2 Days with White-capped Munia in Jogja

Get good weather at the beginning of December 2018 which is already in the middle of the rainy season, located in Yogyakarta or simply Jogja for a 2 days birding trip. The location is in the Banaran village, Galur sub-district, Kulonprogo regency, Yogyakarta close to Trisik beach and the Progo River estuary.

I visited paddy-fields that are very large which are dominated by rice plants with a planting age of around 10-50 days on December 1st 2018. There is one bird species I look for, indeed endemic to Java and Bali islands.

Head-shot White capped Munia among young rice plants

It’s small sized passerines (11–12 cm ) with short bill, short rounded wings. Forehead to the nape and face are whitish. Upperparts chestnut, edges of uppertail-coverts and central rectrices reddish to reddish-yellow. Iris dark brown, eyering dark grey; bill light grey; legs grey.

Glimpses like White-headed Munia with the most distinguishing are chin to breast black, flanks broadly rufous extending across lower breast to form rufous band, belly to undertail-coverts black; more rarely, entire underside from chin to vent (including flanks) black.

This species is White-capped Munia (Lonchura ferruginosa), that can only be found in grasslands, wetlands with grasses, reeds and sedges (Cyperaceae), rice fields of Java and Bali islands.

Adult White-capped Munia (Lonchura ferruginosa)

I had a chance to chat with the local farmers, evidently they could distinguish the kind sof Munias around the rice fields of Banaran village. In this area, the birds are easier to see in the rice planted season. It will be more often after rice grains first appeared, about 25 days of planting.

“The birds like starch in young rice grains and grass seeds around the paddy-field. After the harvest season, this bird will disappear and return during the next rice planting season” Said local farmers.

Foraging groups White-capped Munia

On the second day I was still watching this bird, lucky to find that one was carrying a stem of grass that seemed to be used to make a nest. Follow the bird until it disappears in the dense vegetation next to the paddy-field area.

The rice fields in Banaran provide foraging and nesting locations for this species, hopefully it will be sustainable so that many generations can see this endemic.

White-capped Munia carrying stems grass

To see birding in detail around Jogja, please follow this link below or click on the related post on the side bar.

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.

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).

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Trisik Beach, Shorebirding Jogja

The internationally important site for Sanderling & Wood Sandpiper in the EAAF. If you are looking for migratory shorebirds and other waterbirds in Yogyakarta, Trisik beach is the right place for you. Come around late August to March, and many regular visitors of migratory shorebirds.

This sandy coastal beach is about 2.4 km long on the west-south coast of Java approximately 30 km south of the Jogja city (45 minutes – 1 hours). The beach is administratively located in Banaran village, Galur subdistrict, Kulon Progo district, Yogyakarta province. Here the Progo River, the biggest river of Jogja, meets the sea.

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