Guests from Afar: The Long Journey of Siberian Raptors to the Sanggabuana Mountains of Indonesia

Guests from Afar: The Long Journey of Siberian Raptors to the Sanggabuana Mountains of Indonesia
Image by Pixabay

An interesting natural event has occurred in Indonesia, where thousands of birds of prey from Siberia, Russia, have been detected migrating to this country. It was observed that this flock of birds of prey landed in the forest area of Sanggabuana Mountains, Tegalwaru Subdistrict, Karawang Regency in late October 2023.

News of this phenomenon first surfaced through a report by Burung Indonesia, a non-profit organization that aims to preserve wild birds. According to the organization's observations, thousands of birds of prey were on a migratory journey through the eastern mainland corridor, passing through China, the Malay Peninsula, and eventually reaching their destinations in Java, Bali, and Nusa Tenggara. 

Ria Saryanthi, Communication Partnership Advisor at Burung Indonesia, explained that this natural phenomenon is a regular event where these birds move every season, breeding in warmer places during winter and waiting for the right time to return to their place of origin. He also mentioned several bird species that have been identified as migrating from Siberia and visiting the Sanggabuana Mountains to breed, such as Pernis ptilorhynchus, Accipiter gularis, Accipiter soloensis, and Merops philippinus.

Using binoculars and monoculars, they tracked the movements of thousands of migratory birds. Interestingly, some locals also captured the moment with their DSLR cameras, and the results can be seen in a number of cafes in the Sempur Peak area. Ria also revealed that they are working with the Sanggabuana Conservation Foundation (SCF) in an effort to monitor and conserve this species. 

Raptors themselves have similar physical characteristics to eagles and are among the most migratory birds of prey. Their main characteristics include keen eyesight, eight sharp claws, and a curved beak.

The evolutionary history of these raptors spans a vast time span of 50 to 75 million years. There are about 482 species of birds of prey in the world, of which 304 are diurnal and 178 nocturnal.

Siberian raptors migrate to the tropics to avoid the extreme winters in the north. On their way to Southeast Asia, many of them get stuck in the Indian region because of windmills that create turbulence zones. These incidents often leave them shocked and unable to continue their journey, even if they survive.

Researchers from Russia and India have found that the birds of prey usually migrate alone, leaving their young behind. In 2016, Restorasi Ekosistem Riau (RER) reported the discovery of dozens of raptors of Russian origin in Kampar Regency, Riau Province, as further evidence of their migratory patterns. As such, the migratory movements of Siberian raptors provide important insights into their adaptation to seasonal and environmental changes.

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