Yogyakarta Home to 70% of Bird Species

11, Aug 2015 | Author: Embassy of Indonesia

Source: The Jakarta Post

Almost 70 percent of the total 515 bird species found in Java live in Yogyakarta, opening the potential for bird watching tourism.

According to the Kutilang Indonesia Foundation (YKI), an NGO focusing on bird protection in the province, in its report issued earlier this year, 340 different bird species were found to be living in the province in 2014, making the 3,185-square-kilometer province an important habitat for birds.

YKI director Imam Taufiqurrahman said his organization had recorded two new species of migrant birds, namely the pectoral sandpiper (Calidris melanotos) and common ringed plover (Charadius hiaticula) on Trisik beach, Kulonprogo regency.

“This is a new note for Indonesia,” Imam told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

Of the 340 bird species found, 46 were endemic to the island of Java, 68 were protected species and 23 were endangered such as the Javan hawk eagle (Nisaetus bartelsi), black-winged starling (Acridotheres melapnoterus) and the Sunda coucal (Centropus nigrorufus).

Imam said the report, issued in April, was a compilation of the observation results conducted by YKI and other birdwatching groups in Yogyakarta.

A previous report issued in 2008 recorded 318 bird species in Yogyakarta and an earlier report made in 1995 recorded 140. “We succeeded in recording 33 new bird species thanks to the wider coverage of birdwatching communities,” he said.

Among the new species are the long-billed spider hunter (Arachnothera robusta) and forest wagtail (Dendronantus indicus).

There were also species that had not been found in the last 20 years in the province such as the stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopis capensis) and pied myna (Gracupica contra).

Imam said that with its richness in bird species, Yogyakarta could be an important destination for tourists interested in the hobby of bird watching. Thanks to its small size, the province could be explored in a relatively short time from its mountainous to coastal areas.

Even in downtown Yogyakarta, bird lovers could find the rare Java sparrow (Lonchura oryzivora) around Beringharjo traditional market. At night they could also spot owls (Tyto alba) nesting in empty buildings located around traditional markets.

Bird lovers could also find white-tailed tropicbirds (Phaethon lepturus) easily in Ngongap beach, Gunungkidul regency, while raptor lovers could find Javan eagles around the tropical rainforest on the slope of Mount Merapi or on Menoreh mountain ranges in Kulonprogo.

“We escort foreign tourists [on bird watching activities] about three times a year,” Imam said.

He expressed concern over a number of activities that could endanger the birds in the province, such as the hunting of unprotected birds and the development of shrimp pools along the coastal area in Kulonprogo.

Meanwhile, Lim Wen Sin of the Raptor Club Indonesia (RCI) estimated there were only eight Javan eagles left in Yogyakarta.

“This is very concerning,” said Lim, adding that hunting of rare birds was on the rise in the region.

“For the last two years, the online trade in birds has increased from four a month to seven,” he said.

Efforts have been made by the Yogyakarta Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) to preserve birds in the region through a number of measures including releasing raptors it seized from traders into their natural habitat.

Other measures include preserving conservation areas, operations to curb the illegal trade in protected birds and providing supervisors in Ketingan subdistrict, Sleman regency, to preserve egrets in their neighborhoods.

“We also inform animal traders not to trade in protected animals,” Nurrochmah Wisudhaningrum of BKSDA Yogyakarta said.

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