Monday, May 3, 2010

#231 Indonesia...Thanks Imam!

This nice 2008 Provincial Fauna & Flora FDC features Bali Starling (Leucopsar rothschildi),also known as Rothschild’s Mynah, Bali Myna or Bali Mynah,which is a medium-sized (up to 25 cm long), stocky myna, almost wholly white with a long, drooping crest, and black tips on the wings and tail. The bird has blue bare skin around the eyes, greyish legs and a yellow bill. Both sexes are similar.

The Bali Starling is distributed and endemic to the island of Bali in Indonesia, where it is the island's only surviving endemic vertebrate species. This rare bird was discovered in 1910 and was designated the fauna symbol of Bali.

The Bali Starling is critically endangered, hovering immediately above extinction in the wild for several years now (BirdLife International 2006). The last stronghold of the species is at West Bali National Park; about 1,000 individuals are believed to be held in captivity legally. In fact, the Bali Starling is so much in danger that that national park has been set up just for the Bali Starling's survival. The wild population was at an all-time low of just 6 birds in 2001, after the late-1990s wild population of 3-4 dozen was reduced by poachers for the illegal pet trade.

Its decline towards extinction has been caused by the urbanization of the island and by illegal trapping for the caged-bird trade; indeed, the number of captive birds bought on black market is estimated to be twice the number of legally-acquired individuals in the captive breeding program. Trade even in captive-bred specimens is strictly regulated and the species is not generally available legally to private individuals. However, experienced aviculturalists may become affiliated with the captive-breeding program, allowing them to legally keep this species.

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