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Indonesia: Sulawesi & Halmahera

A short tour to this ultimate destination featuring regional endemics like Maleo, the spectacular Wallace's Standardwing, Geomalia, Hylocitrea, a wealth of Kingfishers with Scaly, Green-backed and Great-billed, plus many nightbirds like Satanic Nightjar, Moluccan Owlet-nightjar, and Cinnabar Boobook!

Next Dates

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Price: $

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Leaders:

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Single Room Supplement: $

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Group Size Limit:

6

Deposit: $

TBD

Add a Title

Price: $

TBD

Leaders:

Add a Title

Single Room Supplement: $

TBD

Group Size Limit:

Deposit: $

TBD

Accommodation:

Comfortable hotels and guesthouses throughout.

Walking difficulty:

Generally easy walking on roads and small forest trails.

Tour cost includes:

All accommodation, main meals, drinking water, internal flights (as stated in itinerary), overland transport, tips to local drivers and guides, travel permits, entrance fees, and guide fees.

Tour cost excludes:

Flights before and after the tour start/end, visa, travel insurance, tips to tour leaders, laundry, drinks, and other items of a personal nature.

Those who wish to arrive one day early can take an overnight trip with the leader to the Lompobattang Range. Here, we can search for Lompobattang Flycatcher, Lompobattang Leaf Warbler, Black-ringed White-eye, and Makassar Myna, plus local forms of Hylocitrea and Red-eared Fruit Dove.


Day 1: The main tour starts this evening at Makassar (UPG), where we will overnight next to the airport.


Day 2: Early this morning, we will drive out of town to the nearby limestone hills of Karaenta Forest. Here, we will search for the recently described Sulawesi Streaked Flycatcher, along with the distinctive Black-headed Kingfisher (an imminent split from Green-backed). We will also look for Sulawesi Hornbill and the scarce Piping Crow, here at their easiest sites of the trip. Other key birds include Sulawesi Babbler, White-necked Myna, and Grey-sided and Yellow-sided Flowerpeckers alongside more widespread species. Later in the afternoon, we will return to Makassar and take an afternoon flight to Palu, from where we will transfer to Lore Lindu National Park. Night near Lore Lindu National Park.


Day 3-4-5: The famous Lore Lindu National Park is the largest protected area of the island, covering both highland and lowland habitats and home to a great diversity of birds, including numerous highly-desired Sulawesi endemics. We will have three full days to explore this world-famous birding hotspot. We will try to locate some of the finest and rarest Sulawesi endemics, including the striking Purple-bearded Bee-eater, which often nests around the banks formed by old logging roads, Satanic Nightjar, which often gives fantastic views at day roosts, and, if we are very fortunate, the ultra-elusive Geomalia, which is sometimes seen hopping on the trail. We will also track down one of Sulawesi’s prime targets, the much-wanted Hylocitrea (treated as the only member of its family), while the ultra-skulking Great Shortwing is another must-see bird! There are plenty of other key species we will hope for during our journey here, such as Gold-mantled Racket-tail, Ornate and Yellow-cheeked Lorikeets, Purple Needletail, Red-eared Fruit Dove, “Western” Superb Fruit Dove, White-bellied Imperial Pigeon, Dark-eared and White-eared Myzas, Sulawesi Bush Warbler, Malia, Sulawesi Thrush, Sulawesi Drongo, Pygmy and Cerulean Cuckooshrikes, Blue-fronted Blue Flycatcher, Sulawesi Leaf Warbler, Sulphur-vented Whistler and the tricky Maroon-backed Whistler, Crimson-crowned Flowerpecker, Streak-headed White-eye, the elusive Dwarf (or Small) Sparrowhawk, Sulawesi Serpent Eagle, Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher, Sulawesi Myzomela, Fiery-browed Myna, and Sulawesi Pygmy Woodpecker, among others. Nightbirds are much in evidence here, and we will have our first chance to look for Sulawesi Masked Owl, Sulawesi Scops Owl, Speckled Boobook, and the rare Cinnabar Boobook. We will keep an eye out for some rarer specialties such as the nomadic endemic form of Indonesian Serin, Sombre Pigeon, Sulawesi Cuckoo, and Sulawesi Ground Dove. We would be infinitely fortunate to stumble across a Sulawesi Woodcock! Night near Lore Lindu National Park.


Day 6: After some final birding in Lore Lindu National Park, we will transfer back to Palu, with stops on the way in search of Pale-headed Munia and Black-faced Munia, plus maybe Red-backed Buttonquail. Night on Palu.


Day 7: Our travel day starts with an early morning flight to Manado (via Makassar) on the Minahassa Peninsula, from where we will transfer to Kotamobagu for a two-night stay.


Day 8: We will have two full days to explore the lowland forests of Dumoga Bone National Park and nearby areas. Our primary target in the region is the incredible and Critically Endangered Maleo, one of Indonesia’s most unique species. These megapodes use geothermal heat to incubate their eggs, but this intricately evolved nesting strategy has made them vulnerable to harvesting and predation. We will be visiting a nesting ground where local conservationists are carefully protecting the eggs until the chicks hatch. It will certainly require some patience to find a superb adult Maleo, but we should succeed with the help of the excellent local trackers. There are many other key species we will also track down in Dumoga Bone and the surrounding areas, including Isabelline Bush-hen, Oberholser’s Fruit Dove, Yellow-breasted Racket-tail, Bay Coucal, Pied Cuckooshrike, Black-billed Koel, Sulawesi Malkoha, Grey-headed and Silver-tipped Imperial Pigeons, White-faced Cuckoo Dove, Purple-winged Roller, Knobbed Hornbill, Great and Pygmy Hanging Parrots, Ivory-backed Woodswallow, Blue-backed Parrot, Sulawesi Cicadabird, Sulawesi Myna, and the elusive Vinous-breasted Sparrowhawk. Night on Kotamobagu.


Day 9: Our second morning in the Kotamobagu area will be on Gunung Ambang, where our main target will be the rare Matinan Blue Flycatcher. This species is known to occur only in restricted areas of the Minahassa Peninsula. The pre-dawn walk could produce another Cinnabar Boobook subspecies, along with Speckled Boobook. We will also have another chance here for the seldom-seen Sombre Pigeon, along with the always-difficult Scaly-breasted Kingfisher. We will then transit to Tomohon for an overnight stay.


Day 10: This morning we will be birding on Gunung Mahawu and looking for Scaly Kingfisher, which is best seen here. We will also try for Sulawesi Pitta, among others, before continuing towards Tangkoko, where we will have a first full afternoon of birding. We will take a boat ride through some mangroves to look for Great-billed Kingfisher and some other restricted species. Tonight, we will be looking for the rare Minahassa Masked Owl, which we hope to find either tonight or early tomorrow morning! Other nightbirds should include Sulawesi Scops Owl, Sulawesi Nightjar, or Sulawesi Masked Owl. Ochre-bellied Boobook could also be seen, but there’s usually a known roost for that one. Night near Tangkoko National Park.


Day 11: Tangkoko National Park is home to a wealth of lowland Sulawesi endemics, and with the great help and coordination of local guides, we’ll make the most of our full day here locating some hard-to-find birds. Kingfishers are much in evidence here, with Sulawesi Lilac, Sulawesi Dwarf, and Green-backed Kingfishers all expected to be seen on forest trails. Other great birds we’ll be looking for are Red-backed thrush, Ashy Woodpecker, Philippine Megapode, Stephan’s Emerald Dove, Yellow-breasted Racket-tail, Purple-winged Roller, and Pied and White-rumped Cuckooshrikes. Tangkoko is also a good backup site for other more widespread species, should we have missed any previously! The reserve is also famous for mammals, and we may well come across Sulawesi Bear Cuscus, the fascinating Spectral Tarsier, and the Endangered Celebes Crested Macque patrolling the forest. Tonight, we will have a late transfer to Manado for an overnight stay.


Day 12: This morning, we will transfer to Manado Airport and catch a flight to Ternate, followed by a boat ride across the channel to Sidangoli to access the coast of Halmahera. We will keep an eye out for Beach Kingfisher in the nearby mangroves upon arrival. We will then transfer to our hotel in Tobelo, our base for one night. After dinner, we will go out again looking for another prime target, the amazing Moluccan Megapode. A boat ride will take us along dark volcanic beaches where the species is known to lay its eggs. Watching these megapodes visiting their breeding sites in the dark will be a superb highlight of this trip! Night in Tobelo.


Day 13-14-15: We will be driving to Subaim this morning, where the three next nights will be spent. Almost two full days of birding in the Subaim area should allow us to find most, if not all, of the specialties of Halmahera. Parrots will be much in evidence once again, with Moluccan King Parrot, Chattering and Violet-necked Lories, Moluccan Hanging Parrot, and White Cockatoo, while pigeons and doves are also well represented; Scarlet-breasted and Blue-capped Fruit Doves, Spectacled and Cinnamon-bellied Imperial Pigeons, and the beautiful Great Cuckoo-Dove are all possible in the area. We will also search for stunning Ivory-breasted and North Moluccan Pittas, alongside the tricky Azure Roller. Other key species include the recently split Halmahera Golden Bulbul, the local form of Island Leaf Warbler (also known as Halmahera Leaf Warbler) Sombre and Blue-and-white Kingfishers, White-streaked Friarbird, Dusky Myzomela, Moluccan and Halmahera Cuckooshrikes, Halmahera Paradise-crow, Rufous-bellied Triller, Black-chinned and Drab Whistlers, Dusky-brown Oriole, Moluccan Flycatcher, Cream-throated White-eye (an imminent split as Halmahera Leaf Warbler), and Halmahera Flowerpecker. We will also visit the old logging road of Foli. The prize will be the incredible Wallace’s Standardwing; no trip to Halmahera would be complete without watching this incredible bird-of-paradise displaying just a few metres above us, and this will certainly be a trip highlight! Other good birds along the track include Dusky Megapode, Halmahera Swiftlet, Great-billed Parrot, Red-flanked Lorikeet, White-bellied Cuckooshrike, "Halmahera" Common Cicadabird, Halmahera Spangled Drongo, and Moluccan and White-naped Monarchs, plus anything we might have missed on previous days. During our time on the island, we will keep an eye out for raptors, with the scarce Halmahera Goshawk and Gurney’s Eagle possible. At night, we will be kept busy trying to locate the much-wanted Moluccan Owlet-nightjar or anything else we might have missed the day before. Nights in Subaim.


Day 16: From Subaim, we will transfer back to Ternate Airport (TTE), where the tour ends this morning.

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