Northern Maluku

Country/Territory Indonesia
Area 27,000 km2
Altitude 0 - 2000m
Priority urgent
Habitat loss limited
Knowledge incomplete

General characteristics

Lying in northern Maluku province of Indonesia, this EBA includes the islands of Halmahera, Morotai, Bacan, Obi, the chain of volcanic islands to the west of Halmahera (which includes Ternate, Tidore, Mare, Moti and Kayoa) and many other small associated islands. The four peninsulas which make up Halmahera are all mountainous, but only reach a maximum altitude of 1,635 m. Morotai (maximum 1,250 m), Bacan (2,111 m) and Obi (1,611 m) are also mountainous.

The natural vegetation of most of the islands is tropical lowland evergreen and semi-evergreen rain forest, with areas of forest on limestone, and tropical montane rain forest above c.700 m. Monsoon forest is reported to exist on the southern peninsula of Halmahera and on Bacan and Obi, but the extent of this forest type is unclear (Whitmore 1984, White and Bruce 1986, Collins et al. 1991, MacKinnon et al. 1994).

Restricted-range species

The avifauna of Northern Maluku is very distinct, and includes the four monotypic endemic genera, Habroptila, Melitograis, Lycocorax and Semioptera. Most of the EBA's restricted-range species have been recorded on Halmahera (see 'Distribution patterns' table), and four are known only from this island. Two species are restricted to the southern islands of the EBA: Ptilinopus granulifrons, which is known from the lowlands of Obi, and Scolopax rochussenii, which is recorded from Obi and Bacan where it appears to be confined to montane forest.

The habitat requirements and distribution of the restricted-range species have not formerly been well documented, but survey work on Halmahera since 1994 by PHPA/BirdLife International and others has added considerably to knowledge of their habitat requirements, altitudinal ranges and population densities (MacKinnon et al. 1994, M. K. Poulsen in litt. 1996). Most of the restricted-range species which occur on Halmahera were recorded during the surveys, and many were found to be common. All of these species were recorded in lowland rain forest, but many were also found in montane rain forest above c.700 m, and a few were most numerous in that habitat or in forest on limestone. Cacomantis heinrichi was not recorded during these surveys; it is a species known only from a handful of specimens collected in montane forest on Halmahera and Bacan, although there is a specimen and recent possible sightings from the lowlands (M. K. Poulsen in litt. 1996). One of the four species which are endemic to Halmahera, the flightless Habroptila wallacii which is believed to be confined to sago swamp forests, was recorded only once during the surveys (Anon. 1995).

Species IUCN Category
Moluccan Scrubfowl (Eulipoa wallacei) VU
Dusky Scrubfowl (Megapodius freycinet) LC
Pink-headed Imperial-pigeon (Ducula rosacea) NT
(Ducula basilica) NR
(Ducula myristicivora) NR
(Ducula perspicillata) NR
Scarlet-breasted Fruit-dove (Megaloprepia formosa) LC
Grey-headed Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus hyogastrus) LC
Carunculated Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus granulifrons) VU
Blue-capped Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus monacha) NT
Moluccan Owlet-nightjar (Aegotheles crinifrons) LC
Goliath Coucal (Centropus goliath) LC
Moluccan Cuckoo (Cacomantis aeruginosus) LC
Drummer Rail (Habroptila wallacii) VU
Moluccan Woodcock (Scolopax rochussenii) EN
(Ninox squamipila) NR
Moluccan Goshawk (Accipiter henicogrammus) NT
Rufous-necked Sparrowhawk (Accipiter erythrauchen) NT
Azure Dollarbird (Eurystomus azureus) NT
Blue-and-white Kingfisher (Todiramphus diops) LC
Sombre Kingfisher (Todiramphus funebris) VU
White Cockatoo (Cacatua alba) EN
Chattering Lory (Lorius garrulus) VU
Violet-necked Lory (Eos squamata) LC
(Loriculus amabilis) NR
(Pitta maxima) NR
Olive Honeyeater (Lichmera argentauris) LC
White-streaked Friarbird (Melitograis gilolensis) LC
Dusky Friarbird (Philemon fuscicapillus) VU
Halmahera Oriole (Oriolus phaeochromus) LC
Island Whistler (Pachycephala phaionota) LC
Drab Whistler (Pachycephala griseonota) LC
Moluccan Cuckooshrike (Coracina atriceps) LC
Pale Cicadabird (Edolisoma ceramense) LC
Halmahera Cicadabird (Edolisoma parvulum) LC
Rufous-bellied Triller (Lalage aurea) LC
Moluccan Flycatcher (Myiagra galeata) LC
White-naped Monarch (Carterornis pileatus) LC
Long-billed Crow (Corvus validus) NT
(Lycocorax pyrrhopterus) NR
Standardwing Bird-of-paradise (Semioptera wallacii) LC
Cream-throated White-eye (Zosterops atriceps) LC
(Dicaeum erythrothorax) NR

Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
IBA Code Site Name Country
ID192 Morotai Indonesia
ID193 Galela Indonesia
ID194 Gamkonora Indonesia
ID195 Tanah Putih Indonesia
ID196 Rawa Sagu Ake Jailolo Indonesia
ID197 Aketajawe Indonesia
ID198 Lolobata Indonesia
ID199 Hutan Bakau Dodaga Indonesia
ID200 Labi Labi Indonesia
ID201 Gunung Sibela Indonesia
ID202 Gunung Batu Putih Indonesia

Threat and conservation

The principal long-term threat to the restricted-range species of this EBA is forest loss. Parts of the northern peninsula of Halmahera and the Ternate, Tidore, Mare, Moti and Kayoa islands are volcanic, and the rich volcanic soils have long been intensively cultivated for cloves and other spices (FAO 1982d). Elsewhere, extensive tracts of forest remain, but most of this is included within timber concessions, and there are also plans for agricultural development (RePPProT 1990).

Six of the restricted-range birds of this EBA are threatened: the two species confined to Obi and Bacan, because they have specialized habitat requirements and are likely to be vulnerable to forest loss; Megapodius wallacei because it nests colonially on beaches and is affected by egg-harvesting, habitat loss and hunting; Cacatua alba and Lorius garrulus because of a combination of habitat loss and trapping (both legal and illegal) for the cage-bird trade at levels which may not be sustainable (see Lambert 1993b); and the flightless Habroptila wallacii, because it is apparently confined to a few areas of swamp forest and is likely to be vulnerable to introduced or feral predators. Two particularly poorly known species are treated as Data Deficient.

There are currently no gazetted protected areas within this EBA. A network of representative areas has been proposed, which would include large areas of the key habitats on most of the main islands, and would almost certainly support populations of all of the restricted-range species. The most important proposed protected areas are Lalobata and Aketajawi on Halmahera, Wayabula on Morotai, Gunung Sibela on Bacan and Pulau Obi on Obi (FAO 1982d, Sujatnika and Jepson 1995). The proposals for Lalobata and Aketajawi have recently been revised, and a single new area proposed which covers c.3,550 km2 and is representative of all of the forest types on Halmahera (Suherdie et al. 1995).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: Northern Maluku. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/09/2019.