, Beach Kingfisher, Moluccan Hanging Parrot, White-bellied Cuckooshrike, Drab Whistler, White-streaked Friarbird, Moluccan Flycatcher and Creamthroated White-eye.

2015 [08 August] - Dave Farrow - Sulawesi & Halmahera

Report PDF

Of the 12 species of Kingfisher recorded on the tour, on Sulawesi we saw Green-backed, Lilac-cheeked, Sulawesi Dwarf and Great-billed Kingfishers. Nightbirds are always pleasing and we saw Ochre-bellied, Speckled and Cinnabar Boobooks, Sulawesi Scops Owls, and five Nightjar species that included a pair of Great Eared at roost, a Satanic on its nest and a Sulawesi Nightjar. We saw Knobbed Hornbills, Red-eared Fruit Doves, Sulawesi Serpent Eagles, Sulawesi Hawk Eagles, Spot-tailed and Vinous-breasted Sparrowhawks, Purple-bearded Bee-eaters, Purple-winged 2 BirdQuest Tour Report: Sulawesi & Halmahera www.birdquest-tours.com Roller, Piping Crow, Malia, Hylocitrea, Red-backed and Sulawesi Thrushes.

2015 [09 September] - Sam Woods - Sulawesi & the Moluccas

Report PDF

...stunning birds to boot, and are rightly revered as some of the most highly desired species in all of the region; a quick perusal of our final bird list reveals exquisite birds like Sulawesi Dwarf-Kingfisher, Lilac-cheeked and Green-backed Kingfishers, Knobbed and Blyth's Hornbills, Moluccan and Ivory-breasted Pittas, Purple-winged and Azure Rollers (A.K.A Purple Dollarbird), Rusty-backed (Red-backed) Thrush, and the astonishing Wallace's Standardwing.

2015 [11 November] - Gareth Knass

PDF Report

This report details a 24 day trip around parts of Eastern Indonesia, which had the aim of seeking out as many Southern Maluku (Moluccas) endemic and range restricted species as possible, also incorporating the Tanimbars – geographically part of the Lesser Sundas, which are currently easiest to reach by air from Ambon. ..

2016 [10 October] - Rob Hutchinson - Morotai, Bacan, Obi)

PDF Report

The briefest of birding sessions on Bacan gave both Bacan White-eye and Bacan Spangled Drongo, but the real action was on Obi where the stars were Moluccan Woodcock, Carunculated Fruit Dove and North Moluccan Pitta. There was of course a substantial supporting cast of Obi Paradise Crow, Obi Whistler, Obi Fantail, Obi Golden Bulbul, Moluccan Dwarf Kingfisher, Moluccan Whistler, Scaled Lory, Obi White-eye and Obi Leaf Warbler.

2016 [11 November] - Craig Robson

PDF Report

...Our huge total of 265 species included 18 tour write-ins, three of which were new species for the Birdquest Life List - the amazing and much sought after Madanga (or Madanga Pipit), which had only been seen previously by four intrepid birders/ornithologists (and not at all for 10 years), the cryptic Violet-hooded Starling, and the endangered small-island endemic Black-chinned (or Boano) Monarch....

2017 [03 March] - Dave Sargeant - Waigeo to Sulawesi


...A good collection of species including several rarely recorded in Singapore, with King Quail, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Slaty-breasted Rail, Red-legged Crake, Sunda Scops Owl, Savanna Nightjar, Blue-throated Bee-eater, Red-crowned Barbet, Long-tailed Parakeet, Greater Painted-snipe, Pin-tailed Snipe, Common Snipe, Asian House Martin and Lanceolated Warbler of particular note.....

2017 [03 March] - James Eaton - Waigeo, Kofiau, Obi, Bacan, Mangole, Taliabu, Peleng

PDF Report

...The island of Obi was one of the most popular with displaying Moluccan Woodcock just overhead, a fruiting tree packed with the bizarre Carunculated Fruit Dove, Obi Paradise-crow, plus endemic drongo, whistler and bulbul, while our morning hike into the hills found Bacan Myzomela, North Moluccan Leaf Warbler and Obi White-eye....

Other Links

Birding in Maluku – Burung-Nusantara / Birds-Indonesia


Information about birding sites in Maluku, including key species, maps, access, local guides and resources. The islands of eastern Indonesia are one of the world’s last great birding frontiers. The access to all but a couple of islands is tricky, but the reward is some of the most stunning endemism imaginable. There is still lots that is not known about the birds of these islands, and there are undoubtedly new discoveries waiting to be found on a remote island or mountain somewhere. 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…