Banggai and Sula Islands

Country/Territory Indonesia
Area 7,200 km2
Altitude 0 - 1600m
Priority urgent
Habitat loss moderate
Knowledge incomplete

General characteristics

This Indonesian EBA includes Peleng and the Banggai Islands in Sulawesi Tengah province, and the Sula Islands (Taliabu, Mangole and Sanana) in western Maluku province. The islands are hilly, but the only significant area of land above 800 m is on Taliabu.

The natural vegetation is tropical semi-evergreen rain forest, with tropical lowland evergreen rain forest in the wetter areas (e.g. northern Peleng: Indrawan et al. 1993) and some forest on limestone (Whitmore 1984, Whitten et al. 1987c). Taliabu has a large area of tropical montane rain forest above c.800 m (Davidson et al. 1995), and small areas of such habitat presumably exist at this altitude on some of the other islands.

Restricted-range species

Until recently, the habitat requirements and conservation status of the restricted-range species were very poorly understood, but surveys of Taliabu (Davidson et al. 1995) and Peleng and the Banggai Islands (Indrawan et al. 1993) have added considerably to what is known. However, Indrawan et al. (1993) did not record Corvus unicolor (known by just two specimens believed to be from the island of Banggai; but see Collar et al. 1994) or Gymnocrex rosenbergii (known in this EBA by three specimens collected on Peleng). Tyto nigrobrunnea is only known from Taliabu by a single specimen collected in 1938 and a sighting in 1991 (Davidson et al. 1995).

All the other species are recorded from lowland forest, and some are also found in montane forest on Taliabu; one species, Rhipidura teysmanni, is much more common in montane than in lowland forest. Most of these birds can persist in secondary habitats, and some in all but the most degraded areas, including Coracina schistacea and C. sula (Davidson et al. 1995). Of the eight species confined to this EBA, four occur throughout, three are Sula Island endemics, and Corvus unicolor is known only from Banggai.

Sula Pitta Pitta dohertyi, which is confined to this EBA, was treated as a full species by Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993), but is here considered to be a form of the more widespread Red-bellied Pitta P. erythrogaster following Andrew (1992).

Species IUCN Category
Sula Scrubfowl (Megapodius bernsteinii) VU
White Imperial-pigeon (Ducula luctuosa) LC
(Ptilinopus subgularis) NR
Blue-faced Rail (Gymnocrex rosenbergii) VU
Taliabu Masked-owl (Tyto nigrobrunnea) VU
(Trichoglossus flavoviridis) NR
(Loriculus amabilis) NR
Drab Whistler (Pachycephala griseonota) LC
Slaty Cuckooshrike (Coracina schistacea) LC
Sula Cicadabird (Edolisoma sula) LC
Rusty-bellied Fantail (Rhipidura teysmanni) LC
Banggai Crow (Corvus unicolor) CR
Helmeted Myna (Basilornis galeatus) NT
Bare-eyed Myna (Streptocitta albertinae) NT
(Geokichla erythronota) NR
Henna-tailed Jungle-flycatcher (Cyornis colonus) NT

Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
IBA Code Site Name Country
ID176 Peleng - Banggai Indonesia
ID203 Taliabu Utara Indonesia
ID204 Pulau Seho Indonesia

Threat and conservation

Most of Taliabu retains forest cover, but large-scale logging of lowland forest has taken place, and some areas have been clear-felled for industrial timber production. Most forest below 800 m is now under logging concession, and selective logging has produced a mosaic of different-aged forest stands. There appear to be few, if any, extensive tracts of primary lowland forest left, except perhaps in the central south-west of the island (Davidson et al. 1995). Forest on Sanana and Mangole is said to be heavily degraded (Sujatnika et al. 1995). On the Banggai Islands (including Peleng), extensive lowland forest remains (RePPProT 1990) but logging has begun in the last areas of primary habitat, which will probably lead to further encroachment of shifting cultivation because of improved access (Indrawan et al. 1993).

Three restricted-range species are classified as threatened because they appear particularly rare and are perhaps the most vulnerable to habitat loss. Most of the other restricted-range species survive in logged and secondary forest, but their relative densities and breeding success in primary and secondary lowland forest are still not established, and some may become threatened in the future (Davidson et al. 1995).

The only gazetted protected area in the EBA is Pulau Seho Nature Reserve (12.5 km2) on Taliabu. The much larger proposed reserve of Pulau Taliabu (700 km2) would incorporate montane forest in the interior and lowland forest down to the northern shores (FAO 1982d, Sujatnika and Jepson 1995), including populations of all the EBA’s endemics except Corvus unicolor.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: Banggai and Sula Islands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/11/2019.