Bali myna (Leucopsar rothschildi)

Leucopsar rothschildi, commonly known as the Bali myna, Rothschild’s myna, or Bali starling, is a critically endangered bird species native to the island of Bali in Indonesia. This striking bird is known for its beauty and rarity.

Appearance

  • Size: The Bali myna measures about 25 centimeters (10 inches) in length.
  • Coloration: It has predominantly white plumage, with black tips on the wings and tail. The bird’s bare skin around the eyes is a distinctive bright blue.
  • Crest: One of the most notable features is the elegant, white crest of feathers on its head.
  • Beak and Legs: The beak is yellowish, while the legs and feet are grey.

Habitat

  • Preferred Habitats: Bali mynas are found in a variety of forest habitats, including dry monsoon forests and open woodlands. They also inhabit scrublands and agricultural areas.
  • Geographic Range: This species is endemic to the island of Bali, specifically the north-western part of the island, including Bali Barat National Park.

Behavior

  • Diet: Bali mynas primarily feed on fruits, seeds, and insects. Their diet includes figs, berries, caterpillars, and grasshoppers.
  • Reproduction: The breeding season typically occurs during the rainy season, from November to March. Nests are often built in tree cavities or nest boxes. The female usually lays 2-3 eggs, and both parents participate in incubating the eggs and feeding the chicks.
  • Social Structure: These birds are often seen in pairs or small groups. They are known to be quite social and exhibit strong pair bonding.

Conservation Status

  • Critically Endangered: The Bali myna is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. The primary threats to its survival are habitat destruction and illegal poaching for the cage bird trade.
  • Conservation Efforts: Various conservation efforts are underway to save this species. These include captive breeding programs, habitat protection, and reintroduction projects. Bali Barat National Park plays a crucial role in the conservation of this species.

Interesting Facts

  • National Bird: The Bali myna is the national bird of Bali and is also known as “Jalak Bali” in Indonesian.
  • Discovery and Name: The species was first described in 1912 by the British ornithologist Walter Rothschild, after whom the bird is named.
  • Charismatic Appearance: Its striking appearance makes it highly sought after in the illegal pet trade, which has significantly contributed to its decline in the wild.

Identification Tips

  • Color and Markings: The all-white plumage with black wing and tail tips, along with the blue skin around the eyes and the crest, make it relatively easy to identify.
  • Habitat: Knowing that it is only found in Bali, especially within Bali Barat National Park, helps narrow down identification.

Summary

The Bali myna (Leucopsar rothschildi) is a critically endangered bird known for its striking white plumage, blue eye patches, and elegant crest. Endemic to the island of Bali, it faces severe threats from habitat loss and illegal capture. Conservation efforts are crucial for the survival of this beautiful and iconic species, making it a symbol of wildlife conservation in Indonesia.

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