Birding in Sandless Beach, Ngungap Cliff

Good ambiance of the sandless beach, Indian Ocean, and White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus. Driving two and a half hours (60 km) to Ngungap on the south-east coast of Jogja, here where Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn (German-Dutch botanist and geologist) in 1856 watched the Indian Ocean and captured the landscape of the area onto a painting entitled “Sudkuste bei Rongkop” from this place. the lines of coral cliffs, and solid coral grooves waved beautifully on the right and left sides, standing against the giant waves from the Indian Ocean.

The administration of Ngungap beach is in District Girisubo, Gunung Kidul Regency, Yogyakarta province. Sandless, the line of land abruptly changed onto the blue, deep ocean with its ferocious waves. For local people, the location is known for the presence of caves under the corals with cave mouths directly facing the ocean. Homes to Black-nest Swiftlet Collocalia maximus and Edible-nest Swiftlet Collocalia fuciphagus, traditionally people around the area take swiftlet nests annually, worth millions rupiahs per kg.

The beautiful White-tailed Tropicbird is well worth catching, at least you did not need to hire expensive boats to see this bird and the others seabirds. You just need to stand near the cliff edge and wait for the birds to fly across the sky in front of you. This pelagic bird known to be breeding in the cliff and during the day can be seen flying around across the sea. Most of them come from the lepturus race with pure white breast, but sometimes the fulvous-breasted fulvus race from Christmas Island also appears.

A colony of the Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana is another seabird that uses the cliff for nesting. The birds are often seen catching fish in small flocks. The scenery will entertain your day. Other birds that might able seen around the area are the endemic Javan (Sunda) Coucal Centropus nigrorufusHouse Swift Apus nipalensisPacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica(Indonesian) Spotted Kestrel Falco moluccensisPacific Reef Egret Egretta sacraIsland Collared Dove Streptopelia bitorquataWhiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida and more. If you are lucky Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatusBrown Booby Sula leucogasterGreater Frigatebird Fregata minorLesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel and Christmas-island Frigatebird Fregata andrewsi can also be seen out to sea.

500 meters from the beach area there are several squares of teak plantations and rice paddies. The endemics Javan (Sunda) Coucal, Javan Munia Lonchura leucogastroides and Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker Dicaeum trochileum might able seen here and others birds such as Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensisOlive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularisPlain Prinia Prinia inornataCollared Kingfisher Halcyon chloris and more.

Sometimes, other species of sea animals such as turtles, dolphins, or even Whale sharks, are seen swimming up to the surface of the water, visible enough from the high cliffs. Beautiful birds, Majestic landscape, and various wild animals from the sea and land complete your birding holiday at one place where Junghuhn falls in love with Indonesia’s nature.



The best way for you to get to the location is to rent a car or motorbike because there is no public transportation to take you here. The trails can be a bit confusing so you may consider asking a local for assistance as a guide. Stay in the city center and drive very early in the morning or book a hotel around Wonosari (the capital town of Gunung Kidul Regency, c. 45 km/one hour).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *