North Sulawesi Gunung Ambang Nature Reserve

North Sulawesi

Gunung Ambang Nature Reserve

Gunung Ambang, Ambang,  Nature Reserve, Cagar Alam,
Gunung Ambang Nature Reserve comprises an area of 8,638 ha in North Sulawesi province. The reserve is named after the active volcano Gunung Ambang (1,780 m).
The site consists of small lakes, among others Danau Moaat, surrounded by steep mountains with lush mountain forest, rich in ferns and orchids. The scenery, which includes sulphur fumaroles and steaming mudpools, is very attractive.
From Karombasan station in Manado take a bus to Kotamobagu (4 hrs.). From there catch a bus to Bong Kudai Baru (30 min.), where you”ll find a small PHPA office. Kotamobagu can also be reached from Doloduo (1 hr.), a village near Bogani Nani Wartabone National Park, or Gorontalo (9 hrs.). Inquire at the PHPA/KSDA offices in Gorontalo or Doloduo whether you need a permit to enter the reserve.
* Kotamobagu
o Several simple losmen
PHPA, Jl. Gajah Mada, Gorontalo.
KSDA, Doloduo.
PHPA, Bong Kudai Baru.
Gunung Ambang can be climbed from Bong Kudai Baru in 2 hrs.
* Celebes black macaque – Macaca nigra
* Sulawesi tarsier – Tarsius spectrum
* Sulawesi palm civet – Macrogalidia musschenbroekii
* Lowland anoa – Bubalus depressicornis

* Philippine Scrubfowl – Megapodius cumingii
* Blue-breasted Quail – Coturnix chinensis
* Red Junglefowl – Gallus gallus
* Spotted Whistling-Duck – Dendrocygna guttata
* Sulawesi Woodpecker – Dendrocopos temminckii
* Ashy Woodpecker – Mulleripicus fulvus
* Sulawesi Hornbill – Penelopides exarhatus
* Knobbed Hornbill – Aceros cassidix
* Purple-winged Roller – Coracias temminckii
* Common Kingfisher – Alcedo atthis
* Lilac-cheeked Kingfisher – Cittura cyanotis
* Black-billed Kingfisher – Pelargopsis melanorhyncha
* Collared Kingfisher – Todirhamphus chloris
* Sacred Kingfisher – Todirhamphus sanctus
* Scaly-breasted Kingfisher – Actenoides princeps
* Rainbow Bee-eater – Merops ornatus
* Blue-tailed Bee-eater – Merops philippinus
* Plaintive Cuckoo – Cacomantis merulinus
* Drongo Cuckoo – Surniculus lugubris
* Asian Koel – Eudynamys scolopacea
* Black-billed Koel – Eudynamys melanorhyncha
* Yellow-billed Malkoha – Phaenicophaeus calyorhynchus
* Lesser Coucal – Centropus bengalensis
* Bay Coucal – Centropus celebensis
* Ornate Lorikeet – Trichoglossus ornatus
* Golden-mantled Racquet-tail – Prioniturus platurus
* Blue-backed Parrot – Tanygnathus sumatranus
* Sulawesi Hanging-Parrot – Loriculus stigmatus
* Glossy Swiftlet – Collocalia esculenta
* Sulawesi Owl – Tyto rosenbergii
* Sulawesi Scops-Owl – Otus manadensis
* Ochre-bellied Hawk-Owl – Ninox ochracea
* Speckled Hawk-Owl – Ninox punctulata
* Great Eared-Nightjar – Eurostopodus macrotis
* Red Collared-Dove – Streptopelia tranquebarica
* Slender-billed Cuckoo-Dove – Macropygia amboinensis
* White-faced Cuckoo-Dove – Turacoena manadensis
* Maroon-chinned Fruit-Dove – Ptilinopus subgularis
* Superb Fruit-Dove – Ptilinopus superbus
* Black-naped Fruit-Dove – Ptilinopus melanospila
* White-bellied Imperial-Pigeon – Ducula forsteni
* Grey-headed Imperial-Pigeon – Ducula radiata
* Green Imperial-Pigeon – Ducula aenea
* Elegant Imperial-Pigeon – Ducula concinna
* White Imperial-Pigeon – Ducula luctuosa
* White Imperial-Pigeon – Ducula luctuosa
* Sombre Pigeon – Cryptophaps poecilorrhoa
* Barred Rail – Gallirallus torquatus
* Buff-banded Rail – Gallirallus philippensis
* Snoring Rail – Aramidopsis plateni
* Bald-faced Rail – Gymnocrex rosenbergii
* White-breasted Waterhen – Amaurornis phoenicurus
* White-browed Crake – Porzana cinerea
* Purple Swamphen – Porphyrio porphyrio
* Common Moorhen – Gallinula chloropus
* Osprey – Pandion haliaetus

* Brahminy Kite – Haliastur indus
* White-bellied Fish-Eagle – Haliaeetus leucogaster
* Sulawesi Serpent-Eagle – Spilornis rufipectus
* Vinous-breasted Sparrowhawk – Accipiter rhodogaster
* Grey-faced Buzzard – Butastur indicus
* Black Eagle – Ictinaetus malayensis
* Oriental Darter – Anhinga melanogaster
* Cinnamon Bittern – Ixobrychus cinnamomeus
* Great-billed Heron – Ardea sumatrana
* Pied Heron – Ardea picata
* Cattle Egret – Bubulcus ibis
* Hooded Pitta – Pitta sordida
* Dark-eared Myza – Myza celebensis
* White-eared Myza – Myza sarasinorum
* Maroon-backed Whistler – Coracornis raveni
* Sulphur-bellied Whistler – Pachycephala sulfuriventer
* Slender-billed Crow – Corvus enca
* Black-naped Oriole – Oriolus chinensis
* Cerulean Cuckooshrike – Coracina temminckii
* Pied Cuckooshrike – Coracina bicolor
* White-rumped Cuckooshrike – Coracina leucopygia
* Sulawesi Cicadabird – Coracina morio
* Rusty-bellied Fantail – Rhipidura teysmanni
* Hair-crested Drongo – Dicrurus hottentottus
* Sulawesi Drongo – Dicrurus montanus
* Black-naped Monarch – Hypothymis azurea
* Red-backed Thrush – Zoothera erythronota
* Sulawesi Thrush – Cataponera turdoides
* Island Thrush – Turdus poliocephalus
* Great Shortwing – Heinrichia calligyna
* Rufous-throated Flycatcher – Ficedula rufigula
* Little Pied Flycatcher – Ficedula westermanni
* Blue-fronted Flycatcher – Cyornis hoevelli
* Sulawesi Blue-Flycatcher – Cyornis omissus
* Citrine Canary-Flycatcher – Culicicapa helianthea
* White-necked Myna – Streptocitta albicollis
* Fiery-browed Myna – Enodes erythrophris
* Finch-billed Myna – Scissirostrum dubium
* Pacific Swallow – Hirundo tahitica
* Malia – Malia grata
* Golden-headed Cisticola – Cisticola exilis
* Mountain White-eye – Zosterops montanus
* Lemon-bellied White-eye – Zosterops chloris
* Black-crowned White-eye – Zosterops atrifrons
* Chestnut-backed Bush-Warbler – Bradypterus castaneus
* Mountain Tailorbird – Orthotomus cuculatus
* Sulawesi Leaf-Warbler – Phylloscopus sarasinorum
* Sulawesi Babbler – Trichastoma celebense
* Yellow-sided Flowerpecker – Dicaeum aureolimbatum
* Grey-sided Flowerpecker – Dicaeum celebicum
* Black Sunbird – Nectarinia aspasia
* Olive-backed Sunbird – Nectarinia jugularis
* Eurasian Tree Sparrow – Passer montanus
* Yellow Wagtail – Motacilla flava
* Grey Wagtail – Motacilla cinerea
* Black-faced Munia – Lonchura molucca
* Scaly-breasted Munia – Lonchura punctulata

* Rabdion forsteni
* Rhabdophis chrysargoides
* Cylindrophis melanotus

* Celebes Toad – Bufo celebensis
* Limnonectes modestus
* Phrynoglossus laevis
* Rana papua

Birdwatching Areas: Gunung Ambang Nature Reserve, North Sulawesi

by Jon Riley, from OBC Bulletin 32, December 2000.

The Indonesian island of Sulawesi, lying at the heart of Wallacea, is famous for its unique array of species: at least 88 bird species are found nowhere else in the world. The majority of these endemics are restricted to the island’s montane areas and has become familiar to birdwatchers visiting the impressive Lore Lindu National Park in central Sulawesi (1-3). However, away from Lore Lindu, many mountain ranges remain little explored.

A chain of mountains runs along almost the entire length of the northern peninsula of Sulawesi. In the west this forms the Tentolo-Matinan range and reaches heights of over 2,000 m, whilst to the east the huge Bogani Nani Wartabone (Dumoga Bone) National Park includes extensive areas of montane forest. The only recent surveys of these mountains revealed a diverse avifauna with many exciting endemics (4).

To the east of the national park lies the small – 8,000 ha – Cagar Alam (Nature Reserve) Gunung Ambang. Like many reserves throughout Indonesia, Ambang has not been surveyed in detail and the biological diversity it supports has yet to be adequately documented. In November 1999 I led a team of scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society – Indonesia Program in Sulawesi on the first in-depth surveys to be conducted at the reserve. These led to the discovery of two of Sulawesi’s threatened endemics – Matinan Flycatcher Cyornis sanfordi and the recently described Cinnabar Hawk Owl Ninox ios (5). We also found that the reserve was an excellent birding site, easy to reach from the provincial town of Kotamobagu, and a visit to Ambang could be combined with a stay at the Toraut research station at Dumoga Bone, already a popular location with birders. Below I provide details of access, accommodation, and the more interesting species.

Access and accommodation
The reserve is under the administration of the National Park office in Kotamobagu and birders must obtain permits from here; the office is out of town in Mongkonai (get a mikrolet – blue minibus) on Jalan AKD, telephone 0434-22548. Kotamobagu is served by buses from Manado (where there is an airport with international and domestic flights) and Gorontalo (for people arriving from Palu/Lore Lindu).

Birders visiting Ambang will have to be accompanied by a ranger – not only is this advisable given the area’s remoteness, but rangers can also assist with language and organising food/accommodation close to the site. Daily rates are usually between US$3 and US$5. These rangers are used to the demands of birders – such as early starts – and know their birds; check at the park office.

Access to the best birding areas is from the village of Singsingon, located at a chilly 1000 m. The village can be reached by a crowded public bus – one hour – from the centre of Kotamobagu or alternatively one can charter a bus direct to the village for a more comfortable ride; expect to pay about US$5. Ask the park office for help.

There is no official accommodation in Singsingon but visiting birders can stay in the nature reserve guard post at the edge of the village. The post has running water and electricity, but no beds (at November 1999) and visitors need to bring camping mats or similar. Accommodation can also be sought in Singsingon village with a local family – contact Yulius Domingus (Yus) the local park guard. There are some food stalls operating at night, but for US$2 or US$3 per person per day Yus can arrange for food to be prepared for you. This will be simple – rice and fish – so it’s a good idea to shop in Kotamobagu.

The footpath to the reserve winds gently uphill from close to the Singsingon guard post, passing first through agricultural land and scrub, then selectively logged forest before reaching relatively undisturbed forest after some four km. Ambang is an easy site to visit: there are no steep hills and the paths through the forest are well-marked.

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