Trip Report 4 Days Birding tours in Jogja and Banyuwangi

During 24, 30, 31 December 2022 and 01 January 2023 we have clients from Vietnam who want to birding in Jogja and Banyuwangi.

Yogyakarta or Jogja

Our first birding tour was in Yogyakarta or simply called Jogja.

We went to Gunung Merapi National Park to kick off the tour. Due to the activity of Merapi volcano we visited

Turgo hills, one of the prime birding locations around the national park that is still in the safe zone.

Start at around 6.00 AM in the parking area. The weather was shower rain and cloudy but we encountered some brilliant birds such as: Blood-breasted Flowerpecker, Freckle-breasted Woodpecker, Olive-backed Tailorbird, Scarlet Minivet, Yellow-breasted Hanging Parrot fly over us, including two rare birds are Sangkar White-eye and Javan Leafbird.

Then we moved to the lower section of the hills, where we could see lava lane and Merapi volcano. Even though the weather is cloudy, the views of the volcano are so clear. Our clients enjoyed it!

Here we found Sooty-headed Bulbul, Crested Serpent-eagle, Ashy Drongo, Orange-spotted Bulbul and spectacular views of an endemic Black-banded Barbet.

Our plan was just birding around the lower section. We attempted to hike some but the birding was slow and quiet. After discussion we decided to move to the next location.

We arrived in Jatimulyo village at around 11.00 AM, and soon we transferred to the hide/blind of Oriental-dwarf Kingfisher. The kingfisher came in just a few minutes and in very close distance. After enjoying the kingfisher we had our lunch in Kopi Sulingan.

Our lunch is Javanese traditional food called “Nasi Tumpeng”, the clients are so happy with that. Following the lunch we serve local bird-friendly coffee from the village. Enjoyed our coffee while Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Little Spiderhunter, Olive-backed/Ornate Sunbird, and the brilliant endemic Javan Sunbird came to the garden.

After that we continued afternoon birding around the village. We went to another bird-hide. Same as the previous hide, we did not wait longer to see Horsfield’s Babbler, Rufous-browed Babbler and the critically endangered endemic Javan Blue-flycatcher.

We were lucky with the afternoon weather, continued our walk around the village and packed several birds into our list including: Oriental Honey-buzzard, Black-naped Monarch, Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker, Ruby-throated Bulbul.


We had 3 days in Banyuwangi, East Java on 30, 31 December 2022 and 01 January 2023.

On the first day our client planned to hike Ijen crater to see Blue Fire and the views up the volcano. We started in the morning at 01.40 AM and shortly we arrived at the blue fire spot at 04.50 AM.

Enjoy the views then we start climbing down the volcano while birding. We packed several special birds such as Sunda Grasshopper Warbler, Aberrant Bush Warbler, Orange-spotted Bulbul, Javan Grey-throated White-eye, Mountain White-eye, Olive-backed Tailorbird, Mugimaki Flycatcher, and Crescent-chested Babbler.

We moved to a grassland area and added Striated Grassbird into our list. At lunch time we got an open view of Javan Kingfisher.

After lunch, we transferred our clients to the hotel for rest.

On the second day, we visited Alas Purwo National Park at the southern-east of the island. Start birding at 06.00 AM while enjoying morning coffee. We just saw a Yellow-throated Hanging-parrot fly over us. Soon we moved to Sadengan grassland. Around the parking area we saw Green Peafowl, Slender-billed Crow, Red-billed Malkoha.

There are plenty of Banteng (Bos javanicus) grazing in the grassland and several birds such as Lesser Adjutant, Asian Woollyneck, Javan Myna, Collared Kingfisher and Cattle Egret.

Then we walked to a birding track. Lots of fallen tree branches and twigs, possibly there was a storm the previous day. Birding was slow, added Ruby-throated Bulbul, Mangrove Whistler and Great Slaty Woodpecker to the list.

Move to Pancur beach for lunch in a food stall. We got Green Imperial Pigeon and clear views of Wreathed Hornbill foraging in palm trees near the stall. We took about 45 minutes to enjoy and photograph the hornbill.

We went back to the grassland then it rained. After the rains stop we want to try to get better views and some photographs of the woodpecker in the birding trek. We stopped for a while when Javan Broadbill responded to our playback.

We failed to photograph the woodpecker but at least one of our clients saw it clearly. Continue our drive to the hotel for rest.

Our last day in Banyuwangi was so challenging. Birding in Baluran National Park when so many tourists came to celebrate a new year in grassland like savannah Bekol and Bama beach.

Luckily, our guide had some birding locations where other tourists did not enter the area.

We spent the morning started at 05.30 AM and packed several birds to the list such as: Javan Cuckooshrike, Green Junglefowl, Short-tailed Starling, Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker, Ruddy Cuckoo-dove, Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, Collared Kingfisher, Red-breasted Parakeet, Black-naped Monarch, Long-tailed Shrike before the crowds come.

Then we had an early lunch in a food stall near the Bama beach.

After lunch we did not enter the birding trek due the crowds. Decided to take a nap in the ranger office and wait for the afternoon section.

There is a small swamp outside the national park around paddy fields and fish ponds. We went there for our last afternoon birding.

Our target was Cerulean Kingfisher, but after trying to find one we failed to get one. From here we listed Javan Pond-heron, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Scaly-breasted Munia, and Common Moorhen on the nest.

When we drove back to the hotel in Banyuwangi, we stopped for a while to photograph the Rock Pigeon race in the paddy fields.

Transferred our clients to their hotel in Banyuwangi and the birding tours ended.

During the 4 days birding tours in Jogja and Banyuwangi we collected 84 birds including other wildlife, here is the list in below:

  • Green Peafowl
  • Green Junglefowl
  • Rock Dove
  • Eastern Spotted Dove
  • Ruddy Cuckoo-dove
  • Zebra Dove
  • Green Imperial-pigeon
  • Grey-rumped Treeswift
  • Cave Swiftlet
  • Red-billed Malkoha
  • Common Moorhen
  • Lesser Adjutant
  • Asian Woollyneck
  • Javan Pond-heron
  • Cattle Egret
  • Purple Heron
  • Oriental Honey-buzzard
  • Crested Serpent-eagle
  • Oriental Pied Hornbill
  • Wreathed Hornbill
  • Chestnut-headed Bee-eater
  • Oriental Dwarf-kingfisher
  • Javan Kingfisher
  • Collared Kingfisher
  • Black-banded Barbet
  • Great Slaty Woodpecker
  • Freckle-breasted Woodpecker
  • Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker
  • Yellow-throated Hanging-parrot
  • Red-breasted Parakeet
  • Javan Broadbill
  • Mangrove Whistler
  • Small Minivet
  • Scarlet Minivet
  • Javan Cuckooshrike
  • Pied Triller
  • White-breasted Woodswallow
  • Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike
  • Common Iora
  • Sunda Pied Fantail
  • Black Drongo
  • Ashy Drongo
  • Black-naped Monarch
  • Long-tailed Shrike
  • Slender-billed Crow
  • Cinereous Tit
  • Zitting Cisticola
  • Yellow-bellied Prinia
  • Common Tailorbird
  • Olive-backed Tailorbird
  • Sunda Grasshopper-warbler
  • Striated Grassbird
  • Red-rumped Swallow
  • Pacific Swallow
  • Barn Swallow
  • Ruby-throated Bulbul
  • Sooty-headed Bulbul
  • Orange-spotted Bulbul
  • Yellow-vented Bulbul
  • Cream-vented Bulbul
  • Arctic Warbler
  • Aberrant Bush-warbler
  • Javan Grey-throated White-eye
  • Mountain White-eye
  • Sangkar White-eye
  • Crescent-chested Babbler
  • Rufous-browed Babbler
  • Horsfield’s Babbler
  • Javan Myna
  • Short-tailed Starling
  • Asian Brown Flycatcher
  • Mugimaki Flycatcher
  • Javan / Hill Blue-flycatcher
  • Javan Leafbird
  • Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker
  • Blood-breasted Flowerpecker
  • Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
  • Little Spiderhunter
  • Brown-throated Sunbird
  • Olive-backed Sunbird
  • Javan Sunbird
  • Javan Munia
  • Scaly-breasted Munia
  • Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Other wildlife:

  • Banteng
  • Timor Deer
  • Long-tailed Macaque
  • Javan Leaf Monkey

2 Days Birding Tours in Jogja

Managed to arrange two days birding tours for Sarah Hammarlund from the United States of America during her trips in Yogyakarta (or simply Jogja). This birding tour was run by our local partner birdtour operator, named Loontour Jogja and led by Imam Taufiqqurrahman. Indonesia, especially Jogja, is new for our clients, so almost all the birds she has seen become her lifers. The fruitful trip listed 50 bird species!

At gate Telogo Nirmolo, Gunung Merapi National Park, Jogja

On the first day February 26th 2018, we visited Gunung Merapi National Park. While waiting for the gate to open, scanning birds around Plunyon, Kaliurang until 8.00 am. Then move to Plawangan hill via Telogo Nirmolo. At 12.00 am I managed to see 22 bird species. Next, drive for 45 minutes to Jogja city at Melia Purosani hotel in search of Java Sparrow.

Scanning around pines tree at west part of the hotel, quickly pairs of the birds catch by our scopes as close the day.

The trip continued on March 2nd 2018, the first stop was Jatimulyo village as part of Menoreh Mountains (an hour drive west of Jogja city). Searching lowland birds around this agroforest ecosystem. At noon we drive for an hour to Trisik beach and Kali Progo estuary for shorebirds. Visited three habitats such as paddy field, beach and estuary.

Fun! 30 birds on the second day. She was very excited with things beyond, such as the village situation, knowing the plantations that become popular products: coffee, chocolate, sugar palm. Even requested to see the ‘shy princess’ plant 😀

Imam and Sarah scanning shorebirds at Kali Progo estuary, Jogja

Finished the trip at afternoon with some highlights:

– 2 individuals of White-flanked Sunbird at Telogo Nirmolo, Gunung Merapi NP as her favorite

Javan Whistling Thrush at Telogo Nirmolo, Gunung Merapi NP

– Small flock of Javan Fulvetta at Telogo Nirmolo, Gunung Merapi NP

– 5 individuals of Pink-headed Fruitdove at Telogo Nirmolo, Gunung Merapi NP

– 5 individuals of Java Sparrow at Melia Purosani hotel

Ruby-throated Bulbul at Jatimulyo village

Streaky-breasted (Javan) Spiderhunter at Jatimulyo village

– 4 individuals of Cerulean Kingfisher at Kali Progo esturary

Javan Plover at Kali Progo estuary

Other notable birds included:

Slender-billed Crow, Javan Myna, Asian Glossy Starling, Striated Grassbird, Red-breasted Parakeet, Long-tailed Shrike, Ashy Drongo, Oriental White-eye, Ashy Tailorbird, Chestnut-backed Scimitar-babbler, Sunda Bulbul, Barred Cuckoo-dove, Spotted Dove, Crested Honey Buzzard, Yellow-vented Bulbul, Black-capped Babbler, Crested Goshawk, Cave Swiftlet, Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker, Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Common Iora, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Hordfield’s Babbler, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Brown-throated Sunbird, Little Spiderhunter, Javan Munia, Peregrine Falcon, Little Egret, Eastern Cattle Egret, Javan Pond Heron, Yellow Bittern, Barred Buttonquail, Pacific Golden Plover, Common Sandpiper, Greater Crested Tern, Barn Swallow, Zitting Cisticola, Plain Prinia, Olive-backed Sunbird.

Thousands of Eastern Cattle Egrets on Ketingan

Have you ever observed thousands of Eastern Cattle Egrets Bubulcus comorandus in a nest tree? If not, Ketingan can be the right choice of location. Located about 12 km to the Southwest from the center of Jogja. Administratively in the area of Tlogoadi village, Mlati sub-district, Sleman regency, special region of Yogyakarta. There you can witness the behavior of Eastern Cattle Egret in the nest trees in the garden of villagers.

Since the inauguration of the village monument by Sultan Hamengkubuwono X in 1997, thousands of birds have come and used the trees around Ketingan as a nesting place. Initially, the residents tried to expel the Eastern Cattle Egrets because they were worried about the decline of garden products, health problems caused by the amount of dirt around the gardens and houses. Since 2000, Ketingan was inaugurated as a tourist village by the Sultan.

Eventually, however, the villagers realized that they began to share space and stop the evictions and instead started building village regulations and put up signs of stop shooting and hunting birds, especially Eastern Cattle Egrets around the village. In Indonesia this species and its family became protected animals based on UU No. 5/1990 and PP No. 7/1999.

Eastern Cattle Egret or Cattle Egret have a size body about 50 cm. In the non-breeding period: white body plumage, except orange stroke on the forehead or lores of some birds. Yellow iris, yellow bill, and black legs.

During the breeding period: head, neck and breast coloured faded orange. Iris, legs and breast coloured bright red. Can be distinguished from other herons because the body is more robust, the neck is shorter, the head is more round, and the beak is shorter and thicker.

With thousands of Eastern Cattle Egret birds in Ketingan, people, especially domestic and foreign tourists, are interested in coming to observe their behavior in nest trees. In certain months such as in early September this bird will leave the nest, but will return during the breeding season, arriving around mid-October to nurture and go away when the chicks are grown.

Other Attraction on Ketingan

It is a blessing for residents by renting out rooms or home-stays for tourists. The average price of home-stays in Ketingan is Rp. 75.000, – per night (3X meals).

For birdwatchers or bird-photographers, it is very easy and close to observe it with up to 7000 individuals. Simply by going down the village alleys and looking for a fairly short nest tree about 6-8 meters you will get a good view or photo.

Beside that, tourists can follow and enjoy the traditional ceremonies. Try to live a few days before harvest time and participate in Wiwitan (thanksgiving before harvest time) or come before planting time and follow the tradition of Angler (salvation before rice planting). After the peak season of harvest time, the residents will be celebrating with Merti Bumi which is always held in September. At the event, various performances of art and culture such as wayang performances, carnival and kenduri as a form of gratitude to the Creator of the abundant produce can be witnessed.

How to get to Ketingan Village via public transport:

Map direction of Ketingan. source: google map

– From Adisucipto International Airport heading to Ketingan village: go exit to the Trans Jogja Bus Shelter, take a bus going to Jombor Bus Station. Then take a “Angkot” going to Mlati, get off at Pasar Cebongan and call for ojek to the location.

– From Giwangan Bus Station heading to Ketingan village: take a bus going to Tempel, get off at Jombor Bus Station. Then take a “Angkot ” going to Mlati get off at Pasar Cebongan and call for ojek to the location.

– From Jombor Bus Station heading to Ketingan village: take a “Angkot” going to Mlati, get off at Pasar Cebongan and call for ojek to the location. – From Lempuyangan heading to Ketingan village: go to Trans Jogja Bus Shelter and take a bus going to Jombor Bus Station. Then take a “Angkot” going to Mlati, get off at Pasar Cebongan and call for ojek to the location.

– From Tugu station heading to Ketingan village: go to Trans Jogja Bus Shelter and take a bus going to Jombor Bus Station. Then take a “Angkot” going to Mlati, get off at Pasar Cebongan and call for ojek to the location.If you go Ketingan using car or motorbike try to follow this point using google map.

Camping and Birding in Ngungap Cliff

On 7 January 2017 my friends and I visited Ngongap cliff for camping and birding. Ngongap cliff is located in District Girisubo, Gunung Kidul regency, Yogyakarta province. Gunung Kidul landscape is hilly, known as the “Gunung Sewu” (Thousand Mountains), as well as the beautiful southern coastal region. Ngungap cliff is not a sandy beach, but a cliff of rock long, directly adjacent to the deep blue sea and the waves were malignant. Around the Ngungap cliff, green hills covered with natural vegetation and teak. Steep cliffs, blue sea and the cool breeze make this wonderful place to fill a vacation while birding.

Because there is no public transportation to the site, we use a motorbike to get there. We decided to set up tents in order not to lose many moments, both observations and the scenery. Departing at 04:00 pm, the trip takes approximately two hours from the city center to get the location. Along the way, on the right and left of the road looks green hills accompany the trip. It incredibly spoils the eyes.

Arriving at the location, we immediately set up tents in a flat spot near the cliffs. Hot coffees accompanied us for chatting and telling stories on cold nights. From a distance, we hear the night birds shout at each other. It seems Sunda Scops Owl has already started looking for prey. There was the sound of other birds that are very familiar, but not a night bird. Soon we had coffee, picked up a camera and started birding. Behind the dense bushes the sound was very loud and clear, over and over. We point the flashlight at the source of the sound, but not visible form and motion, just its sound. The dense bush blocks us to go deeper, finally we await the appearance of the owner of that sound. The sound was like a Red-legged Crake but we’re not sure because we have not seen it. After an hour we waited, and the bird did not appear. Finally, we recorded the sound for later identification.

Fishing activity around the site

The sun was rising on the eastern horizon, a red tinge gradually disappearing. Green Junglefowl heard crowing in the distance. Sooty-headed Bulbul and Yellow-vented Bulbul were seen foraging together near our camp. Our equipment set up and immediately started birding. A hill near our camp where we observed at night, into the first place to explore. From a distance, a flock of Pink-necked Green Pigeons was feeding on a tree. At shrubs below, Island Collared Dove was busy sunbathing and cleaning its feathers. About ten meters to the right, Racket-tailed Treepie foraging noisily. The last two are birds that are not often encountered in Yogyakarta.

Then we move toward a rice field area that is not too wide. We met with Javan Munia, White-capped Munia and Scaly-breasted Munia in considerable numbers, and were eating rice grains that had yellowed. Teak flowers that grow on the edge of rice fields become a favorite place for Olive-backed Sunbird and Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker. Other bird species observed in this area such as Lesser Coucal, Sunda Coucal, Long-tailed Shrike, Common Taylorbird, Plain Prinia, Javan Kingfisher, Collared Kingfisher and more.

After four hours of birding around the rice paddies we went to the cliff edge. Halfway there we met Peregrine Falcon flew past quickly and disappeared behind the hill. Around 10:00 am, we began to observe on the edge of the cliff under the blazing sun. Not long to wait, from a distance White-tailed Tropicbird fly closer to the cliffs to the west of us. These birds use the holes in the cliffs to nest and lay their eggs. It’s not difficult to see this bird, sit on the edge of a cliff while drinking coffee, these birds will be out of the nest hole and fly around the cliffs. The best time to see this bird is in the afternoon when it returns to the nest hole.

These birds will fly quite a long swirled around the cliffs before entering the nest hole. Other birds that use cliff holes for nests are the Black-nest Swiftlet and Edible-nest Swiftlet. Local residents around the coastal region will harvest these bird’s nests every year for sale. These birds also fly around the edges of the cliffs along Cave Swallow, Pacific Swallow, and House Swiflet. We also found Javan Myna and (Indonesian) Spotted Kestrel that were perched on the cliff. Birding closed with the presence of White-bellied Sea-eagle soaring long enough. Landscape and beautiful birds completes unforgettable vacation.

Menoreh Mountains, Birding in Javanese Traditional Village

Birding in this nice and beautiful scenery of Javanese traditional village, Menoreh mountains provide you a chance to see many lowland birds. The hilly landscape (300–800 meters asl) covered with an agroforestry ecosystem proves to be a good habitat for birds. If you’re in Borobudur, then facing to the south you’ll see the shape of the Menoreh mountains like a figure who sleeps in the mountains. Local residents believe that the figure is Gunadharma, the architect of Borobudur.

Menoreh Mountains are located in the northwest end of Kulon Progo district of Yogyakarta province (borders Central Java province), part of the ridge line east of the zone “oblong domes/ridges”. Birding site in the village Jatimulyo, just about an hour’s drive west of Jogja city (32 km). Also an hour’s drive south of the famous Borobudur (36 km).

Continue readingMenoreh Mountains, Birding in Javanese Traditional Village

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.

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Birding in Gunung Merapi National Park

Place of Gunung Merapi National Park, Merapi is the most active volcano on earth despite recovering from a damaging eruption in 2010, it still remains an excellent place to go forest birdwatching and the best area in Jogja. Located just about 45 minutes to one hour north of the town, this volcano holds more than 160 species. For your productive birding, Kaliurang and Plawangan Hill are the two major sites that you can choose. An easy access with easy to moderate tracks are available.

In Kaliurang, you might have chance to see various endemics, such as Javan Kingfisher, Javan Hanging Parrot, Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker, with many other resident birds, such as Black Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Striated Grassbird, Coppersmith Barbet, Long-tailed Shrike, and more.

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