The 17 000 islands of Indonesia are home to roughly:
12% of the world’s mammals;
16% of the world’s reptiles and amphibians;
17% of the world’s birds;
25% of global fish populations.
Endemic means found nowhere else in the world: two kinds of rhinoceros, one species of tiger, and orangutans are endemic to Indonesia. It is also home to elephants, wild pigs, deer, gibbons, proboscis monkeys and other primates, and the smallest of the bears, the sun bear. There are also bats, possums and tree kangaroos.
Click the blue links to read kidcyber pages about each animal.
Watch a video about the Primates of Indonesia
There are over 1500 species of birds in Indonesia’s forests.
Birds found in Indonesia include 14 kinds of hornbill, cockatoos, parrots, kingfishers and twenty species of Birds of Paradise.
Birds of Paradise are noted for their bright feathers and long tail feathers. They eat insects and fruit. The male Greater Bird of Paradise has feathers which are maroon, black, brown, red, orange, yellow and green. He fluffs his feathers and displays them to attract the female. After mating,the female lays one egg. She rears the chick on her own.
Hornbills are large birds found tropical forests of Asia and Africa. Indonesia has 13 hornbill species, 9 of them on the island of Sumatra. Their bodies are generally 1-2 metres long, with a wingspan of up to 2 metres. They have huge curved beaks, with a hollow section called a casque on top. They eat fruit, insects and worms.
Female hornbills make a nest inside a hollow in a tree. After mating, the female seals herself inside the hollow and lays 2-3 eggs. She remains sealed inside the nest until the eggs have hatched and the chicks are ready to learn to fly. The male hornbill brings food for his mate and chicks and feeds them through a small hole. They do this to protect the eggs and chicks from many predators. The rhinoceros hornbill is black and white with a yellow and red bill and casque. They have a harsh loud ‘kronk’ sound. When one makes the sound, the partner repeats it a few seconds later. They keep to the tops of tall trees.
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The eared tree frog is one of many frog species found in Indonesia.
Read a list of amphibians endemic (found nowhere else) to Indonesia:
Thousands of different orchids grow in the rainforests.
About two-thirds of Indonesia is made up of rainforests and in these forests there are thought to be more than 40 000 species of flowers, including thousands of different orchids, hibiscus, wax ginger flower and rhododendrons.
Read the kidcyber page about the biggest flower in the world, found in Indonesia and other tropical forests:
Why such a rich diversity of animals and plants?
Indonesia's forests are primary rainforests that have taken thousands of years to grow. Primary rainforests are the original rainforests, ancient places that are irreplaceable.
Threats to animals and plants
The rich biodiversity of Indonesia faces many threats, with many animals in danger of becoming extinct. These threats come from logging and palm oil plantation expansion. The rainforests are disappearing because of logging; the trees in the rainforests are harvested for teak and sandalwood which is used for building and for making furniture. Forests are cleared to make way for farming too.
Read about the destruction of the Indonesian forests:
Read other kidcyber pages about Indonesia: