Republic of Indonesia

Knobbed Hornbill Aceros cassidix ©Sam Woods Website
Birding Indonesia

Indonesia is a country in Southeast Asia, between the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is the world’s largest island country, with more than seventeen thousand islands, and at 1,904,569 square kilometres (735,358 square miles), the 14th largest by land area and the 7th largest in combined sea and land area. With over 261 million people, it is the world’s 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country. Java, the world’s most populous island, contains more than half of the country’s population. It has 34 provinces, of which five have special status. Jakarta, the country’s capital, is the second most populous urban area in the world. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and the eastern part of Malaysia. Other neighbouring countries include Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia, Palau, and India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Lying along the equator, Indonesia’s climate tends to be relatively even year-round.[84]Indonesia has two seasons – a wet season and a dry season – with no extremes of summer or winter. For most of Indonesia, the dry season falls between April and October with the wet season between November and March.[85]Indonesia’s climate is almost entirely tropical, dominated by the tropical rainforest climate found in every major island of Indonesia, followed by the tropical monsoon climate that predominantly lies along Java’s coastal north, Sulawesi’s coastal south and east, and Bali, and finally the tropical Savanna climate, found in isolated locations of Central Java, lowland East Java, coastal southern Papua and smaller islands to the east of Lombok. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support a high level of biodiversity. Its flora and fauna is a mixture of Asian and Australasian species. The islands of the Sunda Shelf (Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and Bali) were once linked to mainland Asia, and have a wealth of Asian fauna. Large species such as the Sumatran tiger, rhinoceros, orangutan, Asian elephant, and leopard, were once abundant as far east as Bali, but numbers and distribution have dwindled drastically. Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara, and Maluku – having been long separated from the continental landmasses – have developed their own unique flora and fauna. Papua was part of the Australian landmass, and is home to a unique fauna and flora closely related to that of Australia, including over 600 bird species. Forests cover approximately 70% of the country. Indonesia is second only to Australia in terms of total endemic species, with 36% of its over 1,700 species of bird and 39% of its 515 species of mammal being endemic.

Its hardly surprising, therefore, that Indonesia has some of the best bird watching in the world! At over 1,700 species, or around 17% of the worlds birds, are found in Indonesia. Of these almost 600 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.

This page is sponsored by Birding Ecotours

Top Sites
  • 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: 1711

    (As at February 2019)

    National Bird: Javan Hawk-eagle Nisaetus bartelsi

  • Number of endemics: 503

    (The number widely differs between authorities, this figure is given by BirdLife International as the number of 'breeding endemics'.) For birds endemic to particular regions see that page.

  • iGoTerra Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
  • iGoTerra Checklist for Indonesia North of the Wallace Line

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
  • iGoTerra Checklist for Indonesia South of the Wallace Line

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

  • A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Indonesia

    | By Morton Strange | Periplus Editions | 2012 | Paperback | 544 pages, 920 colour photos, colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9780804842006 Buy this book from
  • Birding Indonesia

    | (A Bird-watcher's Guide to the World's Largest Archipelago) | Edited by Paul Jepson | Periplus Editions | 1997 | 284 pages, 120 colour plates, 40 maps | ISBN: 9789625930718 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Java, Sumatra and Bali

    | By Tony Tilford & Alain Compost | Bloomsbury Publishing | 2017 | Paperback | 136 pages, 250 colour photos, 1 colour map | ISBN: 9781472938183 Buy this book from
  • Birds of South-East Asia

    | (A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia) | By Morten Strange | New Holland Publishers | 1998 | Paperback | 12 pages, Colour photos throughout | ISBN: 9781853688799 Buy this book from
  • Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago: Greater Sundas and Wallacea

    | By James A Eaton, Bas van Balen, Nick W Brickle & Frank E Rheindt | Lynx Edicions | 2016 | Hardback | 496 pages, 2500+ colour illustrations, 1300+ colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9788494189265 Buy this book from
  • Birds of the Philippines, Sumatra, Java, Bali, Borneo, Sulawesi, the Lesser Sundas and the Moluccas

    | By Norman Arlott | William Collins (Harper Collins imprint) | 2018 | Hardback | 416 pages, 179 plates with colour illustrations; colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9780008102395 Buy this book from
  • BirdLife - Burung Indonesia

    To be the guardian of Indonesia’s wild birds and their habitats through working with people for sustainable development. To achieve this, Burung Indonesia has been working on: Promoting conservation of sites, species and habitats. Working with communities to promote collaborative conservation and natural resource management for sustainable development. Developing the organizational capacity for improved management of habitats, sites, and species. Founded in 2002 - Staff: 74 - Jl. Dadali 32, Bogor, ID, 16161 . Tel. +62 251 835 7222 Ext 101; Fax. +62 251 835 7961
  • Burung Indonesia

  • IdOU - Indonesian Ornithologists' Union

    IdOU is a non profit membership-based organisation with the following objective: “To advance the ornithology of Indonesia by promoting the study of all aspects of Indonesian birds”. IdOU was established with the help of PILI- NGO Movement, and inaugurated at the Centre for Biology Research, Indonesian Institute of Sciences, (Cibinong, 23 August 2004). IdOU publishes Kukila, as well as facilitating relevant scientific fora as seminar, symposia, workshop, and invited talks.
  • Ornithological Society of Indonesia

    Taman Burun TMII Bird Park, TMII, Jakarta (Timur) 13560. + 62 21 840 1722
  • 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…

Abbreviations Key

  • *See regional pages for national parks and reserves

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
  • Indonesia National Parks

    WebsiteSatellite View
    An extensive list of the national parks with information about each and some nice photographs.
  • Nature Reserves

    WebsiteSatellite View
    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.
Guides & Tour Operators

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

  • Birding Ecotours

    Tour Operator
    The fauna of the vast island country of Indonesia is characterised by high levels of biodiversity and endemism due to its distribution over a vast tropical archipelago.
  • Sultan Birding Tours

    Tour Operator
    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

    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…

  • 2014 [10 October] - James Eaton - Banda Sea Cruise

    PDF Report
    ...As we entered the open seas our first pelagic species began to appear with good numbers ofBulwer’s Petrels, our first Red-footed and Brown Boobies, and smaller numbers of Pomarine Skua and RedneckedPhalarope...
  • 2016 [10 October] - Chas Anderson

    PDF Report
    ...Among the seabirds, highlights includedlarge flocks of Red-footed and Brown Boobies, huge numbers of Red-necked Phalaropes, threespecies of Frigatebird, four Tubenoses and ten species of Terns. On land, avian highlights includedOrange-footed Scrubfowl (=Megapode), Yellow-crested Cockatoo, Wallacean Drongo and FlamebreastedSunbird....
  • 2016 [10 October] - James Eaton - Banda Sea Experience

    PDF Report
    ... TheBanda Sea Cruise provides a unique opportunity to look for the endemic birds of this region whilst living aboardour extremely comfortable private ship designed specifically for touring the remotest islands of Indonesia andcatering exclusively for special-interest groups such as ours and, for example, divers seeking undisturbed coralreefs. Using the ships zodiacs, we were able to reach even remote unspoilt beaches where few foreigners haveever set foot....
  • 2016 [10 October] - Richard Webb

    PDF Report
    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 ofkingfisher including Javan, Rufous-collared, White-rumped and Cerulean; and four species of owl....
  • 2017 [09 September] - Ross Gallardy - Lesser Sundas, Sulawesi, Sangihe, Talaud, Halmahera, & Moluccas

    PDF Report
    From June-August 2017, Melissa and I traveled independently throughout the Lesser Sundas, Sulawesi, Sangihe, Talaud and theMoluccas in Indonesia. In total we visited twenty-three separate islands. Since there are already many good reports that coverthe majority of this region, I have decided to just give brief overviews of each spot we visited mostly focusing on updatedlocations for target birds and some updated cost information. For additional information on the region check out the reportsfrom others (listed below) especially the reports from Gareth Knass which are still mostly current and very detailed. Forinformation on exact species lists for each location visited, search in eBird. Overall the trip went very well and we thoroughlyenjoyed our extended visit to Indonesia.
  • 2018 [07 July] - János Oláh - Sumatra & Java

    PDF Report
    Sumatra and Java are two very special endemic-reach islands of the Greater Sundas! Birdquest has been operating tours to this region for a long time. Nowadays we offer a classic Sumatra tour with an optional Javan extension which visits the key sites on the western part of the island. Each part of this tour is an adventure on its own with many excellent birds. Sumatra is the largest entirely Indonesian island and the sixth largest island in the World! T
  • 2018 [07 July] - Mike Nelson - Sumatra & Java

    PDF Report
    ...Continuing to the center of the island we focused on the famousMount Kerinci with a host of tempting targets which included Schneider’s Pitta, Red-billed Partridge, Barred EagleOwl,Sumatran Blue Robin, Sumatran Frogmouth, Salvadori’s Pheasant and a pair of Sunda Collared Owlets added to the enjoyment. Dropping down into the foothills we racked up another wonderful set of birds with close views of Graceful Pitta, an energetic pair of Marbled Wren-Babblers, Sumatran and Blue-masked Leafbirds,Sumatran Peacock-Pheasant, White-tailed Flycatcher, Ruby-throated Bulbul and Spot-necked Babbler to name afew..
  • 2018 [08 August] - Mark Van Beirs - Sulawesi & Halmahera

    PDF Report
    The highlight of our recent ‘Best of Sulawesi and Halmahera’ tour was the amazing spectacle of displaying Wallace’s Standardwings deep in the jungle of Halmahera, where the intrepid Alfred Russell Wallace himself had witnessed it c160 years ago. Seeing these incredible birds-of-paradise perform so well at close range sure made a lasting impression.
  • 2018 [10 October] - Craig Robson - Sulawesi, Morotai & Halmahera

    PDF Report
    With an ever-evolving and improving itinerary this fantastic tour continues to produce the goods. With our first ever visit to the North Moluccan islands of Morotai and Bacan, the addition of Obi as a post-tour extension, and further explorations in the Lompobattang mountains of SW Sulawesi, we were able to amass an impressive total of 320 species...
  • 2018 [10 October] - Mike Nelson - The Lesser Sundas, Sumba, Rote, Timor, Flores and Komodo

    PDF Report
    Our tour this year was filled with some fantastic birding that included such megas as Flores Scops Owl, Bare-throated Whistler and its amazing nightingale-on-steroids song, Red-naped Fruit Dove, Timor Nightjar, Rote Boobook drooping its wings in threat and concluded with the monstrous Komodo Dragon up close and personal. Beginning in Sumba we cleaned up on the local endemics with fine views of Sumba Myzomela, Orange-crested Cockatoo, Sumba Hornbill, Greater and Little Sumba Boobooks as well as Chestnut-backed Thrush...
  • 2018 [12 December] - Michael Grunwell - Timor & Sumba

    PDF Report
    ...Olive-headed lorikeets were common in the highest forest constantly screeching and flying through the treetops but very difficult to get a decent view. Timor whistling flycatcher were regular up here and I fluked onto a tricoloured brush-finch...
  • Regional Trip Reports

    See the regional pages for other trip reports to specific parts of Indonesia
Places to Stay

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

  • Nihiwatu

    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.
Other Links
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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 Wallacia

    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.
  • Project Birdwatch

    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.

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