Javan Owlet Glaucidium castanopterum ©Francesco Veronesi Website
Birding Java

Java is bordered by the Indian Ocean on the south and the Java Sea on the north. It lies between Sumatra to the northwest and Bali to the east. Borneo lies to the north and Christmas Island to the south. The area of Java is approximately 132,000km2. The island’s longest river is the 600 km long Bengawan Solo River. The river rises from its source in central Java at the Lawu volcano, then flows north and eastwards to its mouth in the Java Sea near the city of Surabaya.

With a population of over 141 million (Java only) or 145 million (including the inhabitants of its surrounding islands), it is the home to 56.7 percent of the Indonesian population and is the world’s most populous island and is also one of the most densely populated regions on Earth. The Island Group of Java consists of three provinces – Jawa Barat, Jawa Tengah, & Jawa Timur; and also the Districts of the capital jakarta and the large city of Yogyakarta.Java is a the site of Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta. Once the centre of powerful Hindu kingdoms, Islamic sultanates, and the core of the colonial Dutch East Indies, Java now plays a dominant role in the economic and political life of Indonesia.Formed mostly as the result of volcanic events, Java is the 13th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in Indonesia. A chain of volcanic mountains forms an east-west spine along the island. It has three main languages, and most residents are bilingual, with Indonesian as their second language. While the majority of Javanese are Muslim, Java has a diverse mixture of religious beliefs and cultures.

Java is almost entirely of volcanic origin; it contains no fewer than thirty-eight mountains forming an east-west spine which have at one time or another been active volcanoes. The highest volcano in Java is Mount Semeru (3,676 m). The most active volcano in Java and also in Indonesia is Mount Merapi (2,968 m). See Volcanoes of Java. Further mountains and highlands help to split the interior into a series of relatively isolated regions suitable for wet-rice cultivation; the rice lands of Java are among the richest in the world. Java was the first place where Indonesian coffee was grown, starting in 1699. Today, Coffea arabica is grown on the Ijen Plateau by small-holders and larger plantations.The natural environment of Java is tropical rainforest, with ecosystems ranging from coastal mangrove forests on the north coast, rocky coastal cliffs on the southern coast, and low-lying tropical forests to high altitude rainforests on the slopes of mountainous volcanic regions in the interior. The Javan environment and climate gradually alters from west to east; from wet and humid dense rainforest in western parts, to a dry savanna environment in the east, corresponding to the climate and rainfall in these regions. Originally Javan wildlife supported a rich biodiversity, where numbers of endemic species of flora and fauna flourished. Since ancient times, people have opened the rainforest, altered the ecosystem, shaped the landscapes and created rice paddy and terraces to support the growing population. Javan rice terraces have existed for more than a millennium, and had supported ancient agricultural kingdoms. The growing human population has put severe pressure on Java’s wildlife, as rainforests were diminished and confined to highland slopes or isolated peninsulas. Some of Java’s endemic species are now critically endangered, with others already extinct such as the Javan tiger and Javan elephant, but both have been rendered extinct. Today, several national parks exist in Java that protect the remnants of its fragile wildlife, such as Ujung Kulon, Mount Halimun-Salak, Gede Pangrango, Baluran, Meru Betiri, Bromo Tengger Semeru and Alas Purwo. Nevertheless, with over 450 species of birds and 37 endemic species, Java is still a birdwatcher’s dream.

Top Sites
  • Alas Purwo National Park

    InformationSatellite View
    The last home of the tiger in Java this isolated park is great for Green Peafowl, both junglefowl and Banded Pitta.
  • Baluran National Park

    InformationSatellite View
    Savannah like forests in east Java. Green Peafowl and Banded Pitta abound.
  • Carita

    Satellite View
    A small patch of degraded forest that is surprisingly good for some of the lowland forest Javan endemics.
  • Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park

    InformationSatellite View
    The spot for Javan montane endemics. Spend a few days exploring the different altitudes.
  • Gunung Halimun-Salak National Park

    InformationSatellite View
    Lots of forest at mid to high elevations. Some good site options for some of the mid-altitude birds that are hard elsewhere.
  • Lumajang

    Satellite View
    Waterbirds and migrant waders on south coast of East Java.
  • Muara Angke (Jakarta)

    Satellite View
    Surprisingly good birding for the middle of Jakarta! Worth a morning just for Sunda Coucal.
  • Muara Gembong

    Satellite View
    A vast area of rice and fish ponds. Great for waterbirds, munias, Sunda Coucal and maybe Javan Lapwing.
  • Pamanukan

    Satellite View
    Coastal mangrove, fish ponds and rice. A good site for Javan White-eye, Javan Plover and munias.
  • Pelabuhan Ratu

    Satellite View
    On the south coast of west Java this little visited site has many of the lowland Javan specialities for those who like to explore.
  • Pulau Dua

    Satellite View
    Coastal mangrove and fish ponds. Can be good for waders and occasionally Javan White-eye.
  • Pulau Rambut

    Satellite View
    A boat trip out to the waterbird breeding colony, usually passing many Christmas Island Frigatebirds on the way.
  • Surabaya Coastal Environs

    Satellite View
    Waterbirds and migrant waders on the coast around Surabaya.
  • The Sunda Straits

    Satellite View
    Pelagic birding for migrant petrels and shearwaters and a chance of Indian Ocean rarities.
  • Ujong Kulon National Park

    InformationSatellite View
    Pristine lowland forest, but hard to access. Home to the last Javan Rhino.
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 578

    (As at February 2019)
  • Number of endemics: 33

    Chestnut-bellied Hill Partridge Arborophila javanica, Javan Coucal Centropus nigrorufus, Javan Plover Charadrius javanicus, Javan Wattled Lapwing Vanellus macropterus, Javan Hawk Eagle Nisaetus bartelsi, Javan Owlet Glaucidium castanopterum, Javan Scops Owl Otus angelinae, Brown-throated Barbet Psilopogon corvinus, Black-banded Barbet Psilopogon javensis, Flame-fronted Barbet Psilopogon armillaris, Javan Kingfisher Halcyon cyanoventris, Yellow-throated Hanging Parrot Loriculus pusillus, Pied Shrike-babbler Pteruthius flaviscapis, Chestnut-fronted Shrike-babbler Pteruthius aenobarbus, White-bellied Fantail Rhipidura euryura, Rufous-tailed Fantail Rhipidura phoenicura, Javan Green Magpie Cissa thalassina, Javan Sunbird Aethopyga mystacalis, White-flanked Sunbird Aethopyga eximia, Java Sparrow Lonchura oryzivora, Javan Tesia Tesia superciliaris, Pygmy Tit Psaltria exilis, Mees's White-eye Heleia javanica, White-breasted Babbler Stachyris grammiceps, White-bibbed Babbler Stachyris thoracica, Grey-cheeked Tit Babbler Mixornis flavicollis, Crescent-chested Babbler Cyanoderma melanothorax, Javan Nun Babbler Alcippe pyrrhoptera, Rufous-fronted Laughing-thrush Garrulax rufifrons, Spotted Crocias Laniellus albonotatus, Bali Myna Leucopsar rothschildi, Javan Myna Acridotheres javanicus, Javan Cochoa Cochoa azurea,
  • iGoTerra Checklist

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

  • Birds of Bali, Sumatra and Java

    | By Tony Tilford | Bloomsbury Publishing | 2023 | Paperback | 224 Pages | ISBN: 9781472986870 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 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

Abbreviations Key

  • NP Alas Purwo

    InformationSatellite View
    The park is located in Blambangan Peninsula at the southeastern tip of Java island, along the shore of strait across Bali. With an area of 434 km², the park is made up of mangroves, savanna, lowland monsoon forests and coral-fringed beaches. An internationally renowned surf break peels along the edge of the park at Plengkung on Grajagan Bay. Mount Linggamanis (322m) is also located in this national park….
  • NP Baluran

    InformationSatellite View
    The park is dominated by forest and savanna vegetation. The coastline is formed by irregular peninsulas and bays. Near the coast are living coral areas, sandbanks, and mudflats. The peninsulas are covered with mangroves, while other parts of the coastline are covered with swamp forest. The volcano is covered with lowland and upland monsoon forest. Avifauna in the park include the green peafowl, red junglefowl, Malabar pied hornbill, rhinoceros hornbill and lesser adjutant. Until 2010 there had been 155 species of bird recorded in the park, but following a bird photography competition in 2012, the number of species was revised to 196.
  • NP Gunung Gede-Pangrango

    InformationSatellite View
    …It evolved from already existing conservation areas, such as Cibodas Nature Reserve, Cimungkat Nature Reseve, Situgunung Recreational Park and Mount Gede Pangrango Nature Reserve, and has been the site of important biological and conservation research over the last century. Gunung Gede-Pangrango is inhabited by 251 of the 450 bird species found in Java. Among these are endangered species like the Javan hawk-eagle and the Javan scops owl.
  • NP Gunung Halimun-Salak

    InformationSatellite View
    Its mountain tops reach 1,929 metres and are often mist-shrouded, while its valleys are thought to hide much that remains to be discovered…
  • NP Karimunjawa

    InformationSatellite View
    There are about forty different bird species in the island, including the green imperial-pigeon, (Ducula aenea), yellow-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier) and red-breasted parakeet (Psittacula alexandri).
  • NP Meru Betiri

    InformationSatellite View
    Meru Betiri National Park has a varied topography reaching from a plain coast to highlands with an altitude of almost 1,200 metres (3,900 ft). eru Betiri National Park is known as the last habitat of the Javan tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica) which is now considered extinct, with the last sighting having been recorded in 1976.
  • NP Ujong Kulon

    InformationSatellite View
    The park encompasses an area of 1,206 km² (443 km² marine), most of which lies on a peninsula reaching into the Indian Ocean. The explosion of nearby Krakatau in 1883 produced a tsunami that eliminated the villages and crops of the coastal areas on the western peninsula, and covered the entire area in a layer of ash averaging 30 cm thick. This caused the total evacuation of the peninsula by humans, thereby allowing it to become a repository for much of Java’s flora and fauna, and most of the remaining lowland forest on the island. 240 bird species and a stronghold of javan Rhino.
Guides & Tour Operators
  • 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
  • 2015 [02 February] - Jorgen Bech - Bali & East Java

    PDF Report
    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.
  • 2018 [03 March] - Rob Hutchinson - Java & Sumatra

    PDF Report
    An ever increasing number of recognised endemics make these two Indonesian islands even more attractive, and this custom tour targeted those, following a traditional birding circuit but with the exciting addition of the Mentawai islands. We began on Java where Gunung Gede-Pangrango was pleasantly free of the hoards of hikers that descend later in the year, and we racked up a great list of endemic; Javan Scops Owl at touching distance, Javan Frogmouth, Javan Owlet, Chestnut-bellied Partridge, Javan Trogon, Javan Crocias, Javan Cochoa, Crescent-chested and Whitebibbed Babblers, Flame-fronted and Brown-headed Barbets, Pygmy Bushtit and the spectacular Javan Kingfisher.
  • 2018 [07 July] - Mike Nelson - Sumatra and Java

    PDF Report
    All the tour participants had arrived a day early to take a boat into Jakarta Bay where the highlights were Christmas Island Frigatebird and Milky Stork and once we were all gathered the next day we set off east to an area of mangroves and rice paddies. First up was one our targets with little groups of White-capped Munias seen well in the surrounding paddies and on one of the bermswe found someJavan Plovers.
  • 2018 [08 Aug] - Matthew Kwan - West Java

    West Java holds many endemic avifauna goodies, of which many can be found at Gunung Gede, including the highly sought after Spotted Crocias and Javan Cochoa, the beautiful Javan Trogon, the Chestnut-bellied Partridge as well as the elusive Javan Woodcock. The list goes on and on...
  • 2018 [08 August] - Peter Marsh - A day in Jakarta

    PDF Report
    Preparing for a birding trip to West Papuain August 2018 I explored the possibilities of seeing Milky Stork in the vicinity of Jakarta. I had missed this bird in Cambodia a couple of years ago and was keen to add this last stork for my list.The published literature suggested that Milky Stork breed on an island in Jakarta Bay, Palau Rambat, which requires hiring a boat to get there.
  • 2018 [09 September] - Mike Nelson - Sumatra & Java

    PDF Report
    With a tasty list of endemics, it’s no wonder our West Java and Sumatra tour is very popular and our third tour this year didn’t disappoint, notching up a total of 341 species, including a fantastic crop of endemics and local specialties.
  • 2018 [12 December] - Gilles Delforge - Bali & East Java

    PDF Report
    This was an independent, non-exclusive birding trip as I was travelling (for the first time!) with my non-birding partner. I will not write a complete trip report but give a few information abound Bali Barat and Kawah Ijen that could be useful for others.
  • 2019 [05 May] - Carlos Bocos - Sumatra and West Java

    PDF Report
    Sumatra and West Java, one of the classic birding tours in Asia, was again an amazing journey through some of the best spots in the whole continent.
  • 2019 [07 July] - Ross & Melissa Gallardy - West Java, Banyaks, Simeulue, & Aceh

    PDF Report
    The decision was made to concentrate on a number of species that are unfortunately critically endangered.
  • 2019 [08 August] - Mike Nelson - Sumatra & West Java

    PDF Report
    The two huge islands of Sumatra and Java comprise half of the Greater Sundas. From steamy lowlands to high volcanic peaks these two islands boast over 80 endemic bird species, a number that makes them a priority for many avid birders.
  • 2022 [07 July] - Okamoto Keita Sin - Gunung Gede

    PDF Report
    I have visited Gunung Gede before twice (yes, I failed to clear the major targets twice) and was more or less familiar with the site. Nevertheless, Burung Nusantara was a useful resource, and trip reports from the following birders were helpful: Ross Gallardy and Sjoerd Radstaak.
  • 2022 [08 August] - Sin Yong Chee Keita - East Java

    PDF Report
    Our East Java leg was self-planned and comprised four members. Finding information on Alas Purwo and Meru Betiri were difficult due to the general lack of trip reports. Yann Muzika’s report from 2012 was helpful. Ample birding information regarding Ijen was available on Burung Nusantara, and it was my second visit so I was roughly familiar with the site.
Other Links
  • Birding Near Jakarta

    I was working in Jakarta Indonesia recently and spent a Saturday at Bogor's Kebun Raya (Botanical Gardens) and two Sunday mornings at Muara Anke, close to Jakarta
  • Birding in Java & Bali

    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
  • Birding on Java

    A number of different locations with access details, checklists etc.
  • Peburung Amatir

    BLOG by Imam from Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia…

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