Indonesia: Philippine birds make stopover in Ketapang

Severianus Endi The Jakarta Post 5 Oct 16;

Conservationists in Ketapang, West Kalimantan have spotted several birds perching on shady trees in city parks and along streets, recently.

However, they are not the usual birds found in the area. They are migrating birds from the Philippines stopping over in Tanjongpura Park in downtown Ketapang. The 50 to 70 birds have been identified as Philippine starlings.

Ketapang Biodiversity Keeping (KBK) director Abdurahman Alqadrie said migratory birds from various parts of the world stopped over in Ketapang regency between September and April each year as part of their migratory cycle.

“Philippine starlings are forest birds. During migration, they transit in the city center,” Abdurrahman said Monday.

He added that birds stopping over in the city park indicated that the city provided adequate open green spaces for them to rest and find food.

Philippine starlings measure about 18 centimeters and are long and dark.

Males can be identified by their light gray or dark yellow head, with a whitish lower body, shiny dark purple back, black wings with white shoulder line and black tail. Meanwhile, the upper body of the female bird is grayish-brown, with a whitish lower body, black wings and tail.

The birds feed on small fruits and seeds of shady trees generally found in the city. Abdurahman said the presence of the birds serve was representative of the city’s conditions.

“They will stay for around a month before continuing their migration to other places. They are safe here,” said Abdurahman.

Ketapang and North Kayong regencies are located along the coast and every year serve as temporary destinations for migratory birds. KBK, mainly comprising wild nature photographers, conducts observation, documentation and data collection on the migratory birds.

Abdurahman said around 24 species of shorebirds stopped over along the coast in both regencies. Besides the shorebirds, several types forest birds, including the chesnut-cheeked starling, are also observed there.

The migratory chain of the shorebird species begins from the Siberian coast in northern Asia, then to Southeast Asia, including Ketapang and North Kayong regencies in Indonesia. They then continue their journey to the shores in Australia and New Zealand.

Three preying bird species, or raptors from Japan have also been observed in Ketapang. From Japan, these birds migrate to Peninsular Malaysia, then enter Indonesia in Ketapang and later return home to Japan. The three raptor species are identified as the oriental honey buzzard, nippon eagle and perigrin falcon.

Authorities in West Kalimantan have not carried out specific activities related to the migration of the birds, unlike in Gorontalo, North Sulawesi, where the migration of various types of birds from Alaska to Europe, Africa and Asia, has raised people’s awareness on the importance of maintaining the ecosystem and wildlife habitat. At Lake Limboto in Gorontalo this year, the Migratory Bird Festival was organized by a group of biodiversity observers.

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