Birding around Makassar


An endemic white-eye, flycatcher and myna, and occasional good migrant shorebird action can be found by those with a few hours (or days) to kill between flights.

Key bird species:

Black-ringed White-eye; Lompobatang Flycatcher, Pale-bellied Myna, Piping Crow

Birdwatching locations:

There are sites for both Black-ringed White-eye and Lompobattang Flycatcher within a short drive of Makassar (or even closer from Makassar Airport). The white-eye site is pretty easy, while the flycatcher site probably requires you to do a bit of exploring.

For the white-eye the easiest and closest place to try is the area around Bantimurung, including Bantimurung and Karaenta nature reserves. Both of these areas are reached by heading first north from Makassar Airport, then east: a total drive of under 30 km. Just beyond the village of Bantimurung the road hits a archway with a giant butterfly on it, and then a huge statue of what looks like an emaciated King Kong. From here, to reach Batimurung nature reserve, keep driving for another few kilometres until you reach the park entrance. Next take the trail towards the waterfall, or any side trails you like the look of. The white-eye is usually seen around here, together with birds such as Pale Blue Monarch, Sulawesi Babbler, Piping Crow, Yellow-sided Flycatcher and White-necked Myna. The somewhat mysterious ‘Sulawesi Flycatcher’ (Muscicapa spp.) has also been seen here. Karaenta nature reserve is an alternative for the white-eye, and to reach it simply turn right just before King Kong, and follow the road for about 10km until it starts to climb into the forest. The road snakes through this forest for around another 10km, and the white-eye can be seen here.

For Lompobattang Flycatcher the site is a bit further to the south and east of Karaenta/Bantimurung, near the hill town of Malino (in the shadow of Mt Lompobatang!). Finding the flycatcher is an exercise in finding forest. For this you can head in any direction that looks likely, but one tried-and-tested option is as follows: Take the main road heading up out of town, drive past the ‘pine forest’ and take the first right thereafter. After a 200m park by a karaoke place and take the side road next to it. After about 50m turn onto a cobbled track that heads down, then up to a small school. From there take small footpaths down to a large river, wade across it, then you are in the forest! An alternative site is described in Peter Collaerts trip report, listed below. Black-ringed white-eye is also common around Malino.

While you are driving around the area keep an eye out in any open agricultural areas for the elusive south Sulawesi endemic – Pale-bellied Myna. This species is regularly seen by those with sharp eye-sight! Depending on the time of year, the flooded rice paddies and fish ponds around Makassar (to the north and west of the airport) can be very productive for migrant waders. The resident subspecies of Wooly-necked Stork also occurs here.

Access and Accommodation:

All of the sites listed above can easily be reached as day trips from Makassar, and Makassar abounds with accommodation options (look in a guide book like Lonely Planet for something that suits your budget). A hire car and driver from a hotel, or a taxi from the airport, is probably the easiest and quickest option to reach any of these sites. By public transport it should also pretty simple, by seeking out a bus to either Bantimurung or Malino, and then locally using ojek (motorbike taxis) to get where you want to be. Malino has several nice hotel options (again, check something like Lonely Planet).

More info:

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