Timor and Wetar

Country/Territory Indonesia; Timor-Leste
Area 34,000 km2
Altitude 0 - 2600 m
Priority urgent
Habitat loss major
Knowledge poor

General characteristics

The EBA comprises Timor and its associated islands of Sawu, Roti and Semau (in eastern Nusa Tenggara Timur and Timor Timur provinces of Indonesia), and Wetar (in south-east Maluku province). Wetar is volcanic, and lies off the eastern end of the main chain of the Lesser Sunda Islands, whereas the other islands lie to the south of the main chain and are not volcanic. Both the main islands are mountainous, rising to 2,960 m (Timor) and 1,407 m (Wetar).

As it lies directly in the Australian rain-shadow, this is the driest part of Indonesia, with a dry season which lasts from April to November. The natural vegetation of the islands is deciduous monsoon forest, woodland and savanna, with some isolated patches of semi-evergreen rain forest on the south-facing sides of the mountains where the land receives rain from the onshore winds, and montane forest above c.900 m on the higher mountains (Whitmore 1984).

Restricted-range species

The 23 species which are endemic to this EBA include the monotypic genus Buettikoferella. The habitat requirements, altitudinal ranges and abundance of the region's restricted-range birds are, in general, poorly documented. There has been a survey undertaken recently of some of the remnant forest patches in the west of Timor (see Noske and Saleh 1993, Noske 1995), but there is little information on eastern Timor, and Wetar appears to have been visited only once by ornithologists since 1910-and then only for a few hours (White and Bruce 1986, Robson 1990).

The main habitats of the restricted-range species are deciduous monsoon forest and woodland and semi-evergreen rain forest; the exception to this is Padda fuscata which is mainly a bird of open country areas. Some of the forest birds appear to be restricted to closed-canopy habitat, but many occur additionally in open woodland, savanna, scrub and agricultural land. Most of them occupy a wide altitudinal range, but a few seem to be confined to the lowlands, and Ducula cineracea and Zoothera dohertyi are restricted to montane forest. Most of the restricted-range species have been recorded on Timor, and seven are endemic to that island, but three species are confined to the smaller island of Wetar.

Species IUCN Red List category
(Macropygia magna) NR
Black Cuckoo-dove (Turacoena modesta) NT
Wetar Ground-dove (Pampusana hoedtii) EN
Timor Green-pigeon (Treron psittaceus) EN
Pink-headed Imperial-pigeon (Ducula rosacea) NT
Timor Imperial-pigeon (Ducula cineracea) NT
Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher (Todiramphus australasia) LC
Olive-headed Lorikeet (Trichoglossus euteles) LC
Iris Lorikeet (Trichoglossus iris) NT
Jonquil Parrot (Aprosmictus jonquillaceus) NT
Scaly-breasted Honeyeater (Lichmera squamata) LC
Flame-eared Honeyeater (Lichmera flavicans) LC
Black-necklaced Honeyeater (Lichmera notabilis) LC
Timor Friarbird (Philemon inornatus) LC
Wetar Myzomela (Myzomela kuehni) LC
Black-breasted Myzomela (Myzomela vulnerata) LC
Streak-breasted Honeyeater (Microptilotis reticulatus) LC
Plain Gerygone (Gerygone inornata) LC
Timor Figbird (Sphecotheres viridis) LC
Wetar Figbird (Sphecotheres hypoleucus) LC
(Oriolus melanotis) NR
Fawn-breasted Whistler (Pachycephala orpheus) LC
Buff-banded Bushbird (Cincloramphus bivittatus) LC
(Phylloscopus presbytes) NR
Timor Stubtail (Urosphena subulata) LC
Spot-breasted White-eye (Heleia muelleri) NT
Orange-banded Thrush (Geokichla peronii) NT
Chestnut-backed Thrush (Geokichla dohertyi) NT
Timor Warbling-flycatcher (Eumyias hyacinthinus) LC
Black-banded Flycatcher (Ficedula timorensis) NT
White-bellied Bushchat (Saxicola gutturalis) LC
Red-chested Flowerpecker (Dicaeum maugei) LC
Flame-breasted Sunbird (Cinnyris solaris) LC
Timor Sparrow (Padda fuscata) NT
Tricoloured Parrotfinch (Erythrura tricolor) LC

Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)
Country IBA Name IBA Book Code
Indonesia Bipolo ID152
Indonesia Buat - Soe ID158
Indonesia Camplong ID153
Indonesia Gunung Arnau ID227
Indonesia Gunung Mutis ID156
Indonesia Gunung Timau ID155
Indonesia Kateri - Maubesi ID159
Indonesia Manipo ID154
Indonesia Oenasi ID157
Indonesia Semau ID150
Timor-Leste Areia Branca no Dolok Oan TL14
Timor-Leste Atauro Island TL04
Timor-Leste Be Malae TL10
Timor-Leste Fatumasin TL03
Timor-Leste Irabere - Iliomar TL16
Timor-Leste Jaco Island TL08
Timor-Leste Lore TL06
Timor-Leste Maubara TL11
Timor-Leste Monte Diatuto TL09
Timor-Leste Monte Mak Fahik - Sarim TL12
Timor-Leste Monte Tatamailau TL02
Timor-Leste Mount Paitchau and Lake Iralalaro TL07
Timor-Leste Subaun TL15
Timor-Leste Sungai Klere TL05
Timor-Leste Tasitolu TL13
Timor-Leste Tilomar TL01

Threat and conservation

On Timor, most forest in the coastal lowlands and in broad valleys has already been cleared, and denuded grassy areas now extend far into the hills (FAO 1982c, White and Bruce 1986). The monsoon forests are reduced to scattered patches (RePPProT 1990, Collins et al. 1991), with large areas converted to savanna, as a result of clearance for agriculture and fires (either deliberate or accidental) which increase fodder production for livestock (Whitten and Whitten 1992). In western Timor there are about seven significant forest remnants, all relatively small (the largest is c.90 km2), isolated and unmanaged, and most are grazed by cattle and other ungulates (Noske and Saleh 1993). Several areas of montane forest remain, for example on Mt Mutis, although some deforestation has occurred there (N. Bostock in litt. 1993). However, it is possible that forest cover on Timor may now largely have stabilized (D. A. Holmes in litt. 1993), although forest does continue to be degraded. Extensive forests remain in the north-west of Wetar, but the status of habitats elsewhere on the island is unknown (K. D. Bishop in litt. 1990, F. R. Lambert in litt. 1994).

Most of the restricted-range species must have declined as a result of this widespread forest loss, but many of them appear able to maintain healthy populations in the remaining forest fragments in western Timor or are adaptable to man-modified habitats. Five of the restricted-range species are classified as threatened, including those which appear to be particularly rare or to have declined as a result of the forest clearance and fragmentation, and possibly also hunting for food (Noske and Saleh 1993). The three species endemic to Wetar are treated as Data Deficient because of the paucity of information on their conservation status. A more widespread threatened species (found throughout much of Wallacea) which occurs in the EBA is Yellow-crested Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea (classified as Endangered), which is declining throughout its range because of a combination of habitat loss and unsustainable levels of trapping for the bird trade.

There are several gazetted protected areas on Timor, but all are relatively small, and there are no reserves on Wetar or the other islands. Proposed protected areas are Gunung Timo, Dataran Bena, Gunung Mutis, Gunung Tilomor, Gunung Talamailu, Sungai Clere, Lore and Danau Ira Lalora-Pulau Yaco on Timor, Tanjung Pukuatu/Bakauherlu on Roti, and Gunung Arnau on Wetar (FAO 1982c, Sujatnika and Jepson 1995); however, these proposals are based on field surveys carried out 15 years ago, so new surveys are a high priority. Gunung Mutis is currently in the process of being established as a reserve under a PHPA/WWF project (Sujatnika et al. 1995). The forests at Bipolo, Buraen, Camplong and Soe in western Timor are also important for many of the restricted-range bird species (Noske and Saleh 1993).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: Timor and Wetar. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/eba/factsheet/164 on 24/09/2023.