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15 reasons to come birding in Sumatra (1 Viewer)


Nick Brickle

For an island with three international airports, and just a stones throw from Singapore, KL, Bangkok and Jakarta, is there anywhere else in the world that is as easy to get to, but which has as many virtually unknown birds??

These are my top 15 most wanted!

<> Rueck’s Blue Flycatcher – Oops I've lost a flycather. Last seen in 1928… try looking in Arisnapal in Aceh?

<> Black Partridge – somewhere in the swamps of Riau maybe?

<> Sumatran Laughingthrush - Try seeing one away from a bird market. Not easy. Need to get over 1,000m, but wherever the access is easy, the birds are not!

<> Vanderbilts Babbler – With only one record.. does it even exist? Try looking in the hill forest of Aceh?

<> Crestless Fireback – ignore any book that says it is ‘common’… it is not!

<> Sumatran Hill Partridge – look around 1,000 m somewhere. Has recently been recorded from BBS in the south, but not easy...

<> Hook-billed Bulbul – Last record was in 1992 I reckon, trapped in swamp forest of Riau, not been seen since...

<> Blue-wattled Bulbul – Maybe doesn’t even exist – which makes looking for it difficult!

<> Sumatran Ground Cuckoo – With only one confirmed site, still a mega hard bird to see.

<> Sumatran Grey-faced Woodpecker (P.c. dedemi) – Still ‘officially’ a sub-species, but if anyone ever got a decent look at one it would probably be split! Trouble is, no one knows where to look!

<> Silvery wood pigeon – Where did that one go?

<> Enggano anything - white-eye, scops-owl, myna, thrush etc. The last people I know that made it to Enggano got stuck there for a month!

My advice.. come to Sumatra on your next birding trip. Pick a green spot on the map and try and get there. You could find yourself making a genuine ornithological discovery!


regarding the woodie, Pete Morris has certainly seen this. Kerinci perhaps?

the partridge is "easy" to quote Mr Banwell at the laugher site in the south (the laugher is not easy!)

Good luck

A friend of mine saw the endemic Sumatran race of the Grey-headed Woodpecker not too long ago on Gunung Tujuh...but looking at Subandi's notebooks, no one has seen it ever since then

Ding Li
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