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Remote Sulawesi: Sangihe, Talaud, Peleng, Taliabu and Togian


17th November - 7th December 2019



Leader: Carlos Bocos

Max group size: 7

Day 1:
After arrival in Manado we take the ferry north to the mall island of Sangihe, allowing us two full days to explore the island. Night on Sangihe.

Days 2-3:
With two full days birding on Sangihe, the endemic hanging parrot, scops owl and Elegant Sunbird can all be found in secondary forest but we will need to venture higher on Gunung Sahendaruman to find Sangihe Shrike Thrush and the stunning Cerulean Paradise Flycatcher which was rediscovered here in 1998, both of which are critically endangered. There is also the outside possibility of observing the virtually unknown Sangihe White-eye, although it has not been seen for over 10 years, as well as the critically endangered Sangihe Golden Bulbul. The distinctive Sangihe form of Lilac-cheeked Kingfisher is also possible. Nights on Sangihe.

Day 4:
We fly or sail back to Manado this morning. The remainder of the day will be spent in the remaining forests at Gunung Mahawu, a volcano above Manado where in addition to more widespread Sulawesi endemics we will search for the elusive Scaly Kingfisher. Night in Tomohon.

Day 5:
After some early morning birding at Gunung Mahawu we return to Manado for our flight to Melanguane on Talaud and will begin our birding in the afternoon. Night on Talaud.

Day 6:
We have a full day to explore the island of Talaud. Red-and-blue Lory is still present in good numbers and Talaud Kingfisher is quite common. We will try hard to find Talaud Bush-hen and Talaud Rail, both of which were discovered as recently as the late 1990’s, although both are extremely shy and elusive. Other species of interest here include Great-billed, Blue-backed and Blue-naped Parrots, Rufous Paradise Flycatcher, the vocally-distinct inspeculata race of Red-bellied Pitta, Grey Imperial Pigeon and Rufous-tailed Bush-hen. Nights on Talaud.

Day 7:
After some final morning birding we return to Manado connecting with a flight to Makassar. Night in Makassar.

Days 8-12:
After a flight to Luwuk we make the crossing to the island of Peleng on the morning of day 9. During the next 4 ½ days we will split our time between the mountains in the west of the island and the remnant lowland forests in the north-east.
The island shot to fame with the rediscovery of the Banggai Crow – which was refound as recently as 2007 but which has proved common in the mountains there. During our time here we will also be searching for Helmeted Myna, Red-and-black Thrush, Sula Pitta, Sula Scrubfowl, Sula Hanging Parrot, Slaty Cuckooshrike, Henna-tailed Jungle Flycatcher and a bunch of likely future splits such as the resident scops owl and ‘Sula’ Black Pigeon, an undescribed species of leaf warbler and the distinct taxa of Maroon-chinned Fruit Dove which has recently be separated as Banggai Fruit Dove. Nights in local villages.

Day 13:
Today is predominantly a travel day as we board our private chartered boat for the long crossing to the island of Taliabu hoping for some interesting seabirds along the way. Upon arrival we will transfer to a local village for the night.

Days 14-17:
Our four full days on Taliabu will be split between the lower areas of forest and a higher altitude camp. Our time on Taliabu gives a second chance at many of the endemics which it shares with Peleng, but we will also hope to find Bare-eyed Myna, Taliabu Masked Owl, and the sulaensis form of Moluccan Scops Owl which is different from mendeni of Banggai and widely considered a separate species. We will also make an expedition into the high mountains of the island where new Locustella ‘Taliabu Bush Warbler’ and Phylloscopus ‘Taliabu Leaf Warbler’ were discovered in 2009, along with an undescribed form of Island Thrush and good chances to find the impressive Meyer’s Goshawk. Nights camping on Taliabu.

Day 18:
Today we return again by boat to Luwuk where we will spend the night.

Day 19:
This morning we drive north across the central peninsular of Sulawesi to the small coastal town of Bunta from where we will take a chartered speedboat across to the Batudaka the largest of the Togian group of islands and in the afternoon will begin our exploration. Night on Togian islands.

Day 20:
Another full day birding will be concentrated on the two new species to science recently described from Togian islands, namely Togian Boobook and Togian White-eye, although we will also look out for an potentially new taxon of Cyornis flycatcher that might prove to be yet another new species. Night on Togian islands.

Day 21:
After arriving back into Luwuk we fly to Makassar to connect with international flights.

Please note this itinerary is open to change at any time due to continuing changes in internal flight schedules.


Tour Photo Albums

Remote Sulawesi, November 2015

Remote Sulawesi, November 2012