11 Nov 2022

11 Nov 22 - Indonesia - Banda Sea Cruise Day 16 - Tanahjampea: Island Of Monarchs

We only have one Monarch in the UK, in a group of islands which are approximately 800 miles from the Scillies to the Shetlands. In comparison, Tanahjampea is less than 20 miles long & it has three Monarchs. In the previous Blog Post, I had covered many of the Birds were saw on Tanahjampea, but there were more species than I could acknowledge in the labels: hence this second Blog Post.
Despite all the of land where we landed having been cultivated, it appeared that the local Birds had adapted to this degraded habitat
There was a lot of locals moving around to their fields on these motorbikes
Island Monarch: This is the nominate cinerascens subspecies which occurs on Sulawesi, the Moluccas & Lesser Sundas. Other subspecies occur in New Guinea, the Bismarck & Solomon Archipelagos
Broad-billed Monarch: This is the ruficollis subspecies which occurs on the Lesser Sundas & the Islands in the Flores Sea. Another subspecies occurs in the Tanimbar Islands, with the final subspecies occurring in New Guinea & Northern Australia
But the Monarch we really wanted to see was the gorgeous-looking endemic Tanahjampea Monarch: the four I saw didn't disappoint me.
Tanahjampea Monarch: This is a monotypic species which is endemic to Tanahjampea
Arafura Fantail: This is the celebensis subspecies which is endemic to Tanahjampea & Kalao Islands in the Flores Sea. There are a number of other subspecies described in the Lesser Sundas, Moluccas, Tanimbar Islands, Kai islands, New Guinea & Northern Australia
Arafura Fantail
The final species is the Tanahjampea subspecies of Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher. This is a bit of a taxonomic nightmare. Clements regards it as a distant group containing a single subspecies within Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher, whereas, IOC (v12.2) splits it as a monotypic species. However, in the very latest IOC Checklist (v13.1), IOC have lumped it back into Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher, despite stating that the taxonomic status is uncertain. Eaton et al in the Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago splits it from Mangrove Blue Flycatcher & Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher based upon strong differences in plumage, mtDNA & vocalisations. At the moment, I'm still following Clements taxonomy.
Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher: This is the djampeanus subspecies which is endemic to Tanahjampea
Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher
I was happy with the Birds we had seen on the island
As the armouring on my Swarovskis starts to fall apart again, I now have a decision whether to return them to Swarovski or send them to Tony in Sydney for his unique armouring
We headed back to the Lady Denok late morning for the relatively short crossing to our final island destination of Kalao.