Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher & Other Birds from Pekalongan, Central Java

Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher (Alcedo euryzona) is one of the endemic kingfishers in Java island. Described by Temminck in 1830 from the island. On IUCN-redlist, this species is listed as Critically Endangered (CR) with the remaining population assumed to be fewer than 250 mature individuals.

There are only a few new records since 1930 of Halimun Salak NP, West Java. Then, in 2018 we heard news from our friend that he found the bird in Pekalongan, Central Java. It became an eastern record for the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher on the island of Java.

Finally we have a chance to go there, invited by Wawan from SwaraOwa. We were invited to share our knowledge about avitourism to the local communities and villagers around the site.

SwaraOwa has since 2007 conducted research on primates especially Javan Gibbon at this location, as well as mentoring local communities to reduce pressure on forests by providing a sustainable green economy.

A Sundaa Forktail perched on the rock

So, 5th July 2019 we arrived at the location at night from Jogja. We stayed in one of the villages.

The next day, I went to the river just about 500 meters from the house I stayed with Imam to look for this kingfisher.

Until noon we did not see it, then we went back to the house for a break and then attended a discussion section with locals.

We have full day birding on the rest day spent in the location (07-11 July 2019, off on 09 July 2019).

Adin joined on 07 July 2019, we focused on looking at the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher. Waiting in the river, hiding with just big rock that is so plenty in there. Finally, at around 11.00 am the male birds flush from upstream then perch on the rock 100 meters away from our hiding. It stayed just about 2 minutes before it flew downstream.

We followed it to the downstream 1 Km away from the first spot. Spent the time until it was almost dark, so we ended the day by going back to the house. At least we have lifers of this species, especially me.

Then on 08th July 2019 we tried birding in another location where highland birds for the target.

The location is part of the stretch of the Dieng mountains. This is the remaining montane forest among vegetable fields.

During morning to noon we encountered many highland endemic and resident birds, one of the highlights is Brown-throated Barbet. Limbo!!!

An adult Brown-throated Barbet foraged on fruiting tree

It was a lucky day, the barbet foraged in fruiting tree that was just about 10 meters above the ground.

At 11.00 pm we walked out of the forest, upon arriving at the boundary of the forest and vegetable fields we heard the sound of Javan Bush-warbler around 4 sources of sound.

We stopped and tried to find the species, from behind the bush we managed to see it.

The skluker, Javan Bush Warbler

After lunch, we did not birding because of the rain fall until dark.

Then on 10-11 July I went birding on my own to get a good encounter with the Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher.

I tried several places that are usually used for by this endemic kingfisher.

Until the last day in the afternoon, when I came down almost to the river, I saw a kingfisher who was perched on a rock on the river bank.

I used Binocular to confirm, it turns out that it is true that the one perched on the rock is a Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher.

Immediately I approached to get a clear vision. With a distance of about 50 meters from this bird, it is clear that the bird is a female. Seen from browner upperparts, rufous loral spot and neck patch, rufous belly, orange-red lower mandible.

Front view of female Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher

Finally, I also got a good vision of this bird for about 10 minutes before it flew leaving the area towards the upstream.

This is an amazing experience, encountering one of the kingfishers that is very rarely observed.

So, during 4 days birding in Pekalongan, Central Java here’s a list of birds that I met:

  • Javan Blue-banded Kingfisher / Alcedo euryzona
  • Banded Kingfisher / Lacedo pulchella
  • Ruddy Cuckoo-dove / Macropygia emiliana
  • Common Emerald Dove / Chalcophaps indica
  • Cave Swiftlet / Collocalia linchi
  • Yellow-eared Barbet / Psilopogon australis
  • Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike / Hemipus hirundinaceus
  • Sooty-headed Bulbul / Pycnonotus aurigaster
  • Sunda Forktail – Enicurus velatus
  • White-crowned Forktail / Enicurus leschenaulti
  • Horsfield’s Babbler / Malacocinla sepiarium
  • Pygmy Bushtit / Psaltria exilis
  • Orange-bellied Flowerpecker / Dicaeum trigonostigm
  • Javan Sunbird / Aethopyga mystacalis
  • Flame-fronted Barbet / Psilopogon armilaris
  • Long-tailed Shrike / Lanius schach
  • Creted Serpent Eagle / Spilornis cheela
  • Black Eagle / Ictinaetus malayensis
  • Spotted Kestrel / Falco moluccensis
  • Chestnut-bellied Partridge / Arborophila javanica
  • Spotted Dove / Streptopelia chinensis
  • Dark-backed Imperial Pigeon / Ducula lacernulata
  • Lesser Coucal / Centropus bengalensis
  • Chestnut-breasted Malkoha / Rhamphococcyx curvirostris
  • Rusty-breasted Cuckoo / Cacomantis sepulcralis
  • Sunda Cuckoo / Cuculus lepidus
  • Javan Trogon / Apalharpactes reinwardtii
  • Wreathed Hornbill / Rhyticeros undulatus
  • Brown-throated Barbet / Psilopogon corvina
  • Javan Banded Broadbill / Eurylaimus javanicus
  • Lesser Shortwing / Brachypteryx leucophrys
  • Javan Whistling Thrush / Myophonus glaucinus
  • Blue Whistling Thrush / Myophonus caeruleus
  • Crescent-chested Babbler / Stachyris melanothorax
  • Javan Fulvetta / Alcippe pyrrhoptera
  • Eyebrowed Wren-babbler / Napotera epilepidota
  • Pygmy Wren-babbler / Pnoepyga pusilla
  • Pied Shrike-babbler / Pteruthius flaviscapis
  • Trilling Shrike-babbler / Pteruthius aenobarbus
  • Mountain Tailorbird / Orthotomus cuculatus
  • Sunda Bush Warbler / Cettia vulcania
  • Javan Tesia / Tesia superciliaris
  • Sunda Warbler / Seicercus grammiceps
  • Javan Bush Warbler / Bradypterus montis
  • Striated Grassbird / Megalurus palustris
  • Little Pied FLycatcher / Ficedula westermanni
  • Rufous-tailed Fantail / Rhipidura phoenicura
  • Cinereous Tit / Parus major
  • Blue Nuthatch / Sitta azurea
  • Ashy Drongo / Dicrurus leucophaeus

Other Taxa (Primate)​:

  • Javan / Silvery Gibbon / Hylobates moloch
  • Ebony-leaf Monkey / Trachypithecus auratus
  • Javan Surili / Presbytis comata fredericae
  • Long-tailed Macaque / Macaca fascicularis


4 Days Birding Trips in Bromo Tengger Semeru NP and around Malang, East Java

We had 4 Days birding trips for a couple clients from France to see Raptors in Malang, East Java.

Starting on 29 June until 02 July 2019, we birded in 4 locations around Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park and Raden Suryo Greater Park Forestry.

On the first day we met up in the airport hotel in Juanda International Airport, Surabaya, East Java at 07:00 am. Then we drove to a hotel in Malang near the national park. Arrived at around 11:00 am in the hotel, checked in and dropped our luggage and kept our birding stuff.

Then we drove for a half hour to the first location in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park.

The weather was so good in the locations where raptors are usually recorded, but that day is Sunday in one of the popular national parks in Indonesia where so many visitors came to holiday.

We tried to walk and avoid the crowd while keeping our eyes on the sky, searching for any raptors which may fly.

Until afternoon we just managed to see one species of raptor, Changable Hawk-eagle.

Then we went back to the hotel overnight.

On the second day, after we packed our breakfast we started to move to a second location in the same national park.

It takes 3 hours to drive to reach it.

The altitude of the second locations is lower than before, it’s about 100-200 asl surrounded by lowland forest and plantation.

A pair of perched Black-thighed Falconet

We spent the time here until afternoon and the result was much better.

Oriental Honey-buzzard, Black-thighed Falconet, and the endemic Javan Hawk-eagle recorded so well.

Before dark we went back to the same hotel to stay.

A flight adult Oriental Honey-buzzard

On the third day, after breakfast and check out from the hotel, we tried again in the same location as the first day.

We’re back in around 1400 above sea level at the ridge surrounded by the vast rainforest of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. We spent from 07:00 – 11:30 am, the weather was bright and good for raptor.

After waiting for about 2,5 hours, a raptor was soaring on top of the hill quite far from us. An adult Javan Hawk-eagle encountered again.

Not long after, a Black Eagle floated just above us with a distance of about 10 meters.

An adult Javan Hawk-eagle soaring above the forest

After saw the Black Eage then we changed birding location to Raden Suryo Greater Park Forestry, Batu, East Java.

Arrived at 02:30 pm then hung out around twin bridges, a good place to spot Raptor from any direction surrounded by good rain forest.

This location is on the west slope of Mt. Welirang at around 1.200 asl.

A flight Black Eagle

Until almost dark we’re just managed to see Changable Hawk-eagle in this last location.

Then we drove to a hotel around Batu city, East Java.

On the last day we changed the plan to not birding or looking like raptor but just drop off the clients to the airport in Surabaya.

So, during 29 June – 02 July 2019 raptor that we managed to see are:

  • Oriental Honey-buzzard
  • Changable Hawk-eagle
  • Black-thighed Falconet
  • Black Eagle
  • Javan Hawk-eagle.