Java Trip Report 2014

Three of us Danny, Jia Sheng and myself, had an early morning departure from Singapore for the 2 hour flight to Jakarta.


Our first destination was to be Carita, as it’s the best spot in West Java for the endemic pitta.  We were picked up by our guide about 10 am and had a 3 hours 40 minutes drive to our hotel in Carita.  It’s only 160 km and the highway going West is fine, but the road along the West coast was slow going.  The beaches on the West coast are a popular weekend spot for Jakartans and there are plenty of resorts.  We stayed in the Hotel Wira Carita which was okay.  We had two nights there.

After checking in and a bit of a rest, we birded the forest from about 3-5 pm, and again after dark from 7-8 pm, but failed to connect with the frogmouth or the pitta.  There is just a single track into the forest behind the beach.  It’s popular on weekends for locals who want to hike in to a waterfalls.   The track is drivable a bit over a kilometer, and then you are on foot up and down the track for at most about two kilometers.  It’s fairly narrow above the spot where you must park, and not really ideal for a big camera and tripod.  Below that it’s okay as you are walking on a road.  The track gains about 200 meters elevation.  It must be said there were quite a few locals working in the forest, growing things and cutting things down.  The forest has an odd mix of bird life, with plenty of Collared Kingfishes and Yellow-vented Bulbuls, species that in peninsular Malaysia and Singapore normally don’t venture into the forest.  But it does have several of the lowland Javan endemics.

The next morning we were in the forest before dawn, and finally got the frogmouth, and then the pitta.  The frogmouth sighting was pretty good.  There were plenty of pittas around and calling, but they didn’t want to come out.  So our pitta sighting wasn’t as good as hoped for, but at least we’d finally seen the bird.  Today we birded from 5:30 am to 5:00 pm with time out for a lunch break.

Our last morning in Carita we birded from 6:00 am to 8:00 am before leaving for Gede.  I tried again for the pitta, but no luck.  I did have a nice sighting of a Black-capped Babbler Pellorneum capistratum capistratum.  The subspecies present in peninsular Malaysia looks and sounds quite different. 


We left Carita at 9 am and drove 240 kilometers finally reaching Cibodas Botanic Gardens at about 3:3o pm.  We had to go back North along the bumpy West coast road, then zip back to Jakarta on the quite good Hwy 1.  Once in Jakarta then navigate through the good expressways, but encountering some heavy city traffic, and then along the good Hwy 2 South to Bogor.  But after Bogor the show was over, and it was just a crawl up the twisty mountain road to Cibodas.

Once there, we had just over an hour of birding at Cibodas before it got too dark.  Cibodas Botanical Gardens surely deserves a full day, at 125 hectares it is quite a bit larger than Singapore Botanic Gardens at 74 hectares.  We did get some nice birds, including one of the star birds, the Javan Parrotfinch.  Cibodas was well suited to big lens and tripod photography, although hilly the paths were good and it was open and easy to walk around.  We stayed at the Villa Istaghna Resort for 2 nights which was conveniently close but unremarkable.  Plenty of places to chose from in this very touristic area.

The following morning we birded the entire day on the slopes of Gunung Gede, from 6 am to 5 pm.  Starting about about 1380 meters, Danny and I climbed up to about 1800 meters before calling it quits.  We already had some fleeting glimpses of the Javan Tesia, but no photos.  Going up higher meant more chances, and also chances for the Javan Cochoa.  Jia Sheng went up to 2100 meters for the cochoa and more tesias.  This is as high as most birders go, only the die hards venture up to 2600 meters near the caldera for a chance at the Volcano Swiftlet.   It was a good day, and quite birdy despite the presence of many hikers either going on a day trip to the waterfalls or on an overnight trip to the summit.  But the trails are steep and dark, not well suited for a big lens and tripod.  Better go handheld.


The next morning despite our short time in Gede and Cibodas we opted to head straight for our final destination, Gunung Haliman- Salak National Park.  This was another long drive from 5:30 am to 10:30 am despite the relatively short distance of 103 km.

First we dropped our luggage at the Research Station run by the park service.  There are only 5 rooms, so book ahead!  This is the only place to stay in Halimun, although it appears a couple of home stays are coming up.  At the Research Center you must bring in your own supplies and do your own cooking.  Expect fried rice, noodles, eggs and spam a lot!

We were off birding until 5:00 pm and then again from 7:30 to 8:30 pm.  The night nature watch was quite interesting, with fluorescent fungi, a frog, a civet and lots of great night sounds.

The next day we had a full day of birding from 5:30 am to past 5:00 pm, despite some heavy afternoon rain.  We got some nice views and reasonable photos of the Javan Trogon, one of the highlights of the trip.  It is apparently a pretty scarce bird, we encountered only one on the entire trip.

The Research Station is at about 1040 meters elevation, so the bird life here is a bit different from Gede and Carita.  The road is fairly level, not changing altitude much.  We walked in about 1.5 kilometers and only gained about 100 meters, so carrying a big lens and tripod is feasible. It would been even better with a four wheel drive vehicle so you could go to further spots.

Our final morning saw us birding from 5:30 am to 8:00 am, and then we begin our longest drive (in terms of time) to the airport from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.  We got hit with a double whammy, not only was it a Sunday and lots of folks were on their way back to Jakarta, but also there was a road construction project.  It was only 145 kilometers, which works out to a sleepy 18 kilometers per hour.  Anyway, we made our flight back to Singapore at 8:30 pm.


During our 7 days / 6 nights in Java we had about 23 hours of driving and 44 hours of birding.  Way too much driving versus birding hours for my tastes, especially if you are trying to take photos.  We left a few low hanging fruit (birds) unticked.  The trip would have been more relaxed and productive with 3 nights at each site, but as it was a large number of birds and lifers were seen.

Having heard about how populated Java is and how much forest has been cleared, I was however impressed with what remains.  Best go see these birds before any more habitat loss occurs.


Khaleb Yordan was our guide.  He also made all the logistics arrangements including hotels and car.  You can contact him at jakartabirder  AT  ymail  DOT  com


Thanks to Lau Jia Sheng for the extensive checklist below.  A total of 137 species were seen or heard, including 17 Javan endemics seen and a further 17 Indonesian endemics seen.


1 Chestnut-bellied Partridge Arborophila javanica  Javan Endemic  h
2 Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris  S
3 Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis  S
4 Javan Pond-Heron Ardeola speciosa  S  S
5 Oriental Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus  S
6 Crested Serpent-Eagle Spilornis cheela  h  S
7 Changeable Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus limnaeetus  h  S
8 Javan Hawk-Eagle Nisaetus bartelsi  Javan Endemic  S  S
9 Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis  S  S
10 Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus  S
11 Besra Accipiter virgatus  S
12 Rock Pigeon Columba livia  S
13 Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis  S  S  S
14 Ruddy Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia emiliana  S
15 Little Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia ruficeps  S
16 Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica  S
17 Pink-necked Pigeon Treron vernans  S
18 Green-spectacled Pigeon Treron oxyurus  Indonesian Endemic  S
19 Black-naped Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus melanospilus  S
20 Large Hawk-Cuckoo Hierococcyx sparverioides  h
21 Moustached Hawk-Cuckoo Hierococcyx vagans  h
22 Sunda Cuckoo Cuculus lepidus  h  S
23 Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii  h
24 Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus  h
25 Brush Cuckoo Cacomantis variolosus  h  h  h
26 Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris  h  h
27 Chestnut-breasted Malkoha Phaenicophaeus curvirostris  S  S
28 Sunda Scops-Owl Otus lempiji  h
29 Javan Owlet Glaucidium castanopterum  Indonesian Endemic  h
30 Brown Boobook Ninox scutulata  h
31 Javan Frogmouth Batrachostomus javensis  S
32 Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus  h
33 Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus  S  S
34 Waterfall Swift Hydrochous gigas  S
35 Cave Swiftlet Collocalia linchi  S  S  S  S
36 House Swift Apus nipalensis  S
37 Asian Palm-Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis  S
38 Gray-rumped Treeswift Hemiprocne longipennis  S  S
39 Javan Trogon Harpactes reinwardtii  Javan Endemic  S
40 Orange-breasted Trogon Harpactes oreskios  h  h
41 Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris  S  S  S
42 Brown-throated Barbet Megalaima corvina  Javan Endemic  S  h
43 Black-banded Barbet Megalaima javensis  Javan Endemic  S
44 Flame-fronted Barbet Megalaima armillaris  Indonesian Endemic  S  S
45 Rufous Piculet Sasia abnormis  S
46 Sunda Woodpecker Dendrocopos moluccensis  S
47 Freckle-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopos analis  S
48 Checker-throated Woodpecker Picus mentalis  S
49 Common Flameback Dinopium javanense  S
50 Black-thighed Falconet Microhierax fringillarius  S
51 Spotted Kestrel Falco moluccensis  Indonesian Endemic  S
52 Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot Loriculus galgulus  S  S
53 Yellow-throated Hanging-Parrot Loriculus pusillus  Indonesian Endemic  S  S
54 Banded Broadbill Eurylaimus javanicus  h
55 Javan Banded-Pitta Pitta guajana  Indonesian Endemic  S
56 Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus  S  S
57 White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorynchus  S  S
58 Common Iora Aegithina tiphia  S
59 Small Minivet Pericrocotus cinnamomeus  S
60 Sunda Minivet Pericrocotus miniatus  Indonesian Endemic  S  S
61 Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus speciosus  S  S
62 Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach  S
63 Pied Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius flaviscapis  Javan Endemic  S  S
64 Trilling Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius aenobarbus  Javan Endemic  S  S
65 Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus  h  S  S
66 Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus remifer  S  S
67 Rufous-tailed Fantail Rhipidura phoenicura  Javan Endemic  S  S
68 White-bellied Fantail Rhipidura euryura  Javan Endemic  S
69 Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea  S
70 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica  S
71 Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica  S  S
72 Striated Swallow Cecropis striolata  S  S
73 Gray-headed Canary-Flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis  S
74 Cinereous Tit Parus cinereus  h  h
75 Pygmy Tit Psaltria exilis  Javan Endemic  S
76 Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis  S
77 Blue Nuthatch Sitta azurea  h  S  S
78 Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps  S
79 Sooty-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus aurigaster  S  S
80 Orange-spotted Bulbul Pycnonotus bimaculatus  Indonesian Endemic  S
81 Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier  S
82 Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus  S
83 Gray-cheeked Bulbul Alophoixus bres  h  S
84 Sunda Bulbul Ixos virescens  Indonesian Endemic  S
85 Pygmy Cupwing Pnoepyga pusilla  h  S  S
86 Javan Tesia Tesia superciliaris  Javan Endemic  S
87 Mountain Tailorbird Phyllergates cucullatus  h  S
88 Mountain Warbler Phylloscopus trivirgatus  S
89 Sunda Warbler Seicercus grammiceps  Indonesian Endemic  S
90 Striated Grassbird Megalurus palustris  S
91 Ashy Tailorbird Orthotomus ruficeps  h
92 Olive-backed Tailorbird Orthotomus sepium  Indonesian Endemic  S  S  S
93 Brown Prinia Prinia polychroa  S
94 Bar-winged Prinia Prinia familiaris  Indonesian Endemic  S
95 Javan Gray-throated White-eye Lophozosterops javanicus  Indonesian Endemic  S  S
96 Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus  S
97 Gray-cheeked Tit-Babbler Mixornis flavicollis  Javan Endemic  S
98 Crescent-chested Babbler Cyanoderma melanothorax  Indonesian Endemic  S  S  h
99 Chestnut-backed Scimitar-Babbler Pomatorhinus montanus  S
100 White-breasted Babbler Stachyris grammiceps  Javan Endemic  S
101 White-bibbed Babbler Stachyris thoracica  Javan Endemic  S
102 Black-capped Babbler Pellorneum capistratum  S
103 Temminck’s Babbler Pellorneum pyrrogenys  h
104 Eyebrowed Wren-Babbler Napothera epilepidota  S  h
105 Horsfield’s Babbler Turdinus sepiarius  h  S  h
106 Large Wren-Babbler Turdinus macrodactylus  S
107 Javan Fulvetta Alcippe pyrrhoptera  Javan Endemic  S  S
108 Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush Garrulax rufifrons  Javan Endemic  h
109 Spotted Crocias Crocias albonotatus  Javan Endemic  h
110 Pale Blue-Flycatcher Cyornis unicolor  S
111 Indigo Flycatcher Eumyias indigo  S  S
112 Lesser Shortwing Brachypteryx leucophrys  S  h
113 White-browed Shortwing Brachypteryx montana  h
114 Javan Whistling-Thrush Myophonus glaucinus  S  S
115 Blue Whistling-Thrush Myophonus caeruleus  S
116 White-crowned Forktail Enicurus leschenaulti  h
117 Sunda Forktail Enicurus velatus  Indonesian Endemic  S
118 Sunda Robin Cinclidium diana  Indonesian Endemic  S
119 Rufous-chested Flycatcher Ficedula dumetoria  S
120 Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni  h  S
121 Snowy-browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra  S
122 Sunda Thrush Zoothera andromedae  h
123 Javan Cochoa Cochoa azurea  Javan Endemic  S
124 Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis  S
125 Crimson-breasted Flowerpecker Prionochilus percussus  S
126 Orange-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum trigonostigma  S  S
127 Blood-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum sanguinolentum  Indonesian Endemic  h  S  S
128 Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Chalcoparia singalensis  S  S
129 Plain-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis  S
130 Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis  h
131 Javan Sunbird Aethopyga mystacalis  Javan Endemic  S  S
132 White-flanked Sunbird Aethopyga eximia  Javan Endemic  S
133 Streaky-breasted Spiderhunter Arachnothera affinis  S  S
134 Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus  S  S  S  S
135 Tawny-breasted Parrotfinch Erythrura hyperythra  S  h
136 Pin-tailed Parrotfinch Erythrura prasina  S
137 Javan Munia Lonchura leucogastroides  Indonesian Endemic  S  S  S

Tags: , ,

2 Responses to “Java Trip Report 2014”

  1. Bjorn Olesen says:

    Interesting and informative report, and an impressive birdlist!

  2. Con Foley says:

    Hi Bjorn, thanks, it was a good trip 🙂

Leave a Reply

Wildlife Photography is My Passion