National Monument Jakarta – Birding Indonesia


Jakarta has not got a lot to offer in terms of green spaces but the large park in which the National Monument is set is a good spot for a few nice birds and a leisurely morning of birding. A taxi ride from our airport hotel took us through the polluted mess that is Jakarta, with a taxi driver trying to run the meter up by going the wrong way at every turn, eventually got myself and David Cousins to the park gate and within minutes we were hearing the call of Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker from nearby flowering trees. These little birds were frustratingly difficult to see at first with just some brief glimpses but soon after we were enjoying eye-level views of a stunning male in perfect light; nice. This was the first of several interesting species we were to see in the park.

My favourite species in this park is Coppermsith Barbet. This is a coomon bird across much of its range but the subspecies in Java is very distinct with a red face and surely has to be a candidate for splitting. It did not take long before we saw a pair of these attractive birds attending a nest and through the course of the morning we saw around 8 individuals.



This form of Coppersmith Barbet is restricted to Java and Bali and as well as having different plumage to other subspecies the call is subtly different too – a little softer with a lengthier build up to the main call. Well, whether or not it ever gets split is not important really, just that it is a nice bird and interesting due to the regional variation on what is a familiar bird to those who have birded throughout tropical Asia.

Walking around the park the commonest and most obvious birds were Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Sooty-headed Bulbul and Spotted Dove, not particularly inspiring but a few Pink-necked Green Pigeons, a Red-breasted Parakeet and several Brown-throated Sunbirds were nicer. Further along we heard the call of Freckle-breasted Woodpecker and soon found a couple of these cute little woodpeckers.


Cave Swiftlet was obvious everywhere around the park but it took us some time to actually see a Common Iora, although we heard several. Perhaps the best find was due to the commotion caused by a group of small birds which included Olive-backed Tailorbird, Golden-bellied Gerygone, Small Minivet, Brown-throated Sunbird and Sooty-headed Bulbul which we found were mobbing a Sunda Scops Owl – a nice find to finish the morning with before heading back to the hotel for a shower and lunch.

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