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SUMATRA

INDONESIA
LOCALE

# Species:640
# Excl Vagrants:639
# Endemics:48
# Near Endemics:9

ABOUT THE BIRDING

Sumatra is part of the Greater Sunda Island chain and is the largest island entirely within Indonesia. The island is quite large, some 1790km from northeast to southwest and 435km at its widest point. It lies on a major fault line and hence is subject to periodic earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. It's also sometimes battered by tidal waves, the most famous being the 2004 tidaly wave that destroyed Aceh. While nearly half the forest has been lost during the last 3 decades, good forest remains and much of it is protected now protected by national parks. The two most frequently visited parks are Way Kambas and Kerinci-Seblat. More remote areas are rarely visited by birding groups by offer a fabulous variety of rare and endangered birds and mammals.

WAY KAMBAS NATIONAL PARK

Way Kambas National Park is located in southeast Sumatra and is reached by a short flight from Jakarta to Lampung followed by a two hour transfer from the airport. The park offers several major attractions. It's one of the most reliable places in the world to see the rare White-winged Duck, best seen by going on an early morning or evening boat trip from Way Kanan to some nearby wetlands such as Rawa Gajah. The same wetlands are a good place to find Storm's Stork, which is only occasionally seen, and Lesser Adjutant. The other major attraction of the park is night birding. It's usually possible to find Large Frogmouth, Gould's Frogmouth and various owls such as Oriental Bay-Owl, Reddish Scops-Owl, and Brown Boobook. More difficult is Sunda Frogmouth and the rare Bonaparte's Nightjar. Interesting mammals are also present. Rare sightings of the Clouded Leopard are possible. The endangered Sumatran subspecies of Tiger and Sumatran Rhinoceros are highly unlikely to be seen. More often seen are Silvered Langur (Silvery Lutung), Siamang, Masked Palm Civet, Sambar Deer, and others.

MT KERICINI

Mt Kerinci is the only active volcano on Sumatra, rising to some 3805m (12,467ft). The volcano is located in Kerinci-Seblat National Park, located at about the mid-point of the Barison Range of western Sumatra. It's reached by flying from Jakarto to Padang and then driving 5-7 hours to the park. Most birding on the mountain is done along the Gunung Kerinci Summit Trail, a rather strenous uphill hike. The car park is at about 1750m elevation and birding is uphill from there to about 2400m elevation. Since there is nowhere to stay, birders must ascend and then descend the trail every day. The number one target bird is Sumatran Cochoa, initially discovered in 1918 and then not known until rediscovered 76 years later. It's now regularly seen by birding groups with some effort. Other difficult target birds are Salvadori's Pheasant and Schneider's Pitta, both wary and often missed by people not at the front of a group as the trail is quite narrow.

TAPAN ROAD

Tapan Road traverses the southern section of Kerinci-Seblat National Park, beginning at the town of Sungai Penuh around 1700m and descending through forest to about 400m before leaving the park and continuing to the coast. It's lower elevation compared to the main birding sites on Mt Kericini support a different species mix of birds. Birding is roadside from the ranger station at 1500m (12km from Sungai Penuh) to about KM45 at 300m elevation. All specialties can be found between KM24-37. Tapan Road is the best place to find specialties such as Black-crowned (Graceful) Pitta, Sumatran Treepie, Black Laughingthrush, Marbled Wren-Babbler, and Blue-masked Leafbird. Also possible but now difficult due to trapping for the cage bird trade is Sunda Laughingthrush.

LOCATION OF SITE

Sumatra is located in western Indonesia, with the northern half of the island directly west of Peninsular Malaya. It is usually reached via international or internal flights into Minangkabau International Airport in Padang City or Kuala Namu International Airport in Medan. The latter is the primary entry point for international flights. Several other airports handle domestic flights from Jakarta and elsewhere in Indonesia.