Banda Sea Islands

Country/Territory Indonesia
Area 7,100 km2
Altitude 0 - 800m
Priority high
Habitat loss unquantified
Knowledge poor

General characteristics

This EBA includes the many small, scattered, oceanic islands and island groups which span almost 1,000 km of the eastern edge of the Banda Sea in southern Maluku province of Indonesia. There are two main chains of islands: one runs south-eastwards from near Seram (EBA 170) to the Kai and Tanimbar islands, and from there westwards towards Timor (EBA 164), including Babar, Sermata and Leti; the second is a chain of volcanic islands known as the Banda arc, which runs south-westwards from the Banda Islands (which lie to the south of Seram) towards Wetar (also EBA 164), including Damar and Romang. Unlike the volcanic Banda arc, the Tanimbar and Kai islands are composed of limestone, and almost flat, with the exception of Kai Besar which is long, narrow and hilly. Many of the islands in the Banda arc are mountainous, but they reach a maximum altitude of only c.850 m (on Damar).

This part of Indonesia is affected by the Australian rain-shadow, so the climate is relatively dry, with markedly seasonal rainfall. The natural vegetation includes both semi-evergreen rain forest and monsoon forest, with mangroves along the coast (Whitmore 1984, White and Bruce 1986).

Restricted-range species

The small oceanic islands in this EBA are generally poor in diversity of birds, but the level of endemism is remarkably high. The patterns in the distribution of the restricted-range species are complex, perhaps reflecting the random element in their colonization of the islands in the past. Although they are included in this single EBA, it should be noted that several parts of the EBA are important in their own right, as they support their own endemic species, most notably the Tanimbar and Kai island groups. More than half of the restricted-range species of this EBA are shared with other EBAs and Secondary Areas in Maluku and the Lesser Sunda Islands.

The distribution and habitat requirements of the birds of this EBA are poorly known, as some of the smaller islands have seldom, if ever, been visited by ornithologists, and even the larger island groups have only been visited on a handful of occasions. However, it is clear that almost all of the restricted-range species are forest birds, although many of them appear able to adapt to man-modified habitats.

Some of the restricted-range species are confined to single islands or island groups. The seven species which are endemic to the Tanimbar group, including the recently described Cettia carolinae (Rozendaal 1987), were all found to be widespread and numerous on the main island of Yamdena by a PHPA/BirdLife International survey team in 1993 (Cahyadin 1993, Y. Cahyadin and N. Brickle verbally 1993), although they did not record Tyto sororcula, which is only known from Tanimbar and Buru (EBA 169); however, one was seen on Yamdena in 1996 (Robson 1996). The four species which are endemic to the Kai group-including Zosterops uropygialis which is only known from Kai Besar and Tual and Zosterops grayi which is confined to Kai Kecil-also appear to be numerous in the remaining forests on the islands, and able to persist in disturbed forest (Lewis 1993, Robson 1994, K. D. Bishop in litt. 1989, N. Bostock in litt. 1993). Ficedula henrici, a single-island endemic on Damar, has apparently not been recorded since it was discovered in 1899, and Chrysococcyx rufomerus, only known from the small islands in the south-west of this EBA, has probably also not been recorded during the twentieth century.

Five taxa confined to this EBA-White-browed Triller Lalage (atrovirens) moesta, Loetoe Monarch Monarcha (pileatus) castus, Wallacean Whistler Pachycephala (griseonota) arctitorquis, Banda Myzomela Myzomela (dibapha) boiei and Grey Friarbird Philemon (citreogularis) kisserensis were considered by Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993) to be full species but are treated here as forms of more widespread species, as indicated (following Andrew 1992) though M. pileatus remains a restricted-range species. Jones et al. (1995b) considered Tanimbar Megapode Megapodius tenimberensis, another taxon endemic to the Tanimbar group, to be a full species, but it is here treated as a form of the more widespread Orange-footed Scrubfowl M. reinwardt, following Andrew (1992) and Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993).

Species IUCN Category
(Macropygia magna) NR
Blue-tailed Imperial-pigeon (Ducula concinna) LC
Pink-headed Imperial-pigeon (Ducula rosacea) NT
Wallace's Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus wallacii) LC
Kai Coucal (Centropus spilopterus) LC
Pied Bronze-cuckoo (Chalcites crassirostris) LC
(Chrysococcyx rufomerus) NR
(Tyto sororcula) NR
(Ninox squamipila) NR
Cinnamon-banded Kingfisher (Todiramphus australasia) NT
Tanimbar Corella (Cacatua goffiniana) NT
Red Lory (Eos bornea) LC
Blue-streaked Lory (Eos reticulata) NT
Olive-headed Lorikeet (Trichoglossus euteles) LC
Scaly-breasted Honeyeater (Lichmera squamata) LC
(Philemon moluccensis) NR
Rufous-sided Gerygone (Gerygone dorsalis) LC
(Oriolus bouroensis) NR
Island Whistler (Pachycephala phaionota) LC
Drab Whistler (Pachycephala griseonota) LC
Kai Cicadabird (Edolisoma dispar) LC
Cinnamon-tailed Fantail (Rhipidura fuscorufa) NT
Long-tailed Fantail (Rhipidura opistherythra) NT
Moluccan Flycatcher (Myiagra galeata) LC
Black-bibbed Monarch (Symposiachrus mundus) LC
White-tailed Monarch (Symposiachrus leucurus) NT
White-naped Monarch (Carterornis pileatus) LC
Tanimbar Flyrobin (Microeca hemixantha) NT
Timor Stubtail (Urosphena subulata) LC
Tanimbar Bush-warbler (Horornis carolinae) NT
Pearl-bellied White-eye (Zosterops grayi) NT
Golden-bellied White-eye (Zosterops uropygialis) NT
Tanimbar Starling (Aplonis crassa) NT
Fawn-breasted Thrush (Zoothera machiki) NT
Slaty-backed Thrush (Geokichla schistacea) NT
Orange-banded Thrush (Geokichla peronii) NT
Damar Flycatcher (Ficedula henrici) NT
Cinnamon-chested Flycatcher (Ficedula buruensis) LC
Ashy Flowerpecker (Dicaeum vulneratum) LC
Red-chested Flowerpecker (Dicaeum maugei) LC
Tricoloured Parrotfinch (Erythrura tricolor) LC

Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
IBA Code Site Name Country
ID215 Pulau Manuk Indonesia
ID216 Kepulauan Tayandu Indonesia
ID217 Pegunungan Daab - Boo Indonesia
ID220 Pulau Larat Indonesia
ID221 Tanimbar Tengah Indonesia
ID222 Pulau Babar Indonesia
ID223 Pulau Damar Indonesia
ID224 Pulau Romang Indonesia
ID226 Kepulauan Lemola Indonesia

Threat and conservation

In the Tanimbar group, the main island of Yamdena remains well forested, with clearance for agriculture mainly confined to a narrow strip along the coast, although the south of the island is covered by a logging concession (Cahyadin 1993, Sujatnika et al. 1995). In the Kai group, Kai Kecil and Tual are much more developed than Tanimbar, and the narrow, rugged Kai Besar appears to be almost completely covered in coconut plantations; however, a number of patches of natural forest remain on all of these islands, including some substantial blocks in the more remote areas (Lewis 1993, N. Bostock in litt. 1993; see Collins et al. 1991). Information on the status of the forest on many of the other islands in the EBA is scant, but it is reported that extensive forests remain on Damar (S. van Balen in litt. 1994). Fice- dula henrici is the only species of this EBA which is threatened, because of its tiny range, although two other particularly poorly known species are classified as Data Deficient.

There are several small gazetted protected areas in this EBA, but the only ones which are likely to be important for the restricted-range species are the small Nustaram and Pulau Nuswotar Nature Reserves in the Tanimbar islands, and Gunung Api Banda Nature Reserve. New protected areas which have been proposed to fill important gaps in coverage of this EBA are Yamdena (Jepson 1995), Kai Besar, Pulau Damar and Pulau Babar (FAO 1982d, Sujatnika and Jepson 1995). However, these proposals do not include the island of Kai Kecil, which has an endemic white-eye.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: Banda Sea Islands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/09/2021.