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Four-Day Ornithological Survey – Orangutan Haven


All images © Photographer: Agus Nurza. Published here with permission of Cicem Nanggroe (Aceh's Birder and Birdwatcher)

Ornithological Survey Summary

by Bas van Balen at Sibolangit, North Sumatra

From 21 to 25 November 2013 the Orangutan Haven area at Sibolangit was visited by Mistar Kamsi and Bas van Balen for an ornithological survey. About sixty bird species were recorded, of which the most noteworthy were a single Malayan Night-heron, and groups of Ashy Minivets. The majority of birds seen in the area were widespread and common birds of rural area and secondary growth, with near-threatened Red-throated Barbet, and near-threatened Buff-necked Woodpecker as possible, yet to be confirmed exceptions. Sumatran Babbler was the only Sumatran endemic species observed during the survey. The earlier reported presence of Chestnut-necklaced Partridge and Green Iora could not be confirmed.

Annotated Species List

Malayan Night-heron Gorsachius melanolophus
Materials. - photos
On 24 November 2013, a single immature bird was seen foraging and quietly stepping around on the ground of the belimbing (star fruit) plantation at the edge of  the Orangutan Haven grounds.
Last N Sumatran record dates from 1938 (van Marle & Voous 1988)
Oriental Honey-buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus
On 23 and 24 November respectively a pale morph immature and a dark morph bird were seen landing in large trees near the cetral fish ponds were seen.
Crested Serpent-eagle Spilornis cheela
Materials. – photos, audiorecordig
Daily one or two birds were seen circling and calling above Orangutan Haven.
Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis
[Materials. – photo.
Reported by Kamsi et al. (2013) in Orangutan Haven but not seen during the present survey.]
Changeable Hawk-eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus
A pair was seen circling above the area on 22 November, and its characteristic calls were heard in he days thereafter.
Black-thighed Falconet Microhierax fringillarius
A single bird seen flying over the pondok.
Chestnut-necklaced Partridge Arborophila charltonii
[Reported by Kamsi et al. (2013), who saw a group of three foraging in the jeruk nipis plantation. However, confusion with juvenile red junglefowl could not be excluded.]
Red Junglefowl Gallus gallus
Materials. – audiorecording
A single bird heard crowing in the jeruk nipis plantation bordering the Orangutan Haven.
White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus
Daily visitor to the fish ponds in the centre of the area.
Materials. – photos.
Pink-necked Green Pigeon Treron vernans
Daily seen.
Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica
[Reported by Kamsi et al. (2013) in Orangutan Haven but not seen during the present survey.]
Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis
Materials. – Audio-recordings.
Peaceful Dove Geopelia striata
Heard a few times.
Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus
Materials. – Audio-recordings.
Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonnerati
Materials. – Audio-recordings.
Drongo Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris
[Reported by Kamsi et al. (2013) in Orangutan Haven but not seen during the present survey.]
Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis
Heard in the more open parts of the area.
Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis
One or two birds heard.
Brown Hawk-owl Ninox scutulata
Heard only once at a distance.
Collared Scops-owl Otus lempiji
Materials. – Audio-recordings.
Heard during the moonlit evenings and pre-dawns.
Edible-nest Swiftlet Aerodramus fuciphagus
NB Kamsi et al. (2013) reported Black-nest Swiftlet A. maximus for the area
Grey-rumped Treeswift Hemiprocne longipennis
[Reported by Kamsi et al. (2013) in Orangutan Haven but not seen during the present survey.]
Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting
[Recorded frequently by Kamsi et al. (2013), but not seen during the present survey, possibly due to the draining of the fish ponds]
Black-backed Kingfisher Ceyx rufidorsum
[Photographed by Kamsi et al. (2013)]
White-breasted Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis
Always several birds noisily present.
Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis
Several birds seen.
Gold-whiskered Baret Megalaima chrysopogon
Materials. – Audio-recordings.
Heard daily, at least several birds present.
Red-throated Barbet Megalaima mystacophanos
Heard only once very briefly and may need confirmation.
Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala
Heard in the plantation areas bordering OU Haven.
Rufous Woodpecker Celeus brachyurus
Seen and its drumming heard.
Banded Woodpecker Picus miniaceus
Materials. – Audio-recordings.
Several records.
Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tukki
Single possible record; reported by Kamsi et al. (2013) in Orangutan Haven but not seen during the present survey.
Orange-backed Woodpecker Reinwardtpicus validus
[Reported by Kamsi et al. (2013) in Orangutan Haven but not seen during the present survey.]
Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hemipus hirundinaceus
Not uncommon.
Ashy Minivet Pericrocotus divaricatus
Materials. – Audio-recordings.
Few records from Sumatra, last N Sumatran record dates from 1972 (van Marle & Voous 1988).
Common Iora Aegithina tiphia
Heard daily.
Green Iora Aegithina viridissima
[Reported by Kamsi et. (2013) in Orangutan Haven, but not seen during the present survey, confusion with Common Iora can’t be excluded.]
Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati
[Reported by Kamsi et al. (2013) in Orangutan Haven but not seen during the present survey.]
Yellow-vented Bulbul  Pycnonotus goiavier
A large roost was present near our pondok in the central part, where at least 250-300 birds gathered during the evenings. A unique pre-roosting behaviour displayed by these brds was observed and will be described elsewhere.
Sooty-headd Bulbul Pycnonotus aurigaster
[Reported by Kamsi et al. (2013) in Orangutan Haven but not seen during the present survey.]
Olive-winged Bulbul Pycnonotus plumosus
Once or twice heard.
Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex
[Reported by Kamsi et al. (2013) in Orangutan Haven but not seen during the present survey.]
Crow-billed Drongo Dicrurus annectans
Several birds present.
Greater Racquet-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus
Several bird present.
Horsfield’s Babbler Trichastoma sepiarium
Materials. – Audio-recordings.
One or two birds in the bushes near the pondok.
Sumatran Babbler Trichastoma buettikoferi
Materials. – Audio-recordings.
Several birdsheard.
Striped Tit-babbler Macronous gularis
Materials. – Audio-recordings.
One of the commonest birds in the area.
Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis
Materials. – Audio-recordings.
Two birds observed singing.
Flyeater Gerygone sulphurea
Heard in the peripheries of the area.
Ashy Tailorbird Orthotomus ruficeps
Materials. – Audio-recordings.
Rufous-tailed Tailorbird Orthotomus sericeus
Materials. – Audio-recordings.
Hill Prinia Prinia atrogularis
Materials. – Audio-recordings.
Yellow-vented Prinia Prinia flaviventris
Several birds present.
Bar-winged Prinia Prinia familiaris
Reported by Kamsi et al. (2013) in Orangutan Haven but not seen during the present survey.
Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica
Single record.
Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus
Heard several times.
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
Almost permanently present in and around the dry fish ponds.
Philippine Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis
Seen flying over the area.
Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex
Single record.
Brown-throated Sunbird Anthreptes malacensis
Seen in the coconut trees in neighbouring village.
Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Anthreptes singalensis
Several records.
Olive-backed Sunbird Nectarinia jugularis
Nesting in bamboo thicket near the pondok.
Crimson Sunbird Aethopyga siparaja
Materials. – Audio-recordings
Single bird seen.
Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra
Materials. – Audio-recordings
Spectacled Spiderhunter Arachnothera flavigaster
Materials. –  Audio-recordings.
Yellow-eared Spiderhunter Arachnothera chrysogenys
Several records.
Grey-breasted Spiderhunter Arachnothera affinis
Single record.
Orange-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum trigonostigma
Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker Dicaeum trochileum
[Reported by Kamsi et al. (2013) in Orangutan Haven but not seen during the present survey.]
Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus
Heard only briefly once, also reported by Kamsi et al. (2013)
White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata
Two to four birds in tall grass and bushes near our pondok.
Black-headed Munia Lonchura malacca
Reported by Kamsi et al. (2013) in Orangutan Haven but not seen dring the present survey.
Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus
Several old weaver nests were found, reportedly from Golden Weaver (Kamsi et al. 2013), but the position high up in trees and tunnel-shaped entrance clearly indicated Baya Weaver as their contructors.


Kamsi, M. et al. 2013. Survei Keanekaragaman Hayati di Lokasi Orangutan Haven, Desa Bintang Meriah, Kabupaten Sibolangit/Deli Serdang (Amfibi Reptil, Burung, Mamalia). YEL, Medan.

van Marle, J.G. and K.H. Voous. 1988. The Birds of Sumatra. British Ornithologists' Union, Tring UK [B.O.U. Check-list 10]