Javan Kingfisher

Trip Reports

Jatimulyo-Borobudur Temple Trip

Imam Taufiqurrahman

07 June 2024

Note: Thanks to our cilents, Rachel & Eve, for proof and edited this trip report. Thanks for kindly  shared the birds photos here. The credit belong to them.

Rainy weather is something you do not expect in the dry season, but might happen when you visit Java – like our Jatimulyo-Borobudur trip with two clients from Singapore on May 24, 2024. Still, we were fortunate to spot all our target birds during this photography trip: Javan Kingfisher, Rufous-backed Dwarf-kingfisher, Javan Sunbird, and Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon.

Rain was pouring during our travel to Jatimulyo village. Fortunately, it subsided after we left the city and entered Yogyakarta’s rural areas. Without wasting any more time, we headed directly to the hide to find the kingfishers.

However, waiting for the kingfishers on that cloudy day required a lot of patience. It took over an hour until the Rufous-backed Dwarf Kingfisher finally appeared at our hide. Even then, this small orange kingfisher did not come too close initially. After a while, the bird finally approached the hide, and our clients managed to photograph it.

As for the Javan Kingfisher, it took more than two hours for the bird to show up. But the wait was worth it. This Java and Bali endemic stayed at the hide for quite some time, returning a couple of times to feed on crickets and bathed.

Rufous-backed Dwarf-kingfisher
Rufous-backed Dwarf-kingfisher
Javan Kingfisher

While waiting for the kingfisher, the Rufous-browed or Javan Black-capped Babbler kept us company. This endemic babbler, which was recently split from its relatives in Sumatra and Kalimantan, playfully explored the area around the hide, and even wandered into the hide to the surprise of both bird and humans.

Rufous-browed Babbler
Rufous-browed Babbler

We left the hide and waited for the nectar feeders to visit one of the tapped coconut flowers nearby. The Orange-bellied Flowerpecker was the first to appear, followed by the Brown-throated Sunbird. Both male and female birds made an appearance. Briefly, we also spotted the Javan or Streaky-breasted Spiderhunter. A Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker joined the scene, diligently searching for insects.

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
Brown-throated Sunbird
A pair of Brown-throated Sunbird

Unexpectedly, a Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo arrived silently and perched nearby. We were grateful that it stayed for a couple of minutes, allowing us to capture some photographs.

Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo
Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo

The trip continued with our search for the Javan Sunbird. Our experienced villagers, Kelik and Kasidi, informed us about an active nest. When we reached the location, the female was inside, occasionally popping her head out. Meanwhile, the male perched high in a tree above us. During our walk, a Horsfield’s Babbler stealthily moved through the low shrubs.

Next, we visited one of the villagers’ gardens, where Kelik pointed out a male Javan Sunbird feeding on Hibiscus flowers. It flitted from one flower to another, and it took a while to capture a good photograph.

This marked our last discovery in the village, as rain arrived during our lunchtime, prompting us to leave and continue our journey to Borobudur Temple ahead of schedule.

Scally-breasted Spiderhunter
Scally-breasted Spiderhunter

Despite our visit occurring a day after Vaisak Day, the 8th-century temple was still crowded with visitors. On the day of this Buddhist ceremony, approximately 37,000 people had visited due to the long weekend and national holiday celebrations.

The crowds in Borobudur Temple
The crowds in Borobudur Temple

Just after we entered the park’s gate, light rain began to fall. Undeterred, we climbed up to the temple, donning our ponchos to join the temple tour. For about an hour, our guide shared the history and stories depicted in the reliefs. Unfortunately, no birds were spotted during this part of the tour, except for the common and widespread Cave Swiftlet.

However, after the temple tour concluded, we finally found our target. A male Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon was perched on a tree. As we approached, we noticed another pigeon perched nearby. This Java, Bali and Sulawesi endemic marked the satisfying end to our trip.

Bird list

1. Grey-cheeked Green-pigeon Treron griseicauda
2. Cave Swiftlet Collocalia linchi
3. Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris
4. Rufous-backed Dwarf-kingfisher Ceyx rufidorsa
5. Javan Kingfisher Halcyon cyanoventris
6. Sunda Pgymy Woodpecker Picoides moluccensis
7. Rufous-browed Babbler Pellorneum capistratum
8. Horsfield’s Babbler Malacocincla sepiaria
9. Orange-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum trigonostigma
10. Streaky-breasted Spiderhunter Arachnothera affinis
11. Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis
12. Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis
13. Javan Sunbird Aethopyga mystacalis

Other species:

1. Plaintain Squirrel Callosciurus notatus

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