West Java and Sumatra 2016

Monday 18th November – Friday 13th December  


In this exciting new ZOOTHERA adventure we visit bird-rich west Java, as well as exploring the mysterious island of Sumatra, collectively part of the endemic-rich region of the Greater Sundas. Our birding begins on Java where we visit two of the most famous locations on this wonderful island, firstly at Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park whose peaks reach over 3000m and which is home to Javan Hawk-eagle, Javan Trogon, Javan Tesia, Javan Whistling-thrush and Javan Fulvetta amongst many other endemics. Then we travel to the remote Gunung Halimun National Park where amidst the largest unbroken tract of pristine rainforest in Java we search for Javan Barred Owlet, Spotted Crocias, Javan Sunbird and White-breasted Babbler. Next we travel by boat across the Sunda Strait to the beautiful lowland rainforest at Way Kambas National Park in the south of Sumatra. Here we will search for many of South-East Asia’s most wanted species such as the endangered White-winged Wood-duck, Storm’s Stork and Wrinkled Hornbill amongst a dazzling selection of kingfishers, trogons, broadbills, flycatchers and babblers.  Then we make our way via a short internal flight to the relatively wild and unexplored slopes of Gunung Kerinci National Park, where we spend most of our time over 1600m in superb montane forest. The range in altitude and habitats here attracts such mouth-watering and near mythical species such as the little-known Schneider’s Pitta and rare Sumatran Cochoa. We will spend our final days along the Tapan Road, which transects great low elevation forest and is one of the best sites on the island for a number of Sumatran endemics and Sundaic specialities. With smoldering volcanoes and tall mountains flanked by pristine moss-encrusted forests, lowland rainforest, lakes, wetlands and secret rivers hiding some incredible birds this is undoubtedly a trip of a lifetime!



  • Javan Hawk-eagle
  • Javan Trogon
  • Javan Tesia      
  • Javan Whistling-thrush     
  • Javan Barred Owlet
  • Javan Banded Pitta
  • Spotted Crocias
  • Javan Sunbird
  • Javan Cochoa
  • Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush    
  • Pygmy Tit
  • Black-winged Myna
  • Storm's Stork
  • Dusky Woodcock 
  • Salvadori's Pheasant
  • Large Frogmouth
  • Cinnamon-headed Green-pigeon
  • Schneider's Pitta
  • Graceful Pitta
  • Sumatran Trogon
  • Sumatran Cochoa
  • Sumatran Wren-babbler
  • Sumatran Treepie
  • Sumatran Leafbird


DAYS 1- 2   UK – JAKARTA - 18th to 19th November
Following an overnight flight to Jakarta on the island of Java we will transfer to a nearby hotel for the night.

This morning we will set out on the drive to the forest-clad mountain slopes of Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park for a 3 night stay and will hopefully arrive in time to spend the late afternoon finding our first endemics.

What a place to wake up to and explore, with almost all of Java’s endemic birds to be found here we are sure of a great start to the tour. We will concentrate on the lower to middle sections starting at around 1300m where we will explore the area from a good trail that transects the mountain through the forest. We will be on the look out for endemics such as Chestnut-bellied Partridge, Javan Hawk-Eagle, Javan Trogon, Javan Kingfisher, Flame-fronted and Brown-throated Barbets, Javan Whistling-thrush, Rufous-tailed Fantail, Sunda Blue Robin, Crescent-chested and White-bibbed Babblers, Pied Shrike- Babbler (a recent split from White-browed), Javan Fulvetta, Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush, Pygmy Tit, Javan Grey-throated White-eye, Javan Tesia and White-flanked Sunbird. Other species we can encounter here include Sunda Cuckoo (a recent split from Oriental), Orange- backed Woodpecker, Lesser and Sunda Cuckooshrikes, Sunda Forktail, Indigo Flycatcher, Sunda Thrush, Orange-spotted and Sunda Bulbuls, Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike,  Chestnut-fronted Shrike-Babbler, Horsfield’s Babbler, Olive-backed Tailorbird, Sunda Warbler, Mountain Leaf-warbler, Blood- breasted Flowerpecker, Streaky-breasted Spiderhunter (split from Grey-breasted) and Tawny-breasted Parrotfinch. Night birding could reveal Javan Frogmouth, Javan and Sunda Scops-owls (split from Collared), Javan Barred Owlet and Salvadori’s Nightjar. 

After a last chance to find any species we may still need this morning we will drive to Halimun National Park, which protects the largest area of rainforest in Java. Neatly situated inside the forest, is a comfortable research station with accommodation for visitors, accessed by a rough unsurfaced road transecting excellent lowland rainforest. 3 nights at Cikaniki Research Station. 

This beautiful national park provides a wide altitudinal range from 600m to 1927m and by utilizing a good network of trails through stunningly pristine primary forest we can find some very special birds. In particular along the Loop Trail we will look for Dark-backed Imperial-pigeon, Sumatran Green-pigeon, Spotted Whistling-thrush, Javan Trogon and we can always hope for Javan Cochoa! If we didn’t see Javan Hawk-eagle at Gunung Gede-Pangrango we will make a special effort to find one here. Amongst the numerous mixed-species feeding flocks new endemic species to watch out for include White-breasted Babbler, White-bellied Fantail, Javan Sunbird, Sunda Minivet and Spotted Crocias. A good selection of more wide ranging birds can be found here such as Brown-backed Needletail, Rufous Piculet, Checker-throated Woodpecker, Malaysian Cuckooshrike, Grey- cheeked Bulbul, Yellow-bellied Warbler and Streaky-breasted Spiderhunter. 

We can have the first few hours of daylight to continue our exploration before driving back to Jakarta and our comfortable hotel where there should be some time to rest and relax later this afternoon! Then another early start will see us driving to Pamanukan for the endemic Javan White-eye and White-capped Munia, as well as having a good chance of Javan Plover. Nights in Jakarta. 

We can spend the morning at Maura Angke where we will look for Black-winged Starling and Sunda Coucal before continuing to Carita for a 2 night stay. This lowland area consists of pools and marshes surrounded by scrub and mangroves where we should pick up a lot of common species including the regular herons and egrets, Sunda Teal, Black-backed Swamphen, Ruddy-breasted and White-browed Crakes, Pink-necked Green Pigeon, Cave Swiftlet, Collared Kingfisher, Racket-tailed Treepie, Bar-winged Prinia, Plain-throated Sunbird and Javan Munia. We will also visit Curug Gendang in search of the stunning Javan Banded Pitta, whilst other specialities present here include Black-banded Barbet, Grey-cheeked Tit-babbler and White-breasted Babbler amongst others. Nights at Carita. 

This morning we will drive to Pulua Dua and then travel across the Sunda Strait on an exciting three hour boat crossing to Way Kambas in Sumatra, where we will head to our base for the next three nights, the Research Station at Way Kanan. Arriving in the afternoon we should have plenty of time to begin our exploration of this wonderful area. 

Way Kambas National Park protects 130,000 hectares of superb lowland rainforest, rivers and swamps, with lowland dipterocarp forest predominating. From the conveniently situated research station at Way Kanan we have easy access to the trails in search of a stunning variety and selection of some of South-East Asia’s most wanted species. However, we may initially spend time exploring the swamps and open forest along the Way Kanan river, travelling upstream in small dug-out canoes to Rawa Gajah (Elephant Swamp) and to Alang Alang for White-winged Duck. Our main goal here is the endangered and elusive White-winged Duck, which still survives here in reasonable numbers. Further exploration downstream to Pertama Swamp and Kali Biru Pos will open up possibilities to see Lesser Adjutant, Storm’s Stork, Lesser and Grey-headed Fish Eagles, Silver- rumped Swift, Blue-eared
Kingfisher, Cinnamon-headed Green-pigeon, Black-and-red Broadbill, Malaysian Blue Flycatcher and White-chested Babbler. However, we will spend most of our time along the trails in the search of a whole suite of great birds that includes Crested Fireback,
Crested Partridge, Jerdon’s Baza, Black-thighed Falconet, Little Green-pigeon, Blue-rumped Parrot, Blue-crowned Hanging-parrot, Wrinkled and Black Hornbills, Rufous-backed Dwarf Kingfisher, Red-crowned, Blue-eared and Brown Barbets, Rufous Piculet, Sunda, White-bellied, Crimson-winged, Checker-throated, Grey-and-buff, Maroon and Buff-necked Woodpeckers, Rusty-breasted, Plaintive and Violet Cuckoos, Raffles’s, Chestnut-breasted, Chestnut-bellied, Red-billed and Black-bellied Malkohas, Diard’s, Red-naped and Scarlet-rumped Trogons, Whiskered Treeswift, Green, Dusky, Banded and Black-and-yellow Broadbills, Fiery Minivet, Cream-vented, Hairy-backed, Yellow-bellied, Olive-winged, Red-eyed and Buff-vented Bulbuls, Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Greater and Lesser Green Leafbirds, Grey-chested and Rufous-winged Flycatchers, White- crowned Forktail, Dark-throated Oriole, White-breasted Woodswallow, Malaysian Rail-Babbler, Fluffy-backed Tit-babbler, Short-tailed, Chestnut-winged, Chestnut-rumped, Black-capped, Sooty-capped, Ferruginous, Scaly-crowned, Rufous-crowned, Moustached and Black-throated Babblers, Chestnut-backed Scimitar-babbler, Rufous-tailed Tailorbird, Rufous-tailed Shama, Black Magpie, Yellow-breasted and Crimson-breasted Flowerpeckers and White-bellied Munia. Way Kambas has a reputation for providing the ultimate night birding experience and is undoubtedly an excellent locality for nocturnal species. It has proved to be the place to see Large Frogmouth and the near-endemic Bonaparte’s Nightjar in recent years. Other interesting possibilities include Gould’s and Sunda Frogmouths, Reddish Scops-owl, Oriental Bay-owl and Malaysian Eared-Nightjar. 

Today we will fly to Padang on the west coast of Central Sumatra via Jakarta and again (hopefully) have a little time to relax in our pleasant surroundings for a little time this afternoon. 

We will set out early on the long drive to Gunung Kerinci National Park, where will stay at a pleasant homestay in a small village at the foot of Gunung Kerinci for 4 nights. 

The wonderfully remote Kerinci-Seblat is Indonesia’s second largest national park located at 1600m in southwest Sumatra. The summit is 3805m and the wide altitudinal range has created an excellent diversity of lowland to alpine habitats with lakes, wetlands, montane hill forest and alpine woodland. We will concentrate our efforts in the beautiful montane forest along a narrow trail that leads to the summit
of the volcano. High amongst many prizes are the endemic Red-billed Partridge, Bronze-tailed Peacock-pheasant, Salvadori’s Pheasant, hopefully Schneider’s Pitta, the endemic Rusty-breasted and Sumatran Wren-Babblers (the latter split from Long-billed), and the incredibly rare Sumatran Cochoa. Quietly walking the trails will give us chances of some more ‘gettable’ specialties and endemics such as Shiny Whistling-thrush, the harder Sumatran Whistling-thrush, yet more Sundaic endemics including Sumatran Trogon, Orange-spotted Bulbul, Lesser Forktail, Sunda Blue Robin and Indigo Flycatcher, Sunda Cuckooshrike, Sunda Minivet, Black-capped White-eye, Sunda Warbler, Sunda Laughingthrush, Sumatran Treepie and if we are really lucky the elusive Giant Swiftlet. Other species include Barred Cuckoo-dove, Wedge-tailed Green-pigeon, Mountain Imperial-pigeon, Fire-tufted Barbet, Greater Yellownape, Long-tailed Broadbill, Blue Nuthatch, Lesser and White-browed Shortwings, Rufous-vented Niltava, Mountain White-eye, Mountain Leaf-warbler, Grey-throated and Golden Babblers, Pygmy and Eye-browed Wren-babblers, Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush and Long-tailed Sibia. Once again night birding is a feature here with Barred Eagle-owl, Rajah’s Scops-owl, Sumatran Owlet (split from Collared), Salvadori’s Nightjar and Sumatran Frogmouth all possible. This is such a wild and remote region and is still home to a small population of the endangered Sumatran Rhinoceros and Sumatran Tiger but the chances of seeing one are very small. 

After some final birding we will drive to Sungai Penuh for a 2 night stay. 

We will spend our day birding along the Tapan Road between Sungai Penuh and Muara Sako, which gives us better chances of finding those Sumatran endemics and other specialities which inhabit the low elevation forest. In particular we will target species such as Bronze-tailed Peacock Pheasant, Graceful Pitta, Blue-masked and Sumatran Leafbirds, Cream-striped, Sumatran and Spot-necked Bulbuls and Sumatran Drongo. There are also numerous other goodies and spectacular Sundaic species present here such as Blyth’s Hawk-Eagle, Rufous-bellied Eagle, Little Cuckoo-Dove, Sumatran Green Pigeon if we are very lucky, White-crowned, Bushy-crested, Helmeted, Wreathed and Rhinoceros Hornbills, Banded Kingfisher, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Gold-whiskered and Black-browed Barbets, White-tailed, Rufous-chested and Rufous-browed Flycatchers, Black-and-crimson Oriole, Ruby-throated Bulbul, Cinereous (split
from Ashy) and Streaked Bulbuls, Brown Fulvetta, Hill and Bar-winged Prinias, Black Laughingthrush, Spot-necked Babbler, Marbled Wren-babbler, Temminck’s Sunbird, Spectacled Spiderhunter and Crested Jay. 

Our last morning’s birding to catch up with any species we may still need, before departing for Bengkulu in West Sumatra for an overnight stay. 

DAYS 25 - 26   BANGKULU – JAKARTA – UK  -  12th – 13th December
This morning we will transfer to the local airport and fly back to Jakarta in plenty of time to connect with our evening flight back to the UK and conclusion of wonderful tour.


Leaders: Nick Bray and local guide.

Ground Price: £3450.00 – Jakarta/Jakarta

Airfare: £810 (approx) - UK/UK

Zoothera Tour Prices Explained 


Single supplement: £325

Deposit: £400.00

Group size: Minimum for tour to go ahead 4 and maximum 8

Included in cost:
Accommodation in twin rooms en-suite (mostly), all meals including picnic lunches where necessary, all entrance fees to National Parks, bottled water, transport throughout in air-conditioned vehicles, and services of leaders.

Not included: International airfare, insurance, departure tax, drinks, tips and items of a personal nature.

Accommodation: All hotels and lodges vary in quality from good to basic, but all are within easy reach of the areas we wish to bird, eliminating long travelling days. In the main cities we will stay in very good hotels, at Gunung Gede Pangrango we stay at a hotel or villa, Halimun & Way Kambas we stay at Park HQ/Research Station with shared facilities. At Kerinci we will be at a homestay and Sungai Penuh at basic hotel.

Tour Code: This is definitely a tour for the more adventurous birder, prepared to stay at basic accommodation and do the right things to see the toughest birds. And be prepared to put up with leeches!  Walking is not too difficult but at Gunung Kerinci it can be fairly strenuous and muddy. We will generally take picnic lunches unless close to our lodge/hotel where we will take a restaurant lunch. The weather is generally warm to hot and can be unsettled at this time of year, so expect some cooler weather in the mountains and with chances of rain, especially in the afternoons. 


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