Birding around coastal Medan


Some great sites near Medan for coastal birding. Good for waders, big waterbirds and migrants.

Key bird species:

Lesser Adjutant; Milky Stork; Pied Harrier; Asian Dowitcher; Mangrove Pitta

Birdwatching locations:

There are several interesting birding option around Medan for those with a day or two to kill in the city, including the options to see a few species that are hard anywhere else in Indonesia.

  • Percut

This area of coastal mudflat, mangrove, fish ponds, rice paddy and oil palm plantations is one of the best locations to see Milky Stork in large numbers probably anywhere in the world. Flocks of up to 200 have regularly been seen and smaller numbers are always present. Birds can be seen perched on sandbanks at the mouths of several rivers, and often flying around. The mudflats and sandbanks also support hundreds (occasionally) thousands of waders, especially curlew species and godwits, but occasionally Asian Dowitcher. In the northern winter months the open scrub just inland have proved a reliably spot for a real Sumatran rarity, Pied Harrier. Up to 4-5 birds have been present in some years.

  • Karang Gading

This large expanse of coastal mangrove to the north of Medan is a reliable site for, yes, your guessed it, Mangrove Pitta. Charter a small motor boat from any fisherman in the village of Karang Gading and head off into the mangrove. Looking along any of the small side creeks armed with a tape is the best bet. Continuing through the mangrove to the coast gets you to mudflats that support many of the same species as Percut.

Access and Accommodation:

Both Percut and Karang Gading are best reached by car, so hiring a car and driver for the day from any hotel in Medan is probably the best option. Both ‘Percut’ and ‘Karang Gading’ refer to the names of the final villages before the coast. If the driver can find these then you have won half the battle already.

To reach the coastal mudflats, sandbars or mangrove a boat is required for both sites. Hiring one for a few hours is not hard however. Simply ask around once you reach the village. In both places they are not unfamiliar with birders, so it should not be hard to make yourself understood.

To look for raptors in some of the open scrub areas it is most easy just to drive around looking for suitable spots, then head off on foot when you can drive no further.

Site map:

To download the kml file click here


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