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Bird and Primate Tours in Tanjung Puting NP, Central Kalimantan

My lifetime experience enjoying the wildlife in the heart of Indonesian Borneo

Waskito Kukuh W.

Borneo is the third largest island in the world. Borneo divided into 3 countries. Kalimantan is an official name addressing into a big part of Indonesian Borneo. Kalimantan has various kinds of diverse habitats, such as lowland rain forests and the famous is the peat swamp forest. Its support for the high number of biodiversity. Kalimantan is important for the habitat of the only Great Apes in Asia, Orangutan. The Bornean Orangutan increasingly threatened the cause of the natural habitat destruction.

It was my first time came to Indonesian Borneo. Precisely in 2010 my friends on university and I visiting the province of South Kalimantan in the Karst Meratus Mountain. The main purpose at that time was not for bird watching, but for research on the diversity of bats that live around the Meratus Mountain. Indeed, on the sidelines of the research schedule, I took the time to observe birds. But not so many species of birds that I managed to see.

In late March and early April 2019, I got the opportunity to visit the island of the native Dayak tribe, precisely in the province of Central Kalimantan in the area of Sampit and Tanjung Puting National Park. The main objective this time was for training bird monitoring in Sampit and then followed a boat trip in Tanjung Puting National Park for birding and primate tours. Continuing my journey to the very popular National Park to see Orangutans along the Sekonyer River and living in the traditional wooden houseboat called “Kelotok”.

I would like to say thank you very much the local operator who made my dream came true. My well-organized trip by Orangutan Applause, a very experienced tour operator taking care of boat trips in the national park. I did Orangutan Kelotok Tour for 3 days and 2 nights. Arif as my guide is very professional and knowledgeable about the ins and outs and biodiversity of Tanjung Puting National Park. He had worked for a long time as a research manager at the research station in the park, so he know-well the area. We are an old friend. I met him in 2008 when He joined a bird watching club and was involved in waterbird surveys for avian influenza.

Stork-billed Kingfisher, the biggest Kingfisher in Borneo

Armed with this experience, he and his wife run a small family company on the hospitality industry,  the Orangutan Applause, a qualified local tour operator in Pangkalan Bun, Central Kalimantan.
For three years 2017-2019 the company received a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor. It wasn’t surprised me. I saw his skills and professionalism in the field. Although the main menu is a primate, his eagle eyes in finding and identifying birds are still extraordinary.
We visited 3 Orangutan feeding station including Tanjung Harapan Camp, Pondok Tanggui and Camp Leakey. During the trip to the river and trekking, it was my chance and Arif searched for birds. In the last night, there was an opportunity for us having a short one-hour night trekking in Pondok Ambung to look for nocturnal animals.

At the end of the trip, after breakfast, we cruising downstream for wildlife encounter, then visited the last location in the Pesalat area for tree planting. During the journey to Pesalat, there are one species of bird that flies following our kelotok. This bird is one of the targets that I want to see and clearly as a highlight. A total of 7 Storm Stork flew slowly and occasionally soaring like eagles, then overtook the kelotok and entered the forest. What a great prize for my trip to Tanjung Puting. Lifer!!!

Storm Stork, an Endangered bird with rest of population approx 500 individual in the world

  Here the birds list we found:

  1. Storm Stork
  2. Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot
  3. Stork-billed Kingfisher
  4. Green Broadbill
  5. Black-and-red Broadbill
  6. Striated Heron
  7. Rhinoceros Hornbill
  8. Black-winged Kite
  9. Wallace’s Hawk-eagle
  10. Brahminy Kite
  11. Long-tailed Parakeet
  12. Glossy Swiftlet
  13. Blue-eared Kingfisher
  14. Buff-necked Woodpecker
  15. Sooty-headed Bulbul
  16. Short-tailed Babler
  17. Malaysian Pied Fantail
  18. Ruby-cheeked Sunbird
  19. Crimson Sunbird
  20. Common Hill Myna
  21. Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker
  22. Black-and-yellow Broadbill
  23. Yellow-vented Flowerpecker
  24. Pacific Swallow
  25. Spotted Dove
  26. Green Imperial Pigeon
  27. Greater Coucal
  28. Sunda Scops Owl
  29. White-throated Kingfisher
  30. Blue-eared Kingfisher
  31. Blue-thoated Kingfisher
  32. Malaysian Honeyguide
  33. Banded Woodpecker
  34. Green Iora
  35. Yellow-vented Bulbul
  36. Fluffy-backed Tit-babbler
  37. Rufous-tailed Tailorbird
  38. Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker
  39. Scarlet-headed Flowerpecker
  40. Brown-throated Sunbird
  41. Olive-backed Sunbird
  42. Javan Myna
  43. Blue-eared Barbet.

Other Taxa:


  1. Proboscis Monkey
  2. Bornean Orangutan
  3. Long-tailed Macaque
  4. Bornean White-bearded Gibbon
  5. Silvered Langur


  1. False gharial

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