Javan Myna

Trip Reports

Full Day Birding in Mt. Merapi National Park, Jogja

Imam Taufiqurrahman

30 January 2024

A successful one day trip with our US client, Aaron, in Mt Merapi National Park, 13th January. In about seven hours birding around, 32 bird species were seen, with 12 species becoming Aaron’s lifer!

The volcano proved to be one of the best birding locations in Yogyakarta. Despite its volcanic status that made Plawangan Hill (the main birding spot) closed, some areas are still accessible and open to visitors. Even located at a little bit lower elevation, those areas still have some endemic and interesting birds to look for.

Birding in mt. merapi national park
Birding in mt. merapi national park

The trip was accompanied by Arif and Kelik, with Plunyon as our first place to visit. This tourism object is located at c.800 meter in elevation. Within just a few minutes, some birds were seen after we entered the area. A Black-naped Oriole, Scarlet Minivet, Ruddy Cuckoo-dove and Javan Myna quickly filled our list.

It was Raden that first pointed out an unusual bird of prey perched silently across the river. Its white and rufous underparts is unmistakably belong to the Rufous-bellied Eagle, a species that has not been in Yogyakarta’s list!

A new bird to Yogyakarta's list, Rufous-bellied Eagle
A new bird to Yogyakarta's list, Rufous-bellied Eagle

It was a big surprise to encounter this uncommon bird of prey in Java, where it is known only from a few locations. After being observed for a few minutes, it silently flew following the river, but soon after was chased by an Ashy Drongo.

A high pitched call of White-crowned (or Javan) Forktail heard from the river, soon followed by its presence. The bird stood on the rock to give us a clear and good view. Continuing looking around, another bird seen was a Long-tailed Shrike and two Red-breasted Parakeets. It was good start, with about 15 bird species seen during our first two hours.

We then left the area and drove to a slightly higher place to visit a hide in Kaliurang. Plenty of visitors came due to the weekend that might have made just a few birds come to visit: two Javan Whistling-thrushes came first, followed by five Javan Mynas. These two birds chased each other, while some Eastern Spotted Doves came down to join the crowd.

Javan Myna
Javan Myna
Javan Whistling Thrush
Javan Whistling Thrush

The White-crowned (or Javan) Forktail only passed by, without coming to appear in front of us. Luckily, the Javan Kingfisher came and perched close to the hide. It gave Aaron a chance to take some photos of this beautiful kingfisher.

We then moved again, by this time to visit Tlogo Putri, another popular tourism object in the national park. It seems not promising in the beginning as many people also came to visit the place. But, we soon realized it was a mistake as we immediately got a warm welcome by a mix-flock. This active and noisy group consist of Javan Leafbird, Sangkar White-eye, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Great (Cinereous) Tit, Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike and Arctic Warbler.

Even though it only allowed visitors to walk around a small area of the park, we still could continue to see a good number of birds. There were Black-naped Fruit-dove, Black-naped Monarch and Orange-spotted Bulbul. At the end of the park’s corner, a small group of the recently split Javan Scimitar-babbler called from the bushes and appeared to give us a clear view.

A male Black-naped Fruit-dove
A male Black-naped Fruit-dove

Found those birds that made us taste a little bit of Plawangan Hill’s atmosphere. Surely we cannot find other Javan montane specialists of the area as we did not reach higher elevation.

After a lunch break, we did not waste our time and decided to have a short birding, looking for any possibility to see a new bird for Aaron. We visited a grassy open area just below the Plawangan Hill’s entrance.

Close to the entrance, we found a pair of Black-naped Fruit-dove enjoying a Muntingia fruit. Asian Pied Starlings flew in a small groups

This last part was quite productive, as another two endemics found. The first was a Black-banded Barbet that perched and called with its typical calls. Surely we were not expected to see any barbets due to its perfect camouflage attitude. Another bird was two Yellow-throated Hanging-parrot flew across us.

The birding session ended when it started to drizzle. And just around 2 pm, we left the area.

Complete checklist, 13th January 2024

1. Eastern Spotted Dove / Spilopelia chinensis
2. Ruddy Cuckoo-dove / Macropygia emiliana
3. Black-naped Fruit-dove / Ptilinopus melanospilus
4. Cave Swiftlet / Collocalia linchi
5. Brush Cuckoo / Cacomantis variolosus
6. Rufous-bellied Eagle / Lophotriorchis kienerii
7. Javan Kingfisher / Halcyon cyanoventris
8. Black-banded Barbet / Psilopogon javensis
9. Yellow-throated Hanging-parrot / Loriculus pusillus
10. Red-breasted Parakeet / Psittacula alexandri
11. Black-naped Oriole / Oriolus chinensis
12. Scarlet Minivet / Pericrocotus flammeus
13. Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike / Hemipus hirundinaceus
14. Ashy Drongo / Dicrurus leucophaeus
15. Black-naped Monarch / Hypothymis azurea
16. Long-tailed Shrike / Lanius schach
17. Great (Cinereous) Tit / Parus major
18. Barn Swallow / Hirundo rustica
19. Sooty-headed Bulbul / Pycnonotus aurigaster
20. Orange-spotted Bulbul / Pycnonotus bimaculatus
21. Yellow-vented Bulbul / Pycnonotus goiavier
22. Arctic Warbler / Phylloscopus borealis
23. Sangkar White-eye / Zosterops melanurus
24. Javan Scimitar-babbler / Pomatorhinus montanus
25. Velvet-fronted Nuthatch / Sitta frontalis
26. Javan Myna / Acridotheres javanicus
27. Asian Glossy Starling / Aplonis panayensis
28. White-crowned Forktail / Enicurus leschenaulti
29. Javan Whistling-thrush / Myophonus glaucinus
30. Javan Leafbird / Chloropsis cochinchinensis
31. Scaly-breasted Munia / Lonchura punctulata
32. White-headed Munia / Lonchura maja

Heard Only

33. Crested Serpent-eagle / Spilornis cheela
34. Collared Kingfisher / Todiramphus chloris
35. Flame-fronted Barbet / Psilopogon armillaris
36. Lineated Barbet / Psilopogon lineatus
37. Common Iora / Aegithina tiphia
38. Brown Prinia / Prinia polychroa
39. Olive-backed Tailorbird / Orthotomus sepium
40. Striated Grassbird / Megalurus palustris
41. Blood-breasted Flowerpecker / Dicaeum sanguinolentum
42. Little Spiderhunter / Arachnothera longirostra
43. Olive-backed Sunbird / Cinnyris jugularis
44. Javan Sunbird / Aethopyga mystacalis
45. Grey Wagtail / Motacilla cinerea

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