Bali Mynah

Scientific Name: Leucopsar rothschildi

Photo courtesy of ©Richard W. Rokes.

Description

People usually think of the yellow and black hill mynah when “mynah birds” are mentioned. A distant relative, the Bali mynah is much smaller—about the size of a blue jay—with white plumage, black wing bars, and turquoise-blue bare skin around its eyes. During courtship displays, both sexes bob up and down on a branch, beaks pointed skyward, with their long, graceful crests erect. Bali mynahs share the ability to mimic sounds, including human speech, with their larger cousins. Indonesian and international law have protected them since the early 1970’s.

Range

The northwest tip of the Indonesian island of Bali in the South Pacific Ocean. The entire range is less than 65 square kilometers. Due to their restricted range, Bali mynahs have never been plentiful.

Status in the Wild

Even in the best of times, there were probably never more than 1000. Human expansion throughout overcrowded Bali has resulted in substantial habitat loss. Unsustainable collecting for the pet trade in the late 1960’s, and more recently poaching for the Indonesian black market, have brought the wild population to the brink of extinction. Bali mynahs reproduce well in captivity when properly maintained; there are more than a thousand birds in managed populations outside of Indonesia. The Bali Mynah Species Survival Plan, representing a consortium of North American zoos, is working with the Indonesian government to protect the remaining wild birds and to restore the population to its former numbers through reintroductions and post-release monitoring.

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