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Extinction Countdown

Extinction Countdown

News and research about endangered species from around the world

Sunday Species Snapshot: Bali Myna

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bali mynaBirds don't get much more beautiful than the Bali myna. Unfortunately, they also don't get much rarer.

Species name: Bali myna (Leucopsar rothschildi), a.k.a. the Rothschild's Mynah, Bali Starling, or Jalak Bali

Where found: Bali, an island province of Indonesia

IUCN Red List status: Critically endangered, with an estimated wild population of probably fewer than 50 mature birds. Another 1,000 or so live in captivity.

Major threat: The illegal pet trade. The population has probably been low for more than a century, but poaching brought the wild population down to about 15 birds in 1990. Captive breeding brought that number up a bit, but continued poaching caused the number to sink to an all-time low of just six birds in 2001. Numbers have jumped a bit since then, and the birds are breeding in the wild, but they are also still being caught and illegally sold. They also face potential risks such as low genetic diversity and disease.

Notable conservation programs: The Bali Starling Conservation Project on Nusa Penida, which this month celebrated the birth of four healthy chicks.

You can hear the Bali myna's striking song in this video, shot in 2010 in Bali Barat National Park:

Photo by Rumplestiltskin1 via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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