Ujung Kulon Tour West Java Wildlife Birding Adventure

Ujung Kulon  Birding Tour and West Java Birding Tour

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Key bird species:

Javan Barred Owlet, Javan Frogmouth; Banded Kingfisher; Lineated Barbet; Banded Pitta; Javan Cuckoo-shrike; White-breasted Babbler; Grey-cheeked Tit Babbler; Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Crimson Sunbird, Javan Sunbird; seabirds.

Birdwatching locations:

Ujung Kulon is a big, wild, and inaccessible national park occupying the south-western tip of Java. For those with time on their hands, exploring this park means entering a real wilderness where pristine forest ends on white sand beaches. Your chances of seeing wild Javan Rhino are remote, but you chances of encountering most of Java’s lowland  forest specialities is pretty high. The options for birding in Ujong Kulon are a bit all or nothing. Undoubtedly the best option for seeing the most is to take on a week-long trek along the south coast and crossing the peninsular to Cidaun at the western end of the park. This will take you through the full range of coastal scrub and forest and pristine lowland rainforest. The walking is pretty tough (much of it on sand) but the opportunities this would provide for birding would be hard to beat. If you add an extra day or so and take the trail to the furthest point of mainland Java at the Tanjung Layar Lighthouse the opportunities for seeing seabirds are very good, with Brown Booby, Streaked Shearwater, Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Bulwer’s Petrel and Christmas Island Frigatebird all being recorded in the past.

For those without the time or inclination to make the long walk in, the alternatives are to visit one of two small islands that lie just offshore of the main peninsular. The first  option is to visit Pulau Handeuleum. This small island is on the north side of the park and is dominated by mangrove around its edges and a small area of proper forest in its centre. The second option is to visit Pulau Peucang. This island lies off the western side of the park, opposite Cidaun and is bigger with more forest (plus better views of the  sea if you were inclined to try a bit of seawatching). The birding on these islands is likely to be more limited than on the main peninsula, but you should still be able to pick up many of the good birds on offer.  It may also be able to combine a trip to the islands with a bit of exploration on the mainland


Day 1, Arrival in Jakarta

The planned arrival time is around mid-afternoon at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. You will meet your guides here and travel to a nearby airport hotel, Here there will be dinner and a pre-trip briefing on West Java and Sumatra birding before a comfortable night’s sleep in preparation for the first day’s birds.

Day 2, Muara Angke/Pulau Rambut/Pulau Dua

After a good, early breakfast at our hotel we commence our West Java and Sumatra birding tour by driving a short distance to Muara Angke wetland reserve for first light. This where we will start the first of two boats trips for the day. Although this site is a very degraded scrap of habitat it still hosts good numbers of birds including a few regional specialities with the prime target being Sunda Coucal. Birding by boat, along a river channel, is a relaxing way to start the trip and a good way to rack up a good number of species to begin with. We expect to see Teal, Bar-winged Prinia, Island Collared Dove, Javan Myna, Black-backed Swamphen, Javan Munia and Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker and the numbers will be made up by more widespread species including Oriental Darter, Small Minivet, Purple Heron, Javan Pond Heron and Pink-necked Green Pigeon.

After a few hours here we will transfer to our next site, an hour and a half away, where we board our second boat of the morning and head out into Jakarta Bay. Heading out to a series of poles that mark where fish traps have been placed we expect to have a very special experience with some monster birds in the form of Christmas Island Frigatebird.  Groups of this critically endangered species loaf around on the poles and frequently steal fish from nearby Little Black Cormorants. We will beChristmas Island Frigatebird – West Java and Sumatra Birding able to observe these beasts at very close range from the boat as they squabble among each other; there should be small numbers of Lesser Frigatebirds to pick out too . From here we will visit nearby Pulau Rambut, visiting  a tower hide from where we can observe Black-naped Orioles, White-bellied Sea Eagle and smart Pied Imperial Pigeons in the treetops.

Returning to shore we will have lunch and make a fairly long drive to the fish ponds and mangrove fragments of Pulau Dua where we have a few hours in the late afternoon to witness another real avian spectacle; a flock of day-flying Savanna Nightjars. Although these birds are fairly common in the region it is almost unheard of to see so many of them active during daylight hours and it forms a memorable sight viewed from the roadside in a village where they nest.  It is on the outskirts of this village where we might also find a small number of the declining Java Sparrow. The fish ponds themselves hold the beautiful Cerulean Kingfisher and Javan Plover while we might also have a chance to see Milky Stork or a migrant Sacred Kingfisher. The day will finish with an hour or so’s drive to our very comfortable accommodation at Carita Beach.

Day 3, Carita Forest Reserve

Javan Frogmouth – West Java and Sumatra BirdingToday we will make our first foray into forest birding in Indonesia in the lowlands of Carita Forest Reserve.  The forest is very close to our accommodation so we can get on-site very early to search for the cryptic Javan Frogmouth, if not in the dark perhaps on a day time roost after dawn.

As it starts to get light we will concentrate our efforts on finding a real jewel of the forest floor: Javan Banded Pitta. This shy bird is not uncommon here but we will need to be quiet to get the best views of it foraging in the morning and we will also hope to see Horsfield’s Babbler, the distinctive capistratum subspecies of Black-capped Babbler and Grey-faced (Javan) Tit-Babbler along the way. The time we have at Carita should ensure that we have the best chance of obtaining good views of Javan Banded Pitta plus this is where we hope to find one of the most colourful of Java’s endemic birds: Black-banded Barbet.

Carita represents our first chance of seeing the magnificent Javan Hawk Eagle and other raptors we often see here include Black Eagle, Crested Honey-buzzard and Changeable Hawk Eagle. This is also a good place to spot Grey-rumped TreeswiftSunda Scops Owl – Java and Sumatra Birding as it hunts for insects and we will make every effort to track down other endemics including Yellow-eared Barbet (formerly a subspecies of Blue-eared Barbet), Javan Sunbird and the difficult-to-spot Javan Owlet.Other species that we have should see here include Linchi Swiftlet, Common Iora, Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Collared Kingfisher, Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker and Brown-throated Sunbird. After a mid-afternoon break we will revisit the forest in search of any key species we did not find in the morning. It is probable that we will need more time to try to find the infuriating Javan Owlet.  If we still need to find Javan Frogmouth we can look for it before finishing the day with Sunda Scops Owl.

Day 4, Carita-Halimun

Given the proximity of the forest we will have time for another visit to look for any key species we might still be looking for; perhaps we want another sighting of Javan Banded Pitta or maybe some time to get a good view of Black-naped Fruit Dove. It is likely that we will need more time to find Javan Owlet although we are certain to have heard many of them already. Some species are desinged to torment birders!

After a few hours birding here we will begin a long journey to our next birding destination; Gunung Halimun/Salak National Park. The journey will take up much of the middle of the day but as we approach our destination we will make a series of stops in agricultural areas containing woodland fragments. In this man-made habitat we should be able to find Striated Grassbird, our first Sunda Minivets, Striated Swallow and Brown Prinia as well as visiting a reliable spot for the impressive Javan Kingfisher.

Day 5, Halimun

Staying at the research station within the national park we are perfectly situated to explore the trails and forest Sunda Forktail – Java and Sumatra Birding Tourtracks in search of a wide variety of potential target species. The colourful Javan Sunbird can often be found here and it is one of our best chances to find the endemic Brown-throated Barbet and Streaky-breasted (Javan) Spiderhunter. Feeding flocks here often contain Trilling Shrike-Babbler, Cinereous Tit, Blue Nuthatch, Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike and the increasingly rare Javan (Blue-winged) Leafbird. Spotted Crocias often calls from the treetops, making itself tricky to spot, and the incredible Javan Trogon can sometimes be found here too while we have a good chance to locate Javan Hawk Eagle here either perched on a tree or soaring overhead.

Not all the species that occur here are easy to see but Sunda Forktail is one of the trickier birds that we can often find in the streams or along the tracks at Halimun and if we are really lucky the Javan form of Blue-banded Kingfisher may show itself at a pool close to the research station; in the past the secretive Sunda Thrush has performed well here. More widespread Southeast Asian species that can be found here include Orange-breasted Trogon, Banded Kingfisher, Pale Blue Flycatcher, cute Black-thighed Falconet, Little Pied Flycatcher and Chestnut-breasted Malkoha. Birding here rewards the patient but there are a lot of potential species to be found in the high-quality forest here and mammals often include the endangered Silvery (Javan) Gibbon, Ebony Leaf Monkey and Common Palm Civet.

Day 6, Halimun-Cibodas Botanical Gardens

After breakfast we will walk from the research station through the forest in search of more of west Java’s birds which could include the surprisingly attractive White-breasted (Javan) Babbler, Pied Shrike-Babbler and Eyebrowed Wren Babbler. A few hours in the morning here can provide some good birding. We will use this final morning  to find any key species not yet seen. The journey towards Cibodas Botanical Gardens will begin by mid-morning arriving in time to check out some regular spots for Sunda Forktail and Javan Kingfisher. We should find some of the commoner key birds of the gardens such as Orange-spotted Bulbul, Flame-fronted Barbet and Olive-backed (Javan) Tailorbird but it is at dusk that we hope for a real star attraction in Salvadori’s Nightjar which we expect to get very good views of.

Day 7, Cibodas Botanical Gardens

After a few days involving quite a lot of walking and travel we have an easier day enjoying birding around the pleasantPygmy Bushtit – Java and Sumatra Birding botanical gardens at Cibodas, just a short drive from our hotel. The open nature of this bird watching site means that we can make sure we get good views of a lot of west Java’s commoner endemic species such as Blood-breasted (Javan) Flowerpecker, Flame-fronted Barbet, Javan Fulvetta and White-flanked Sunbird. This is also the best place to find Yellow-throated Hanging Parrot as it visits flowering trees in the morning as well as finding roving flocks of Pygmy Bushtit, the smallest member of its family in the world.

If we still have not caught up with it this location gives us another great chance to find Javan Kingfisher. The forest edge holds feeding flocks of small groups including groups of stunning Blue Nuthatches, skulking White-bibbed Babblers, Javan Fulvettas and Sunda Minivets. Rusty-breasted Cuckoo is obvious by its voice while common species include Linchi Swiftlet, Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike and Javan Munia. After a midday break we will spend the late afternoon at the nearby former golf course where we will expect to find Spotted Kestrel at a regular spot and possibly Striated Grassbird. Some other commoner birds should include Long-tailed Shrike, Javan Munia and Olive-backed Tailorbird. An early finish will allow us to be fresh for the hiking the mountain over the next two days.

Days 8-9, Gunung Gede National Park

Two days on this volcanic mountain give us the best chance of finding a large number of exciting species. An early Gunung Gede/Pangrango National Park – Java Birding Tourstart on our first day on the mountain sees us start hiking uphill at birding speed, possibly looking for Javan Frogmouth before first light if we have not seen it before. In the undergrowth we hope to find Sunda (Javan) Robin, secretive Chestnut-bellied Partridge and Sunda Thrush; if we find all three of these we will know we are in for a good day. The cute Pygmy Cupwing is rather common here as is Eyebrowed Wren Babbler while as the forest warms up we will anticipate feeding flocks of birds to include the very smart Sunda Warbler, Pied Shrike-babbler, Javan Heleia, Crescent-chested Babbler, White-flanked Sunbird, Sunda Minivet and Javan Fulvetta. Often forest birding can be very quiet but Gunung Gede usually presents birders with fairly good levels of bird abundance. Here we should see many of the afore-mentioned species on multiple occasions over the two days on the mountain. White-bibbed Babbler is becoming harder to find but hopefully they will show themselves to us. Javan Tesia – Java Birding TourReaching the mid-levels of the mountain we reach the domain of Javan Trogon which can take some effort to find although Javan Whistlingthrush should present less of a problem. Snowy-browed Flycatchers should make themselves apparent and the tiny Javan Tesia will play a cat-and-mouse game with us from the undergrowth as we get high enough to encounter Mountain Leaf Warbler, Rufous-tailed Fantail and Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo with its stunning tail.

As we get to the highest levels of the mountain we hope to locate Javan Cochoa by call and while this bird is never easy we have an excellent chance of finding at least one. Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush gets rarer every year but this represents the best opportunity to see this declining species. Spotted Crocias can also be elusive but should alert us to its presence with its raucous call. The insect-like call of Fire-tufted Barbet will help us locate this incredible bird and more flocks of birds should allow us to get good views of all of the smaller arboreal species as well as Checker-throated Woodpecker.Porters will take all our camping equipment up the mountain before us and will be waiting after the hot springs where they will have pitched our camp and will prepare our dinner on the mountain. As it gets dark we will attempt to locate Javan Scops Owl; a tricky prospect. Our second day on the mountain sees us retracing our steps, looking for any target species not yet seen and putting us in the right place to have a chance of bumping into one or two of the rarest birds of Gunung Gedge, perhaps a Pink-headed Fruit Dove or Mountain Serin if our luck is really in. As we head back down the mountain we have a second opportunity to find any of the birds we might want better views of or did not see on the way up; in some years there is a stakeout for Javan Woodcock – fingers crossed!

Day 10, Bogor Botanical Gardens

After two days of hiking our last morning of birding in Java will be rather more relaxed, visiting the botanical gardensBlack-naped Fruit Dove – West Java and Sumatra Birding in the centre of the city of Bogor. This surprisingly quiet and lush site should provide us with good views of several interesting and colourful species including the very distinctive roseus subspecies of Coppermsith Barbet. Although we may have seen it before there is no better place to get top-quality views of the colourful Black-naped Fruit Dove as it feeds on fruiting trees. There are several Bulbuls of interest here which include Ruby-throated Bulbul, Melodius (Grey-cheeked) Bulbul and the distinctive red-eyed prilwitzi subspecies of Cream-vented Bulbul. Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon, Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker and Black-naped Oriole are other birds we hope to see here before lunch and our journey back to Jakarta for the early afternoon to get a good night’s rest before the next leg of our West Java. end the trip in Jakarta

Tour Details

Tour Cost: US 3500 per person

Single supplement: US$ 4250 Depending on the number of participants single accommodation may not be possible at Halimun. This is because the research station has a limited number of rooms.

Included in the tour cost; All transport including airport transfers, accommodation (based on two people sharing a room) including a hotel on the night preceding the tour and on the final night of the tour, flights within Indonesia, all meals, bottled water, national park entry fees and permits, services of English-speaking birding guide,

Not included in the tour cost; International flights,  travel insurance, visa (most nationalities get visa-free entry), alcoholic drinks, tips, excess baggage fees, laundry and any other items of a personal nature. On the odd occasion camera fees are levied at some national parks; any fees that may be charged are not included in the tour cost.

Accommodation: All accommodation is convenient for accessing the birding sites and to simplify travel logistics. Accommodation includes a very comfortable airport hotel in Jakarta, a modern beach hotel at Carita, a basic research station with shared toilet facilities at Halimun, a comfortable hotel at Cibodas, one night camping at Gunung Gede (one tent per person),. All accommodation, apart from that at Halimun, has en-suite shower and toilet facilities. Wifi is available at some locations but not all.

Physical Effort:  Overall you will require a reasonable level of fitness/mobility to enjoy this West Java are fairly easy, requiring little to no hiking, some walking on undulating trails/tracks or very easy strolling and boarding/sitting in a boat.  

Weather: Warm to hot in the lowlands with quite high levels of humidity. Most of the trip, however, is at higher altitude where much cooler temperatures are normal. We expect mostly dry and bright conditions but there can be some rain at any time. Overall weather conditions are not extreme.

Food: Indonesian food is typical of Southeast Asian cuisine, based on rice accompanied by a variety of stir-fried dishes, some of which are spicy, others of which are not. Vegetarian food is widely available with one of the best meat substitutes in the world (tempe) originating in Indonesia. People with food allergies can be catered for, but please notify us of these in advance

West Java and Sumatra Key Species

  • Salvadori’s Pheasant
  • Bronze-tailed Peacock Pheasant
  • Large Frogmouth
  • Sumatran Frogmouth
  • Javan Frogmouth
  • Sunda Frogmouth
  • Bonaparte’s Nightjar
  • Salvadori’s Nightjar
  • Sunda (Javan) Coucal
  • Sumatran Ground Cuckoo
  • Black-naped Fruit Dove
  • Pied Imperial Pigeon
  • Javan Plover
  • Christmas Island Frigatebird
  • Javan Hawk Eagle
  • Oriental Bay Owl
  • Reddish Scops Owl
  • Rajah Scops Owl
  • Javan Trogon
  • Sumatran Trogon
  • Red-naped Trogon
  • Rufous-collared Kingfisher
  • Javan Kingfisher
  • Brown-throated Barbet
  • Black-banded Barbet
  • Flame-fronted Barbet
  • Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker
  • Olive-backed Woodpecker
  • Yellow-throated Hanging Parrot
  • Green Broadbill
  • Schneider’s Pitta
  • Javan Banded Pitta
  • Malayan Banded Pitta
  • Graceful Pitta
  • Trilling Shrike Babbler
  • Rufous-tailed Fantail
  • Sumatran Treepie
  • Cream-striped Bulbul
  • Ruby-throated Bulbul
  • Pygmy Cupwing
  • Javan Tesia
  • Pygmy Bushtit
  • Sunda Warbler
  • White-bibbed Babbler
  • Crescent-chested Babbler
  • Fluffy-backed Tit Babbler
  • Rusty-breasted Wren Babbler
  • Marbled Wren Babbler
  • Sumatran Wren Babbler
  • Spotted Crocias
  • Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush
  • Sunda Thrush
  • Sumatran Cochoa
  • Javan Cochoa
  • Sunda Robin
  • Sunda Forktail
  • Shiny Whistlingthrush
  • Javan Whistlingthrush
  • Sumatran Whistlingthrush
  • Blue-masked Leafbird
  • Blood-breasted (Javan) Flowerpecker
  • White-flanked Sunbird
  • Javan Sunbird


Remark : The trip itinerary is very much dependent on the weather conditions and  may make changes accordingly