Timor, Birding on Timor

Timor, Birding on Timor



Ptilinopus cinctus, Black-backed Fruit-Dove, Walik Putih


Easy access to some great sites and birds. A trip to Timor is well worthwhile.

Key bird species:

Short-toed Eagle; Bonelli’s Eagle; Red-backed Buttonquail; Red-capped Plover; Timor Green-Pigeon; Timor Imperial-Pigeon; Black-backed Fruit-Dove; Slaty Cuckoo-Dove; Olive-headed Lorikeet; Olive-shouldered Parrot; Iris Lorikeet; Green Figbird; Timor Oriole; Timor Bushchat; Timor Stubtail; Buff-banded Bushbird; Black-banded Flycatcher; Timor Blue-Flycatcher; Orange-banded Thrush; Plain Gerygone; Fawn-breasted Whistler; Timor Friarbird; Black-breasted Myzomela; Streak-breasted Honeyeater; Yellow-eared Honeyeater; Black-faced Woodswallow; Timor White-eye; Red-chested Flowerpecker; Red Avadavat; Five-coloured Munia; Timor Sparrow

Birdwatching locations:

The island of Timor supports a large number of endemics, almost all of which can be seen with relative ease in a trip of only a few days to the Indonesian side of the island. Only two of the island’s endemics are only reliably found in the eastern side of the Island, in Timor Leste; Timor Green Pigeon and Timor [Pheasant] Coucal. The sites described below include the most commonly visited areas, which give you a shot at everything West Timor has to offer.

This is the name given to a small degraded patch of lowland forest not far from Kupang. Despite the size of the forest patch, and its condition, Bipolo is an excellent site to visit and supports many of Timor’s endemic birds. Coming by road Kupang you will cross a bridge at the eastern end of the forest and the road then cuts through the trees for about 1.5 km, before emerging at a village on the far side. Around half way along the road bends to the right and there is a huge fig tree on the left at the bend. This is a great spot to start, as the tree invariably seems to hold many pigeon, including Black-backed Fruit-Dove and Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove, also Green Figbird. Birding along the road, and on the many foot trails that enter the forest, should then start to get you birds such as Olive-shouldered Parrot, Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher, Timor Oriole, Timor Stubtail, Buff-banded Bushbird, Timor Blue-Flycatcher, Black-breasted Myzomela, Streak-breasted Honeyeater, Plain Gerygone and Red-chested Flowerpecker. The forest patch also supports one of Timor’s most wanted: Orange-banded Thrush. During the wet-season (Nov-Apr) the forest also supports many Elegant Pitta, but these appear to be completely absent during the dry season.

By following the road through the forest to the village on the far side, then turning immediately left to follow a track south along the edge of the forest (by foot or car) you soon emerge onto the edge of a vast open area of wet rice paddy. Before you enter the rice paddy area proper, take a good look around the scrubby edges. This is one of the most reliable places to see Timor Sparrow, and Zebra Finch, Five-coloured Munia and Brown Quail are also often seen. Scan the dead trees in this area to look for Black-faced Woodswallow and keep an eye on the sky above for raptors including Short-toed Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle and Spotted and Australian Kestrel.

Continuing into the rice paddy areas, you can pick up more munia and zebra finch, and also look out for Red Avadvat. By continuing south on the same trail, across the centre of the rice paddy area, you come to the end of the road at the edge of an area of fish ponds. Take a walk out onto the earth banks and look out for Red-capped Plover, for which this area always seems to hold a few. Also scan the flocks of Sunda Teal as there can be a few Grey Teal mixed in.

You have to admit that is quite a list of birds for an area of forest of only about 1 ha, that when you first arrive will probably make you think ‘is this it??!’.


The next stop on the road east is Camplong. This is the name of a village, behind which is some nice condition forest below a ridge. The altitude here is around 300m and the birds start to change in their general composition. Follow the main road through the village until you almost reach the other (eastern) side. There is then a unpaved track heading south, which after 200m comes to a T-junction. Turn left (east) here and after another 200m the track enters nice forest. Lots of paths head into the forest around here and are all worth exploring.

The birding is great in all of these wooded areas with birds regularly seen here including Slaty Cuckoo-Dove, Timor White-eye (Dark-eye), Buff-banded Bushbird (easy to hear; surprisingly difficult to see!), Island Monarch, Spectacled Monarch, Timor Stubtail, Timor Blue-Flycatcher, Orange-banded Thrush, Timor Bushchat and Plain Gerygone. It is also possible to see Black-banded Flycatcher and Yellow-eared Honeyeater here, but they are not so common. By night the tracks around Camplong are a good place to try for Southern Boobook.

Soe (Ole Nasi)

A couple of hours drive to the east, the land starts to rise and before you reach the town of Soe you pass a nice patch of forest known as Ole Nasi, that is definitely worth a visit. The entrance to the forest is not obvious from the main road (see map). On a right hand bend there is a single house, and it is from this house the trail heads north, first through a bit of scrub and secondary growth, and then into the forest. If you turn up at the house on the corner they will know what you are looking for, and chances are one of the kids will show you the way for a small tip.

The main trail heads in more or less a straight line, passing one small grassy clearing after around 500m, then coming to a second, bigger clearing after another 500m. The birding is good all along the trail, and from the clearings. Look out especially for both Orange-banded Thrush and Black-banded Flycatcher, as both are found here. Other species regularly seen include Slaty-cuckoo Dove (try from the clearings), Olive-shouldered Parrot, Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher, Black-breasted Myzomela, Streak-breasted Honeyeater, Timor Friarbird, Plain Gerygone and Red-chested Flowerpecker, Buff-banded Bushbird, Timor Stubtail, Timor Blue-Flycatcher, Timor Bushchat, Dusky Cuckoo-Dove (near second clearing) and Barred Dove. Timor White-eye has also been recorded here. Look for raptors from the clearings, including Bonelli’s Eagle that is regularly seen here.

Gunung Mutis

From the town of Soe roads head north towards West Timor’s highest point at Gunung Mutis. You will want to head this way too to complete the round up of endemics! From the village of Fatumnasi a track heads north and soon enters a bizarre park-like forest of big trees and grassy under-storey. This area lies above 1,500 m and the birds are distinctly different to those of the other sites mentioned above. If you are arriving early in the morning from Soe what will immediately hit you is the number of parrots flying around: Olive-headed Lorikeet is abundant here, and mixed in with them are a few Iris Lorikeet. The latter you can see anywhere up here, so just keep checking parrots until you meet one. Yellow-eared Honeyeater and Timor Leaf-Warbler are also pretty abundant up here.

A good spot to aim for is about half way along the track (which eventually descends down to another village on the other side), at about the highest point. Look out for a pond and clearing on the right (north) of the road. The pond may be dry when you visit, but it should still be obvious enough. Park here and then look for a less distinct trail (an old logging track) that heads past the pond and continues east into nice condition forest with a much fuller under-storey. This trail continues for around 3 km, eventually coming out by a massive clearing (you cant miss it!) and gives you nice views of Gunung Mutis itself. Where this side trail first enters more dense forest, just beyond the pond, is a great place to try for Chestnut-backed Thrush, and also the slightly strange Timor subspecies of Pygmy Wren-Babbler (no idea how that ended up here!). Closer to the big clearing at the other end of the trail, the path follows a ridge line. Check the big trees along the edge of the drop-off for one of Timor’s hardest endemics, Timor Imperial Pigeon. Look out here also for Metallic Pigeon. Scanning around from the big clearing might get you more pigeons and parrots or big raptors, or it might just get you sunburnt.

Access and Accommodation:

Getting to West Timor is easy by air. The airport is the closest thing to a transport hub in this part of Indonesia and has regular flights from Jakarta and Bali, as well as connecting flights to other towns and cities in the Lesser Sundas.

The airport lies just outside of the city, and depending on your plans, you will probably find yourself heading into Kupang for at least your first nights accommodation. The nicest and most convenient places to stay lie along the coast road into town. At the ‘top’ end of hotels there is the ‘Hotel Kristal’ while further into town there is also the very reasonable ‘Timor Beach Hotel’. Take a look at a guide like Lonely Planet for more idea of what is on offer to suit you.

To get around Timor the easiest option by far is to charter a car and driver for your whole stay (see more below). If this is beyond your price range however then you can still get to all the sites by combinations of public transport (you can get anywhere in Indonesia by public transport if you have the time and patience). The best bet for up-to-date information is to interrogate the hosts at your chosen accommodation as to how to complete the next leg of your journey. Guide books like Lonely Planet also have useful information on public transport.

Bipolo lies around 1.5 hours drive from Kupang, and as there are no accommodation options locally it is easiest to visit the site as a day trip from Kupang, or as part of an onward heading mission towards Camplong/Soe.

Camplong lies pretty close to Bipolo, and also around 1.5 hours drive from Kupang. There is a possibility of accommodation in Camplong, at a Catholic guesthouse run by nuns, ‘Wisma Oe Mat Honis’ (phone +62-380-850006). Alternatively, it is easy enough to avoid the need to stay in Camplong altogether by either visiting the site as a day trip from Kupang, or by making the onward drive to Soe after you have finished birding for the morning or evening.

In Soe there are several accommodation option, the most often used of which is probably the Hotel Bahagia II (+62-388-21095), although the alternatives are equivalent in quality. To visit Ole Nasi nearby the drive is only around 15 minutes, so Soe is the best base to visit there.

To visit the Gunung Mutis area the drive is around 2 hrs from Soe. There is a small, basic homestay in the village of Fatumasi run by a guy called Mathius Anin. To find him try asking around the village, or try his mobile phone (+6285239890563). Alternatively, you can visit the site direct from Soe (an early start so you get to the forest for dawn) and then simply return to Soe at the end of the day.

In terms of local guides, at time of writing we are not really aware of any that are based in Timor. Several of the domestic travel agents in Indonesia, however, have staff that have visited Timor on birding trips and will know their way around. Alternatively, we know of one car and driver who has regularly ferried around birding groups, and so knows all of the sites listed above. He doesn’t speak English, and wont come with you birding, but he will deliver you to exactly where you want to be and then you can simply find all the birds yourself. If you fancy this option, brush up your Indonesian and then try Pak Yanto on +62-813-3716-7989. The other way to get a car and driver sorted is to try any of the hotels in Kupang, as they will know where to find one, or try the small bar ‘L’Avalon’ (lavalon_e@hotmail.com) near the Timor Beach Hotel, as the owner speaks excellent English and regularly organises sightseeing tours for foreign backpackers visiting Timor (the bar also sells cold beers.. which you don’t get from the nuns in Camplong for example!). You might even be able to organise a car in advance by contacting L’Avalon before you arrive. If you take a car and driver with you for a few days, you will normally be expected to provide their accommodation and meals, unless you negotiate otherwise in advance.

Bipolo, Camplong and Gunung Mutis are all forest area under some management authority of the forestry department (Bipolo is a ‘Nature Reserve’, Camplong a ‘Recreation Forest’ and Gunung Mutis a National Park) but they are not big on formalities and so no advance preparation is really required. If you bump into forestry dept staff at any of the sites just try offering to pay a small retrospective ‘entrance fee’…

More info:

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Site map:

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Timor West Tours

Timor West Tours


Fatumnas Village 


We will pick you at your hotel in Bali and transfer to the airport leaving for Kupang in the west Timor. On arrival at Kupang airport, our local staff will meet and greet you  at the airport before drive to Soe. On you way, a stop will be made at Oebelo village to view the process of making Sasando Music instrument. On arrival in Soe direct check in at your hotel.

After breakfast at the hotel, a morning visit to Buat National park and Oehala waterfall. Enjoy the refreshment among the beautiful tropical nature of west Timor. After lunch drive to Kefamenanu with stop at Niki-Niki to see the old place of King Nope and his royal tombs. Afternoon arrive in Kefamenanu and check in at your hotel.

After breakfast, a morning visit Maslete traditional village and Oelolok to see the place of King Taolin. After lunch drive to Kupang. Late afternoon arrive in Kupang and check in at your hotel.

After breakfast, transfer to the airport to depart for Bali or your next destination. On your arrival in Bali, transfer to your hotel.

– Timor Nature Reserves, Birding

Timor Nature Reserves,  Birding


Lesser Sunda Birding (15 Days / 14 Nights) lesser-sunda01 DAY 1 Morning flight Denpasar to Kupang by Merpati or Trans Nusa. Arrive Kupang, drive to Camplong. Day and night birding in Camplong. Stay at Catholic Seminary in Camplong Village DAY 2 Early AM birding in Camplong. PM Birding in Bipolo. Night birding in Camplong. Stay at Catholic Seminary in Camplong Village. DAY 3 AM birding in Bipolo. Drive to Soe, check in at Wisma Bahagia II. PM Birding in Kapan till dusk.lesser-sunda02 DAY 4 Early AM drive to Mt. Mutis. All day birding in Mutis including en-route birding in Kapan on the way back to Soe. Late afternoon drive back to Kupang. Stay at Flobamor Hotel.lesser-sunda03 DAY 5 For more Details Itinerary please contact us.

Roti Tanjung Pukuwatu Game Reserve



Roti Tanjung Pukuwatu Game Reserve

Longitude (DD) 123.31631347
Latitude (DD) -10.53225380
Designation Game Reserve
Status Proposed
Current Status Not Known
IUCN Category Not Known
Documented Total Area (ha) 6.000
GIS Total Area (ha) 6.495

Roti Danau Usipoka Undun Nature Reserve


Roti Danau Usipoka Undun Nature Reserve

Latitude : 10 35 55 S Logitude : 123 27 60 E
Altitude : 0 to 50 metres
Area : 15000 ha Wetlands: 9888 ha
Site Description
Two lakes occur in this site, the Lake Usipoka and Lake Undun, with average width of 3,500 and 6,388 ha respectively. The surrounding area is mainly savanna forest. Coral reefs, seagrass beds, and beaches occur on coastal area of Tanjung Pukuatu and Bakau Harlu.
Site Location
The site is located at Roti island, south-west of Timor island. The nearest town is Kupang.

Roti Rote-Harlu Wildlife Reserve


Roti-Harlu Wildlife Reserve

Longitude (DD) 123.40563779
Latitude (DD) -10.51141504
Designation Wildlife Reserve
Status Designated
Current Status Not Known
Establishment Year 1993
IUCN Category Not Known
Documented Total Area (ha) 2000
Wildlife HARLU
Basic setting:
Based on the Decree of the Minister of Forestry
Number: 84/Kpts-II/1993
Date: 16 February 1993
Size: 2000 acres
– government administration lies in West Nusa Tenggara Province
Timur, Kabupaten Kupang, Rote Eastern District,
– The forestry administration is located in East Nusa Tenggara Provincial Forestry Department,
Branch Office in Kupang, NTT Forestry, Forest Resort Pemangkuan
Sub East Rote.
Situated on 123 “25 ‘North Latitude 42 -ª 35 south latitude,
Boundary region:
– In the north bordering the Strait of USU,
– South side is bordered by the Timor Sea,
– Bordering West Timor Sea
– East side is bordered by the Timor Sea.
The existence of wildlife species mermaid, deer and pelicans are migratory birds
The main consideration determining the function of this area as a wildlife preserve.
Type consists of alluvial soil, Mediterranean and bromosol.
Vegetation types that dominate the forest Harlu Wildlife, the
is representative of forest ecosystem types of terrain are, consist of forest
natural and mangrove forests.
Some tree species (flora) are dominant among the Gewang
(Corypha gebanga), palm (Borrasus flabelifer), Kesambi (Schleichera oleosa),
pandanus (Pandanus tectorius), kedondong forest (Lamea grandus), kepok
(Gossampinus malabarica), fig (Ficus sp), bamboo (Bambusa sp),
Rhizophora sp and Sonneratia sp.
As for the types of fauna found in this area include the deer
timor (Cervus timorensis), cow (Dugong dugong), great-great (Haliaretus
leucogaster), sea pigeons (Sterna sp), eagle (Elanus sp), forest pigeons
(Columba sp), birds pelicans (Pelicanus roseus), alap-alap (Falco moluccensis),
white heron (Egretta sacra), cuckoo (Streptopelia chinensis)
From Kota Kupang, Harlu Wildlife can be achieved through the
communications as follows:
Sea Line
Line can be reached by sea travel route:
Kupang – New Beach (Rote Island) by ferry boat (about 4 hours),
continued by road to the location.
Land Line
This point can be reached by the following routes:
Pantai Baru – Harlu a distance of about 46 km can be achieved by
public transport with travel time approximately 1 hour 10 minutes.
Central KSDA NTT
Jl. Five Palm Pilot Independence
PO. BOX. Kupang, NTT 1014
Tel. / Fax. [0380] 83,221

Timor Pulau Rusa Hunting Park


Pulau Rusa Hunting Park

Click to Enlarge !


Pulau Rusa Hunting Park is a 1,500 ha. site on the island Rusa, which is located between the well-known whalers islands Lembata and Pantar, north of Timor. The park mainly consists of savanna with, as the name implies, many deer.
No exact data available but the island should be accessible from Lembata or Alor. To get to Lembata take the weekly plane from Kupang. Alor is more easily accessed: four times a week by plane and a weekly boat from Kupang.
* Lembata – Lewoleba
o Losmen Rejeki
* Alor – Kalabahi
o Hotel Adi Dharma
o Hotel Melati
o Hotel Marlina

* Rusa deer – Cervus timorensis

* Estuarine Crocodile – Crocodylus porosus

Timor Perhatu Game Reserve


Perhatu Game Reserve

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Longitude (DD) 123.38333300
Latitude (DD) -10.28333300
Designation Game Reserve
Status Designated
Current Status Not Known
Establishment Year 1993
IUCN Category IV
Documented Total Area (ha) 1000

* Located in the South Island inland Semau
* The administrative governance at subdistrict Semau Dati II Kupang regency.
* Potential
* Having a representative vegetation types of mangrove forest ecosystems, coastal forest, dry forest and limestone lowlands.
* The vegetation of mangrove forests: Rhizophora sp, bruguera gymnorhiza, ketapan (Terminalia catappa), sea hibiscus (hibiscus tiliacus), baringtonia asiatica and pandan (Pandanus tectorius).
* Lowland forest vegetation: palm (borrasus flabelifer), teak (Tectona grandis), banyan (ficus benjamina), coconut (Cocos nucifera), EMBA (Podocarpus imbricatus), kapok (ceiba pentandra), ampupu (eucalyptus urophylla) and alangalang ( Imperata cylindrical)
* Type of fauna: Timor deer (Cervus timorensis), partridge (galus gallus), gull (Sterna sp), koa-kiu (phylemon inornatus), eagle (Elanus sp), pelican (pelicanus roseus), robin (Pycnonotus aurigaster), white heron (Egretta sacra), small white cockatoo yellow-crested (Cacatua sulphurea), sparrow (Munia maja).

– Timor Map Nature Reserves

Timor Map Nature Reserves

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Timor, Nature Reserve, Cagar Alam,  Wildlife Reserve, Suaka Margasatwa,  Hunting Game Reserve, Taman Buru,  Grand Forest Park, Taman Hutan Raya,  Nature and Recreation Park, Taman Wisata Alam,
Timor, Nature Reserve, Cagar Alam,  Wildlife Reserve, Suaka Margasatwa,  Hunting Game Reserve, Taman Buru,  Grand Forest Park, Taman Hutan Raya,  Nature and Recreation Park, Taman Wisata Alam,
Timor has 7 Nature Reserves
Pulau Rusa Hunting Park
Teluk Kupang Marine Recreation Park
Camplong Recreation Park
Gunung Mutis Protection Forest
Dataran Bena Hunting Park and
Pulau Menipo Wildlife Reserve

Gunung Kateri Wildlife Reserve and
Rawa Mangrove Maubesi Nature Reserve

Pulau Ndana Wildlife Reserve

16 Proposed Nature Reserves

Bakau Pantai Perhatu
Baun Forest Recreation Park
Danau Tuadale Wildlife Reserve
Tanjung Oisina Mangrove Swamp Game Reserve
Gunung Timau Forest Reserve
Herman Yohannes Grand Forest Park
Manipo Nature Recreation Park
Perhalu Game Reserve

Rawa Mangrove Maubesi
Tilomar Game Reserve
Teluk Pelikan Nature Reserve
Watu Panggota/Bondokapu Game Reserve
Rote-Danau Usipoka-Undun
Rote-Tanjung Pukuwatu Game Reserve
Rote-Harlu Wildlife Reserve

Timor Rawa Mangrove Maubesi Nature Reserve


Rawa Mangrove Maubesi Nature Reserve

Click to Enlarge !


Click to Enlarge !


Latitude : 9 33 60 S Logitude : 125 13 34 E
Altitude : 0 to 30 metres
Area : 3246 ha Wetlands: 1100 ha
Legislation : SK No. 394/Kpts/Um/5/1981, 7-5-1981.
Tenure : Provincial Forest Service East Nusa Tenggara
Site Description
A lowland area with about 1,100 ha of undisturbed mangrove swamp. Inland, there are some curious cold mud volcanoes. These have a potential for tourism. There are also some sandy beaches. The landscape is very attractive. It represents a fast disappearing wetland habitat in this region. Principal vegetation: Mangal communities are in good condition. The flora includes Rhizophora, Sonneratia, Bruguiera, Avicennia.

List of Birds (6 species)

Species Red Data Book Cites
Actitis hypoleucos
Bubulcus ibis
Ciconia episcopus
Egretta intermedia
Numenius arquata
Pandion haliaetus App II

List of Reptiles (5 species)

Species Red Data Book Cites
Cerberus rhynchops
Crocodylus porosus Vulnerable App II
Eretmochelys imbricata Critically Endengered App I
Mabuya multifasciata
Varanus salvator App II

List of Vegetations (4 species)

Species Red Data Book Cites
Avicennia sp.
Bruguiera sp.
Rhizophora sp.
Sonneratia sp.