Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Javan Banded Pitta / Paok Pancawarna si burung Gaib!

Welcome to my blog 'Birds of Bali'.  Sustainable greetings!

This time I will share about one of my favorite, very shy birds whose voice is heard more often than its appearance so that bird-loving friends call him "Magical Bird"!

The 'magical bird' is Paok Pancawarna (Latin for Pitta guajana) in English it is called Javan Banded Pitta.

The Paok Pancawarna (Javan Banded Pitta) bird is not very popular with bird collectors because of its very simple voice unlike other chirping birds.  However, this species is protected because it is an endemic bird.  For those who do not understand, endemic means a type of bird that can only be found in a certain area and not in other areas.  Or in other words, native birds in a certain area.

Curious? Read it until it runs out :)

There are 17 types of Paok / Pitta birds in the region scattered on various islands in our beloved country, Indonesia. I will share other Paok birds in the next post.

Paok Pancawarna or Javan Banded Pitta measuring 21-24cm, the body is striped gold.  The head is black with distinctive broad, striking yellow eyebrows.  Back and wings are brown with white stripe on wings, blue tail and white chin.  The female is darker in color, has brown irises, black beak and legs.  The spread is in Bali and Java, but there is information that it has been found on the island of Lombok, but it is very difficult to find.  Further research is needed.

Its habitat in primary and secondary forest is closed to an altitude of 1,500 masl, jumping quickly along the forest floor or tree trunks.  Sometimes found in low shrubs, nesting in trees that are not too high, about 1-3 meters above the ground.  The sound is short loud 'POUW' every 0.2 seconds alternating 'KRRR' every 0.4 seconds.

For me, it is more challenging to observe it in the wild in its habitat, even though it is sometimes difficult, but the challenges lie evenly.  Sometimes it has to be in hiding places waiting for its birds to come and observe its behavior looking for cockroaches, ants, beetles, snails, worms, termites and caterpillars rather than seeing them in a cage.  How to observe techniques in the wild, I will share it in the next post.

Breed January-March, September-October.  The nest is a hollow spherical shape of vegetation in the bush, one meter above the ground.  The eggs are 3-5 whitish in color.  Watch the video here 👇👇

Javan Banded Pitta (male)


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Criticisms and suggestions can be written in the comments column.  Look forward to the following content for other Bali  bird species. Cheers 😊🙏🙏

Best wishes,
Made Surya

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Birding West Bali National Park and surrounds - Trip Report

Birding Trip Report by Russel from Australia, 2019 May 8th.

 When my lovely wife, Sue, informed me that she wanted to travel to Bali to take part in a ceramics workshop in Ubud I was delighted as we had never visited Bali before and I knew that it would be a fantastic opportunity for me to do some tropical birding whilst Sue was potting.

    I started searching the internet to find a guide or tour that would suit my itinerary, skill level and budget. I came across a blog site called Birding Tours in Bali by Made Surya based in West Bali. I read the reports and comments and sent Made an email letting him know my schedule, interest and budget. Within a day Made responded with a terrific plan and itinerary that would achieve my goal of seeing and photographing as many Bali bird species as possible, with some key species targeted, namely the Javan Banded Pitta and the Bali Starling. Needless to say, I booked the tour immediately.

   After arriving in Bali and settling into our villa in Ubud, Made arranged for his driver to pick me up and drive to Blimbingsari Village located on the very edge of the Barat Bali National Park and also the location of Made’s home and guesthouse. I was fortunate to meet both Made’s mum and dad, and his mum cooked us some beautiful meals. We had a great chat in the evening I arrived about the itinerary, Bali, birds, cameras, and life before an early night.

  Up at 5:00 am for a cooked breakfast and then headed off into cool morning air to start a busy day of excellent birding. We started the day trying to spot Pittas, but without success, so onto the next site. On the way, near Sumberkelampok, Made spotted Javan and Common Mynas on the roadside and a White Bellied Fish Eagle perched high on an electricity tower, and the species list for the day was started!

White-bellied Sea Eagle, by Russ

    From this roadside stop, we  on to the monsoon forest at Gerokgak. We entered this drier forest ecosystem where the tree height was a lot lower and less dense that the wet rainforest.

Chesnut-headed Bee-eater, by Made Surya

Small Minivet, by Russ

  Within a minute or two we stopped the car and the bird life was prolific with us adding Chestnut-headed Bee-eater, White-shouldered Triller, Collared Kingfisher, Green Jungle Fowl, Scaly-breasted Munia, Small Minivet, Greater Coucal, Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatcher, Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker and Olive-backed Sunbird within minutes!

Bali Myna,  by Made Surya

Black-winged Flycatcher Strike, by Made Surya

   At this location I was amazed to see the diversity of species in one location. Made has the ability to be able see and hear bird species with an amazing accuracy and resulted in us seeing, and photographing many more species than I had expected. His excellent local knowledge and birding skills guaranteed to get fantastic results. At this location Made was able to spot and call to one of our main target species - the Bali Starling. Within a few minutes the bird came into view. It was a real privilege to see this bird in its natural environment after teetering on the brink of extinction. We were luck enough to get some great photos of this magnificent bird.
Changable Hawk Eagle,  by Russ
   Further down the track in the same location we spotted Black-winged Starling, Black-winged Flycatcher Shrike, Black Drongo, Long-tailed Shrike, Coppersmith Barbet, Zebra Dove, Spotted Dove, Yellow-vented Bulbul and Common Iora.  Just before heading back to the main road and then to the guesthouse for lunch, we spotted a beautiful Changeable Hawk Eagle perched close by the road - another highlight!

Javan Banded Pitta,  by Russ

Lemmon-bellied White-eye, by Made Surya
   After lunch we ventured into the teak woodlands behind Shalom Homestay (Blimbingsari Village). After an hour or so of stealth, creeping and whispering in the forest we spotted the Javan Banded Pitta - this was a great thrill, such a beautiful little shy bird and my first pitta!
Sunda Scops Owl, by Russ
    High fives with Made for the Pitta and then walking back to the guesthouse Made spotted another beautiful bird, the Sunda Scops Owl! This bird has been a regular around the homestay for sometime, but hadn’t been seen in its usual roosting location, but Made found it, more high fives!

    After lunch we visited a number of different ecosystems, including Palasari dam, rice fields, tidal ponds and the coastal area at Tuwed. Once again Made’s skill as a guide and photographer were excellent and it was a pleasure to spend the afternoon spotting birds, chatting about Bali and enjoying the wide variety of ecosystems and species associated with them. During the afternoon we spotted Stork-billed Kingfisher, Javan Kingfisher, Small Blue / Cerrulean Kingfisher, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Savannah Nightjar, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Javan Pond Heron, Lemon-bellied White-eye, Yellow Bittern, Striated Grassbird, Cattle Egret, White-breasted Wood Swallow, Common Sandpiper, Greater Sandplover, Great Egret, Lesser Sandplover, Golden-bellied Gerygone, Striated Heron

Yellow-vented Bulbul, by Made Surya

Golden-bellied Gerygone, by Made Surya

     By 5:00 pm is was time to stop for the day and for me to head back to Ubud feeling very tired, but equally thrilled and pleased with one of my best days of birding ever. This was possible due to Made’s wonderful birding skills and local knowledge, his gentle and thoughtful style and happy nature. He was able to design the tour exactly to suit my objectives and skill level and managed to squeeze in so many birds and locations into one day of birding fun.  I would totally recommend Made and his guiding services to anyone visiting Bali and wants to see “real” Bali, and some its birds. I plan to come back again to pick up some of those species we didn’t find in our hectic day in west Bali. Look forward to coming back again.

Thanks Made, I had the best birding day ever.

Best regards


Info: madesuryawestbali@gmail.com

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Birding in Bali Barat National Park - Trip Report-Review-Testimony

  • Birdwatching in West Bali National Park Testimony
(Sept 2018)

After several trips to Bali, without visiting Bali Barat (West Bali) National Park, I thought it was time to give it a try. I did some internet searching and finally decided on booking a day’s outing with Made Surya (Birding Tours in Bali). By the end of the day, I had confirmed that my choice of guide was an excellent one.

Made arrived punctually at my hotel in Pemuteran at 6am, and off we went, reaching the national park in time to catch the early bird activity, and while it was still very cool.

I had not made a list of target species, though like other birders visiting the park I was keen to see Javan Banded Pitta, and of course the endemic Bali Starling. It was not long before Made pointed out two of the starlings, perched in the open in good light. As he did throughout the day, Made showed his sharp eyes and experience in picking out these birds, and was amazingly quick at setting up his spotting scope to provide great views. Not long after the starlings we had wonderful views of two (twice, or four) pittas at close quarters.
After spending the morning in various parts of the park exploring differing habitats - and finding lots of birds, we broke for lunch. Lunch is included in Made’s itineraries, and so we drove to his home in a nearby village to enjoy a tasty home cooked meal. The food tasted great, but the highlight of the lunch break was the great views of the Sunda Scops Owl roosting in a tree at the back of Made’s house.

The afternoon saw us spend a few hours looking in nearby areas outside of the national park, and even though it had warmed up, and bird activity had slowed, we still found enough to make it an excellent afternoon. Made had located a Savanna Nightjar roosting on bare ground out in the open at the edge of a mangrove area. It was still there when we got to the site, and we had stunning, close views, unlike those typical for the species, when it is seen flying around at dusk, largely silhouetted.

The day’s bird list was just under 50 species, which included all of the species I most wanted to see. Possibly the most striking bird of the day, for me, was the Rufous-backed Dwarf Kingfisher, a tiny, stunningly coloured species that I doubt I would ever have found on my own. 

It was a great day out. Terima kasih Made.
Niven McCrie
Brisbane, Australia

You may contact Made Surya by email : 


7 days Birding Photograpy arround Bali (Aug 28 -Sept 6 2018)


Made proved to be not only an outstanding birder in finding many species but positioning us so that we were able to not only identify the birds but also to obtain excellent photographs. He was also very kind and considerate in assisting one of us (P) who has walking and balance difficulties.

Professor Peter Mayes and Nicola Mayes

Javan Banded Pitta (by Made Surya)


4 days Birding Tours in Bali 
(August 2018)

   I (Dr. Jimmy)  met you,  Made Surya through social media, and your interest in birds, knowledge of locations in Bali where we could find them, your capability to transport us to those places, and to a  group consensus by our  travelling party [the Pantanal 3 comprised of Brother Ian Powell, UK; Jim The Elder aka JTE from New York and Tokyo, & finally Dr. Jimmy aka Jim the Younger JTY]  to get in contact with Birding Tours Bali, and eventually led to our meeting up in August , 2018.  I volunteered to write up a letter to describe our experiences with your bird guiding service, and so here it is. 
   You picked us up early from The Puri Mango [Mango Mansion] to take us where there were very good birds but also some very bad smells. This was the major water treatment plant for the city.  The water was enriched with nutrients, which fed the plants, which in turn fed small animals like shrimp, tadpoles & tiny fish, which fed the herons, bitterns, terns, gulls and kingfishers which we were interested in observing. 
  The 20+ hectares of settling ponds in the Nusa Dua Water Treatment facility proved to be good habitat for these aquatic species-groups, but also a good producer of vociferous gases - a small price to pay for avian beauty and cleaner water.  It certainly didn't decrease our appreciation of the tasty snacks Made' provided when we returned to our transport, including tiny bananas from his own backyard.

Indonesia Honeyeater (by Made Surya)

  You continued to provide us with good birding experiences the next three days.  Your commitment to providing us with bird observations that went beyond getting ticks on a list was evident through-out our stay.  We appreciated the Oriental Pied Hornbills, Black-thighed Falconets and the Flame-fronted Barbets immensely, and the sense of mutual accomplishment that followed
Oriental Pied Hornbill (by James)
  We could tell that you enjoyed being successful from the smile on your face when you were sure we had all got a good look - usually through your telescope as well as our own binoculars.  You managed to give us a good cultural experience as well; I never expected to be bird watching in a sarong at a Hindu Temple; nor did I imagine I would get to try coffee harvested by civets [Wild Kopi Lewak Coffee] - let alone pat the civet that had done the harvesting & processing of the coffee beans.
   Our accommodation, and particularly the our food, was an enjoyable and variable experience...The explanation of what we were eating and how it was prepared & presented made it easy to order and appreciate.  I really and truly liked the chicken livers and gizzards in spicy yellow sauce - but then I am a country fellow!
  You have provided excellent follow-up - particularly the photos of the birds and places we visited.  With your permission, I would like to use them in a longer paper on our visit to Wallacia, as well as illustrations for talks to local bird groups here in New South Wales and in the Australian Capital Territory [Canberra].

    I see on the social media that Brother Ian Powell is now back in the UK, so you can feel satisfied that stories about your bird trips will be told from New York City, in the USA, to Bristol in eastern England, through to Tura Beach on the far south coast of New South Wales.

Thanks again Made' - you are definitely on the Christmas Wish List.
Dr. Jimmy 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Bali Birding Photography

Bali Birding Photography trip 
contact us : madesuryawestbali@gmail.com

Hi friends...
Please enjoy our Bali birds gallery!