Indonesian tea plantations employ thousands of people, provide an income for half a million smallholders, and interestingly are home to more than 400 different birds species. I know the last fact because I recently visited the tea estate at the Indonesian Research of Tea and Cinchona (Gambung, West Java) with experts from Burung Nusantara (a National Bird Organization).
While Indonesia has many bird species some are endemic to Java, Sumatra, and Kalimantan. The tea estates we visited, is located on the border of the Gunung Tilu Strict Nature Reserve, South of Bandung, West Java and is home to a wide variety of bird species. Over the course of the day I saw a total of 36 different species, of which eleven are listed as important, six are protected by the Indonesian Government, and Spilornis cheela (a type of eagle known locally as Elangular Bido) and Pernisptilorhynchus (a type of migratory bird known locally as Sikep-madu Asia) are on the CITES appendix – an international list of endangered species.
Bird pictures taken by Alex and Udin from Burung Nusantara
In Indonesia the best time of year to see migratory birds is between now and March. On the day of our visit we were particularly interested in spotting the Javan Eagle Hawk, a type of raptor, which is a good indicator of primary forest. Unfortunately we weren’t able to see one, but we did see other birds of prey including
Crested Serpent Eagles and Crested Honey Buzzards. Overall the day has opened my eyes to the wide-diversity of species that live on and around tea plantations.
I’ve provide a list of birds below that can be found on Indonesian tea plantations should you be travelling to one soon. Remember to take a pair of binoculars and my advice is… to start before dawn and listen out carefully for bird songs!
Crested Serpent Eagle; Crested Honey Buzzard; Common Iora; Collared Kingfisher; Cave Swiftlet; Sunda Minivet; Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike; Spotted Dove; Slender-billed Crow; Lesser Coucal; Plaintive Cuckoo; Rusty-breasted Cuckoo; Blood-breasted Flowerpecker; Ashy Drongo; Javan munia; Scaly-breasted Munia; Pacific Swallow; Striated Swallow; Long-tailed Shrike; Little Pied Flycatcher; Little Spiderhunter; Great Tit; Eurasian Tree Sparrow; Sooty-headed Bulbul; Yellow-vented Bulbul; Pied Fantail; Olive-backed Tailorbird; Bar-winged Prinia; Striated Grassbird; Mountain Leaf Warbler; Pygmy Wren-Babbler; Horsfield’s Babbler; Crescent-chested Babbler; Lesser Shortwing; Barred Buttonquail; and Oriental White-eye.