17 SEPTEMBER – 5 OCTOBER 2022
by Mark Beaman and Dáni Balla
Our Banda Sea adventure in September-October 2022 was a great success, turning up all the currently-recognized endemic bird species of the islands, whatever the taxonomic authority followed. Not only did we do very well with the endemics, but we also had a great selection of seabirds including such rarities as Aleutian Tern, Red-tailed Tropicbird, Matsudaira’s Storm Petrel, Tahiti Petrel, Heinroth’s Shearwater and Masked and Abbott’s Boobies, as well as some difficult Lesser Sundas endemics including Flores Green Pigeon, Flores Hawk-Eagle, the endangered Yellow-crested Cockatoo and the local form of the Sunda Grasshopper Warbler. It was certainly one of the most successful Banda Sea expeditions ever in terms of the important birds seen. However, there was something else really remarkable about this expedition and that was the sheer comfort of it all. Birding in remote parts of Indonesia often involves very basic accommodations and pretty simple food, but instead, we explored the Banda Sea on a lovely and very comfortable schooner where the crew greeted us back from birding with cool towels and welcome drinks, and where the food was varied and delicious, the cabins air-conditioned and the seabird and cetacean watching done from the seats and sun-loungers on the upper deck! It was no problem at all getting used to such luxuries, but now I am not sure we can all go back to normality!
Our pre-tour extension to the Tanimbar archipelago ended up being extended by a day owing to a feature of immediately post-pandemic Indonesia, flight cancellations owing to not enough travellers. Of course, having an extra day was great, but it would have been good to have had more notice.
The main island of Yamdena still has plenty of forest, which is obviously the case as one flies over tens of kilometres of pristine forest before approaching the island capital of Saumlaki, although deforestation along the few main roads is an issue. Nonetheless, there is plenty of good habitat not far away and we were soon out exploring the forest trails.
Most of Tanimbar’s endemics were easy or at least straightforward to find, including Tanimbar Cuckoo-Dove, the raucous Tanimbar Corella (or Tanimbar Cockatoo), Blue-streaked Lory, Tanimbar Friarbird, Tanimbar Oriole, White-browed (or Tanimbar) Triller, Tanimbar Monarch, Golden-bellied (or Tanimbar) Flyrobin, Tanimbar Bush Warbler, Tanimbar Starling and the pretty Tanimbar Flycatcher. Long-tailed (or Charming) Fantails truly lived up to their name and became a great favourite. In addition, Tanimbar Boobooks put on a great display for us after dark, peering down at us from close range. Two absolutely stunning endemics that we especially enjoyed were the striking Slaty-backed Thrush, a canopy feeder, and the handsome Fawn-breasted Thrush, which kept low down, often feeding on the ground. We were even fortunate enough to come across two Tanimbar Megapodes (or Tanimbar Scrubfowl) in one section of Yamdena forest, a bird that is nowadays more easily seen on the outlying islands owing to hunting pressure.
We also had good views of the truly stunning, range-restricted Wallace’s Fruit Dove, Pied Bronze Cuckoo, which if split is endemic to just Tanimbar and Kai, as well as a very noisy Channel-billed Cuckoo, the xanthogaster form of Rose-crowned Fruit Dove that has a silver-white crown (!), Elegant Imperial Pigeon, the lovely Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher, the Tanimbar form of Eclectus Parrot, Banda Sea (or Tanimbar) Myzomela (endemic to Tanimbar if split), Kai Cicadabird (a tough one to find and a species usually restricted to Tanimbar and Kai) and the Tanimbar form of the Wallacean Drongo (another rather uncommon bird on Yamdena). We also encountered our first Barred Doves, Banda Sea Pittas, Scaly-breasted (or Banda) Honeyeaters, Rufous-sided (or Banda Sea) Gerygones, Wallacean Whistlers, Arafura (or Supertramp) Fantails, Black-bibbed (or Banda Sea) Monarchs and Ashy-bellied White-eyes.
Cutover and grassy areas turned up a couple of King (or Blue-breasted) Quails as well as the more expected Australian Pratincole, Tawny Grassbird and Five-coloured Munia. Wetlands are few on Yamdena but we did manage to find, among others, Radjah Shelduck, Black Bittern and Azure Kingfisher, as well as a very unexpected Magpie Goose, a rarity in these parts.
During the extension and the first day of our cruise on the Lady Denok we explored the small islands not far from Saumlaki. The major target here is Tanimbar Megapode, of which we managed to see an extraordinary total of 10 in addition to the two on the mainland! Mind you, they are not the easiest of birds to get good or prolonged views of so the ‘extensioners’ were very happy with the one that perched in full view for at least five minutes.
Other birds of interest on the ‘out islands’ included Beach Thick-knee, Pied Oystercatcher (that Australian influence creeping in), groups of migrant Little Curlews, Australian Pelican, Pink-headed and Pied Imperial Pigeons and huge Great-billed Herons.
A rocky islet held numerous Great and Lesser Frigatebirds, Brown Boobies and Bridled, Greater Crested and smart Black-naped Terns, all of which gave awesome close views. We particularly enjoyed the acrobatic pursuits by the frigatebirds, usually after Brown Boobies but sometimes terns.
We had stayed in a very pleasant waterfront hotel in Saumlaki, but on boarding the Lady Denok, our chartered phinisi (schooner) the difference was obvious. The smart, uniformed crew, the face towels, the welcome drinks… It was clearly going to be marvellous! It was time to unload our luggage and enjoy our adventurous cruise to come.
After leaving the outermost islands of the Tanimbar archipelago behind, we set sail for distant Babar, which lies to the southwest of Tanimbar. Our first ‘seawatching’ session was rewarding, with lots of Wilson’s Storm Petrels and our first Streaked Shearwaters, Red-footed Boobies and Parasitic Jaegers (or Arctic Skuas). The big highlights of the day included a close Masked Booby, some Tahiti Petrels and two Matsudaira’s Storm Petrels. For some reason, in spite of the calm seas, cetacean sightings were few but included Indo-Pacific Bottlenose and Spinner Dolphins.
Babar, like most of the islands on our route, is a remote yet very friendly place, although it was the only place they initially wanted to check our passports as we had been in ‘international waters’ on the way from Tanimbar, meeting up with heaven knows who out there!
On Babar, even the village area was great for birds. Drab and Uniform Swiftlets fluttered overhead, while Little Bronze Cuckoos of the interesting form salvadorii called from the treetops. Barred Doves were obvious and other columbids included the smart Banded Fruit Dove, Wallace’s Fruit Dove and more xanthogaster non-Rose-crowned Fruit Doves. Other new birds, or species seen for the first time during the cruise itself, included Variable Goshawk, Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher, Great-billed Parrot, Banda Myzomela, Scaly-breasted Honeyeater, the confiding Rufous-sided Gerygone, Wallacean Whistler, Arafura (or Supertramp) Fantail of the endemic form reichenowi, Black-bibbed (or Banda Sea) Monarch, Ashy-bellied White-eye, beautiful Orange-sided Thrushes, Blue-cheeked (or Red-chested) Flowerpeckers and lots of Tricoloured Parrotfinches. Of even more interest were the local Cinnamon-tailed Fantails, which are of an undescribed form and could represent a distinct species, and a lucky find in the form of the endemic audacis subspecies of Snowy-browed Flycatcher, an uncommon bird on Babar. The harbour flats added Great Knot and Terek Sandpiper.
Moving farther afield, we soon found the endemic Babar Whistler, a form sometimes treated as a full species or, as per the IOC, lumped in Yellow-throated Whistler in spite of that great big bill and other differences. A nice little bonus was excellent views of the advena form of Timor Stubtail.
One Babar speciality did give us the runaround for a time, calling but not showing, and that was the endemic cinnamomina form of the Australian Boobook, which may be distinctive enough to be split in future. But with persistence, we eventually had it in the bag!
The sail up to the island of Damar was good for cetaceans, including four Pygmy Killer Whales and no fewer than seven Great Sperm Whales, including some close to the ship. Seabirds included our first Pomarine and Long-tailed Jaegers, loads of Bulwer’s Petrels and another Tahiti Petrel.
Damar is a spectacular island with a huge volcano towering above the inlet that leads deep into the southeastern part of the island. Sailing in there is like entering the dragon’s mouth, what with big fumaroles belching sulphurous smoke into the air high above, just like a dragon’s nostrils!
The bird everyone wants to see on Damar is of course the ‘long-lost’ Damar Flycatcher that was only relatively recently rediscovered by a BirdLife Expedition. These inquisitive and confiding birds are common enough in the native forest and soon became a group favourite. We had to drag ourselves away to admire the very responsive Banda Sea Pittas and the unusual dammeriana form of the Yellow-throated Whistler that is sometimes treated as a subspecies of Golden Whistler. Perhaps the simplest thing would be to treat it as an endemic species. Olive-headed Lorikeet, the sometimes-split Banda Sea form of the Northern Fantail and Black-faced Munia appeared for the first time, we had the first Elegant Imperial Pigeons since Tanimbar and, down on the coast, two Far Eastern Curlews were found alongside other shorebirds.
As we sailed towards Leti we picked up our first Brown Noddies and best of all five Aleutian Terns, already on their wintering grounds after the long journey from northeast Siberia or Alaska. We made a stop at the small island of Terbang Selatan for a spectacular snorkel or, for some, a dive on an extraordinarily beautiful and dramatic coral reef. Myriads of colourful fish enlivened the reef and some of us saw a huge Napolean Wrasse, both Green and Hawksbill Turtles and even a Grey Reef Shark. It was hard to drag ourselves away.
Leti was the flattest and driest island we visited during the cruise, but it is definitely a ‘birdy’ spot and, after rapidly finding the moae form of Australian Boobook and some 30 Nankeen (or Rufous) Night Herons, we started to look for birds of the daytime. We soon found several Timor Cuckoo-Doves, no fewer than 5 of the rather rare lettiensis form of Banded (or Black-backed) Fruit Dove, Wallacean Cuckooshrikes of the form personata (looking very different from the form unimoda in Tanimbar), White-shouldered (or Lesueur’s Triller) and Sunda Zebra Finch. The star bird was of course Grey (or Kisar) Friarbird, which is endemic to Leti and two other adjacent islands. Another bird of particular interest was the distinctive compar form of the Yellow-throated Whistler. Placing this in Fawn-breasted Whistler, as in Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago, seems a better solution.
From Leti, we headed for the island of Wetar, enjoying the many Sooty Terns, Bulwer’s Petrels and other seabirds. A big surprise was an Abbott’s Booby among a large feeding flock of Red-footed Boobies. There have been a few records from the Banda Sea so it is possibly a regular visitor in very small numbers.
Wetar is a large and scenically spectacular island with a low human population. This is especially true on the north coast, the area we visited, with the result that hunting pressure is unusually low by Indonesian standards. This lack of hunting pressure was reflected every time we headed into the interior, some of the time crossing a shallow river that winds towards the coast in a deep gorge. Columbids were positively numerous, with crazy numbers of Black and Timor Cuckoo-Doves, Pacific Emerald Doves, Banded Fruit Doves, and Pink-headed and Timor Imperial Pigeons. The strange, reverberating songs of the Timor Imperial Pigeons filled the air at times and you could almost feel the weird sound vibrating in your bones! Metallic Pigeons were also seen but only in small numbers. The grailbird on Wetar is the near-endemic Wetar Ground Dove, a species that still hangs on in East Timor. Fortunately, on Wetar they are still rather straightforward to find and it was not long before we found a pair and enjoyed fantastic views, followed by views of three more later in the day.
Wetar’s endemics were also easy enough to find and included the smart Wetar Myzomela, the handsome Black-necklaced Honeyeater, Wetar Oriole and Wetar Figbird. Wetar Scops Owl gave wonderful views, including one individual that called back at us from just a few metres away, while its mate peered at us from a bamboo clump. We even found a pair of range-restricted Timor Nightjars in the daytime and this key species also gave great views from just a short distance.
Bonelli’s Eagles of the isolated Lesser Sundas form were surprisingly common and there was an excellent variety of psittacids, including Jonquil (or Olive-shouldered) and Red-cheeked Parrots and Iris and Marigold Lorikeets. We also found Plain Gerygone, undisputed Fawn-breasted Whistlers, Yellow-throated Whistlers of the form calliope, Tenggara Cicadabird (or Common if you don’t follow the split), the Timor form of the Northern Fantail (sometimes split), the likewise sometimes-split Timor Drongo, Timor Leaf Warbler, Timor Stubtails of the nominate form (what amazing views!), Sunda Bush Warbler, a very retiring Sunda Thrush that showed to a few of us, Timor Blue Flycatcher and the distinctive exquisitus form of the Flame-breasted Sunbird. The Helmeted Friarbirds on Wetar and elsewhere in the Lesser Sundas are sometimes split as Tenggara Friarbird.
Our arrival at the large and more heavily-populated island of Alor was greeted by two Blue Whales, one of which sounded right beside the Lady Denok. Amazing! We wondered why they had penetrated so far into a large bay, but they clearly realised their error and soon were far out to sea. We could see their huge blows from kilometres away! They rather overshadowed the earlier-that-day Aleutian Terns and Wedge-tailed Shearwater.
A short afternoon excursion to a tract of forest turned up Ornate Pitta (they were calling all over Alor after recent rain), Black-fronted Flowerpecker and the uncommon Flores Green Pigeon.
Making our way into the mountainous interior the following morning, we climbed up to one of the highest ridges on the island, the area where the Alor Myzomela was first discovered not that many years ago. This species must have a rather small population as the ridges where their favoured eucalyptus forest occurs occupy just a small part of the island. Fortunately for us, we soon had this endemic speciality on the list, closely followed by Alor Cuckooshrike (still often lumped in Wallacean, but that seems a poor choice) which is endemic to Alor and adjacent Pantar. Our next target was the skulking Sunda Grasshopper Warbler (please don’t call it Javan Bush Warbler like the IOC do!). Hearing this bird is pretty easy but seeing one is another matter. It took a bit of coaxing just to get views of the birds hopping across the track but we persisted and eventually, we had prolonged views of a bird singing from a bush. Mission accomplished!
During our sojourn in the mountains, we also enjoyed views of Rusty-breasted Cuckoo, the as-yet-undescribed Eucalypt Cuckoo-Dove, Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker, Spotted (or Indonesian) Kestrel, ‘Indonesian Honeyeater’ (sadly relumped in Brown Honeyeater), Rusty-breasted Whistler, the sometimes-split Flores Drongo, Sunda Bush Warbler (much better views than on Wetar), Short-tailed Starling and Pale-headed Munia.
We eventually found the Critically Endangered Yellow-crested Cockatoo in a deep valley and not long after a magnificent Flores Hawk-Eagle that gave prolonged views (just as well for me!). It was only later that I realised why those cockatoos further up the valley were flying back and forth so much: they were mobbing a second Flores Hawk-Eagle that was visible in the photos but which we had not detected at the time!
We spent one night on Alor in some homestays in a friendly village inhabited by the indigenous Abui people. This allowed us a glimpse into rural island life and also gave us plenty of time to get to grips with Alor Bookook, endemic to Alor and Pantar. A total of three were seen. We also came across the range-restricted Mees’s Nightjar, a nice bonus.
The long run across the Banda Sea/Flores Sea interface to the remote island of Kalaotoa provided some excellent seawatching. Pride of place goes to Heinroth’s Shearwater, with no fewer than 11 being recorded. It must be very possible that this rare and little-known species breeds on isolated islands in this area, given the increasing number of records. A rich supporting cast included large numbers of seabirds resident in the area, plenty of jaegers (skuas) of three species, three White-tailed Tropicbirds and our last Tahiti Petrel. We also had a wonderful encounter with eight Risso’s Dolphins, watching these much-scarred creatures leaping almost vertically out of the water. A large pod of 50 or more Fraser’s Dolphins that came close to the Lady Denok, revealing their very short beak and strange head shape, was a major bonus.
Kalaotoa gets few visitors, let alone birders, but we enjoyed our short stay on the island. The endemic forms of the Rufous-sided Gerygone and Arafura Fantail were easy to locate and we had great views of both the regionally endemic Flores Sea Cuckoo-Dove and of Elegant Pitta to round things off nicely. There was even a pair of Ospreys nesting at the pier.
The flat calm sea as we headed for our final ports of call on the islands of Tanahjampea and adjacent Kalao helped with cetacean watching and new species included two Dwarf Sperm Wales and three Humpback Whales.
Verdant Tanahjampea lies to the south of Sulawesi in the Flores Sea. Here we walked from a village to the forest, finding a migrant Oriental Plover and watching smart endemic Tanahjampea (or White-tipped) Monarchs and other birds like Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon, Sulawesi Myzomela and Lemon-bellied White-eye before finding our second major target, the endemic Tanahjampea Blue Flycatcher (or Tanahjampea Jungle Flycatcher). Both the endemics are very smart birds and both put on great performances. We even had a female Black-naped Fruit Dove sitting at close range at eye-level on a flimsy stick nest. Pacific Bazas were common on the island and we also encountered a couple of migrant Crested Honey Buzzards.
From Tanahjampea it was just a short hop over to Kalao and our final birding, but not before a final snorkelling session on yet another wonderful coral reef. Long-tailed Macaques were foraging among the tidal pools as we landed and along the coast, we subsequently found four Malaysian Plovers. Not far inland, where the forest began, we soon found the endemic Kalao Blue Flycatcher (or Kalao Jungle Flycatcher). It is a mystery why the IOC lump this distinctive form in Mangrove Blue Flycatcher.
After our final endemic speciality, it was back on board the Lady Denok in time for a glorious sunset as we sailed towards the port of Labuanbajo on Flores. A fitting end to what had been a remarkable voyage that really did produce memories that would last forever.
BIRDS OF THE TOUR
1st: Damar Flycatcher
2nd: Wetar Ground Dove
3rd: Wetar Scops Owl
4th: Flores Hawk-Eagle
5th=: Alor Myzomela and Elegant Pitta
SYSTEMATIC LIST OF SPECIES RECORDED
Magpie Goose Anseranas semipalmata
Radjah Shelduck (Raja Shelduck) Radjah radjah
Tanimbar Megapode ◊ (Tanimbar Scrubfowl) Megapodius tenimberensis Endemic
Orange-footed Scrubfowl Megapodius reinwardt reinwardt
Brown Quail Coturnix ypsilophora raaltenii
King Quail (Blue-breasted Quail) Synoicus chinensis lineatus
Green Junglefowl ◊ Gallus varius heard-only
Red Junglefowl (feral) Gallus gallus
Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus schlegelii
Timor Nightjar ◊ Caprimulgus sp nov
Mees’s Nightjar ◊ Caprimulgus meesi
Savanna Nightjar Caprimulgus affinis timorensis heard-only
Tenggara Swiftlet ◊ Collocalia sumbawae sumbawae
Drab Swiftlet ◊ Collocalia neglecta perneglecta
Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta Subspecis esculenta was seen on Yamdena, minuta on Kalaotoa, Tanahjampea and Kalao.
Uniform Swiftlet Aerodramus vanikorensis moluccarum
Edible-nest Swiftlet Aerodramus fuciphagus dammermani
Pacific Swift Apus pacificus
House Swift Apus nipalensis
Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis sarasinorum
Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopaceus malayanus
Pacific Koel Eudynamys cyanocephalus picatus
Channel-billed Cuckoo Scythrops novaehollandiae
Little Bronze Cuckoo (Gould’s Bronze Cuckoo) Chrysococcyx minutillus Subspecies jungei was seen on Kalaotoa, rufomerus on Damar (and heard Leti) and salvadorii on Babar. Forms rufomerus and salvadorii are sometimes referred to as ‘Banda Bronze Cuckoo’.
Little Bronze Cuckoo [Pied Bronze Cuckoo] Chrysoccoccyx [minutillus] crassirostris Endemic. Seen in Tanimbar. The distinctive form crassirostris is sometimes split as Pied Bronze Cuckoo (as in Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago) and salvadorii is sometimes lumped with it.
Brush Cuckoo (Australian Brush Cuckoo) Cacomantis variolosus variolosus heard-only
Rusty-breasted Cuckoo [Sunda Brush Cuckoo] Cacomantis [sepulcralis] sepulcralis Split by Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago.
Oriental Cuckoo Cuculus optatus
Rock Dove (feral) Columba livia
Metallic Pigeon Columba vitiensis metallica
Spotted Dove Spilopelia chinensis tigrina
Timor Cuckoo-Dove ◊ Macropygia magna
Tanimbar Cuckoo-Dove ◊ Macropygia timorlaoensis Endemic
Flores Sea Cuckoo-Dove ◊ Macropygia macassariensis longa Endemic
Eucalypt Cuckoo-Dove ◊ Macropygia sp nov
Black Cuckoo-Dove ◊ Turacoena modesta
Common Emerald Dove (Asian Emerald Dove) Chalcophaps indica indica
Pacific Emerald Dove Chalcophaps longirostris timorensis
Barred Dove ◊ Geopelia maugei
Wetar Ground Dove ◊ Gallicolomba hoedtii Near-Endemic
Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon ◊ Treron griseicauda pallidior
Flores Green Pigeon ◊ Treron floris
Banded Fruit Dove ◊ (Black-backed Fruit Dove) Ptilonopus cinctus Subspecies everetti seen on Alor, cinctus on Wetar, lettiensis on Leti and otonis on Babar and Damar.
Wallace’s Fruit Dove ◊ Ptilonopus wallacii Endemic
Rose-crowned Fruit Dove Ptilonopus regina Subspecies roseipileum seen on Leti and Wetar and xanthogaster in Tanimbar and on Babar and Damar.
Black-naped Fruit Dove Ptilonopus melanospilus melanauchen
Elegant Imperial Pigeon ◊ (Yellow-eyed Imperial Pigeon) Ducula concinna
Pink-headed Imperial Pigeon ◊ Ducula rosacea
Timor Imperial Pigeon ◊ Duculua cineracea
Pied Imperial Pigeon Ducula bicolor
Buff-banded Rail Hypotaenidia philippensis
White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus leucomelana heard-only
Australasian Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae novaehollandiae
Red-backed Buttonquail Turnix maculosus
Beach Stone-curlew (Beach Thick-knee) Esacus magnirostris
Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva
Grey Plover (Black-bellied Plover) Pluvialis squatarola
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
Malaysian Plover Charadrius peronii
Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii
Oriental Plover ◊ Charadrius veredus
Eurasian Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Little Curlew ◊ Numenius minutus
Far Eastern Curlew (Eastern Curlew) Numenius madagascariensis
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris
Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis
Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes
Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Australian Pratincole Stiltia isabella
Brown Noddy Anous stolidus
Greater Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii
Little Tern Sternula albifrons sinensis
Aleutian Tern ◊ Onychoprion aleuticus
Bridled Tern Onychoprion anaethetus anaethetus
Sooty Tern Onychoprion fuscatus
Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana
Common Tern Sterna hirundo longipennis
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida
White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus
Pomarine Jaeger (Pomarine Skua) Stercorarius pomarinus
Parasitic Jaeger (Arctic Skua) Stercorarius parasiticus
Long-tailed Jaeger (Long-tailed Skua) Stercorarius longicaudus
Red-tailed Tropicbird ◊ Phaethon rubricauda
White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus
Wilson’s Storm Petrel Oceanites oceanicus
Matsudaira’s Storm Petrel ◊ Hydrobates matsudairae
Bulwer’s Petrel Bulweria bulwerii
Tahiti Petrel ◊ Pseudobulweria rostrata
Streaked Shearwater ◊ Calonectris leucomelas
Wedge-tailed Shearwater Ardenna pacifica
Heinroth’s Shearwater ◊ Puffinus heinrothi
Great Frigatebird Fregata minor
Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel
Abbott’s Booby ◊ Papasula abbotti
Masked Booby ◊ Sula dactylatra
Red-footed Booby Sula sula rubripes
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster plotus
Australasian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae
Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos
Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris
Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis
Nankeen Night Heron (Rufous Night Heron) Nycticorax caledonicus hilli
Striated Heron Butorides striata javanicus
Javan Pond Heron Ardeola speciosa
Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana
Great Egret [Eastern Great Egret] Ardea [albus] modesta
Intermediate Egret Ardea intermedia plumifera
Pied Heron Egretta picata
Pacific Reef Heron (Pacific Reef Egret) Egretta sacra sacra
Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Crested Honey Buzzard (Oriental Honey Buzzard) Pernis ptilorhynchus orientalis
Pacific Baza Aviceda subcristata timorlaoensis
Flores Hawk-Eagle ◊ Nisaetus floris
Bonelli’s Eagle Aquila fasciata renschi
Variable Goshawk (Varied Goshawk) Accipiter hiogaster Subspecies polionotus seen on Babar and Damar.
Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus Subspecies wallacii seen on Leti and Alor.
Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus intermedius
White-bellied Sea Eagle (White-bellied Fish Eagle) Icthyophaga leucogaster
Moluccan Masked Owl ◊ (Lesser Masked Owl) Tyto sororcula sororcula This form is lumped in (Australian) Masked Owl in Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago.
Eastern Barn Owl Tyto javanica delicatula
Australian Boobook ◊ (Southern Boobook) [Babar Boobook] Ninox [boobook] cinnamomina Surely this form is going to get split! What a different voice!
Australian Boobook ◊ (Southern Boobook) Ninox boobook moae Endemic subspecies
Alor Boobook ◊ Ninox plesseni Endemic
Tanimbar Boobook ◊ Ninox forbesi Endemic
Wetar Scops Owl ◊ Otus tempestatis Endemic
Collared Kingfisher Todiramphus chloris chloris
Sacred Kingfisher Todiramphus sanctus sanctus
Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher ◊ Todiramphus australasia Subspecies australasia was seen on Wetar, dammerianus on Babar (also heard on Damar and Leti) and odites on Yamdena. The last two are endemic subspecies.
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis floresiana
Azure Kingfisher Ceyx azureus ruficollaris
Oriental Dollarbird (Common Dollarbird) Eurystomus orientalis orientalis
Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops philippinus
Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus
Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker ◊ Yungipicus moluccensis grandis
Spotted Kestrel ◊ (Indonesian Kestrel) Falco moluccensis microbalia
Australian Hobby Falco longipennius hanieli
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus ernesti
Tanimbar Corella ◊ (Tanimbar Cockatoo) Cacatua goffiniana Endemic
Yellow-crested Cockatoo ◊ Cacatua sulphurea occidentalis
Jonquil Parrot ◊ (Olive-shouldered Parrot) Aprosmictus jonquillaceus wetterensis
Eclectus Parrot Eclectus roratus
Red-cheeked Parrot Geoffroyus geoffroyi Subspecies geoffroyi was seen on Wetar and timorlaoensis in Tanimbar.
Great-billed Parrot Tanygnathus megalorynchos Subspecies megalorynchos was seen on Tanahjampea and Kalao and subaffinis in Tanimbar and on Babar.
Iris Lorikeet ◊ Saudareos iris wetterensis
Blue-streaked Lory ◊ Eos reticulata Endemic
Marigold Lorikeet ◊ Trichoglossus capistratus flavotectus
Olive-headed Lorikeet ◊ Trichoglossus euteles
Ornate Pitta ◊ (Wallace’s Elegant Pitta) Pitta concinna
Elegant Pitta ◊ (Temminck’s Elegant Pitta) Pitta elegans virginalis
Banda Sea Pitta ◊ (Banda Elegant Pitta) Pitta vigorsii Endemic
Wetar Myzomela ◊ Myzomela kuehni Endemic
Alor Myzomela ◊ Myzomela prawiradilagae Endemic
Sulawesi Myzomela ◊ Myzomela chloroptera eva
Banda Myzomela ◊ (Tanimbar Myzomela) Myzomela boiei annabellae Endemic. The form annabellae is plit as Tanimbar Myzomela in Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago.
Grey Friarbird ◊ (Kisar F) Philemon kisserensis Endemic
Tanimbar Friarbird ◊ Philemon plumigenis Endemic
Helmeted Friarbird ◊ Philemon buceroides neglectus
Helmeted Friarbird ◊ [Tenggara Friarbird] Philemon [buceroides] buceroides This form together with neglectus are split in Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago.
Brown Honeyeater ◊ [Indonesian Honeyeater] Lichmera [indistincta] limbata
Scaly-breasted Honeyeater ◊ (Banda or White-tufted Honeyeater) Lichmera squamata Endemic
Black-necklaced Honeyeater ◊ Lichmera notabilis
Golden-bellied Gerygone (Flyeater) Gerygone sulphurea sulphurea
Rufous-sided Gerygone ◊ (Banda Sea Gerygone) Gerygone dorsalis Endemic. Subspecies senex was seen on Kalaotoa, kuehni on Damar, fulvescens on Babar and Leti and dorsalis in Tanimbar.
Plain Gerygone ◊ (Timor Gerygone) Gerygone inornata
Wetar Oriole ◊ Oriolus finschi Endemic
Tanimbar Oriole ◊ Oriolus decipiens Endemic
Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis boneratensis Subspecies boneratensis was seen on Kalaotoa and Tanahjampea, broderipi on Alor.
Wetar Figbird ◊ Sphecotheres hypoleucus Endemic
Fawn-breasted Whistler ◊ Pachycephala orpheus
Rusty-breasted Whistler ◊ Pachycephala fulvotincta Subspecies everetti was seen on Kalaotoa and fulvotincta on Alor. There are big differences in the approach to whistlers between authorities. Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago does not recognize this species, treating these forms as subspecies of a species not recognized by the IOC, Tenggara Whistler P. calliope!
Yellow-throated Whistler ◊ Pachycephala macrorhyncha Subspecies calliope was seen on Wetar, compar on Leti and fuscoflava in Tanimbar. Furthermore subspecies compar is placed in Fawn-breasted Whistler P. orpheus in Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago and that seemed to us a more appropriate treatment! See also the next two forms.
Yellow-throated Whistler ◊ [Damar Whistler] Pachycephala [macrorhyncha] dammeriana Endemic. Another tricky one. This form is treated as a subspecies of Golden Whistler P. pectoralis in Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago but is so isolated from that the rest of that species’ range that it would be no surprise to find it elevated to endemic species level in the future.
Yellow-throated Whistler ◊ [Babar Whistler] Pachycephala [macrorhyncha] sharpei Endemic. This distinctive, large-billed form is treated as a full species in Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago, which seems appropriate.
Wallacean Whistler ◊ Pachycephala arctitorquis Subspecies kebirensis was seen on Babar, Damar and Leti, while arctitorquis was seen in Tanimbar.
White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorynchus Subspecies albiventer was seen on Alor and Tanahjampea and musschenbroeki in Tanimbar and on Babar.
Black-faced Cuckooshrike Coracina novaehollandiae
Wallacean Cuckooshrike ◊ [Alor Cuckooshrike] Coracina [personata] alfrediana Endemic. This form is treated as a distinct species in Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago and this seems the appropriate treatment for this distinctive form with minimal sexual dimorphism.
Wallacean Cuckooshrike ◊ [Timor Cuckooshrike] Coracina [personata] personata Seen on Leti and Wetar.
Wallacean Cuckooshrike ◊ [Tanimbar Cuckooshrike] Coracina [personata] unimoda Endemic
Kai Cicadabird ◊ Edolisoma dispar This species is called Tenggara Cicadabird in Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago where the species is enlarged (see note below).
Common Cicadabird Edolisoma tenuirostre timoriense This form is lumped in Tenggara Cicadabird E. dispar in Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago, but this treatment is not recognized by the IOC.
White-shouldered Triller ◊ (Lesueur’s T) Lalage sueuri
White-browed Triller ◊ (Tanimbar T) Lalage moesta Endemic
Long-tailed Fantail ◊ (Charming Fantail) Rhipidura opistherythra Endemic
Arafura Fantail (Supertramp Fantail) Rhipidura dryas Subspecies celebensis was seen on Tanahjampea and Kalao, mimosae on Kalaotoa, semicollaris on Wetar and Alor, elegantula on Damar and Leti, reichenowi on Babar and hamadryas in Tanimbar.
Cinnamon-tailed Fantail ◊ Rhipidura fuscorufa Endemic
Northern Fantail ◊ [Timor Fantail] Rhipidura [rufiventris] pallidiceps This form is treated as a full species in Birds of the Indonesia Archipelago.
Northern Fantail ◊ [Banda Sea Fantail] Rhipidura [rufiventris] hoedti Endemic. This form is treated as a full species in Birds of the Indonesia Archipelago.
Wallacean Drongo ◊ [Flores Drongo] Dicrurus [densus] bimaensis This form is treated as a full species in Birds of the Indonesia Archipelago.
Wallacean Drongo ◊ [Timor Drongo] Dicrurus [densus] densus This form is treated as a full species in Birds of the Indonesia Archipelago.
Wallacean Drongo ◊ [Tanimbar Drongo] Dicrurus [densus] kuehni Endemic. This form is treated as a full species in Birds of the Indonesia Archipelago.
Black-bibbed Monarch ◊ (Banda Sea Monarch) Symposiachrus mundus Endemic
Spectacled Monarch (Australian Spectacled Monarch) [Wallacean Monarch] Symposiachrus [trivirgatus] trivirgatus The Lesser Sundas nominate form may perhaps be treated as distinct from the forms found in NE Australia and adjacent New Guinea in future.
Tanahjampea Monarch ◊ (White-tipped Monarch) Symposiachrus everetti Endemic
Island Monarch ◊ Monarcha cinerascens cinerascens
Tanimbar Monarch ◊ (Loetoe Monarch) Carterornis castus Endemic
Broad-billed Flycatcher (Broad-billed Monarch) Myiagra ruficollis Subspecies ruficollis was seen on Damar and Wetar and fulviventris (an endemic subspecies) on Tanimbar.
Shining Flycatcher (Shining Monarch) Myiagra alecto longirostris Endemic subspecies
Long-tailed Shrike Lanius shach bentet
Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchus macrorhynchus heard-only
Torresian Crow Corvus orru latirostris Endemic subspecies
Cinereous Tit Parus cinereus cinereus
Sooty-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus aurigaster
Golden-bellied Flyrobin ◊ (Tanimbar F) Microeca hemixantha Endemic
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica gutturalis
Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica javanica
Tree Martin Petrochelidon nigricans Subspecies timoriensis was seen on Alor and the migrant nigricans in Tanimbar.
Lemon-ringed White-eye ◊ (Lemon-spectacled White-eye, Wallace’s Heleia) Heleia wallacei
Lemon-bellied White-eye ◊ Zosterops chloris intermedius
Ashy-bellied White-eye ◊ Zosterops citrinella harterti Subspecies harterti was seen on Alor and albiventris from Babar to Wetar.
Timor Leaf Warbler ◊ Phylloscopus presbytes presbytes
Timor Stubtail ◊ Urosphena subulata subulata Subspecies subulata was seen on Wetar and Alor and advena on Babar.
Tanimbar Bush Warbler ◊ Horornis carolinae Endemic
Sunda Bush Warbler Horornis vulcanius kolichisi
Tawny Grassbird Megalurus timoriensis
Javan Bush Warbler ◊ (Sunda Grasshopper Warbler) Locustella montis timorensis Javan Bush Warbler is not a good name for a Locustella!
Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis lineocapilla
Violet-hooded Starling ◊ Aplonis circumscripta Endemic. Lumped in Metallic Starling A.metallica in Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago.
Tanimbar Starling ◊ Aplonis crassa Endemic.
Short-tailed Starling Aplonis minor minor
Sunda Thrush Zoothera andromedae
Fawn-breasted Thrush ◊ Zoothera machiki Endemic
Slaty-backed Thrush ◊ Geokichla schistacea Endemic
Orange-sided Thrush ◊ (Orange-banded Thrush) Geokichla peronii audacis
Mangrove Blue Flycatcher ◊ [Kalao Blue Flycatcher, Kalao Jungle Flycatcher] Cyornis [rufigastra] kalaoensis Endemic. Placing this distinctive form in Mangrove Blue Flycatcher as the IOC does is plain wrong. Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago treats it as a full species.
Tanahjampea Blue Flycatcher ◊ (Tanahjampea Jungle Flycatcher) Cyornis djampeanus Endemic
Timor Blue Flycatcher ◊ (Timor Warbling-flycatcher) Cyornis hyacinthina kuehni
Lesser Shortwing Brachypteryx leucophris leucophris
Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni hasselti
Snowy-browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra audacis Endemic subspecies on Babar.
Tanimbar Flycatcher ◊ Ficedula riedeli Endemic
Damar Flycatcher ◊ Ficedula henrici Endemic
Pied Bush Chat Saxicola caprata Subspecies fruticola was seen on Alor, pyrrhonotus on Wetar and cognatus (an endemic subspecies) on Babar.
Black-fronted Flowerpecker ◊ Dicaeum igniferum
Blue-cheeked Flowerpecker ◊ (Red-chested Flowerpecker) Dicaeum maugei Subspecies splendidum was seen on Tanahjampea, maugei on Damar and Wetar and salvadorii on Babar.
Mistletoebird ◊ [Salvadori’s Flowerpecker] Dicaeum [hirundinaceum] fulgidum Endemic. This distinctive form is treated as a distinct species by Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago and we felt this was an appropriate treatment.
Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis convergens
Olive-backed Sunbird [Ornate Sunbird] Cinnyris [jugularis] ornatus This form is split by Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago.
Olive-backed Sunbird ◊ (Flores Sea Sunbird) Cinnyris jugularis teysmanni This form is considered part of Sahul Sunbird C. clementiae by Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago.
Flame-breasted Sunbird ◊ Cinnyris solaris Subspecies exquisitus (an endemic subspecies) was seen on Wetar and solaris on Alor.
Sunda Zebra Finch ◊ Taeniopygia guttata
Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata blasii
Black-faced Munia ◊ Lonchura molucca Subspecies molucca was seen on Kalaotoa and Tanahjampea and propinqua on Damar, Leti and Alor.
Pale-headed Munia ◊ Lonchura pallida
Five-coloured Munia ◊ Lonchura quinticolor
Tricoloured Parrotfinch ◊ Erythrura tricolor
Red Avadavat Amandava amandava flavidiventris
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus malaccensis
Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis tschutschensis
Paddyfield Pipit Anthus rufulus medius
Asian Palm Civet (Common Palm Civet) (introduced) Paradoxurus hermaphroditus
Grey Flying Fox Pteropus griseus
Black-bearded Flying Fox Pteropus melanopogon
Long-tailed Macaque (introduced) Macaca fascicularis
Blue Whale Balaenoptera musculus
Humpback Whale Megaptera novaeangliae
Great Sperm Whale (Sperm Whale) Physeter macrocephalus
Dwarf Sperm Whale Kogia sima
Indo-Pacific Bottle-nosed Dolphin Tursiops aduncus
Fraser’s Dolphin Lagenodelphis hosei
Pantropical Spotted Dolphin Stenella attenuata
Spinner Dolphin Stenella longirostris
Risso’s Dolphin Grampus griseus
Pygmy Killer Whale Feresa attenuata