Birding at Muara Angke

Summary:

Surprisingly good birding for the middle of Jakarta! Worth a morning just for Sunda Coucal.

Key bird species:

Javan (Sunda) Coucal; Black-winged Myna (Starling), Javan Myna, possibly also Javan White-eye and Christmas (Island) Frigatebird

Birdwatching locations:

Muara Angke Nature Reserve lies at the mouth of the Angke River in north-west Jakarta. It was formerly surrounded my more marsh land to the west, but has now become surrounded by housing estates. Despite having urban developments on all sides, and despite the river resembling an open sewer at times, Muara Angke remains surprisingly good for birding, and is probably the easiest place in Indonesia to see Javan Coucal.

At the end of 2014 the reserve was closed because the boardwalk had become too dangerous. Official access at one time was to obtain a permit from the Forestry Department Office in Jakarta (an address is given in the comments section below). Unofficial access to visitors has it seems on occasion been granted since the closure, through the staff on the gate. Comments below suggest that the boardwalk was in the process of being repaired in 2016, with new higher ticket prices for visitors, and the continued uncertainty of whether a permit/ticket is required from the Forestry Department, or whether access can be officially granted at the gate.

When the raised board walk is repaired, this provides the best birding. If you can access the ‘beach’ and get views out into Jakarta Bay you may have a chance of seeing Christmas Frigatebird or Aleutian Tern. Yet another alternative is to try and hire a small boat and take a slow ride along the river. This is another good way to look for Javan Coucal. All else failing, viewing the marsh from the main road at dawn, particularly around the entrance can be good for Javan Coucal.

Other birds to look out for here include Black-winged Myna. A small population of this increasingly rare species has been present for a number of years. Their provenience is unknown, but they are of the western form, so who knows?

Muara Angke used to be a pretty reliable site for Javan Plover also, but as the housing estates have developed around the reserve they have become less and less likely to be seen. Far better sites exist to see Javan Plover nearby (such as Pulau Dua, Pulau Rambut, Pamanukan), so if you don’t connect at Muara Angke best try one of the alternatives.

Other interesting birds that can be seen in the reserve are Black Bittern, Cerulean Kingfisher, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Javan Myna, Duarian (Purple-backed) Starling, Yellow-rumped Flycatcher and possibly also White-capped Munia. Records of Javan White-eye have been provided recently on eBird (2016).

Access and Accommodation:

If you are on your own trying to find Muara Angke, a taxi is probably the most efficient way. However, despite being in the middle of Jakarta, few taxi drivers will have heard of ‘Muara Angke’. A better bet is to ask for ‘Pluit’ or ‘Pluit Mall’ and then when you get there try and get the taxi driver to ask a local for the reserve (try asking for “taman burung” or “taman alam”) or the road that the entrance is on ‘Jalan Pantai Indah Utara II’ (means literally ‘beautiful beach road’!). From central Jakarta the ride to Muara Angke will take around 40 mins, depending on the traffic. From the airport the time is around the same.

More info:

Scroll down the page for related information, including photos, comments, trip reports, guides and services, articles and news. Please help others by leaving a comment if you find anything different to the way it is described. Last updated: Jan 2017.

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8 thoughts on “Birding at Muara Angke

  • Friday January 8th, 2016 at 12:08 AM
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    I have been many time to Muara Angke in the last two years, and always managed to get in, either because nobody was there or by paying 20/25,000 rupias to the person available. I tried to go again a couple of days ago. The walkway has been repaired, at least till where I had the chance to walk (about two hundred meters from the entrance). Unfortunately I was told to leave, even if I offered to pay the ticket. I do not speak Bahasa, but I think the guard in charge indicated the need to obtain the ticket at the Forestry Dept. What looks like a ticket boot has been built close to the main road, so I hope that indeed they will start selling tickets there. Can anybody let me know please where is the Forestry Dept office in Jakarta, to get tickets for the time being. And can anybody share the information once tickets will be available at the reserve. Many thanks in advance. Enrico

    Reply
    • Saturday May 7th, 2016 at 11:06 PM
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      Enrico, I have seen at ebird you are entering regularly to this site, Muara Angka. I am going in a short birding trip to that area at the end of June, are the problems to go in solved? Do you suggest me to go? Thank you in advance.
      Ignacio Torres
      ignaciotrh@hotmail.com
      Spain

      Reply
      • Tuesday July 19th, 2016 at 04:02 AM
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        Hi Ignacio, I am also planning to go for Birding at Muara Angke this weekend and next. So if would like to join then do let me know. Maanikkapoor@outlook.com.

        Reply
  • Wednesday April 13th, 2016 at 07:05 AM
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    It seems that Muare Angke has reopened and ticket prices have been established at a hefty 250.000 Rp for foreigners. However it is still not possible to formally arrange ticket at the entrance (visit to Forestry Office required). Park rangers offered me to pay the fee at the entrance, but refused to provide a receipt. I declined as I did not want my conttribution to end in the wrong pockets.

    Raners indicated that formal ticket purchase at the entrance might be possible 1-2 months froom now. Unfortunately missed the coucal….

    Pieter

    Reply
    • Friday May 20th, 2016 at 06:32 AM
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      This is the place to get a formal permission letter:
      Address: No. 9, Balai Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam, Jl. Salemba Raya, Senen, Kota Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta
      Phone:(021) 3908771
      In the past I managed to do so, but the last 2 years they have made it impossible, with countless requirements. It is a waste of time dealing with them there.
      The staff will normally take IDR 50k and let you in.

      Reply
  • Wednesday June 14th, 2017 at 05:05 PM
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    Any updates on access fees? I am planning a visit in August 2017 and would like it go as smooth as possible.

    Reply
    • Wednesday June 21st, 2017 at 05:17 AM
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      Hi Seth

      You can go with Jakarta Birder (Jakarta Bird Tour Guide), they often go there. Please contact :
      Boas Emmanuel
      Mobile Phone: +62 821 1363 8282 (Available on WhatsApp)
      e-mail: jakartabirder@ymail.com

      Reply
  • Monday July 17th, 2017 at 02:58 AM
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    I visited Muara Angke from 6.45am to 9am on the 17th of July 2017.
    At 6.45am the main entrance didn’t look open.
    I birded the riverside till 7.45am nearly back to the entrance by walking down right beside the river from the bridge. Didn’t see the coucal, but I should have come an hour earlier to be there at dawn.

    I then went to the main entrance. As best I could gather a permit is still needed, but can be paid for at the entrance, but I am not sure of this since I didn’t try to get the permit. The cost of 250000 idr was too much since I thought (incorrectly) that I would be able to see in from outside the reserve.
    I walked the edge of the reserve to near the shoreline.
    I never found anywhere that gave good views into the reserve and basically couldn’t see in except at a couple of spots.
    I am pretty sure the foot trail indicated on the map no longer exists. Seemed completely overgrown where I tried to find it.
    The boardwalk at the beach had a security guard who, as far as I could tell (given that I can’t speak Indonesian at all), wanted a permit from the main entrance for me to use the boardwalk. It didn’t seem to be possible to get a permit at the beach boardwalk.

    Reply

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