Listen to and view wildlife on Mt Salak

During 2006, the year after the property was acquired, two surveys of the birdlife at Vila Botani observed fewer than 15 species. Since that time the environment has become far more bushy and two steps have been taken to protect birds:
  • Posting of signs forbidding bird-hunting and that birds are protected.
  • Hiring of daytime security personnel, at times female, who patrol the grounds and instruct bird hunters to leave.
In August 2010, the same person who carried out the 2006 surveys, Miss Noni Fransisca T., carried out two more surveys (late afternoon and morning) with colleagues from Burung Nusantara (BuNu). Altogether, they found 30 species. In addition, villagers have surveyed the grounds more intensively for longer periods and found another 9 species missed by the BuNu teams. We therefore believe that about 40 species now can be observed at Vila Botani. The birds of Vila Botani include at least two interesting carnivores: the Plaintive Cuckoo & the Garuda Hawk Eagle. Other interesting birds at or near Vila Botani are songbirds and include the Sooty-Headed Bulbul and the Chestnut-Bellied Partridge, more commonly known in Indonesian as the Gong-Gong Bird.
Plaintive Cuckoo
Plaintive Cuckoo and various cuckoos (wiwik) of Vila Botani are of the genus Cacomantis. The insectivorous cuckoo is noted for the nasty habit of laying its own eggs in the nests of Warblers. The young cuckoo, which is then raised by a surrogate mother, waits for an opportunity to kill its foster-siblings.“The genus name is derived from the Greek kakos meaning evil or ill-boding and mantis for prophet and their appearance is said to predict ill fortune and bad weather.”
Javan Hawk-Eagle (Garuda)
The Javan Hawk-Eagle is the national bird of Indonesia, where it is commonly referred to as Garuda, The Garuda and two other kinds of eagle can often be seen or heard seeking prey (mice, squirrels and snakes) by day, soaring over open ground at Vila Botani or between pine trees in the forest. A Garuda was once observed to have dropped a dead mouse from its beak in the pine forest. The birds appear numerous around Vila Botani, but a Chevron project on the south side of Mt. Salak counted only 11 of them in 2013.
CLICK HERE to LISTEN TO a recording of the Javan Hawk Eagle
Cangkurileung (sooty-headed bulbul)
The sooty-headed bulbul (Pycnonotus aurigaster) is a species of songbird using ten types of calls; i.e. alert, alarm, aggressive, begging, contact, courtship, distress, exciting, flying and invitation. Alert and contact calls were used more frequently than other calls. Aggressive, alarm and distress calls could be used for communication among some other bird species in the same habitats. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, and includes West Java.
CLICK HERE to LISTEN TO a recording of the Sooty-Headed Bulbul Songbird
Chestnut-bellied Partridge, Puyuh-GongGongJawa
The chestnut-bellied partridge (Arborophila javanica) is also known as Javan hill-partridge or theGong-Gong bird. The haunting song of these ground-birds can be heard typically in duet over long distances from forests. One bird emitting a fast series of loud piping whistles and the second in softer double hoots.
In a blog about hiking on Mt. Pangrango, Alex wrote this about the Gong-Gong bird in 2008:

“Since 1991, when I first began walking in the forests around the foothills of Gn Gede and Pangrango, I have become accustomed to the call of the gong-gong bird, the puyuhgonggong. The haunting double-hoot of this ground-bird can be heard over long distances”.

I have never seen this bird, and have recently begun to hear it less and less often. On Sunday 30 November, the reason for its gradual disappearance became clear, as I was walking with Robert Baldwin of Pancawati down the well-forested ridgeline of Pr Kramat, near to the village of Pancawati in sector B.

We were puzzled to see many holes in the ground beside the trail, that looked as if they had been dug recently with a shovel. At one of them, I saw an oddly-shaped inverted "basket" beside the hole. Our guide Pk Empad explained that this was an ingenious trap for the gong-gong bird. There were actually two holes, one open and the other below the basket, with a "tunnel" between the holes. When in use, the open hole is to be covered with many leaves, so that a heavy walking bird might fall into the hole and fail to see any light above him. Instead, he would see light at the end of the tunnel, which would lead him to work his way into the second hole and thence up to the basket from which he could no longer escape.

"The gong-gong bird has become rare in the forest, most of them have gone to the city", joked the younger of our two guides. ("Burung gong2 sudah jadi langka di hutan, kebanyakan di kota".)
Indonesian Jungle Fowl
Hikers in the jungles near Vila Botani are occasionally rewarded with the sight of Jungle Fowl (Gallus gallus or Ayam Hutan). On 13 December 2015, while hiking above Vila Botani. we heard and spotted at some distance 3 of these fowl. At a distance the body appeared black with red on the neck, most likely a red jungle fowl or canghegar in Sundanese. A cousin has less red and some dark green plumage – kasintuin Sundanese.
The red jungle fowl is a tropical member of the Phasianidae family. It is thought to be ancestral to the domestic chicken, with some hybridization with the grey jungle fowl. The red jungle fowl which first domesticated at least five thousand years ago in Asia are omnivorous and feed on insects, seeds and fruits including the oil palm. Flight is almost purely confined to reaching their roosting areas in trees at sunset or any other high, safe place free from ground predators through the day.
The Kingfisher is endemic to the islands of Bali and Java and is not found anywhere else.
The fulvous-breasted Woodpecker (Dendrocoposmacei) is a species of bird in the Picidae family.
The little Spiderhunter (Arachnothera Longirostra) is a species of long-billed, nectar-feeding bird in the Nectariniidae family and are most often found near flowering plants in the moist forests of Southeast Asia.
The Sunda Owl, hunts by night and mainly consumes insects but will also eat rodents, lizards, and small birds. Its call is a whooping sound.
A fishing Owl, which hunts by night in the fish ponds at Vila Botani, using its fecal pellets to lure fish to the service.