Bali myna

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Bali myna
Leucopsar rothschildi -Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, USA-8a (1).jpg
At Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Sturnidae
Genus: Leucopsar
Stresemann, 1912
L. rothschildi
Binomial name
Leucopsar rothschildi
Stresemann, 1912

The Bali myna (Leucopsar rothschildi), also known as Rothschild's mynah, Bali starling, or Bali mynah, locally known as jalak Bali, is a medium-sized (up to 25 centimetres (9.8 in) 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. It is critically endangered and fewer than 100 adults are assumed to currently exist in the wild.


Taxonomy and systematics

The first scientific description of the Bali myna was made in 1912. [2] Placed in the monotypic genus Leucopsar, it appears to be most closely related to Sturnia and the brahminy starling which is currently placed in Sturnus but will probably soon be split therefrom as Sturnus as presently delimited is highly paraphyletic. [3] The specific epithet commemorates the British ornithologist Lord Rothschild.


At the Waddesdon Aviary A Bali Starling or Rothschild Mynah at the Waddesdon Aviary.jpg
At the Waddesdon Aviary

The Bali myna is a medium-large bird around 25 centimetres (9.8 in) in length. It is almost wholly white with a long, drooping crest, black wing-tips and tail tip. It has a yellow bill with blue bare skin around the eyes and legs. The black-winged starling (Sturnus melanopterus), a similar species, has a shorter crest and a much larger area of black on wings and tail, plus a yellow eye-ring (without feathers) and legs. [1]

Distribution and habitat

The Bali myna is restricted to the island of Bali (and its offshore islands) in Indonesia, where it is the island's only endemic vertebrate species. In 1991, the bird was designated the faunal emblem of Bali. Featured on the Indonesian 200 rupiah coin, its local name is jalak Bali (Balinese script: ᬚᬮᬓ᭄ᬩᬮᬶ).

Behaviour and ecology

Two juveniles Balispreeuw (802328533).jpg
Two juveniles

In its natural habitat it is inconspicuous, using tree tops for cover and–unlike other starlings–usually coming to the ground only to drink or to find nesting materials; this would seem to be an adaptation to its noticeability to predators when out in the open. The Bali mynah often gathers in groups when it is young to better locate food and watch out for predators. [4] The vocalizations are a variety of sharp chattering calls and an emphatic tweet. [1]

The Bali myna's diet includes fruit, seeds, worms and insects. [4]


During the breeding season (the rainy season of Bali), males attract females by calling loudly and bobbing up and down. The birds nest in tree cavities, with the female laying and incubating two or three eggs. Both males and females bring food to the nest for chicks after hatching. [4]

Status and conservation

At West Bali National Park, Bali, Indonesia. Bali Starling - Bali Barat MG 8974 (29654702785).jpg
At West Bali National Park, Bali, Indonesia.

The Bali myna is critically endangered, and the wild population has been close to extinction since at least 1994. As of 2015, less than 100 adults are assumed to exist in the wild, with about 1,000 believed to survive in captivity. The Bali myna is listed in Appendix I of CITES. 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 captive-breeding programs, allowing them to legally keep this species. The number of captive birds bought on the black market is estimated to be twice the number of legally acquired individuals in the captive breeding programs. [1]

There are currently three locations on Bali where the birds exist in the wild: the West Bali National Park; Bali's small island of Nusa Penida and Begawan Foundation's breeding and release site at Melinggih Kelod, Payangan. [1]

Bali myna breeding program

A "breeding loan" involves 12 breeders who each received 15 male and 15 female from the Association of Starling Conservationists from Bogor, West Java. As collateral every breeder should put up a cow in case all the birds died. The breeders are obliged to release 10 percent of the brood into the national park and the rest can be sold off privately. [5]

West Bali National Park

There were an estimated 350 birds in the West Bali National Park in the 1980s. During the 1990s over 400 cage-bred birds were released into the park to increase their numbers. But by 2005, the park authorities estimated the number to have fallen to less than 10. This decline was caused primarily by poachers responding to the lucrative demand for rare birds in the caged bird market.

Nusa Penida island

At Milwaukee County Zoological Gardens, United States Bali Mynah.jpg
At Milwaukee County Zoological Gardens, United States

A population of Bali mynas now exists on the island of Nusa Penida and its sister islands of Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Lembongan, which are 14 km off the south east coast of Bali. The islands have been transformed into an unofficial bird sanctuary by Friends of National Parks Foundation (FNPF), an Indonesian NGO based in Bali. [6] This was achieved by FNPF working for many years with the 40+ villages on the islands and persuading every village to pass a traditional Balinese village regulation to protect birds, and effectively removing the threat of poachers. Since then, FNPF has rehabilitated and released several endangered birds onto the island of Nusa Penida, including many Bali mynas supplied from multiple breeders. [7]

The Begawan Foundation began its Bali Starling Breeding Program in Begawan Giri in 1999 with two pairs, which had grown to a population of 97 in 2005. A release program was started on Nusa Penida, where 64 individuals were released in 2006 and 2007. Monitoring of the released birds suggests that their numbers had increased to +100 by 2009, and had spread across Penida, with small numbers also breeding on Ceningan and Lembongan. A number of further captive-bred individuals have since been rewilded, including 6 individuals on neighboring Nusa Lembongan. The foundation expects to release approximately 10 Bali mynas each year. The birds will continue to be sourced from different breeders to increase the genetic diversity of the growing wild population on Nusa Penida. Begawan Foundation field staff have monitored the released birds on a daily basis since their release and have a dedicated Field Officer since 2010. Findings are regularly reported their findings to the Forestry Department, with photos and films taken of the birds' activities. [8]

Coin with Bali starling Coin of Bali.jpg
Coin with Bali starling

However, according to an audit undertaken by Begawan Foundation on both Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan in February and March 2015, less than 15 birds were seen to be flying in the wild. Calculations undertaken suggest that by 2015, even taking natural predation and death of older birds into account, there should be at least 200 birds flying on Nusa Penida today, indicating that illegal wildlife trade is heavily impacting the population. [9]

Sibang, Central Bali

Dr Jane Goodall releases a Bali starling born and bred at Begawan Foundation's Breeding & Release Centre at Sibang, Bali Dr Jane Goodall releases a Bali Starling at Sibang Jun 2014.jpg
Dr Jane Goodall releases a Bali starling born and bred at Begawan Foundation's Breeding & Release Centre at Sibang, Bali

In 2010, Begawan Foundation made a decision to move all its captive breeding Bali starlings from Nusa Penida to a new site at Sibang, near Ubud. The breeding program then recommenced with the aim to research new release sites close by. During 2011, a total of 23 Bali starlings were donated to BF's breeding program. Three birds were donated by Jurong Bird Park, and 20 came from a variety of zoos across Europe, members of the European Endangered Species Program, whose contributions of birds meant that new genetic lines would be introduced when the imported birds were paired with the local birds held at the breeding centre in Bali.[ citation needed ]

In November 2012, Begawan Foundation released four pairs of Bali starlings at its breeding site in Sibang. These birds were observed and their daily habits recorded by staff of the Foundation and students of the adjacent Green School. A program of conservation was undertaken with the local villages prior to the release and has the full support of the King of Sibang. Each bird has been ringed in order to identify it as it adapts to life in the wild. As this was a soft release, the birds often take the opportunity to return to the breeding site to find food and water. However, it is evident that new sources of fruit and a variety of insects are available in the immediate vicinity that provide a full and healthy diet for these birds and their offspring. [10]

In 2014, there were three releases by Begawan Foundation at their site in Sibang. Three male birds and one female were released in April, with support from the local community. In June, Dr. Jane Goodall, during her visit to Bali, assisted in the release of two Bali starlings. [11]

Melinggih Kelod, Payangan

In late 2017, Begawan Foundation decided to concentrate its programs in Melinggih Kelod, Payangan, north of Ubud. A community-based conservation program began in the village in late 2017, providing local residents with the opportunity to breed Bali Starlings, and to be able to release F2 generation offspring within two years, and again in subsequent years. It is also envisaged that the community will be responsible for the safety of the Bali Starlings in the wild through serious monitoring and village traditional law enforcement. The Village officiated an “awik-awik” (local law) in November 2018, which has been signed by the Village Head as well as the Kelians (heads) of the banjars (village sections). The local law states that shooting/trapping/hunting the Bali Starling or any other protected wildlife in the area is prohibited. Any person from the community that is caught doing any of the above will pay a penalty of Rp10,000,000.

The Foundation also released a number of Starlings in late 2018, creating a wild flock of Bali Starlings in the Village, which is protected by the community. It is hoped that the soft releases will give the offspring the chance to reproduce in the wild and that a program of eco-tourism can be developed to provide income for the village.

Along with the community-based conservation program in Melinggih Kelod Village, the Foundation's Breeding and Release Centre has been relocated and is now centred in Banjar Begawan, one of the districts in the Village. This centre is open to the local community and the general public. [12]

Related Research Articles

Starling Family of birds

Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds in the family Sturnidae. The name "Sturnidae" comes from the Latin word for starling, sturnus. Many Asian species, particularly the larger ones, are called mynas, and many African species are known as glossy starlings because of their iridescent plumage. Starlings are native to Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as northern Australia and the islands of the tropical Pacific. Several European and Asian species have been introduced to these areas as well as North America, Hawaii and New Zealand, where they generally compete for habitats with native birds and are considered to be invasive species. The starling species familiar to most people in Europe and North America is the common starling, and throughout much of Asia and the Pacific, the common myna is indeed common.

Myna Various birds of the starling kin. The myna is also called a manana

The myna is a bird of the starling family (Sturnidae). This is a group of passerine birds which are native to southern Asia, especially India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Several species have been introduced to areas like North America, Australia, South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand, especially the common myna which is often regarded as an invasive species. It is often known as "Selarang" and "Teck Meng" in Malay and Chinese respectively in Singapore, due to their high population there.

Common myna Bird of the family Sturnidae

The common myna or Indian myna, sometimes spelled mynah, is a member of the family Sturnidae native to Asia. An omnivorous open woodland bird with a strong territorial instinct, the common myna has adapted extremely well to urban environments.

Jungle myna Species of bird

The jungle myna is a myna, a member of the starling family. It is found patchily distributed across much of the mainland of the Indian Subcontinent but absent in the arid zones of India. It is easily recognized by the tuft of feathers on its forehead that form a frontal crest, a feature also found in the closely related Javan myna and the pale-bellied myna which were treated as a subspecies in the past. The eyes are pale, yellow or blue depending on the population and the base of the orange-yellow bill is dark. It has also been introduced either intentionally or accidentally into many other parts of the world including Fiji, Taiwan, the Andaman Islands, and parts of Japan. The species has also spread out on its own to some islands in the Pacific.

Common hill myna Species of bird

The common hill myna, sometimes spelled "mynah" and formerly simply known as the hill myna or myna bird, is the myna most commonly seen in aviculture, where it is often simply referred to by the latter two names. It is a member of the starling family (Sturnidae), resident in hill regions of South Asia and Southeast Asia. The Sri Lanka hill myna, a former subspecies of G. religiosa, is now generally accepted as a separate species G. ptilogenys. The Enggano hill myna and Nias hill myna are also widely accepted as specifically distinct, and many authors favor treating the southern hill myna from the Nilgiris and elsewhere in the Western Ghats of India as a separate species.

Brahminy starling Species of bird

The brahminy myna or brahminy starling is a member of the starling family of birds. It is usually seen in pairs or small flocks in open habitats on the plains of the Indian subcontinent.

Crested myna Species of bird

The crested myna, also known as the Chinese starling, is a species of starling in the genus Acridotheres native to southeastern China and Indochina. It is named after the tuft of feathers on its forehead that resembles a crest.

Pied myna Species of bird

The pied myna or Asian pied starling is a species of starling found in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. They are usually found in small groups mainly on the plains and low foothills. They are often seen within cities and villages although they are not as bold as the common myna. They produce a range of calls made up of liquid notes. Several slight plumage variations exist in the populations and about five subspecies are named, but recent studies support upgrading the subspecies to three distinct species, one with 2 subspecies.

<i>Gracula</i> Genus of birds

Gracula is a genus of mynas, tropical members of the starling family of birds found in southern Asia and introduced to Florida in the United States.

Nusa Penida

Nusa Penida is an island southeast of Indonesia's island Bali and a district of Klungkung Regency that includes the neighbouring small island of Nusa Lembongan and twelve even smaller islands. The Badung Strait separates the island and Bali. The interior of Nusa Penida is hilly with a maximum altitude of 524 metres. It is drier than the nearby island of Bali. It is one of the major tourist attractions among the three Nusa islands and is rich in natural beauty.

Hoopoe starling Extinct species of crested starling from Réunion

The hoopoe starling, also known as the Réunion starling or Bourbon crested starling, is a species of starling that lived on the Mascarene island of Réunion and became extinct in the 1850s. Its closest relatives were the also-extinct Rodrigues starling and Mauritius starling from nearby islands, and the three apparently originated in south-east Asia. The bird was first mentioned during the 17th century and was long thought to be related to the hoopoe, from which its name is derived. Some affinities have been proposed, but it was confirmed as a starling in a DNA study.

Bird conservation

Bird conservation is a field in the science of conservation biology related to threatened birds. Humans have had a profound effect on many bird species. Over one hundred species have gone extinct in historical times, although the most dramatic human-caused extinctions occurred in the Pacific Ocean as humans colonised the islands of Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia, during which an estimated 750–1800 species of bird became extinct. According to Worldwatch Institute, many bird populations are currently declining worldwide, with 1,200 species facing extinction in the next century. The biggest cited reason surrounds habitat loss. Other threats include overhunting, accidental mortality due to structural collisions, long-line fishing bycatch, pollution, competition and predation by pet cats, oil spills and pesticide use and climate change. Governments, along with numerous conservation charities, work to protect birds in various ways, including legislation, preserving and restoring bird habitat, and establishing captive populations for reintroductions.

Wattled starling Species of bird

The wattled starling is a nomadic resident bird in eastern and southern Africa. It is a species of grassland, open woodland, and cultivation.

Black-winged starling Species of bird

The black-winged starling is a species of starling in the family Sturnidae. The species is also known as the black-winged myna or the white-breasted starling. It is endemic to Indonesia. There are three recognised subspecies: the nominate race, which occurs across much of the island of Java; tricolor, which is restricted to south east Java; and tertius, which is found on Bali and possibly Lombok. The validity of the records on Lombok has been called into question, as there are only a few records and those may represent escapees from the caged-bird trade or natural vagrants. The species has often been assigned to the starling genus Sturnus, but is now placed in Acridotheres because it is behaviourally and vocally closer to the birds in that genus.

Black-collared starling Species of bird

The black-collared starling is a species of starling in the family Sturnidae. Its plumage is black and white, with a black collar. It is found in southern China and most of mainland Southeast Asia, and has been introduced to Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore. Its habitats include grassland, dry forest and human settlements. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed it as being of least concern.

<i>Sturnia</i> Genus of birds

Sturnia is a genus of Asian birds in the family Sturnidae. It is sometimes merged with Sturnus.

Surabaya Zoo Zoo in Surabaya, Indonesia

Surabaya Zoo, also known as Bonbin, is a 15-hectare (37-acre) zoo located in the city of Surabaya in East Java, Indonesia.

Nusa Lembongan is an island located southeast of Bali, Indonesia. It is part of a group of three islands that make up the Nusa Penida district, of which it is the most famous. This island group in turn is part of the Lesser Sunda Islands.

Badung Regency Regency in Bali, Indonesia

Badung is a regency of Bali, Indonesia. Its regency seat is in Mangupura.

Bali Bird Park

Bali Bird Park, is a tourist attraction in Bali, Indonesia. It is located at the Gianyar Regency and has an area of 2,000 square metres. The Bird Park houses more than 1.000 birds representing more than 250 species in an enclosed aviary.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 BirdLife International. 2018. Leucopsar rothschildi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T22710912A129874226. Downloaded on 08 May 2020.
  2. Stresemann, E. (1912) Description of a new genus and a new species of bird from the Dutch East Islands. Bull. B.O.C., 31, 4–6.
  3. Jønsson, Knud A.; Fjeldså, Jon (2006). "A phylogenetic supertree of oscine passerine birds (Aves: Passeri)". Zoologica Scripta . 35 (2): 149–186. doi:10.1111/j.1463-6409.2006.00221.x.
  4. 1 2 3 "Bali Mynah Fact Sheet, Lincoln Park Zoo"
  5. Bali launches starling breeding program | The Jakarta Post
  6. "Friends of the National Park Foundation".
  7. "Bali Starling Conservation Project on Nusa Penida Island". Friends of the National parks Foundation.
  8. "Begawan Foundation".
  9. "Begawan Foundation Diary Vol.03/Mar 2015: Bird Audit".
  10. "Rare Bali Starlings Released into New Environmental Context at Green School". Bali Discovery Tours.
  11. "Jane Goodall visits Bali Myna conservation project to release birds". Archived from the original on 2016-03-24. Retrieved 2016-03-17.