|# Excl Vagrants:||410|
|# Near Endemics:||1|
ABOUT THE BIRDING
Sulawesi, formerly known as Celebes, is one of the four islands that make up the Greater Sunda Islands of Indonesia. It's the 7th largest island in the world with an area of some 67,400 SqMi. It's situated in the highly biodiverse region known as Wallacea and is located between Borneo and the Maluku Islands. Located nearby are several chains of minor islands that are included in the Sulawesi Administrative jurisdiction, namely the Selayar Islands south of the main island and the Sangihe and Talaud Islands to the north. Also included in the same administrative regionare Buton Island, the Togian Islands, the Peleng Islands, and the Banggai Islands. Sulawesi and neighboring islands are of great interest to birders due to the high rate of endemism. Some 385 species of birds have been recorded on Sulawesi, and of these over 30% (114 species) are endemics. The avifauna on Sulawesi constitutes nearly ½ of all species in Indonesia. Sulawesi lies east of the "Wallace Line", named after the 19th century naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace who first reported the distinct differences in species composition between eastern and western Indonesia. Below are descriptions of some of the main birding locales around Sulawesi.
KARAENTA NATURE RESERVE
Karaenta and Bantimurung Nature Reserves are located about 30km from the Makassar Airport in South Sulawesi. These sites are visited primarily to see Black-ringed White-eye a specialty only found in the south. A number of other birds are also present, notably Piping Crow and an as-yet undescribed species referred to as Sulawesi Brown Flycatcher.
TANGKOKO NATIONAL PARK
Tangkoko National Park is located in North Sulawesi about 1½ hours from the airport in Manado. The entrance track goes through scrub forest patches before and after the main entrance, continuing for 2km to two small buildings referred to as Post2 and Post3. Birding in the remnant forest along the road is good for the endemic Yellow-billed Malkoha along with Green-backed Kingfisher, Rusty-backed Thrush, and Finch-billed Myna. The grassy area are good for Sulawesi Scops-Owl and Sulawesi Nightjar after dark. The forest areas around Posts 2 and 3, especially inland from the coast, is the best place to see the endemic Maleo and is good for a variety of other species. Farther uphill the forest is home to Spectral Tarsier and birds such as Spot-tailed Goshawk and Golden-mantled Racquet-tail. Those with more time can go up to higher elevation, a hike of 6-7 hours, where it's easier to find Sulawesi Myna, hanging parrots, and near the top Scaly-breasted Kingfisher. It's possible to take a boat along the coast where mangroves are home to Great-billed Kingfisher. The best site for Maleo is also reached by boat.
Gunung Mahawu is a forested volcano located 1½ hours drive south of Manado above the town of Tomohon on Sulawesi Island. It's the best place to look for the difficult to find Scaly-breasted Kingfisher. The most commonly birded location is a track leading to the crater summit. Birding is good all along the track, especially in the densely wooded gullies. The kingfisher is often seen along the lower section of the track. Other birds commonly seen along the track include Pale-blue Monarch and Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher. At higher elevation Chestnut-backed Bush Warbler is common. Likewise, at night Sulawesi Scops-Owl is very common. Another place where Scaly-breasted Kingfisher is regularly seen is the grounds of the Alamanda Resort on the western flank of the volcano. The resort is something of a religious retreat but allows access. The kingfisher is sometimes found by following the entrance road around to a gate and then from there an obvious footpath uphill into forest.
BOGANI NATIONAL PARK
Bogani National Park, previously known as Bumoga Bone National Park, is a vast and largely inaccessible area of forest between North Sulawesi and Gorontalo Province. Most birders only visit the margins of the park near the villages of Dolodua and Toraut where 2-3 sites of decent forest are easily accessed. These areas are also where the famed nesting ground of the endemic Maleo is located. The most commonly visited Maleo site is at Tambun near the national park. The nesting ground is reached via a trail along the river about 6-7km south of Dolodua. Unfortunately, the area is seriously threatened by egg collectors. Usually 2-3 pairs visit the site each day, especially at dawn and dusk but also in the trees during daytime. Other birds in the area are similar to lowland sites at Tangkoko. A few species are perhaps easier to see at Bogani, notably the owls, Bay Coucal, Purple-winged Roller, Sulawesi Hornbill, and Yellow-breasted Rqcket-tail.
LORE LINDU NATIONAL PARK
Lore Lindu National Park is located in Central Sulawesi about 50km from Paul. Due to heavy rainfall, the best time to visit is July-September. The park is very large but the best birding is in a fairly small area around Wuasa/Sedoa, Lake Tambing, and the Anaso Track. The park protects montane forest and is excellent for high mountain specialties.
Lake Tambing is a small lake around 1700m elevation and is reached via the road from Palu. A few hundred meters before the lake is the start of the famed Anaso Track, where birding is superb. Many endemics can be found just along the road around the lake, including Ornate Lorikeet, Yellow-and-green Lorikeet, Cerulean Cuckooshrike, Maroon-backed Whistler, Blue-fronted Flycatcher, and Malia. The area between the lake and the Anaso turnoff is one of the most reliable places to find Sulawesi Thrush. The same area is excellent for owls after dark.
Lower sections of the Anaso Track offer additional species such as Purple-bearded Bee-eater, Pygmy Cuckooshrike, Maroon-backed Whistler, and Chestnut-backed Bush Warbler The track climbs upwards and the habitat gradually changes. Around 3-4km up the track around 2000m elevation the track opens up into some small clearings where Diabolical Nightjars are often seen in a day roost. Farther up where the forest becomes lower and more mossy, two sought-after specialties are most easily found, namely Great Shortwing and Geomalia. Also present are Dark-eared Myza and White-eared Myza. Just over the crest of the trail around 2300m elevation, the trail turns into a somewhat indistinct footpath where Mountain Serin is often seen.
The road between Lake Tambing and Wuasa/Sedoa goes downhill through degraded forest. Birds of more open habitat are best found there including Cerulean Cuckooshrike, Blue-fronted Flycatcher, Malia, and Fiery-browed Myna.
Gunung Ambang Nature Reserve is located in a mountainous region east of Kotamobagu in North Sulawesi. The forest is degraded due to heavy logging despite its protected status, but some montane birds are easier to see there compared to Lore Lindu. It offers the best chance to see Cinnabar Boobook and Blue-faced Rail as well as Matinan Flycatcher. Also present is a yet undescribed species known as Sulawesi Flycatcher. A path through potato fields and clove plantations is good for open country birds. It eventually reaches forested slopes on the hills abgove the cultivated fields whereMalia and Fiery-browed Myna are usually seen and Pale-blue Monarch and Matinan Flycatcher are occasionally seen. Inside the forest is the best place to look for the boobook (at night) and the rail.
SANGIHE, TALAUD, SIAU
The islands of Sangihe, Talaud, and Siau north of the main island are less accessible. Of these, Sangihe is easiest to reach. The slopes above the village of Lelipang, named Gunung Sahengbalira, is the best place to look for endemics. Two widespread endemics are Sangihe Hanging-Parrot and Elegant Sunbird. More difficult is Cerulean Paradise-Flycatcher found in several shady gullies above the village. The top of the ridge is where Sangihe Shrike-Thrush can be found. Birding on Talaud is more difficult and requires several days since the island has extensive forest and multiple sites. Numerous endemics are possible in the forest around Beo including Talaud Kingfisher, Talaud Pitta, and Rufous Paradise-Flycatcher. The forest interior features Talaud Bush-hen, Gray Imperial-Pigeon, Everett's White-eye, and a communal roost of Red-and-blue Lory in addition to the above. The main attraction at Siau is the critically endangered Siau Scops-Owl, a species known only from a type specimen and some likely recordings of its call.
PELENG & BANGGHAI
The Bangghai Archipelago is situated east of Sulawesi and is reached by a short boat ride from Luwuk. It features numerous endemics plus the recently rediscovered Banggai Crow. The largest island of Peleng has the most to offer. Degraded forest around the capital city of Salakan is a good place to look for Sula Scrubfowl, Banggai Fruit-Dove, Ruddy Kingfisher, Ornate Lorikeet, Sula Hanging-Parrot, Sula Pitta, Sula Pitta, Henna-tailed Jungle-Flycatcher, Red-and-black Thrush, and Helmeted Myna. Also possible after dark is Moluccan Scops-Owl. Good condition hill forest can be found on the west side of the island near the village of Tataba. A trail leads uphill through degraded forest to good forest above. This is a good place to look for Bangghai Crow. Other species not already mentioned include Moluccan King-Parrot, Slaty Cuckooshrike, Drab Whistler, Rusty-bellied Fantail, Sula Golden-Bulbul, and Helmeted Myna. The smaller island of Bangghai is rarely visited by birders and offers similar species as Peleng.
LOCATION OF SITE
The island of Sulawesi is located in Indonesia just east of Borneo. It's generally reached by flights originating in Jakarta, with flights in and out of Makassar on the south end of the island and Manado on the north end of the island.