Trip Report of 3 Days Birding in Sumba, October 2018

First birding trip in Sumba island for clients from Lombok has gone smoothly. During October 7-9, 2018 we birded in two locations Billa and Lewa (part of Manupeu-Tanadaru-Laiwangi-Wanggameti or simply Matalawa NP).

One of two Citron-crested Cockatoo from Billa

Birding in the peak of the dried season is another challenge. After landing in Umbu Mehang Kunda airport then transferred to Billa for 5 drive hours. Stop by 2 hours before arriving for a short afternoon birding along the roadside of Lailara. There were 10 fruiting calabur trees Muntingia calabura that were often visited by Sumba Flowerpecker.

The remaining 2 hours before arriving in Billa was a bumpy road, wisely we used four-wheel-drive. It was also useful for exploring the birds inside the park.

Quickly when arrived, then birded at night looking for the owl. Until 9 pm we just hear the songs of Little Sumba Hawk-owl and Greater Sumba Boobook. Decided to take a rest in the ranger office. In Billa there are only 2 options for staying, camping inside the park and living with the rangers in the huge office building.

Male Sumba Flowerpecker enjoyed fruit of Calabur tree

After breakfast we entered the clearing area in Billa. It was good when the birds started actively singing while sun-bathing. Then quickly follow the dried river. At midday we went back to the office for lunch, before entering the park once again we saw Short-toed Serpent-eagle perched at top of Kapok tree’s next to the office.

From afternoon until 9 pm continue birding in Billa to get another chance that we missed before. We birded along a dried river with small pools, and at night finally encountered Little Sumba Hawk-owl and a short view of Greater Sumba Boobook.

Male Sumba Hornbill encountered near its hole nest

We have half a day to birding in Billa on 9 October before we move to Lewa. In the morning the weather was good as the day before. Starting at the entrance gate, we found a fruit tree which 10 bird species foraged. Some species that we missed yesterday nailed at that spot.

The last half day was spent in Lewa for owling. We just visited two locations here, Langgaliru forest and road-side-forest near the ranger office. Starting before dark until 9 pm, we nailed to see two endemic Booboks.

One of three nightbirds which good captured, Little Sumba Hawk-owl

Then, here our highlights of the trip:

  • Little Sumba Hawk-owl (Ninox sumbaensis) – A single close view in Billa and a pair perched on a canopy at Lewa.
  • Sumba Hornbill (Rhyticeros everetti) – A male perched on a tree near its nest hole.
  • Sumba Flowerpecker (Dicaeum wilhelminae) – Two pairs foraging on roadside 2 hours before Billa.
  • Citron-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea citrinocristata) – In the afternoon we saw 2 perched and singing loudly in Billa.
  • Sumba Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa segregata) – Single birds perched on top canopy in Billa.
  • Greater Sumba Boobook (Ninox rudolfi) – Three individuals calling each other on the road-side of Lewa.
  • Red-naped Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus dohertyi) – Single bird posed nicely in Billa.
  • Sumba Jungle-flycatcher (Cyornis stresemanni) – 1-2 birds at entrance gate Billa.
  • Apricot-breasted Sunbird (Cinnyris buettikoferi) – Male and female foraged near entrance gate Billa.
  • Sumba Green Pigeon (Treron teysmannii) – Pair flight above clearing area in Billa and 1 perched on top tree at Lailara.
  • Sumba Flycatcher (Ficedula harterti) – Single bird jump into the bushes at dried river, Billa

Other included: Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher, Chestnut-backed Thrush, Pale-shouldered Cicadabird, Tenggara Swiftlet, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Marigold Lorikeet, Red-cheeked Parrot, Great-billed Parrot, Spotted Kestrel, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Common Emerald Dove, Black-naped Fruitdove, Green Imperial Pigeon, Eclectus Parrot, Mee’s Nightjar, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher, Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher, Spectacled Monarch, Arafura Fantail, Yellow-ringed White-eye, Ashy-bellied White-eye, Indonesian Honeyeater, Helmeted Friarbird, Five-colored Munia, Short-tailed Starling, Wallacean Drongo, Slender-billed Crow, Rusty-breasted Whistler, Broad-billed Flycatcher, Green Junglefowl.