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This stunning starling qualifies as Critically Endangered because it has an extremely small range and a tiny population which is still suffering from illegal poaching for the cagebird trade. Releases of captive-bred birds have boosted the population, but it is uncertain how many of these have yet bred successfully in the wild. In due course, if the population continues to grow and trapping pressures can be brought under control, the species may warrant downlisting.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
25 cm. Medium-large, stocky starling. Almost wholly white with long, drooping crest, black wing-tips and tail tip. Blue bare skin around eye and legs, yellow bill. Similar spp. Black-winged Starling Sturnus melanopterus has shorter crest, much larger area of black on wings and tail and yellow eye-ring and legs. Voice Variety of sharp chattering calls and an emphatic twat.
Conservation and Research Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I. The species has been protected under Indonesian law since 1970, while the remaining wild population occurs entirely within Bali Barat National Park. Since 1983, the Bali Starling Project has helped to improve the guarding of the park, bolstered the wild population through release of captive-bred birds, and provided the foundation for the development of the Bali Starling Recovery Plan. A population was introduced to Nusa Penida Island (apparently not part of its native range) by Begawan Foundation, derived from captive individuals. Reintroduction has continued through the work of the Friends of the National Park Foundation (I. G. N. Bayu Wirayudha in litt. 2012). By the end of 2009 65 birds had been released at Nusa Penida and at least 62 chicks were reported to have fledged in the wild up to 2011 (Collar et al. 2012). In 2006 a local regulation was passed to make protection of birds obligatory by all village residents on Penida, in return for support including local education and sustainable livelihoods projects (Friends of the National Parks Foundation undated). A government scheme allows locals to get captive birds on 'breeding loan' and give a small proportion of the offspring to Bali Barat National Park and sell the rest commercially (Collar et al. 2012). As many as 126 birds have been released in the park, but these have been 'hard releases' with no monitoring of survival (Collar et al. 2012). In addition, the Wildlife Conservation Society continues to operate wildlife crime market/trade surveillance and enforcement at key trading hubs in Indonesia (N. Brickle in litt. 2007). Soft releases with provision of food, water and nest boxes have recently taken place at four resorts along the north coast (Collar et al. 2012). Three more releases were scheduled for 2014 (Begawan Foundation 2014).
Conservation and Research Actions Proposed
Continue to monitor population trends closely, in particular to determine whether released birds are breeding successfully. Improve genetic diversity of released populations by introducing unrelated individuals. Commence strict implementation of the Bali Starling Recovery Plan. Continue to monitor the success of the release on Nusa Penida, in particular investigating interactions with native flora and fauna, as well as those with local agricultural activity. Encourage community work to improve habitat conditions (I. G. N. Bayu Wirayudha in litt. 2012).
Related state of the world's birds case studies
Begawan Foundation. 2014. Begawan Foundation Plans Three Bali Starling Releases at Sibang, Bali in 2014. Begawan Foundation.
BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.
Collar, N. J.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2013. Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook.
Collar, N. J.; Gardner, L.; Jeggo, D. F.; Marcordes, B.; Owen, A.; Pagel, T.; Vaidl, A.; Wilkinson, R.; Wirth, R. 2012. Conservation breeding and the most threatened birds in Asia. BirdingASIA 18: 50-57.
Friends of the National Parks Foundation. undated. Bali Starling Conservation Project on Nusa Penida. Available at: http://www.fnpf.org/what-we-do/nusa-penida-bali/wildlife/bali-starling-conservation-project. (Accessed: 07/10/2013).
Halaouate, M. 2015. The Audit on Nusa Penida from 22 to 24 February 2015. Begawan Foundation.
IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 19 November 2015).
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Davidson, P., Derhé, M., Pilgrim, J., Symes, A., Tobias, J., Khwaja, N. & Wright, L
Benstead, P., Blakemore, A., Brickle, N., Dijkman, G., Wood, P., Kenwrick, C., Bayu Wirayudha, I. & Halaouate, M.
IUCN Red List evaluators
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Leucopsar rothschildi. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/11/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/11/2015.
This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.
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Additional resources for this species
|Current IUCN Red List category||Critically Endangered|
|Species name author||Stresemann, 1912|
|Population size||1-49 mature individuals|
|Distribution size (breeding/resident)||38 km2|
|Links to further information|
|- Additional Information on this species|