Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Blue-eared Lory and Other Birds on Indonesia's Seram Island

Blue-eared Lory - Merilyn Browne
Seram was the last island to be visited during our three-week tour of the southern Molucca and Tanimbar islands of eastern Indonesia. As elsewhere, we did extremely well here. Overall, our trip to this part of Indonesia has been one of the most successful undertaken by any group. The finding of Blue-eared Lory on Seram was icing on the cake; we are only the second group to encounter this species on previous visits. To see the lory in addition to Black-lored Parrot (see here) - along with a host of tricky species such as Purple-naped Lory, Buru Honeyeater, Lesser Masked Owl , Lazuli Kingfisher, Buru Green-Pigeon, Buru Thrush, Fawn-breasted Thrush, Tricoloured Parrotfinch, Grey-backed Tern and Rufescent and Grey-hooded Dark-eyes - was an extraordinary experience. Many thanks to our Indonesian operator, Ceisar Riupassa  (email - for his excellent work in organising this trip, and his amiable and highly capable assistant, Vinno.

Blue-eared Lory -Merilyn Browne 

Blue-eared Lory

We saw a flock of up to 14 Blue-eared Lories on three consecutive days in the same flowering trees near the summit of the Trans-Seram Highway at 1250m on Seram, where our birding was centred on the forests of the Manusela National Park. The birds were extremely difficult to photograph but in the two images from Merilyn Browne, the diagnostic blue ear patches can clearly be discerned. The diagnostic blue belly patch can be seen in the third image. Normally this species (a Seram endemic) is not encountered by birding groups because it occurs at much higher altitudes. The only Seram endemic that we failed to find was Seram Thrush. Others that we saw included a Purple-naped Lory at 900m, seen well in flight as it crossed the road and flew through the sub-canopy. This is another rarely encountered Seram endemic.

Blyth's Hornbill

More widespread species such as Blyth's Hornbill, Eclectus Parrot, Oriental Hobby, Grey Plover and Superb Fruit-Dove were nice to see.
Eclectus Parrot

Grey Plover

Long-crested Myna
En route to offshore islands
Olive Honeyeater
We took a boat ride to two offshore islands - Palau Sawai and - Palau Lusaolde - and up the Salaway River. We encountered Forsten's Scrubfowl both on Palaw Sawai and along the river, where a nice Saltwater Crocodile was also seen. Good numbers of Olive Honeyeater were present on Palau Lusaolde.

Oriental Hobby

Seram Cockatoo
Other endemics that we saw included Seram Cockatoo (quite common at higher altitudes), Streak-breasted Fantail, Seram Leaf-Warbler, Seram Honeyeater, Seram Mountain-Pigeon,  Seram Myzomela, Seram (Violet) Crow, Seram Oriole, Seram Friarbird and Long-crested Myna. Rufescent Dark-eye was seen twice and Grey-hooded Dark-eye on four occasions.

Ashy Flowerpecker
 Other species shared with Ambon Island included Ashy Flowerpecker, Seram Drongo and Seram Imperial-Pigeon.

Seram Honeyeater

Seram Oriole

Streak-breasted Fantail

Superb Fruit-Dove

Wakalo Myzomela
Regionally distinct races such as the dark-bellied form of Wakalo Myzomela were encountered. Hantu Boobook took a lot of effort; in the end we had to make do with brief fly-over views. We visited the parrot rehabilitation centre near the village of Sawai, where Ceisar, Vinno and others have done excellent work in attempting to rehabilitate wild population of species such as Seram Cockatoo and Purple-naped Lory, which have been severely depleted by the trade in cage birds.

The group in Manusela National Park

Ceisar and Vinno at the Sawai Parrot Rehabilitation Centre

Saltwater Crocodile
See the following posts for accounts of our visits to the Kai Islands as well as Yandema Island in the Tanimbars, Buru Island, and our base for the tour, Ambon.


  1. Kingbird recorded Blue-eared Lory's at the road pass in 2007 - though I am unaware of other sightings - guess I need to return!


  2. Thanks James, I was unaware of that and will make a change. Greg

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