Area (SqKm):17,780
# Species:240
# Excl Vagrants:239
# Endemics:48
# Near Endemics:1
Species/100 SqKm:1.3
Habitat: Lowland rainforest, montane rainforest


Halmahera is the largest island in the Maluku (formerly Molucca) Islands of Indonesia. The island is normally reached by fast ferry from the city of Ternate, largest city in the Maluku Islands, at one time the world's only major producer of cloves and the dominant political power of the "Spice Islands". Halmahera is sparsely populated and largely forested, making it attractive to birds due to the large number of endemics to be found there. Birding begins with the ferry crossing from Ternate, which is most productive during Palearctic winter when migratory birds are present. Frequently seen species include Bulwer's Petrel, Great Frigatebird, Lesser Frigatebird, Red-necked Phalarope, and Aleutian Tern.


The usual arrival point on Halmahera is the small coastal town of Sidangoli. Most Halmahera endemics can be seen in the nearby area. The best birding areas are along the main road leading inland from town. The first dozen kilometers of road are through open farmland and secondary forest and scrub. When the road reaches the pass, the habitat becomes degraded forest. Numerous trails from the road lead into the forest. The farther from the road one gets, the less degraded the forest becomes. It's essential to reach the pass around dawn, at which time most of the widespread endemics can be found. The area just below the pass is a fairly reliable spot for the difficult to get Scarlet-breasted Fruit-Dove. This same area is also good for night birds after dark, notably Moluccan Scops-Owl, Halmahera Boobook, and Moluccan Owlet-Nightjar. The best place to look for pittas is an obvious side trail leading north about 500m below the pass through secondary forest and into dense undergrowth. A regularly visited spot is a track leading off the road at Km 10. This site near Anu's house is the location of the Standardwing Bird-of-Paradise lek. It's a strenous 2-hour walk in, and one must arrive before dawn so prior arrangement is necessary. The roadside scrub back towards town is the best place to look for Goliath Coucal and the mangroves near town are where one finds Beach Kingfisher and Moustached Treeswift, which is most easily seen by boat. The road towards Tobelo is the best place to see White-streaked Friarbird. A stakeout location where Azure Roller, also called Purple Dollarbird, can be found is the area of Gunung Mamin, situated where the tarmac road ends and the gravel road begins along a side road through the village of Desa Binagara.


Foli is regularly visited by birders and is usually reached by boat from the village od Daru across the bay on the Sidangoli-Tobelo road. A track from the village leads through open areas into somewhat intact forest on the ridges. Many of the same birds are present there as above but this area offers a better chance to see Purple Roller and the possibility of seeing Invisible Rail. There are usually several Standardwing leks in the area. The track is also good for night birding.


Most birders make the 3-4 hour trip along the northeast coast to look for Moluccan Scrubfowl. This species breeds colonially on the black sand beach in the village of Simau near Galela. The scrubfowl population has declined substantially in recent years and it's generally necessary to pay the locals for the privilege of seeing them.


Halmahera is usually reached by flying to Ternate from Sulawesi and then taking the fast ferry to the port town of Sidangoli.