Sultan Birding

Sultan Birding Tours Indonesia offers a range of private and small group birding tours throughout Sulawesi, Halmahera, West Papua, Java, Bali, Flores and Lesser Sunda allowing birders to select from a variety of destinations.

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Arthur Geilvoet

by | Apr 20, 2016

Trip report birding in Tangkoko and Gunung Mahawu, North Sulawesi Indonesia
From March 14 to 17 2014 I did a 4-day birding trip with Sultan Tours in the extreme northeast corner of Sulawesi. Since time was limited we birded in Tangkoko (2,5 days) and the surroundings of Tomohon (1,5 days). Monal was my bird guide during those 4 days.

Birding was excellent. The main focus was on seeing as many endemic bird species as possible. Since a lot of birds are willing to pose very well, especially in Tangkoko, I did quite some photographing too (although that was not the main purpose of the trip). During the time in Tangkoko, a local bird guide joined us as well. Both this guy and Monal have excellent knowledge of the whereabouts of the birds. The main endemic bird attractions always had priority. As indicated before we started the trip, the schedule was flexible and could be changed to whatever bird species we had missed before.

During the four day trip I saw just over a 100 species (with a very high proportion of endemics). A few birds were heard only. All observed birds are listed below:
1. Great Frigatebird: at least 1 bird in flight at mangroves near Tangkoko
2. Lesser Frigatebird: several birds in flight at mangroves near Tangkoko
3. Common Tern: a flock of distant terns were probably this species
4. Purple Heron: several seen near lake Tondano
5. Little Egret: common in rice fields
6. Pacific Reef-Egret: 1 seen at beach near mangroves, Tangkoko
7. Cattle Egret: several seen
8. Javan Pond Heron: fairly common in rice fields near Lake Tondano
9. Striated Heron: several birds in the mangroves near Tangkoko
10. Yellow Bittern: several birds in flight at Lake Tondano
11. Eastern Osprey: 1 bird seen at mangroves Tangkoko, 1 bird near AMS lookout near Bitung
12. Black Eagle: seen on two days at AMS lookout near Bitung
13. Brahminy Kite: several birds seen
14. White-bellied Sea-Eagle: 2 birds in flight at Tangkoko
15. Sulawesi Serpent-Eagle (endemic): several birds seen at AMS lookout near Bitung. One showed very well just above our heads in a tree
16. Black kite: 3 birds at Lake Tondano
17. Sulawesi Hawk-Eagle (endemic): a bird at nest in Tangkoko showed very well. A juvenile was calling nearby, but not seen
18. Japanese Sparrowhawk: 3 birds migrating at AMS lookout
19. Chinese Sparrowhawk: several birds migrating at AMS lookout, of which one bird showed very well perched. Two huge migrating flocks of approximately 80 and 200 birds near Gunung Mahawu
20. Spotted Kestrel: 1 bird near Gunung Mahawu
21. Wandering Whistling-Duck: 3 birds at Lake Tondano
22. White-browed Crake: several birds seen in the rice fields at Lake Tondano
23. Buff-banded Rail: 1 bird seen at the fields of the entrance of Gunung Mahawu
24. Barred Rail: up to 15 birds seen on all days, mostly crossing the road in early mornings
25. Isabelline Bush-hen (endemic): 1 bird crossing the road at Tangkoko
26. Dusky Moorhen: common at Lake Tondano
27. Common Moorhen: at least 1 bird identified at Lake Tondano
28. Wood Sandpiper: several birds in the rice fields near Lake Tondano
29. Common Sandpiper: several birds seen
30. Grey-tailed Tattler: 2 birds at mangroves near Tangkoko
31. Spotted Dove: common at Lake Tondano
32. Sulawesi Black Pigeon (endemic): several birds seen in Tangkoko
33. Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove: several birds seen at Tangkoko and Gunung Mahawu
34. Stephan’s Dove: 1 bird walking across the road in Tangkoko gave good views
35. Green Imperial Pigeon: fairly common in Tangkoko
36. White-bellied Imperial-Pigeon (endemic): several birds seen by telescope at AMS lookout
37. Pied Imperial Pigeon: several large flocks at mangroves near Tangkoko
38. Silver-tipped imperial Pigeon (endemic): several birds seen at AMS lookout. Striking birds!
39. Superb Fruit-Dove: 1 bird seen very well at Gunung Mahawu
40. Pink-necked Green Pigeon: common at mangroves near Tangkoko
41. Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon: several birds seen at Tangkoko
42. Ornate Lorikeet (endemic): only a few birds seen in AMS lookout.
43. Golden-mantled Racket-tail (endemic): seen only in flight at AMS lookout
44. Blue-backed Parrot (endemic): eventually showing well inside the park
45. Sulawesi Hanging-Parrot (endemic): several birds seen well. Much larger than next species
46. Pygmy Hanging-Parrot (endemic): some birds showed very well at AMS lookout. Smart birds!
47. Rusty-breasted Cuckoo: 1 bird seen very well at AMS lookout
48. Yellow-billed Malkoha (endemic): fairly common in the park, seen well at several occasions
49. Lesser Coucal: 1 bird seen well at Tangkoko
50. Bay Coucal (endemic): 1 bird seen in Tangkoko was a bit elusive
51. Ochre-bellied Boobook (endemic): great find by the local guide in Tangkoko. Showed very well!
52. Sulawesi Scops-Owl (endemic): fairly common and heard at several occasions at night. Eventually showed very well!
53. Great-eared Nightjar: 1 found by the local guide on its day roost. Showed very well. Impressive bird! Another one heard calling at night.
54. Uniform Swiftlet: several seen
55. Sulawesi Swiftlet: very common
56. Glossy Swiftlet: common
57. Grey-rumped Treeswift: several birds seen at AMS lookout
58. Green-backed Kingfisher (endemic): several birds seen well in Tangkoko. We even found a nesting bird, incubating one egg.
59. Great-billed Kingfisher (endemic): after some effort seen very well in the mangroves near Tangkoko. What a stunning bird!
60. Ruddy Kingfisher: 1 seen well near the entrance of Tangkoko
61. Lilac Kingfisher (endemic): several birds seen very well. Impressive birds and one of the star attractions of Tangkoko
62. Collared Kingfisher: common
63. Blue-eared Kingfisher: 1 bird seen at stakeout near Gunung Mahawu
64. Common Kingfisher: 1 bird in the mangroves near Tangkoko
65. Sulawesi Dwarf Kingfisher (endemic): a pair seen very well in Tangkoko. Again with great help of the local guide
66. Knobbed Hornbill (endemic): several birds seen in Tangkoko
67. Purple-winged Roller (endemic): attractive bird seen on several occasions
68. Ashy Woodpecker (endemic): 2 birds seen very well in Tangkoko. Again, another impressive Sulawesi endemic.
69. Barn Swallow: common
70. Pacific Swallow: common
71. Yellow Wagtail: several birds seen in the fields near Gunung Mahawu
72. Grey Wagtail: 1 at Gunung Mahawu and 1 at the lodge near Mahawu
73. White-rumped Cuckoo-Shrike (endemic): several birds in the mangroves near Tangkoko
74. Sulawesi Triller (endemic): 1 bird showed very well at AMS lookout
75. Sooty-headed Bulbul: common
76. Hair-crested Drongo: common
77. Black-naped Oriole: fairly common at AMS lookout
78. Slender-billed Crow: common
79. Sulawesi Babbler (endemic): heard at a lot of places, but only 1 bird showed well at Gunung Mahawu
80. Golden-bellied Gerygone: common in the mangroves neat Tangkoko
81. Mountain Tailorbird: 1 bird at Gunung Mahawu
82. Mountain White-eye: several flocks at Gunung Mahawu
83. Black-fronted White-eye: several flocks at Gunung Mahawu, also at the lodge
84. Grey-streaked Flycatcher: 1 bird showed well at AMS lookout
85. Island Flycatcher: 1 bird at Gunung Mahawu
86. Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher (endemic): 1 bird seen at the lodge at Gunung Mahawu, 1 bird at Gunung Mahawu
87. Pale-blue Monarch: only 1 bird seen in Tangkoko
88. Ivory-backed Woodswallow (endemic): a distant group of 8 birds at Gunung Mahawu
89. White-necked Myna (endemic): several birds seen well at AMS lookout
90. Grosbeak Myna (endemic): common in Tangkoko. Sometimes in large flocks.
91. Sulawesi Crested Myna (endemic): several birds seen very well AMS lookout. Can be a tricky bird to see.
92. Sulawesi Myzomela (endemic): 1 male seen very well at Gunung Mahawu
93. Brown-throated Sunbird: fairly common
94. Black Sunbird: 1 bird in Tangkoko, 2 at Gunung Mahawu
95. Olive-backed Sunbird: common
96. Yellow-sided Flowerpecker (endemic): fairly common at both Tangkoko and Gunung Mahawu
97. Crimson-crowned Flowerpecker (endemic): at least two birds seen at Gunung Mahawu
98. Grey-sided Flowerpecker (endemic): several birds seen at AMS lookout
99. Eurasian Tree Sparrow: common
100. Scaly-breasted Munia: common in rice fields
101. Chestnut Munia: common in fields and rice fields

The following birds were heard only:
102. Sulawesi Nightjar (endemic): 1 distantly calling at Tangkoko
103. Red-bellied Pitta: often heard at Tangkoko, but never close enough for an encounter
104. Clamorous Reed Warbler: 1 birds singing at Lake Tondano
105. Scaly Kingfisher (endemic): heard at its stakeout at Gunung Mahawu, but unfortunately never seen.
By: Arthur Geilvoet (Netherland)

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