Sumatra 8th - 13th December 2007 - Extreme birding in the wet season

Published by Ashley Banwell (otusbrooki AT

Participants: Ashley Banwell, John Gregory


WORLDBIRDERS Sumatra report

With Sumatran Ground Cuckoo being seen for the first time by birders in November 2006 a trip was planned to visit the site. We knew that December would be in the rainy season but we still fancied our chances. It was a mini adventure to get to the site, 16 river crossings all knee deep and a 4 hour walk. We encountered many leeches, they even made it into our sleeping bags also many mozzies in the daytime but none at night. We camped under a tarpaulin but our local guides done an amazing job by keeping a constant supply of coffee and milo along with tasty fish, rice and noodles.

The highlights were:

Sumatran Ground Cuckoo, 1 seen calling perched up but obscured, I noticed it because it was pumping its tail when it was calling, it was in view for a few minutes but not really the view I had wanted, the second view was of it running with wings opened out, close but very brief. All in all I was unhappy with my views, it was so frustrating because it at times called very close, sometimes 2 birds were dueting close by but always in very thick cover. I only heard them call once in the afternoon, and one day not after 0930. We were not helped by the weather, heavy rain in the afternoon was the norm, sometimes at 1100 the skies opened.

Ferruginous Partridge, good views of a pair in response to playback, another was flushed from its perch late in the afternoon and was seen well as it walked off.

Salvadori's Pheasant, 3 birds seen very close after I had been sheltering in a butrace tree for a couple of hours.

Other endemics seen were Sumatran Drongo, Sumatran Trogon, Cream striped Bulbul, Sunda Forktail and Black-crowned Pitta.

Species Lists

Christmas Island Frigatebird 1 seen on crossing back to Java
Javan Pond-Heron
Cattle Egret
Black Eagle
Ferruginous Partridge 2 good views at Way Titias, heard a few times calling at dawn
Salvadori's Pheasant very good views of 2 males with 1 female
Large Hawk-Cuckoo
Black-bellied Malkoha
Sumatran Ground-Cuckoo 2 brief views only, heard very close at times
Malaysian Nightjar heard
Savanna Nightjar
Glossy Swiftlet
Fork-tailed Swift
Sumatran Trogon 1 female seen
Blue-eared Kingfisher
Collared Kingfisher
Rhinoceros Hornbill heard
Helmeted Hornbill heard
Bushy-crested Hornbill
White-crowned Hornbill great views of 1 feeding
Gold-whiskered Barbet
Coppersmith Barbet
Rufous Piculet
Checker-throated Woodpecker
Great Slaty Woodpecker
Green Broadbill 2 seen in fruiting tree
Black-crowned Pitta 1 heard , 1 seen by JG
Hooded Pitta heard
Barn Swallow
Sunda Cuckoo-shrike
Scarlet Minivet
Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike
Cream-striped Bulbul 3 seen
Cream-vented Bulbul
Ochraceous Bulbul
Ashy Tailorbird
Arctic Warbler
Eastern Crowned Leaf-Warbler common
Chestnut-crowned Warbler
Mugimaki Flycatcher 1 male
Rufous-browed Flycatcher several seen all low down
Gray-headed Canary-Flycatcher
Sunda Forktail good views of 1, others glimpsed
White-throated Fantail
Spotted Fantail
Black-naped Monarch
Asian Paradise-Flycatcher
Black Laughingthrush red billed sub species
Horsfield's Babbler
Moustached Babbler
Chestnut-backed Scimitar-Babbler
Pygmy Wren-Babbler
Golden Babbler
Brown Fulvetta
Ruby-cheeked Sunbird
Plain-throated Sunbird
Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker
Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
Oriental White-eye
Black-and-crimson Oriole
Maroon-breasted Philentoma
Ashy Drongo
Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo
Sumatran Drongo very good site for these, many seen well
Crested Jay
Green Magpie
Large-billed Crow
Asian Glossy Starling
Eurasian Tree Sparrow