Maluku or the Moluccas is a distinct biogeographic region in eastern Indonesia that has about one hundred currently recognized endemic bird species. It was in this region, on the island of Ternate, that Alfred Russel Wallace formulated his theory of evolution by natural selection in 1858. As such these islands have some interesting parallels to the Galapagos Islands. However the lack of infrastructure, recent ethnic/religious strife and remoteness has resulted in them rarely being visited by ornithologists and birdwatchers.
During September I visited Tangkoko National Park on Sulawesi followed by a trip through the islands of Ambon, Buru and Seram in Maluku. I was accompanied by Chris Lester for the entire trip, Peter Lansley joined us for the Buru-Seram leg and stayed for two extra days on Seram. One of the aims was to see as many of the endemic species of this region in a relatively short amount of time. There is some information available regarding Halmahera, although the island cannot be said to be well visited by birders, especially considering the birds that are found there. There is very little available information regarding Buru and Seram and we used a number of papers including Paul Jepson’s pioneering work and Rheindt and Hutchinson’s reports on the distribution and confused taxonomy of the species in this area (see below). I could only find a single trip report for Buru by Mehd Halaouate who visited in 2006 and a few commercial company itineraries. I am indebted to Mike Catsis and John Hornbuckle for providing detailed information on their very recent (Jul-Aug 2009) trip to Seram. We travelled during the Moslem fasting month of Ramadan which gave some interesting insights into the region and caused only minor logistic problems. Safari Tours, Manado, Sulawesi organised the Halmahera section and their guide and trouble-shooter Ninny Raoute accompanied us. We employed Anu on Halmahera for some of the time we were there but did not find him helpful. Ciesar Ruipassa on Ambon, provided us with some information on Buru and Seram and accompanied us to Buru.
On Halmahera we encountered all of the birds that we had a reasonable expectation of seeing with the exception of Purple Roller. In hindsight an extra night at Labi-Labi may have been useful, otherwise the itinerary worked very well. Wallace’s Standardwing, White Cockatoo, Ivory-breasted Pitta and Moluccan Scrubfowl on the moonlit beach at Galela were highlights, although how the scrubfowl manages to persist in this area is beyond me. Much of the forest in the western section of the island is still being degraded and there has been considerable resettlement into the central areas of the island in recent times. The eastern peninsula appears to contain large tracts of good forest.
On Buru we visited a remnant patch of lowland forest, that was in poor condition and a higher elevation area that had been extensively logged but still had some patches of good forest. Of the single island endemics that occur below 700 m we found Buru Cuckoo-shrike, Buru White-eye and Black-tipped Monarch in addition we found the Black-eared Oriole and the Black-faced Friarbird both of which occur only on Buru and the Lesser Sundas Island of Tanimbar and these are likely to be split in the near future. We did not find Buru Racquet-tail which was relatively recently reported to be common, indeed we saw few parrots and no Rainbow Lorikeets, which is worrying.
One of the highlights of the trip was the fast ferry trip between Ambon and Buru. This takes about 3½ hours and crosses the Manipa Strait. Over 50 Bulwer’s Petrels were seen, all flying south, as well as large numbers of Red-necked Phalaropes, a surprise Long-tailed Jaeger, Swinhoe’s and Wilson’s Storm Petrels and some probable Grey-backed Terns amongst other birds. Interestingly a few days later on the return trip in similar weather conditions few birds were seen, which may indicate that the Bulwer’s Petrels were migrating through this strait.
Of the Seram single island endemics found below 1250 m we only missed the rarely reported Purple-naped Lory. We looked unsuccessfully for Forsten’s Scrubfowl a proposed split from Orange-footed Scrubfowl which had been reported recently from P. Sawai (Hornbuckle, Catsis and Preston Aug. 2009). Interesting sightings included Lazuli Kingfisher at 1100 m, Large-tailed Nightjar at 1200 m, a couple of sightings of Rufescent White-eye above 1100 m, well above its reported preferred altitudinal range and Grey-hooded Dark-eye at 1250 m at the lower limit of its altitudinal range.
The birding was rewarding for the whole trip and accommodation and food were generally of a good to excellent standard. If you want any more detailed information on logistics please let me know.
31st Monday (August) Melbourne (13.10) – Darwin (16.50)
Darwin (19.50) – Denpasar (21.05). Jetstar. Night at Udayana Ecolodge
1st Tuesday (September) Denpasar (9.00) – Ujung Pandang (10.15). Ujung Pandang (11.10) - Manado (12.50) Garuda. Manado – Tangkoko transfer. Afternoon birding with guide Samuel in Tangkoko National Park. Night at Mama Roos Homestay
2nd Wednesday Tangkoko – Day birding mainly in lowland forest with Samuel. Morning of two Pittas. Night at Mama Roos Homestay
3rd Thursday Tangkoko – Climb to the top of Gunung Tangkoko with birding on the way. Afternoon birding for Scaly Kingfisher. Night near the summit.
4th Friday Tangkoko – Early morning birding on top of Gunung Tangkoko then slow walk down. Afternoon/evening boat trip to mangroves north of Tangkoko. Night at Mama Roos Homestay
5th Saturday Tangkoko – Manado transfer. Manado (11.00) – Ternate (12.50) Wings Air. Boat to Sidangoli, afternoon birding at Hutan Negara. Night at Sidangoli Indah.
6th Sunday Halmahera – Early
morning at Dase Hill for Standardwings, 3 hour drive to Tobelo, Mollucan Scrubfowl at Galela in the evening. Night at Kita Hotel in Tobelo
7th Monday Halmahera – Early morning speedboat to Labi-Labi, three hour birding walk to coconut grove hut in forest. Afternoon birding along logging road. Night birding around Hut. Night in Hut
8th Tuesday Halmahera – Early morning walk to Standardwing Lek along logging road, ~3-4 km. Birding along logging road for remainder of morning. Afternoon birding along logging road back towards Desa Labi-Labi. Night birding on edge of Labi-Labi. Night at house in Labi-Labi village
9th Wednesday Halmahera – Early morning speedboat to Tobelo. Stop at small islet for Beach Kingfisher. Drive to Sidangoli. Afternoon birding at Lame forest (along the Sidangoli-Tobelo rd, ~40 min past Hutan Negara, on east side of peninsula). Night in Sidangoli Indah.
10th Thursday Halmahera – Morning at Hutan Negara for Sombre Kingfisher. Later morning at Braha, roadside birding looking for Roller. Afternoon return to Lame and Braha. Night in Sidangoli Indah.
11th Friday Halmahera – Morning in Sidangoli Indah. 9.00 leave for dock and speedboat to Ternate. Ternate – Manado flight 13.20 –13.10. Wings Air. Night at Hotel Minhassa.
12th Saturday Manado (6.45) - Ambon (14.55) via Makassar, Lion Air. Night in Hotel Grand Soya, Ambon.
13th Sunday Ambon - Buru by fast ferry (10.15 – 15.30). Drive to Waeputih birding between 110 and 220 m. Night at Awista Hotel, Namlea.
14th Monday Buru – Birding lowland forest 1½ hours drive SW of Namlea in the morning. Drive to SW in middle of day then some birding at a wetland before returning to Namlea. Night at Awista Hotel.
15th Tuesday Buru – Early morning drive to Waeputih (1½ hours). Drive up to village ~5 km up a very steep track. Birding around village above 500 m in the morning then down the track in the afternoon. Night at Awista Hotel.
16th Wednesday Buru – Ambon by fast ferry (8.15 – 12.15). Boat from Ambon to Seram (15.45 – 17.30). Night at the New Lelemuku Hotel Maseholi.
17th Thursday Seram – morning drive to Manusela NP cut short by car breaking down. Got a lift to the pass. Most of day spent walking 8 km south from the pass at 1250 m south, dipping to ~800 m before climbing again. Late night arrival at Sawai.
18th Friday Seram – Boat trip to P. Sawai and P. Lausalote in morning. Birding along Sawai road in afternoon. Night in Sawai.
19th Saturday Seram – Morning birding in the region of the pass. Lunch at Warung, afternoon along trans-Seram rd. Night in Sawai
20th Sunday Seram – Liburan (holiday) at end of Ramadan in the morning, afternoon drive to Wahai and lowland area of Manusela NP.
21st Monday Seram- Morning birding along the trans-Seram rd around the pass and then slow drive to Masohi. Night at new Lelemuku Hotel in Masohi.
22nd Tuesday Seram- Ambon 8.00 Fast ferry to Ambon arriving at Tuhelu just before 10.00. Birded Tuhelu village road, past the turnoff for the hot springs, to find Ambon White-eye. Visited Commonwealth WWII cemetery then lunch and relaxing afternoon.
23rd Wednesday Ambon (7.45) - Denpasar (10.15) Lion Air
Tangkoko Taman Nasional – An already well described site. A relatively small (9000 Ha) patch of well managed, conserved forest located on the far north east of Sulawesi. It has a fair amount of lowland forest that climbs up to the summits of Gunung Tangkoko (1000 m) and Gunung Dua Saudura. Apart from general birding in and around the park we walked to the summit of Gunung Tangkoko in search of Scaly-breasted Kingfisher and camped a little below the summit for the night. We also took an afternoon boat trip to the mangroves north of the park.
Hutan Negara - This site is along the main road just short of the 12 km post east of Sidangoli. Just before a small bridge there is an obvious parking area and vehicle track leading into the secondary forest. A sign denotes that this is as a “Kawasan Hutan Negara”. Along the track disturbed secondary forest that is being actively selectively logged by small operators still supports a good diversity of birds, including displaying Wallace’s Standardwings, a good number of Ivory-breasted Pittas, Sombre Kingfisher and Paradise Crow. In the evening Moluccan Scops-Owl and Moluccan Owlet Nightjar can be seen at the parking area.
Kali Batu Putih (literally white rock road) – A left hand (north) turn off from the Sidangoli -Tobelo rd, this obvious white rd leads to Anu’s house and the Dase Hill Standardwing lek. The forest here still supports some interesting birds, but is being rapidly degraded.
Labi-Labi – A small village about a 50 minute speedboat ride south of Tobelo. The area around the village has been logged but patches of remnant forest are still present and there is considerable secondary forest. This area adjoins a proposed National Park that will protect the forest at higher elevation. A logging road leads through the forest and is used by the locals to access their market gardens. We stayed one night in a hut in this area.
Lame – Along the Sidangoli-Tobelo road around the 31 km mark secondary forest with some older trees supports a reasonable level of avian biodiversity. We birded along the road on either side of the top of the hill.
Braha – A southern turnoff from the Sidangoli-Tobelo road leads to some very average mixed secondary forest and agricultural land. It had been a site for Purple Dollarbird but we were unable to find any and the habitat looks too disturbed.
Buru is a large mountainous island (8613 square km), the highest point at 2428 m is Gunung Kelapamada in the northwest of the island. There is a single road leading north and west from the capital Namlea that connects the small villages of the north coast. The road is in good condition for most of its length and is reported to now continue all the way to Bara (148 km from Namlea), although we only travelled as far as Waeputih. Given more time I would have headed straight for Bara and tried to find some reasonable forest in this area.
WaePutih – Approx 60 km from Namlea (~90 min) on the quite good northeast coast road just after the picturesque village of Waprea the road goes up and over a headland, as it flattens out there is a small track leading off to the left (S 03 04 20.4; E 126 40 55.4). The track goes through a coconut plantation for a couple of hundred metres, then dips into a small, dry, river crossed by a blue raised water pipe. After this the track climbs steeply for 5 or 6 km to a small village at ~600 m, where the road ends. Along this road to the village is some of the best forest we saw in Buru although the area has been extensively logged. Most of the birds we saw, excluding wetland birds, were seen along this road. Past the village a track continues to climb to 680 m through largely degraded forest which had a patch or two of reasonable remnant forest.
Lowland forest – Located southwest of Namlea about 90 min drive along the main road a turnoff to the right leads to a small remnant patch of forest that is heavily degraded and surrounded by harvested eucalypts and agricultural land. A track winds its way along the valley floor for about 2 km until the head of the valley (Start of walk: S 03 22 44.9 E 126 52 36.8; End of walk S 03 21 57.6 E 126 53 04.7).
Wetland – On the main southwest road about one hour from Namlea amongst a great stretch of rice paddies was a small wetland area.
Seram is the largest island in Maluku, although it is nearly the same size as Halmahera. It is a mountainous island with the highest peak Gunung Binaia at 3027 m.
Trans-Seram road – Largely built in 2006 this road stretches across the western half of the island connecting the port of Amahai and the major town of Masohi on the southern coast with the village of Sawai and the towns of Wahai on the north coast. Leaving Masohi the road passes through agricultural land and small remnant forest patches and crosses a couple of wide, stony-bedded rivers. It then traverses a series of low hills before starting a quite rapid climb past a Warung (Roadside restaurant) to 1200 m 93 km from Masohi, during this climb it enters Manusela Taman Nasional and excellent forest. For the next 15 km the road stays fairly high only dipping to 800 m before climbing up to the pass at 1250 m. In this area we saw most of the endemics, bird activity varied between high and non-existent.
Afternoon birding along the road was a little slow but very productive. The road then drops steeply and out of the National Park to the turnoff to the small seafront village of Sawai before continuing along the coastal plain to the town of Wahai. Ten kilometres after Wahai the road re-enters the Manusela Taman Nasional and excellent lowland swamp/rainforest.
Pulau Sawai and Pulau Lausolate are two of three islets located just off the northern coast of Seram. We accessed these islets by hiring a boat from the Sawai Hotel for a long morning’s trip (Rp300K). Pulau Lausolate (S 02 54 04.4 E 129 14 12.2) is a tiny islet of ~2 Ha about 30 minutes by boat from Sawai that has a few fruit trees, three or four larger trees and some coastal scrub. It is the only known site for Olive Honeyeater on Seram. Pulau Sawai (S 02 55 19.3 E 129 10 08.3)
is a larger islet about 10 minutes by boat from Sawai that is used as a coconut grove, pineapple plantation and for other agricultural purposes, it is fringed by mangroves and has some remnant native trees.
On Sulawesi we recorded 74 species, 47 of which were seen on no other islands, on Halmahera 75 (32), Buru 59 (13) and Seram 108 (46).
E = Endemic Su = Sulawesi, M = Maluku, B = Buru, S = Seram, H = Halmahera (northern Maluku), A = Ambon, T = Tanimbar (Nusa Tengarra)
1 Southern Cassowary Scat and fresh footprints 400 m on the northern side of the top of the trans-Seram road pass at ~1200 m on the 19th, Seram. This introduced species is reported as relatively common in lowland forest but absent in hill or montane forest (Bowler & Taylor).
PROCELLARIIDAE: Petrels and Shearwaters
2 Bulwer’s Petrel Bulweria bulwerii Fifty plus of this rarely recorded species in the Manipa Strait from the Ambon-Namlea ferry on the 13th, only two on the return trip on the 16th.
3 Wilson’s Storm-petrel Oceanites oceanicus A few in the Manipa Strait from the Ambon-Namlea ferry on the 13th. Only rarely recorded in this area.
4 Swinhoe’s Storm-Petrel Oceanodramus matsudairae One positively identified in the Manipa Strait from the Ambon-Namlea ferry on the 13th , two or three probables
5 Great Frigatebird Fregata minor Unidentified Frigatebird on speedboat trip to Labi-Labi. One or two in large flock of Lesser at Ternate
6 Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel Large flock (~60) just off the shore next to the old fort at Ternate. Smaller flock in Kayeli Bay, Namlea, Buru
7 Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris Some on P. Lausolote off the northern coast of Seram
8 Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos Two at wetland in rice fields Buru. Some on P. Lausolote off the northern coast of Seram
SULIDAE: Gannets and Boobies
9 Brown Booby Sula leucogaster One or two in Manipa Strait on Ambon-Buru boat trip, a couple on boat trip from Ambon to Seram
10 Little Egret Egretta garzetta Many in rice fields and wetland on Buru. Singles in riverbeds on the outskirts of Masohi, Seram
11 Pacific Reef-Egret Egretta sacra On fishing structures off mangroves at T. One perched on P. Lausolate, Seram
12 Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana Single flying into mangroves on P. Radjah off the northern coast of Seram.
13 Purple Heron Ardea purpurea One in mangroves at Tangkoko. One at wetland on Buru.
14 Great Egret Casmerodius albus 3-4 at wetland on Buru. Some in southern Seram
15 Intermediate Egret Mesophoyx intermedia Peter L., Seram
16 Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis A few in northern Sulawesi. Many in rice fields on Buru. Seram Peter L.
17 Striated Heron Butorides striatus Single on P. Lausalote, Seram
18 Cinnamon Bittern Ixobrychus cinnamomeus 1 at Buru Wetlands (Chris & Pete)
THRESKIORNITHIDAE: Ibises and Spoonbills
19 Australian Ibis Threskiornis molucca Single flying over lowland forest on north coast of Seram at dusk
ACCIPITRIDAE: Hawks, Eagles and Allies
20 Osprey Pandion haliaetus One or two over mangroves in Tangkoko
21 Pacific Baza Aviceda subcristata Single on Seram north coast
22 Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus A few over mangroves at Tangkoko. Very common on Halmahera, Buru and Seram at all altitudes
23 White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster Single at Tangkoko. Single in lowland forest near Sawai, Seram
24 Spotted Harrier Circus assimilis One close up in late afternoon at Tangkoko
25 Variable Goshawk Accipiter novaehollandiae At least three on Halmahera at Lame and Braha. A couple on Buru 14th. One on Seram
26 E,H Moluccan Goshawk Accipiter gularis Two singles at Labi-Labi 7th and 9th
27 Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis Pair in emergent tree 19th on Seram, many others above canopy at elevations above 600m
28 Gurney's Eagle Aquila gurneyi One at Labi-Labi seen well soaring above forest on 8th. Two above forest on 15th Buru
29 Rufous-bellied Eagle Hieraaetus kienerii A pair at Braha, Halmahera
30 E,Su Sulawesi Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus lanceolatus Single immature (white plumaged) perched in large tree on 2nd at Tangkoko
FALCONIDAE: Falcons and Allies
31 Spotted Kestrel Falco moluccensis Pair at Manado airport, pair at Anu’s house, one on wire in Buru 13th. Single on Seram
32 Oriental Hobby Falco severus Single perched out on south side of mountain range at about 600 m Seram 19th. The first record for this species on Seram was in 1988.
33 Australian Hobby Falco longipennis Single claimed by Anu at Labi-Labi 9th
DENDROCYGNIDAE: Whistling Ducks
34 Spotted Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna guttata Seram, Peter L.
35 Phillipine Scrubfowl Megapodus cumingii Seen well at Tangkoko on a number of occasions
36 Dusky Scrubfowl Megapodius freycinet Two or more at Labi-Labi, one at Hutan Negara walking along a log.
37 E,M Moluccan Scrubfowl Megapodius wallacei Single on black sand beach at Galela at 10 pm
38 E,Su Maleo Macrocephalon maleo One claimed by Samuel at Tangkoko
39 Barred Rail Gallirallus torquatus Two at Tangkoko in rank grassland behind beach
40 Buff-banded Rail Gallirallus philippensis Single in river bed on outskirts of Masohi
41 E,Su Isabelline Bush-hen Amaurornis isabellinus Singles on 2nd and 3rd at Tangkoko
42 White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus Single on P. Lausolate, northern Seram
43 White-browed Crake Porzana cinerea Seram, Peter L.
44 Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio Two in irrigation channel on Buru 14th. Seram, Peter L.
CHARADRIIDAE: Lapwings and Plovers
45 Pacific Golden-Plover Pluvialis fulva 6 near Buru wetland 14th. One on Seram 20th at port of Wahai (Air Besar)
46 Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola Single on beach of P. Sawai, northern Seram
47 Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii One near jetty at port of Wahai
SCOLOPACIDAE: Sandpipers, Snipes and Allies
48 Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus Up to four off P. Sawai on the 18th, Seram
49 Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis Two off P. Sawai on the 18th, Seram. First recorded in 1988 for Seram.
50 Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia Pair in river bed on outskirts of Masohi, Seram. First recorded in 1988 for Seram.
51 Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola Up to 10 in rice fields, Buru 14th
52 Terek Sandpiper Tringa cinerea One seen by Chris in mangroves on edge of P. Sawai on the 18th
53 Common Sandpiper Tringa hypoleucos 3 or 4 on Mangroves at Tangkoko. Two on small islet near Tobelo. 10+ on rice fields in Buru. Not uncommon in rivers, foreshores and ports, Seram
54 Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes Single in Mangroves at Tangkoko
55 Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus A few on boat trip to and from Tobelo-Labi Labi, Halmahera. Large numbers (500+) in Ambon Bay on the 13th, much smaller numbers on the 16th
STERCORARIINAE: Skuas and Jaegers
56 Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicauda One in Kayeli Bay, Namlea, Buru 13th. Rarely reported from this region
Two unidentified Terns on boat trip to Labi-Labi
57 Great Crested-Tern Sterna bergii Many in harbour at Ambon and Namlea, some loafing on sandbank near P. Lausolate, Seram
58 Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana Six or more on canoe trip to P. Lausolate and P. Sawai, just off the coast of northern Seram near the village of Sawai
59 Common Tern Sterna hirundo A few on canoe trip to P. Lausolate and P. Sawai. Some at the port of Wahai (Air Besar), Seram
60 Grey-backed/Aleutian Tern Sterna spp. Group of five, most likely Grey-backed Terns, near Namlea on boat trip from Ambon to Buru
61 Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus Small flock from fast ferry near Buru
COLUMBIDAE: Pigeons and Doves
62 Rock Pigeon Columba livia Sparse but throughout near towns
63 Red Collared Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica Single on power line on Ternate, escapee? Not listed in Coates and Bishop for this island
64 Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis Buru and Seram around agriculture and secondary forests
65 Brown (Slender-billed) Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia amboinensis A few in Tangkoko. Common on Halmahera. Scattered on Buru, not uncommon on Seram
66 Great Cuckoo-Dove Reinwardtoena reinwardtsi Single on 9th at Labi-Labi
67 E,S Sulawesi Black Pigeon Turacoena manadensis Tangkoko on edge of forest
68 Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica Singles on 8th and 9th at Tangkoko
69 Pink-necked Green-Pigeon Treron vernans Tangkoko seen each day
70 Grey-cheeked Green-Pigeon Treron griseicauda Tangkoko
71 E,H Scarlet-breasted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus bernsteinii Pair at Hutan Negara, some possibles at Labi-Labi
72 Superb Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus superbus Labi-Labi and in forest at about 500 m on Buru. Heard on Seram
73 E,H Blue-capped Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus monacha Labi-Labi, a few each day
74 White-bibbed Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus rivoli Pair at 600 m near village Buru 15th
75 Claret-breasted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus viridis 2 at ~150 m inland from Waeputih 13th, one in lowland 14th, (field guide has the scarlet in the wrong place – should be called claret-throated). A few on Seram, seen most days
76 E,H Grey-headed Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus hyogastra Common at Labi-Labi
77 Black-naped Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus melanospila Tangkoko on the 3rd
78 Green Imperial Pigeon Ducula aenea Daily at Tangkoko. D. e. paulina – has Rufous nape.
79 E,H,B,S Spectacled (White-eyed) Imperial-Pigeon Ducula perspicillata Seen well at Labi-Labi, Halmahera (D. p. perspicillata). Seram Imperial Pigeon, (D. [p.] neglecta) a proposed split (Rheindt and Hutchinson) was seen often, from lowland forest to 1200 m on Seram and was distinctly different to the Halmahera form.
80 E,H Cinnamon-bellied Imperial-Pigeon Ducula basilica Up to six seen at Labi-Labi
81 E? Pied Imperial-Pigeon Ducula bicolor Pairs in afternoons at Labi-Labi, common on Seram. D. melanura, which is restricted to Maluku, is a possible split.
82 E,Su Silver-tipped (White) Imperial-Pigeon Ducula luctuosa Tangkoko seen every day
83 E,S,B Long-tailed Mountain-Pigeon Gymnophaps mada A group of four just on north side of pass, Seram at about 1250 m. Seram Mountain Pigeon (G. [ m.] stalkeri) a proposed split (Rheindt and Hutchinson).
PSITTACIDAE: Parrots, Lories and Cockatoos
84 E,H Violet-necked Lory Eos squamata Common at Labi-Labi, also at Hutan Negara and near Dase Hill
85 E,S,B Moluccan Red Lory Eos bornea Common on Seram
86 E,Su Ornate Lorikeet Trichoglossus ornatus Tangkoko
87 Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus Common on Seram
88 E,H Chattering Lory Lorius garrulus Seen most days on Halmahera
89 Red-flanked Lorikeet Charmosyna placentis Quite a few small rapidly flying flocks of this small, vocal parrot, with obvious red sides at Labi-Labi. Small flock in lowland forest in southern Seram
90 E,S Salmon-crested Cockatoo Cacatua moluccensis Two on the 17th, one seen well on the 19th, others heard, Two in forest near Sawai turnoff 21st Seram
91 E,H White Cockatoo Cacatua alba Common at Labi-Labi, seen at Hutan Negara. Great floppy crest unlike Sulphur-crested
92 Eclectus Parrot Eclectus roratus Many at Labi-Labi a few at Hutan Negara. Some in lowland forest of Seram
93 Red-cheeked Parrot Geoffroyus geoffroyi Common at Labi-Labi a few at Hutan Negara. Occasional on Buru. Not uncommon on Seram
94 E,Su Yellow-breasted Racquet-tail Prioniturus flavicans Small flocks at Tangkoko
95 Blue-backed Parrot Tanygnathus sumatranus Small numbers seen on two days in Tangkoko
96 Great-billed Parrot Tanygnathus megalorynchos Occasionally seen at Labi-Labi usually as singles or pairs, huge bill. Large flocks flying inland over lowland forest in Manusela National Park, 12 km past Wahai, Seram at dusk 20th. Singles and pairs more common elsewhere on Seram
97 Moluccan King-Parrot Alisterus amboinensis Labi-Labi, a few heard on 7th and 8th and seen well only once. One near village at 600 m on Buru. A pair at around 1000 m on Seram.
98 E,Su Large Sulawesi Hanging-Parrot Loriculus stigmatus Reasonable numbers at Tangkoko, seen on most days
99 E,H Moluccan Hanging-Parrot Loriculus amabilis Flock of four at Lame, Halmahera
CUCULIDAE: Old World Cuckoos and Allies
100 Oriental Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus Seram
101 (Asian) Rusty-breasted Cuckoo Cacomantis sepulcralis Seen often on Buru, heard more often than seen on Seram. Split from Brush Cuckoo (Cacomantis variolosus). C. s. aeruginosa - Sth Maluku.
102 Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris Pair heard on higher slopes of Gng Tangkoko. Proposed Moluccan Drongo Cuckoo (S. musschenbroeki)
103 Australian Koel Eudynamys cyanocephala Female seen in lowland forest in north Seram, Koel spp. calling around Sawai which could not be differentiated between Asian and Australian
104 Channel-billed Cuckoo Scythrops novaehollandiae A pair in lowland forest southern Seram
105 E,Su Yellow-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus calyorhynchus Tangkoko, not uncommon in lowland forest
106 E,H Goliath (Gouam) Coucal Centropus goliath Heard often on Halmahera, two seen closely at Lame on 9th. Family group feeding recently fledged young at Lame on 10th.
107 Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis Common at Tangkoko, calling on Buru 14th heard often on Seram
108 E,Su Bay Coucal Centropus celebensis Seen on a number of occasions at Tangkoko, once in a mixed flock with Malkoha and White-necked Myna, once along Batu Putih creek near village
TYTONIDAE: Barn Owls and Masked Owls
109 E,Su Sulawesi Masked-Owl Tyto rosenbergii One on cliffs near cave roost on coast near Tangkoko
STRIGIDAE: Typical Owls
110 E,Su Sulawesi Scops-Owl Otus manadensis Seen well on just off main track into Tangkoko. Very grey bird with even darker circles around eyes.
111 Moluccan Scops-Owl Otus magicus Seen well at Hutan Negara, Halmahera. A more rufous bird.
112 Barking Owl Ninox connivens Heard on outskirts of Labi-Labi village in a coconut grove. Did not respond to call of Aust. B. Owl. This is a very isolated population and should be investigated to determine its taxonomic status.
113 E,Su Ochre-bellied Hawk-Owl Ninox ochracea Heard at Tangkoko, did not come in to call
114 E,M Moluccan Hawk-Owl Ninox squamipila Pair seen very well at Labi-Labi on logging road near hut. A proposed split to Halmahera Boobook (N. [s.] hypogramma) (Rheindt and Hutchinson).
115 E,H Moluccan (Long-whiskered) Owlet-Nightjar Aegotheles crinifrons Heard often at Labi-Labi and at Hutan Negara, a pair seen once on outskirts of Labi-Labi village on edge of coconut grove.
116 Great Eared-Nightjar Eurostopodus macrotis Single heard in hills behind Manado
117 Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus One flushed near large antenna on southern side of pass, Seram. At ~1200 m this is probably the highest record from Seram. Heard at Galela, Halmahera
118 E,Su Sulawesi Nightjar Caprimulgus celebensis One perched on ground in rank grassland area on edge of Tangkoko
APODIDAE: Swifts and Swiftlets
119 Glossy (White Bellied) Swiflet Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta Common throughout
Moluccan Swiftlet Aerodramus infuscata This species has been proposed to be split into three. Sulawesi Swiflet (A. (i.) sororum) not uncommon around Tangkoko. Halmahera Swiflet (A. (i.) infuscate) hard to differentiate from Uniform Swiftlet on Halmahera due to lack of white rump. Seram Swiflet (A. (i.) ceramensis) common on Seram
121 Uniform Swiftlet Collocalia vanikorensis Common at Tangkoko and throughout Halmahera
122 House (Little) Swift Apus affinis Some on Ambon over the city. Breeding at Amahai, Seram, Peter L. Not recorded for these islands previously.
123 Grey-rumped Treeswift Hemiprocne longipennis A few at Tangkoko
124 Moustached Treeswift Hemiprocne mystacea 2 overhead Buru 14th, not uncommon on Seram 2-3 seen most days
HALCYONIDAE: Wood Kingfishers
125 E,Su Green-backed Kingfisher Actenoides monachus 4-6 per day at Tangkoko, sits low and very unobtrusively. Call in the morning is reminiscent of Bush Thick-knee’s mournful wail.
126 E,Su Scaly-breasted Kingfisher Actenoides princeps One female seen by CL and Samuel on steep ridge at summit of Gng Tangkoko
127 Common Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera galatea Single heard in lowland forest north Seram
128 E,Su Lilac-cheeked Kingfisher Cittura cyanotis Two seen in lowland areas of Tangkoko.
129 E Great-billed Kingfisher Halcyon melanorhyncha One seen poorly in mangroves near Tangkoko on boat trip.
130 Ruddy Kingfisher Halcyon coromanda Single at mangroves and single on Batu Putih creek near Mama Roos
131 E,H Blue-and-white Kingfisher Todirhamphus diops Pair high in trees in Labi-Labi, trio on powerlines in Braha. Female breast band thinner than depicted in the field guide. Unusual to see sexually dimorphic Kingfishers.
132 E,S Lazuli Kingfisher Todirhamphus lazuli One female seen perched high at 1100 m on northern slope of trans Seram rd (S 03 00 44.4 E 129 10 58.8), well above its stated altitudinal range. A pair in lowland secondary growth/plantation near the Sawai turnoff.
133 E,H Sombre Kingfisher Todirhamphus funebris One seen well in Hutan Negara eating a large grub.
134 Collared Kingfisher Todirhamphus chloris One on powerlines on Tobelo-Sidangoli rd. 9th Many on Buru 13th & 14th, common on Seram
135 Beach Kingfisher Todirhamphus saurophaga One on small islet just off Tobelo, Halmahera. One on P. Sawai, first recorded in 1988 for Seram
136 Sacred Kingfisher Todirhamphus sanctus One on P. Sawai, Seram
ALCEDINIDAE: Small Kingfishers
137 E,Su Sulawesi Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx fallas One seen well halfway up Gng Tangkoko
138 Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis One in mangroves north of Tangkoko. Two on Halmahera
139 Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops superciliosus A couple at Tangkoko
140 Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus Some in Tangkoko. Not uncommon on Halmahera. 4-5 on Buru
141 E,Su Purple-winged Roller Coracias temminckii Pair at Tangkoko on the main road near the beach
142 Common Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis Three in Braha forest Halmahera, some on Seram
143 E,Su Sulawesi Dwarf Hornbill Penelopides exarhatus Three birds at a pass just outside Tangkoko reserve on the road back to Manado.
144 E,Su Knobbed Hornbill Rhyticeros cassidix Common and conspicuous in Tangkoko
145 Blyth's Hornbill Aceros plicatus Common and conspicuous throughout Halmahera and Seram
146 E,Su Ashy Woodpecker Mulleripicus fulvus Seen daily at Tangkoko
147 E,H Ivory-breasted Pitta Pitta maxima Common on Halmahera
148 Red-bellied (Blue-breasted) Pitta Pitta erythrogaster A pair beside the main track running behind the beach through Tangkoko. A single calling at 600 m near the village on the Waeputih rd. Buru.
149 Elegant Pitta Pitta elegans Single in scrub in Tangkoko, quite tame, apparently only discovered in Tangkoko in the last 2-3 years and present for only two months of the year, Sept and Oct.
HIRUNDINIDAE: Swallows and Martins
150 Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica Some throughout
151 Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica Common throughout
MOTACILLIDAE: Wagtails and Pipits
152 Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea In riverbeds and on trans Seram rd.
153 Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava Several in paddy fields, Buru
CAMPEPHAGIDAE: Cuckoo-shrikes, Trillers and Minivets
154 E,B Buru Cuckooshrike Coracina fortis Occasional on Buru
155 E,H,S Moluccan Cuckooshrike Coracina atriceps One or two most days on Halmahera and Seram
156 E,Su White-rumped Cuckooshrike Coracina leucopygia Two or three at Tangkoko
157 White-bellied Cuckooshrike Coracina caledonica Two seen at Labi Labi, Halmahera
158 E,H Halmahera Cuckooshrike Coracina parvula Seen most days on Halmahera
159 Common Cicadabird Coracina tenuirostris Pair at Labi-Labi
160 E,B,S Pale Cicadabird Coracina ceramensis Good numbers on Buru, less common on Seram
161 E,H Rufous-bellied Triller Lalage aurea Common on Halmahera
162 Sooty-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus aurigaster Around Tangkoko. Seen in World War II cemetery on Ambon (introduced)
163 Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier Seen in World War II cemetery on Ambon (introduced)
164 E,B,A,S Southern Golden Bulbul Thapsinillas affinis Another species that has been recommended for a three way split (Rheindt and Hutchinson). Buru Golden Bulbul (T. mysticalis) has a dull yellow underside, with loud ringing call, common in even poor secondary forest on Buru. Seram Golden Bulbul (T. affinis affinis) a striking yellow-tailed form, with loud Black-chinned HE like call, common at higher elevation on the trans-Seram rd. Ambon Golden Bulbul (T. affinis flavicaudus) not seen or heard.
165 E,H Northern Golden Bulbul Thapsinillas longirostris Seen often on Halmahera, especially in Labi-Labi.
166 Spangled Drongo Dicrurus bracteatus D. b. atrocaeruleus - regular on Halmahera. D. b. buruensis – common on Buru. D. b. ambonensis - vocal and conspicuous on Seram.
167 E,Su Sulawesi Drongo Dicrurus montanus A few at Tangkoko
168 Hair-crested Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus Seen most days at Tangkoko
ORIOLIDAE: Old World Orioles
169 E,H Dusky-brown Oriole Oriolus phaeochromus Seen a number of times at Labi-Labi and Hutan Negara, Halmahera.
170 E,B,T Black-eared (Buru) Oriole Oriolus bouroensis Very similar to the Black-faced Friarbird, only the bill is diagnostic. Looks nothing like depiction in Coates and Bishop, may be incorrect illustration. Potential split to Buru Oriole (Rheindt and Hutchison).
171 E,S Seram Oriole Oriolus forsteni Not uncommon, difficult to differentiate from Seram Friarbird unless closely examined
172 Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis Tangkoko, daily
173 Slender-billed Crow Corvus enca Common in Tangkoko
174 E,B,S Violaceous Crow Corvus(enca) violaceous Single on two days in lowland forest near Sawai, Seram. Often considered a race of Slender-billed Crow, looks smaller and behaves quite differently
175 E,H Long-billed Crow Corvus validus Good numbers at Labi-Labi and Hutan Negara, flies with bill open.
PARADISAEIDAE: Birds of Paradise
176 E,H Paradise-crow Lycocorax pyrrhopterus Single seen well at Labi-Labi, and two at Hutan Negara actively foraging through midstorey
177 E,H Standardwing Bird of Paradise Semioptera wallacei Up to 5 displaying at Dase Hill with at least two females. Over 10 displaying at lek tree ~3 km from Hut at Labi-Labi
178 E,Su Sulawesi Babbler Trichastoma celebense Great views of a single at dusk in T
TURDIDAE: Thrushes and Chats
179 E,Su Red-backed Thrush Zoothera erythronota Not uncommon in Tangkoko, a pair were in the same area as the Elegant Pitta near the park entrance
180 Pied Chat Saxicola caprata One at Makassar airport
PARDALOTIDAE: Australian Warblers and Allies
181 Flyeater (Golden-bellied Gerygone) Gerygone sulphurea Single at Tangkoko. G. s. flaveola, restricted to Sulawesi
SYLVIDAE: Old World Warblers
182 E,Su,B,S Chestnut-backed Bush-Warbler Bradypterus castaneus B. c. musculus – Seram heard and seen poorly on the 19th on the south side of the pass at about 1150 m
183 Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis Single near river in Waeputih, Buru
184 Mountain Tailorbird Orthotomus cuculatus Numerous. Seen well at the higher elevations on the trans-Seram rd
185 Arctic Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus borealis Single seen by Peter on 14th on Buru. Not uncommon on Seram at higher elevations
186 Island Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus poliocephalus P. p. ceramensis – Seram. Common in forest at higher elevations on trans-Seram road.
MUSCICARPIDAE: Old World Flycatchers
187 Grey-streaked Flycatcher Muscicarpa griseisticta Single in lowland forest Buru
188 Island Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias payayensis Up to four per day in forest on Seram mountain range
189 E,B,S Cinnamon-chested Flycatcher Ficedula buruensis F. b. ceramensis – Seram, single by Chris on 17th at about 900 m on southern side of the pass.
190 Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni Single on 19th on northern side of the pass, Seram
MONARCHIDAE: Monarch Flycatchers and Magpie-larks
191 Island Monarch Monarcha cinerascens Two on P. Sawai, Seram
192 E,H,B,T White-naped Monarch Monarcha pileatus Only seen on Buru where seen in both lowland forest and at around 500 m
193 Spectacled Monarch Monarcha trivirgatus Seen most days on Halmahera (M. t. bimaculatus). Seen once on Seram (M. t. nigrimentum)
194 E,B Black-tipped Monarch Monarcha loricatus A couple seen in lowland forest on Buru on the 13th one seen at higher elevation on the 14th
195 E,M Slaty Flycatcher Myiagra galeata A few at Lame and near Braha in secondary forest/scrub, Halmahera. Common on Buru and Seram
196 Shining Flycatcher Piezorynchus alecto A few at Lame and near Braha in secondary forest/scrub, Halmahera.
197 Willie Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys Common on Halmahera, Buru and Seram
198 Northern Fantail Rhipidura rufiventris A member of mixed flocks on Buru, R. r. buruensis
199 E,S Streak-breasted Fantail Rhipidura dedemi A member of many mixed flocks on Seram
PETROICIDAE: Australian Robins
200 Citrine Flycatcher Culicicapa helianthea One near the summit of Gng Tangkoko, looks and behaves like a Canary Flycatcher
201 Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis Less common and vocal than expected, seen or heard most days on Halmahera, Buru and Seram. Distinctive forms on each island
202 E,M Drab Whistler Pachycephala griseonata Interesting, vocal and somewhat variable species seen on Halmahera, Buru and Seram
ARTIMIDAE: Wood-swallows and Allies
203 White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorynchus Occasional in Tangkoko and on Buru and Seram
STURNIDAE: Starlings and Mynas
204 Moluccan Starling Aplonis mysolensis Not uncommon at Labi-Labi, Halmahera. Seen on Buru. Common at high elevation on trans-Seram rd
205 Metallic Starling Aplonis metallica Halmahera and Seram
206 E,Su Sulawesi (Crested) Myna Basilornis celebensis One seen on way out of Tangkoko
207 E,S Long-crested Myna Basilornis corythaix Great views of a pair in lowland forest in southern Seram on the afternoon of the 21st
208 E,Su White-necked Myna Streptocitta albicollis Some at Tangkoko, once in a mixed flock with Yellow-billed Malkoha and Bay Coucal
209 E,Su Grosbeak Starling Scissirostrum dubium Common at Tangkoko
210 E,H White-streaked Friarbird Philemon gilolensis Single seen well at Hutan Negara, Halmahera
211 E,H Dusky Friarbird Philemon fuscicapillus Hard to see, Chris had one or two at Labi Labi, Halmahera
212 E,S Seram Friarbird Philemon subcorniculatus Common in forests on Seram
213 E,B,T Black-faced (Buru) Friarbird Philemon moluccensis Not uncommon in most forested areas of Buru, difficult to differentiate from the mimic Black-eared Oriole except on bill shape and size. Proposed split of Black-faced Friarbird to Buru Friarbird and Tanimbar Friarbird
214 E,M Olive Honeyeater Lichmera argentauris Six birds on the tiny islet of Palau Laulosaote, (along with Collared KF, White-breasted Waterhen, Reef-Egret, Pied and Little Cormorant and Pacific Swallow). This species has only ever been recorded on two tiny islets of the north coast of Seram
215 E,S Seram Honeyeater Lichmera monticola Two seen each day in forests on Seram. Very quiet and unobtrusive although its call is easily picked as a honeyeater
216 E,S Drab Honeyeater Myzomela blasii Single at 1000 m on 17th. 2-3 on 19th , Seram
217 Scarlet Honeyeater Myzomela sanguinolenta A couple at high altitude on the 17th Seram. M. s. elisabethae - Wakolo Myzomela
218 Black Sunbird Nectarinia aspasia Common throughout
219 Olive-backed Sunbird Nectarinia jugularis Common throughout. The form on Buru and Seram is Black-bellied, quite distinctive and has been proposed as a separate species, N. clementiae (Coates and Bishop).
220 E,Su Yellow-sided Flowerpecker Dicaeum aureolimbatum A few in open areas at Tangkoko
221 E,S,A Ashy Flowerpecker Dicaeum vulneratum Common on Seram. Seen on Ambon
222 E,H,B Flame-breasted Flowerpecker Dicaeum erythrothorax Numerous on Halmahera, one of the most common birds on Buru. Possible split to Buru Flowerpecker (D. erythrothorax) and Halmahera Flowerpecker (D. schistaceiceps)
223 E,Su Grey-sided Flowerpecker Dicaeum celebicum A couple in open areas of Tangkoko
ZOSTEROPIDAE: White-eyes and Dark-eyes
224 E,H Cream-throated White-eye Zosterops atriceps Not uncommon at Labi-Labi
225 Black-fronted White-eye Zosterops atrifrons Some in open areas at Tangkoko
226 E,S Seram White-eye Zosterops stalkerii (previously Z. atrifrons) At high altitude with flocks of Mountain White-eyes on Seram.
227 Mountain White-eye Zosterops montanus Large quickly moving flocks at higher altitudes on Seram, often with other species
228 E,B Buru (Yellow) White-eye Zosterops buruensis Fairly few, only seen around village at 550 m and road leading up to it.
229 E,A Ambon (Yellow) White-eye Zosterops kuehni A single seen on Ambon on the Tulehu village road about a kilometre past the Hot Springs turn off.
230 E,S Rufescent White-eye Tephrozosterops stalkeri 3 seen at 1100 m on trans Seram rd (S 03 01 13.4 E 129 11 02.9) at 1 pm, a single seen 30 min later at ~1000 m on 17th, well above reported preferred altitudinal range.
231 E,S Grey-hooded Dark-eye Lophozosterops pinaiae Two pairs seen on 19th, on either side of pass at ~1200 m asl amongst other species (White-eyes). Two further birds seen by Peter on the 21st on the north side of the pass. Probably at the lower limit of its altitudinal range.
232 Tree Sparrow Passer montanus Common to abundant throughout near human habitation
ESTRILDINAE: Estrildine Finches
233 Black-faced Munia Lonchura molucca Small flock at Kali Batu Putih Halmahera and many at lowland forest on Buru
234 Chestnut Munia Lonchura malacca Nesting on Seram, Peter L. Confirms Hornbuckle and Catsis’ recent observations, 2009, of the establishment of this species on Seram.
Bowler, John and Taylor, John. 1988. An annotated checklist of the birds of Manusela National Park, Seram. Birds recorded on the Operation Raleigh Expedition.
Coates, Brian J.; Bishop, K. David; Gardner, Dana. “A Guide to the Birds of Wallacea”, Dove
Collar, NJ & Pilgrim JD. 2007. Species-level changes proposed for Asian birds, 2005-2006. BirdingASIA 8:14-30.
Jepsen, Paul. 1993. Recent Ornithological observations from Buru. Kulkila 6:85-109.
Jepson, Paul. Birding Indonesia: A birdwatcher’s guide to the world’s largest archipelago. Periplus.
Rheindt, Frank and Hutchinson, Robert. 2007. New island records and new elevational records of birds from South Maluku, Indonesia. Forktail 23:158-161.
Rheindt, Frank and Hutchinson, Robert. 2007. A photoshoot odyssey through the confused avian taxonomy of Seram and Buru (southern Moluccas). BirdingASIA 7:18-38.