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Tangkoko Nature Reserve - BirdForum Opus

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View over Tangkoko Nature Reserve
Photo by wintibird, October 2014

Asia, Indonesia


Tangkoko (officially Tangkoko-Batuangus Dua Saudara) is a nature reserve in northern Sulawesi. It covers around 8,700 hectares. Three mountains are inside the reserve: Mount Tangkoko, Mount Dua Saudara and Mount Batuangus. The accessible parts of the park consist of dry old secondary forest.
Several endemic species or difficult to find species can be found in the reserve.


Mangrove forest north of Batuputih
Photo by wintibird, October 2014

Notable Species

Tangkoko is probably the easiest place to see Red-backed Thrush, Sulawesi Pitta, Ochre-bellied Boobook, Sulawesi Dwarf Kingfisher, Sulawesi Nightjar or White-rumped Cuckooshrike. Knobbed Hornbill and Sulawesi Hornbill are more common than in other parts of the island. Other species like Minahassa Masked Owl occur but need luck to see them.


Tangkoko Beach
Photo by wintibird, October 2014

Birds you can see here include:

Lesser Frigatebird, Great-billed Heron, Purple Heron, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Striated Heron, Osprey, Brahminy Kite, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Chinese Goshawk, Sulawesi Goshawk, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Spot-tailed Goshawk, Sulawesi Hawk Eagle, Philippine Megapode, Red Junglefowl, Isabelline Bush-hen, Pacific Golden Plover, Whimbrel, Common Sandpiper, Grey-tailed Tattler, Whiskered Tern, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Pink-necked Green Pigeon, Grey-cheeked Green Pigeon, Grey-headed Imperial Pigeon, Black-naped Fruit Dove, Silver-tipped Imperial Pigeon, Ornate Lorikeet, Blue-backed Parrot, Sulawesi Hanging Parrot, Bay Coucal, Black-billed Koel, Sulawesi Masked Owl, Minahassa Masked Owl, Sulawesi Scops Owl, Ochre-bellied Boobook, Speckled Boobook, Great Eared Nightjar, Sulawesi Nightjar, Uniform Swiftlet, Glossy Swiftlet, Grey-rumped Treeswift, Green-backed Kingfisher, Lilac Kingfisher, Great-billed Kingfisher, Ruddy Kingfisher, Collared Kingfisher, Sacred Kingfisher, Sulawesi Dwarf Kingfisher, Rainbow Bee-eater, Purple-winged Roller, Sulawesi Hornbill, Knobbed Hornbill, Sulawesi Pygmy Woodpecker, Ashy Woodpecker, Sulawesi Pitta, Hooded Pitta, Barn Swallow, Pacific Swallow, Pied Cuckooshrike, White-rumped Cuckooshrike, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Hair-crested Drongo, Black-naped Oriole, Slender-billed Crow, Sulawesi Babbler, Red-backed Thrush, Golden-bellied Gerygone, Pale-blue Monarch, Grey-streaked Flycatcher, Ivory-backed Woodswallow, Finch-billed Myna, White-necked Myna, Brown-throated Sunbird, Olive-backed Sunbird, Black-fronted White-eye, Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Other Wildlife

Sulawesi Crested Macaque is often found around the beach. The guides also know places to see Spectral Tarsier and if you are lucky you may find a Bear Cuscus.

Site Information

History and Use

The reserve has been created by the Dutch in 1919 and was later enlarged. Most of the lowland forest was partially logged and hunting still takes place.

Areas of Interest

Forest behind Tangkoko Beach

A network of paths leads into the forest from the beach. The dry forest has not much undergrowth and many species are easier to find than in other forests. Watch out for Red-backed Thrush, Sulawesi Pitta and Philippine Megapode in early morning. The guides can also lead you to the daytime roost of Ochre-bellied Boobook and they may find you a Sulawesi Dwarf Kingfisher. Green-backed Kingfisher and Lilac Kingfisher occur too.

Open areas near park entrance

Look out here for the endemic White-rumped Cuckooshrike, Purple-winged Roller and raptors.

Mangroves north of Batuputih

The guides or your accomodation can arrange an early morning (or late afternoon) boat trip from Batuputih to the mangroves. Great-billed Kingfisher is probably the star bird here. Great-billed Heron can be seen at the beach, Grey-tailed Tattler spends the winter here and Rainbow Bee-eaters and Pink-necked Green Pigeons fly overhead.

Access and Facilities

The reserve can be reached by road from Manado, the biggest city in northern Sulawesi. Manado has an airport with domestic and a few international flights.
There are several places to stay, most of them along the road to Batuputih. In Batuputih and at the park entrance various lodges and guides advertise their service. Good bird guides charge quite a lot but are usually worth the money. Cheaper guides often don't know the birds and are known to poke Tarsiers with sticks for better pictures. Don't encourage behaviour like this. Various tour operators in Manado can organise your trip to Tangkoko for you.

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