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.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Birding Indonesia's Buru Island

Buru Golden-Bulbul
Our group of seven Australians and Americans has concluded a great week of birding on Buru Island in the southern Moluccas of Indonesia. We saw 18 of a possible 20 (or 21, depending on what taxonomy you follow) species of bird that are endemic to Buru. (We were not within the range of the only two we missed.) The endemics we saw included the extremely rare Black-lored Parrot (see here). We were fortunate to see two other particularly difficult endemics. A Buru Thrush was on the road as light was breaking early one morning. A group of 5-6 Buru Honeyeaters were feeding over a small area of flowering shrubs; one of our group was able to record its little-known call. Buru Golden-Bulbul was one of the more widespread and common endemics.

Buru Jungle-Flycatcher
Our efforts were concentrated in the highlands, mostly between 900 and 1350 metres, along the Wamlana logging road and the recently completed logging road to Danau Rana. The Danau Rana road was particularly good. It was along here that nice endemics seen included Buru Jungle-Flycatcher and Buru Cuckoo-shrike, neither of which resemble the field guide illustrations much.

Buru Raquet-tail
The delightful Buru Raquet-tail, another endemic, was one of the most common birds we encountered. Other endemics we saw were Buru Oriole, Buru Friarbird, Buru Drongo, Buru Flowerpecker, Buru Mountain-Pigeon, Buru Leaf-Warbler, Tawny-backed Fantail, Buru Bush-Warbler, Black-tipped Monarch and Buru Green-Pigeon. The latter two species were in lowland rainforest patches near the villages of Barra and Eruba. Another highlight of the trip was seeing a Lesser Masked Owl along a rainforest track near Eruba; we were impressed at how small it was.

Drab Whistler - Buru race
Apart from endemic species there are quite a few subspecies endemic to the island, including Drab Whistler and Northern Fantail. Others, such as Pale Cicadabird, are endemic to Buru along with other Moluccan islands.

Northern Fantail - Buru race

Pale Cicadabird

Black-faced Munia
Widespread species included Black-faced Munia, Slender-billed Cuckoo-shrike and Brown Goshawk, although the endemic race of the latter, pictured here, appears to be quite distinctive.
Brown Goshawk - Buru race

Buru Drongo

Slender-billed Cuckoo-shrike

Spectacled Imperial-Pigeon
The impressive Spectacled Imperial-Pigeon was widespread. Other interesting birds included Black Eagle and a host of parrots including Red-cheeked, Eclectus, Moluccan King and Great-billed.

Moluccan King-Parrot

Tawny-backed Fantail

Black Eagle

Red-cheeked Parrot

The group at bird call at our accommodation, the comfortable Waspait Resort Buru.

And birding along the trail. Our trip to the southern Moluccas and far eastern Lesser Sundas began on Ambon Island.