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CONSERVATION STRATEGY FOR SOUTHEAST ASIAN SONGBIRDS IN TRADE: Recommendations from the first Asian Songbird Trade Crisis Summit 2015 held in Jurong Bird Park, Singapore, 27-29 September 2015

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  • Mandai Nature
  • Birdtour Asia Limited

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1
CONSERVATION STRATEGY
FOR SOUTHEAST ASIAN
SONGBIRDS IN TRADE
Recommendations from the first Asian Songbird Trade Crisis Summit 2015
held in Jurong Bird Park, Singapore
27-29 September 2015
2
Cover photo:
Cages of birds for sale at Pramuka Market, Jakarta.
Credit: Kanitha Krishnasamy/TRAFFIC
Back cover photo:
Pramuka Market, Jakarta.
Credit: Mikelane45Dreamstime.com
Published by Wildlife Reserves Singapore and TRAFFIC
© 2016 Wildlife Reserves Singapore/TRAFFIC
All material appearing in these proceedings is copyrighted and may be
reproduced with permission.
Any reproduction, in full or in part, of the publication must credit WRS/
TRAFFIC as the copyright owner.
Suggested citation: Lee, J.G.H., Chng, S.C.L. and Eaton, J.A. (eds).
2016. Conservation strategy for Southeast Asian songbirds in trade.
Recommendations from the first Asian Songbird Trade Crisis Summit 2015
held in Jurong Bird Park, Singapore, 27–29 September 2015.
ISBN: 978-983-3393-72-5
Compiled by Jessica G.H. Lee, Serene C.L. Chng and James A. Eaton
3
CONTENTS
Introduction 4
Goals and Objectives of the Summit 5
Summit Outcomes 6
Action Plans 8
Overarching 8
Genetic and Field Research 8
Trade, Legislation and Enforcement 9
Captive Breeding and Management of Assurance Colonies 10
Community Engagement, Communication and Education 11
Species-specific Action Plans 13
Black-winged Myna Acridotheres melanopterus 13
Common Hill Myna Gracula religiosa 13
Asian Pied Starling Gracupica contra 14
White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus 14
Javan White-eye Zosterops flavus 15
Java Sparrow Lonchura oryzivora 15
Silver-eared Mesia Leiothrix argentauris 15
Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus 16
Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush Garrulax rufifrons 16
Bali Myna Leucopsar rothschildi 17
Sumatran Laughingthrush Garrulax bicolor 17
Javan Green Magpie Cissa thalassina 17
Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis 18
Sumatran Leafbird Chloropsis media 18
Sunda Laughingthrush Garrulax palliatus 18
Ruby-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus dispar 18
Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati 19
Orange-spotted Bulbul Pycnonotus bimaculatus 19
Chestnut-capped Thrush Geokichla interpres 19
Orange-headed Thrush Geokichla citrina 20
Chestnut-backed Thrush Geokichla dohertyi 20
Javan Myna Acridotheres javanicus 20
Pin-tailed Parrotfinch Erythrura prasina 20
Grey-cheeked Bulbul Alophoixus bres 21
Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus and other Zosterops species in the complex 21
Hill Blue Flycatcher Cyornis banyumas 21
Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella 21
Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach 22
Acknowledgements 22
Appendices 23
Organization Profiles 31
4
INTRODUCTION
The Greater Sunda region, which comprises Brunei Darussalam, western Indonesia
(Bali, Java, Kalimantan and Sumatra), Malaysia, southernmost Myanmar, Singapore and
south Thailand, is an ecologically diverse region in Southeast Asia, home to more than
850 bird species, and globally recognized as a biodiversity hotspot with high levels of
endemism. For example, Indonesia has the second highest number of globally-threatened
bird species in the world (146 species as of September 2015, behind Brazil). Illegal and/
or unsustainable trade is a leading threat to many of these species, though little is being
done to prevent it. Among the groups of birds most threatened are the passerines – more
specifically, those traded as songbirds.
Songbird-keeping as a pastime is firmly entrenched in local culture and tradition in many
regions of Southeast Asia. Demand for songbirds in Southeast Asia is high, involving
hundreds of species and millions of individual birds annually. The capture for the bird trade
is recognized as the primary threat for many species in Southeast Asia, particularly in the
Greater Sunda region. At present, conservation efforts are hampered by a lack of effective
regulation, monitoring and enforcement. These challenges are further compounded by a
lack of public awareness and concern for bird conservation, and for laws and regulations.
Conservation efforts to reduce the threats, and reverse the declines of threatened songbird
taxa are lacking, and as a result, numerous species and subspecies are being pushed
alarmingly close to extinction. Furthermore, there is a dearth of updated information on the
status of these taxa in the wild and in trade. In response to this crisis, Wildlife Reserves
Singapore (WRS), TRAFFIC, and Cikananga Wildlife Center, along with other local and
international stakeholders, joined forces to convene the first Asian Songbird Trade Crisis
Summit, hosted by WRS in September 2015 at the Jurong Bird Park, Singapore.
A Black-winged Myna for sale in Indonesia.
Credit: James Eaton
5
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE SUMMIT
The overarching goal was to come together effectively to reduce the threat from trade to,
and ensure the survival of, songbird taxa in the Greater Sunda region.
The objectives of this Summit were:
Southeast Asian Songbird Working Group
• ToestablishaSoutheastAsianSongbirdWorkingGroup;
• TodevelopandformalizeaninternalStrategyandAction
Plan for the Songbird Working Group, as well as an
agendaoffollow-upactivities;deningtheresponsibility(s)
of each party and their role in the conservation and/or
protectionofthesespecies;
Conservation strategy and actions
• Toprioritizealistofthemostthreatenedsongbirdspecies
foraregionalconservationstrategy;
• Todevelopspecies-focusedactionplanstoenhance
conservationeffortsforeach;
• Todeveloprecommendationsforrelevantgovernment
agencies to close down illegal trade in key bird markets
intheregion;
• Toprovideupdatedinformationandrecommendationsto
BirdLife International to aid in future IUCN Red List status
assessments;
• Toencouragepublicationofinformationonkeytaxa
and related trade and policy issues aimed at guiding
conservation and research efforts, informing national and
international laws and policies, raising awareness and
reducingdemand;
• ToestablishanofcialIUCNSSCAsianSongbirdTrade
Specialist Group, which would officially represent the
SoutheastAsianSongbirdWorkingGroup;
• Toestablishwell-managedex-situpopulationsona
global/international scope and develop rigorous
Reintroduction Programmes whenever possible.
Credit: James EatonCredit: D. Bergin/TRAFFIC
6
Roundtable discussions by the participants to determine the priority species and their conservation issues
SUMMIT OUTCOMES
Over 30 experts and attendees from academia, conservation NGOs, ecotourism bird tour companies,
government agencies and zoological institutions gathered at WRS’s Jurong Bird Park in September 2015.
After much discussion and deliberation, a list of 28 taxa most threatened by trade were identified to be of high
conservation concern. These were further ranked, based on expert opinion and what is currently known of wild
populations, population trends and levels, and types of threat (Table 1). As a result, 12 taxa were identified
as being of highest priority (Tier 1) and in need of immediate action, with the remaining 16 also being of high
conservation concern but requiring further research before proceeding with taxon-specific action planning (Tier 2).
Four key themes of work required to meet the Working Group’s goals were identified, along with the main
functions of the groups assigned to each theme:
Genetic and Field Research:
To conduct research on the taxonomy, trends
and status of wild populations
Community engagement,
Communication and
Education:
To strengthen community outreach for
a bottom-up approach involving actors
involved in the trade, raise awareness of the
issues and key conservation efforts ultimately
to reduce demand for songbirds, through a
strategic communications and behavioural
change strategy
1 2
3 4
Captive Breeding and Husbandry:
To establish and expand, where necessary,
ex-situ assurance breeding populations, and
to develop and manage stud-books, health
and husbandry protocols for each taxon
identified as needing ex-situ management
Trade, Legislation and
Enforcement:
To reduce the threat of illegal and
unregulated trade through monitoring of
markets and other trade hubs/forums,
especially in key bird markets, lobby for
and support increased effective enforcement
actions at national and international levels
Credit: TRAFFIC
7
Top 28 priority species and their IUCN Red List status in September 2015
(Tier 1 = blue; Tier 2 = grey)
Species Scientific Name IUCN CITES
Range States in Greater
Sunda
Black-winged Myna Acridotheres
melanopterus
CR (2015) NA ID: Java and Bali
Common Hill Myna Gracula religiosa LC (2012) II BN, ID, MY, MM, SG, TH
Asian Pied Starling Gracupica contra LC (2012) NA ssp jalla: ID only but
probably extinct in wild,
only in breeding facilities
White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus LC (2013) NA BN, ID, MY, MM, SG, TH
Javan White-eye Zosterops flavus NT (2012) NA ID: Java, Kalimantan
Java Sparrow Lonchura oryzivora VU (2012) II ID: Java, Bali
Silver-eared Mesia Leiothrix argentauris LC (2012) II ID: Sumatra, MY
Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus VU (2012) II BN, ID, MM, MY, SG, TH
Rufous-fronted
Laughingthrush
Garrulax rufifrons EN (2013) NA ID: Java
Bali Myna Leucopsar rothschildi CR (2015) I ID: Bali
Sumatran Laughingthrush Garrulax bicolor VU (2013) NA ID: Sumatra
Javan Green Magpie Cissa thalassina CR (2015) NA ID: Java
Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis LC (2012) NA BN, ID, MY, MM, SG, TH
Sumatran Leafbird Chloropsis media LC (2012) NA ID: Sumatra
Sunda Laughingthrush Garrulax palliatus LC (2012) NA BN, ID, MY
Ruby-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus dispar LC (2012, as
P. melanicterus)
NA ID: Java, Sumatra
Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati LC (2012) NA BN, ID, MM, MY, SG, TH
Orange-spotted Bulbul Pycnonotus bimaculatus LC (2012) NA ID: Java, Sumatra
Chestnut-capped Thrush Geokichla interpres NT (2012) NA BN, ID, MY, TH
Orange-headed Thrush Geokichla citrina LC (2012) NA ID, MY, MM, SG, TH
Chestnut-backed Thrush Geokichla dohertyi NT (2012) NA ID
Javan Myna Acridotheres javanicus LC(2012;as
A. grandis)
NA ID: Java, Bali
Pin-tailed Parrotfinch Erythrura prasina LC (2012) NA BN, ID, MY, MM, TH
Grey-cheeked Bulbul Alophoixus bres LC (2012) NA BN, ID, MY, MM, TH
Zosterops group
(including Oriental
White-eye)
Zosterops spp. LC (2012, for
Z. palpebrosus)
NA BN, ID, MY, MM, SG, TH
Hill Blue Flycatcher Cyornis banyumas LC (2013) NA BN, ID, MY, MM, TH
Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella LC (2012) NA BN, ID, MY, MM, SG, TH
Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach LC (2012) NA BN, ID, MY, MM, SG, TH
BN: Brunei, ID: Indonesia, MM: Myanmar, MY: Malaysia, SG: Singapore, TH: Thailand. CITES = Convention on International
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. NA: Not Applicable, I: Appendix I listed, II: Appendix II listed.
LC: Least Concern, NT: Near Threatened, VU: Vulnerable, EN: Endangered, CR: Critically Endangered
Table 1:
8
ACTION PLAN
Genetic and field research
Field research is required to identify further and map taxon distributions, population sizes and trends in order
to identify taxa that require attention reliably and to guide actions. Understanding population trends in the wild
isalsokeytorevisingprotectedspecieslistsinternationallyandnationally,aswellasIUCNRedListstatus;
establishing baseline data is crucial for this. Field monitoring is needed to show if trade has significant effects
on wild populations. It is essential that where possible systematic monitoring methodologies are set in place to
evaluate threats and trends over time, and to identify emerging issues of concern. Through field work, important
sites for priority species can be identified and given adequate protection (linked to Community Engagement).
To identify taxa that require attention reliably, and to evaluate progress and/or effectiveness of conservation
actions, accurate status assessments are required. Genetic research is needed for a variety of conservation
targets that may be applicable in different combinations to each species:
Overarching
Guidance for breeding programmes
to avoid inbreeding between closely
related individuals:
In conservation breeding programmes, the pairing
of kin must be avoided in all circumstances to
preclude inbreeding depression. Population-
genomic analysis can help in preventing kin
pairings under captive circumstances and help
maximize population-genetic diversity of these
populations.
Identification of pure (non-introgressed)
individuals for breeding programmes:
While individuals generally avoid interbreeding
with individuals from other species in nature,
hybridization has an increased incidence in rare
and endangered species. Some hybrid pairings
lead to fertile offspring that may back-cross with
pure members of either parent species, which
leads to “genetic introgression”, i.e. the infiltration
of the gene pool with another species’ DNA.
Hybrids are also often generated in captivity and
then sold as members of the rarer, more desirable
species. In breeding programmes, it is vital that the
endangered species be bred on the basis of pure
individuals to avoid genetic introgression.
Identification of genetically distinct
lineages deserving of protection as
separate conservation units:
Previous research suggests that many songbirds
endangered by trade are characterized by cryptic
diversity, and that some may deserve treatment as
separate conservation units. Ignorance of the full
taxonomic diversity of these forms may lead to some
distinct units being overlooked by conservation
efforts, or to a mixing of different units in captive
breeding programmes that creates unwanted
hybrid lineages. Phylogenomic approaches will
be invaluable in clarifying the taxonomy of many
of these songbirds to make sure that conservation
efforts can be targeted appropriately.
9
Trade, legislation and enforcement
Only a small number of songbird species are legally protected in range countries and fewer still are protected
at international levels. Where legal protection exists, enforcement of laws is often lacking. Efforts to ensure
adequate legal protection, and to encourage enforcement actions, are hampered by a lack of published
information and by the absence of timely provision of information to regulatory and policy-making bodies. As
such, the following activities are urgently needed:
Collect, analyse and make use of
existing knowledge for trade in priority
taxa:
Information from past, present and future market
studies is essential to ensure information is at hand
to guide conservation and enforcement actions.
Co-ordinate future market monitoring
efforts:
Systematic monitoring is required to produce not
only information on the trade in the priority taxa,
but also to identify emerging threats to other taxa
in time to allow for conservation actions to be put
into place. The Working Group would benefit from
the establishment and use of standardized market
survey methodologies, and convenient information
sharing practices.
Timely access to new taxonomic work on species,
development and sharing of species identification
tools and sharing of relevant information, such
as on national laws, harvest and trade quotas,
commercial captive breeding issues, and other
important trade-related information is essential.
The establishment of the Working Group is
a step towards putting in place an effective
communications platform to facilitate such sharing
and collaboration. The Working Group should
collaborate on the establishment of baseline
data on trade of key taxa and in key locations,
including areas not yet surveyed, and should work
towards better use of price data, consumer attitudes
and perceptions and other such information.
Furthermore, it is essential that the Working Group
establish mechanisms and methodologies to deal
with the ever increasing rate of trade carried out
online.
Ensure that all priority species are
adequately protected by national
legislations in their range countries and
under CITES:
Since Indonesian legislation pertaining to the
protection of priority species is currently undergoing
revision, this provides an opportunity for previously
overlooked species to gain better protection,
supported by scientific evidence. As part of the
advocacy approach, publications will be produced
to raise the profile of the issue on national and
international platforms. This will be complemented
by policy briefs lobbying for better legal protection
and enforcement. Legal protection for songbirds
in other Greater Sunda countries will also be
examined and the Working Group will lobby for
better protection and enhanced enforcement where
required. At the international level, CITES Appendix
listings for species threatened by international trade
will be proposed.
Increase effective regulation and
enforcement:
The Working Group will collect and analyse
information on enforcement effort, seizures and
prosecutions, in order to understand the impacts
of law enforcement actions better, as well as to
provide informed support to law enforcement
agencies. In conjunction with the bottom-up
approach, the Working Group will collaborate with
stakeholders to ensure that regulations to regulate
effectively commercial captive breeders and trade
in legitimately captive-bred birds are in place and
enforced. Hotspots of bird capture will be identified
for better law enforcement and anti-poaching
actions (linked to Community Engagement).
10
Birds for sale at Sukahaji Market, Bandung, Indonesia.
Credit: James Eaton
Captive breeding and management of assurance colonies
The goals for ex-situ management are to determine the need for, endorse and initiate possible ex-situ breeding
programmes, as well as to develop short-term strategies for selected priority taxa, based on ongoing ex-situ
action and defined targets. This precautionary approach is recommended based on the very real risk that
pressure from unsustainable trapping is extremely strong and alternative conservation measures will not take
effect in a sufficiently timely manner to prevent these taxa from disappearing completely from the wild. Trends in
traded species shift, other species may come under pressure and their decline may require for managed captive
populations to be established.
These programmes will require a significant resource investment at various levels. A number of breeding centres
will need to be established within the Greater Sunda region. Globally, zoos will need to devote additional
space to these species. To be successful, these facilities will need to be staffed by skilled personnel, which
can be achieved by capacity building, workshops and training. This should be co-ordinated internationally
within existing programmes (e.g. Global Species Management Plans (WAZA), Species Survival Plans (AZA), or
European Endangered Species Programmes (EAZA)).
The prevalence of relevant infectious diseases (e.g. avian influenza) should also be considered when
developing and managing the current or new conservation breeding centres. Health management regulations
in different areas in Asia may pose a hindrance to animal transfer between breeding institutions. Currently,
influenza-free countries within the region such as Singapore can make useful platforms for the transfer of
important founding stock. Proper quarantine facilities and husbandry protocols with veterinary support are
essential. The protected status of certain species will require official arrangements to be organized between
facilities and countries.
The aim of reintroduction programmes is to increase the overall security and sustainability of the species through
re-establishment of populations or by boosting viability of wild populations with released individuals from captive
breeding programmes. Management strategies should therefore aim for reintroduction at an early stage before
too much genetic diversity is lost. Reintroduction programmes require careful assessment and comprehensive
post-release monitoring to evaluate the success of the programme, and should follow the IUCN Guidelines for
Reintroduction.
11
Community engagement, communication and education
A strong understanding of the social and economic aspects of the songbird trade is essential for targeted actions
to educate and change the behaviour of communities and actors involved in the trade. There is an urgent need
for a multi-level approach, where top-down regulations (i.e. enforcement of laws preventing the trapping and
trade in key bird species) should be conducted in tandem with bottom-up approaches, which both address
reducing supply while sustaining local livelihoods and decreasing demand through education and outreach.
Three major aspects of the supply chain were identified, comprising diverse actors with various motivations,
including trappers, middlemen and consumers.
An assessment of the supply chain concluded that bottom-up programmes would be most suited to working
with consumers to decrease demand and working with trappers to decrease supply of birds through targeted
development initiatives. The majority of middlemen are involved in organized crime and large enterprises.
As such, top-down regulation would be a more suitable and cost-effective strategy. Alternatively, this may be
achieved through a self-regulation approach, where significantly influential stakeholders (e.g. songbird clubs)
have a vested interest and support the conservation of threatened songbirds in the wild. One possible area
of work with stakeholders who are involved in the mid-sector of the supply chain is working with commercial
breeders to increase their standards, decrease mortality rates, and regulate their take of wild birds to form
breeding stock. Many mitigation techniques are likely to be specific to locations and situations.
The main objectives identified for this theme were:
• Improveregulationandmonitoringof
commercial breeders to prevent laundering of
wild-caught priority bird species by working
with governments and stakeholders to
develop a regulatory framework for registered
breeders. Reducing mortality of captive-bred
birds through capacity building of breeders to
reduce demand for sourcing breeding stock
from the wild.
• Increaseregulationandmonitoringof
songbird competitions by working with
governments and stakeholders to develop and
implement a regulatory framework.
• Increaseinformationsharingandcollaboration
among stakeholders involved in mitigating the
trade.
• Supportrelevantgovernmentauthorities
and stakeholders to decrease trapping in
key protected areas. This can be achieved
through a two-pronged approach of building
forest patrol units and working with both local
communities and management staff to regulate
better and control trapping, and identifying
and disseminating information on targeted
sustainable development models that focus on
reducing poverty rates.
Credit: Cikananga Conservation Breeding Center
Left: Breeding facilities at Cikananga Conservation Breeding Programme; Right: Black-winged Myna reintroduction by
the Cikananga Conservation Breeding Programme.
12
• Raiseawarenessaboutthesongbird
crisis among the general public and
bird owners, through developing a
clear strategy for targeted campaigns
based on social and market research
to influence behaviour change (e.g.
discouraging indiscriminate release
of birds in religious practices). Within
Indonesia, suitable local groups need
to be enlisted to help implement such
campaigns targeting consumers.
• Conductresearchtoinformmitigation
strategies better, in particular
analysing the supply chain to
understand social, ecological, and
cultural dimensions of the trade better,
identifying trade hot spots and key
protected areas, and identifying
variability in quality and legal issues
faced by breeders.
Children’s activities under the education programme at
Cikananga.
Birdwatching club as part of Cikananga’s education programme.
Credit: Cikananga Conservation Breeding CenterCredit: Cikananga Conservation Breeding Center
13
Species-specific action plans
In addition to the overarching actions listed above, some actions specific to individual taxa are detailed below.
Detailed actions are in Appendix II.
First Tier – highest priority
Black-winged Myna Acridotheres
melanopterus
Formerly widespread in the open savannahs and
woodlands of Java and Bali, this species has
been severely reduced by intense trapping for
the bird trade. The species is divided into three
morphologically distinct subspecies. Field surveys
are needed to determine the status of remaining
wild populations of the three subspecies. Illegal
hunting and trade continues despite its protected
statusinIndonesia;improvedin-situanti-poaching
protection and enforcement against trade is
required. Market surveys should also distinguish
between the three subspecies. The private bird
breeding community in Indonesia breed Black-
winged Mynas but pay little regard to separating
subspecies. The extent of this captive breeding in
Indonesia and how this is being regulated needs
better understanding. Existing conservation breeding
programmes need to be expanded, ensuring
genetic purity of the three subspecies. To monitor
international trade in the species, a CITES Appendix
III listing may be considered.
Common Hill Myna Gracula religiosa
A widespread species throughout much of Asia, the
species has seriously declined through Southeast
Asia and in particular Indonesia. Although
populations of the nominate subspecies G.r. religiosa
remain widespread, five of the subspecies endemic
to Indonesia have become seriously threatened
as a result of illegal trapping (G.r. robusta, G.r.
batuensis, G.r. miotera, G.r. engganensis and
G.r. venerata). Surveys to determine their status in
the wild and captivity are required. The complex
taxonomic situation requires further clarification to
delineate the status of populations and/or taxa that
need immediate conservation action.
Black-winged Myna
Common Hill Myna
Credit: Tan Siah Hin David
Credit: Tan Siah Hin David
14
Asian Pied Starling Gracupica contra
A widespread species of open landscapes from
South to Southeast Asia, three subspecies are
still widespread and common. However, the
subspecies G.c. jalla, which is endemic to Sumatra,
Java and Bali, may now be extinct in the wild.
Opportunistic field surveys enlisting the assistance
of local birdwatching communities could determine
the presence of any G.c. jalla wild populations.
Recent unpublished analyses suggest that G.c.
jalla may be sufficiently distinct to warrant being
treated as a species in its own right (Javan Pied
Starling Gracupica jalla);ifupdatedresearchshows
sufficient differentiation, the Javan Pied Starling
would instantly become a candidate species for
listing in a higher IUCN Red List category and
would warrant considerable conservation action.
Market surveys should also distinguish between
Javan Pied Starlings and other subspecies. Currently,
private breeders pay little regard to keeping Javan
Pied Starlings separate from other subspecies and
selective breeding to encourage colour mutation
may be prevalent. Potential conservation breeding
programmes should prioritise identifying pure jalla
individuals.
Asian Pied Starling
White-rumped Shama
Credit: Tan Siah Hin David
Credit: Tan Siah Hin David
White-rumped Shama Copsychus
malabaricus
Widespread throughout South and Southeast Asia,
the species has at least 14 subspecies. Some
are distinct peripheral forms characterized by a
narrow geographic distribution which are seriously
threatened with extinction (C.m. stricklandii, C.m.
barbouri, C.m. melanurus, C.m. hypolizus, C.m.
opisthochrus, C.m. mirabilis, C.m. nigricauda, C.m.
omissus, C.m. suavis). Urgent field survey work is
needed to establish the existing wild population
status of these subspecies across Sumatra, Java
and surrounding islands, accompanied by genetic
studies building on existing work to include all
Indonesian forms that are under immediate trapping
pressure. The establishment of captive breeding
programmes for some of these forms may be
necessary, especially within Indonesia. Market
surveys should also attempt to distinguish between
the different forms. As a competition class species,
improved understanding of demand and pricing
details (tail length, song, subspecies, etc) in markets
and bird clubs could inform conservation actions.
15
Java Sparrow Lonchura oryzivora
Endemic to Java and Bali, this species was
previously abundant and widespread in open
countryside, but has since disappeared from most
of its native range and is close to extinction in the
wild. A nest-box conservation breeding project
has been locally successful and requires continued
support. Better understanding is also required of
commercial nest-box harvesting (ranching) schemes
in Indonesia and its impacts on any remaining
wild populations. On the other hand, it is well
established in the global avicultural industry and
large feral populations exist around the world.
Nonetheless, feral populations are not protected
and caged populations are moving rapidly
towards a domesticated form with colour mutations.
Conservation breeding may be required to preserve
pure forms.
Java Sparrow
Silver-eared Mesia
Credit: James Eaton
Credit: Tan Siah Hin David
Silver-eared Mesia Leiothrix argentauris
A widespread species of the mountains of Asia,
the two Sumatran subspecies L.a. rookmakeri
and laurinae are seriously threatened because
of trapping pressure for trade. Field surveys
are recommended in Sumatra to determine the
population status, and legal protection for the
species in Indonesia should be considered. These
two subspecies are also the most morphologically
distinct subspecies, and may be separable as an
independentspecies;geneticstudiesareneeded
to clarify this. Captive breeding programmes
should also be initiated for these subspecies. If split,
the Sumatran Mesia would qualify for a higher
IUCN Red List category listing, requiring urgent
conservation action.
Javan White-eye Zosterops flavus
This range-restricted endemic faces double threats
of habitat loss and trapping for trade. Targeted field
surveys for the species across its range in Borneo
and Java are required to determine its population
status, as well as studies to determine any genomic
differences between the Bornean and Javan
populations. As Zosterops species are very similar in
appearance, identification material will aid market
surveys to understand the trade dynamics of this
species better.
16
Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush
Credit: Cikananga Conservation Breeding Center
Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush Garrulax
rufifrons
This Javan montane endemic is divided into two
subspecies: G.r. rufifrons from West Java and
G.r. slamatensis from a single mountain, Mount
Slamet in central Java. Since 1990, G.r. rufifrons
has only been recorded at one site throughout its
historical range, despite abundant suitable habitat,
which suggests the decline is due to trapping for
trade. The subspecies G.r. slamatensis has not
been observed in the wild since it was collected in
1925. Field surveys are required to ascertain the
presence of wild populations. Additional birds are
required to supplement existing captive breeding
programmes, and could be acquired through
confiscated birds from trade. Its IUCN status also
requires reassessment.
Straw-headed Bulbul
Credit: Tan Siah Hin David
Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus
Confined to the Greater Sunda region, the species
has undergone massive declines across its range
in response to trapping for trade. It is thought to
be extinct in Thailand and locally extirpated in
Indonesia (Java and Sumatra). Field surveys are
needed in Malaysia, Kalimantan, Myanmar and
Brunei to establish the status of wild populations.
Due to high demand, continued monitoring of trade
in this species is needed across its range, and as
some are claimed to be of captive-bred origin it is
necessary to determine the extent of commercial
captive breeding across its range, and how this is
being regulated. Improved protection is required
through in-situ site protection and CITES, and
reassessment of its IUCN status. Captive breeding
programmes should be initiated as the species
continues to decline. Anecdotal evidence from
breeders suggests that populations in Borneo may
be distinct from those in the rest of its range and
genetic studies are required to clarify this.
17
Javan Green Magpie Cissa thalassina
This Javan endemic was recently recognized
as a separate species from the Bornean Green
Magpie C. jefferyi. It therefore is not currently
protected under Indonesian law. It is thought to
be close to extinction in the wild due to habitat
loss and excessive trapping, with no confirmed
records in the wild since 2007. Small numbers
of birds were found for sale and in trade. Field
surveys are required to ascertain the presence of
wild populations. Additional birds are required to
supplement existing captive breeding programmes,
and could be acquired through confiscated birds
from trade.
Javan Green Magpie
Credit: Cikananga Conservation Breeding Center
Sumatran Laughingthrush
Credit: Cikananga Conservation Breeding Center
Sumatran Laughingthrush Garrulax bicolor
Endemic to Sumatra, this species is an easy target
for trappers due to its noisy, flocking nature and
increased accessibility to their montane forest
habitat due to deforestation. As a result, it has
disappeared from much of its range. Field surveys
are required to ascertain the presence of wild
populations. Legal protection of this species is
urgently required in Indonesia. Existing captive
breeding programmes require expansion. Its IUCN
status also requires reassessment.
Bali Myna
Credit: Tan Siah Hin David
Bali Myna Leucopsar rothschildi
Historically endemic to Bali, populations have been
decimated largely due to the incessant capture
for trade. Existing birds in the wild are a result of
the reintroduction of captive-bred individuals from
locally-sourced stock in and around Bali Barat
National Park. A Bali Myna conservation strategy
is being developed, as well as the creation of
an international advisory board that will assist
in improving in-situ and ex-situ management
programmes, including post-release monitoring
protocols. Anti-poaching units at reintroduction sites
are also required.
18
Second Tier – high conservation concern but requiring further research
Oriental Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis
At least 11 subspecies are recognized of this
widespread Asian species. The species’ decline
is due to trapping for trade, with all Indonesian
endemic subspecies (C.s. zacnecus, C.s.
nesiarchus, C.s. masculus, C.s. pagiensis, C.s.
amoenus and C.s. pluto) severely threatened and
even locally extinct. Some of these subspecies may
deserve species-level treatment. A genomic, range-
wide enquiry and morphological analysis is needed
to clarify the differentiation of these subspecies, and
help guide conservation efforts.
Sumatran Leafbird Chloropsis media
This species was long considered a subspecies
of the more widespread, mainland Asia Golden-
fronted Leafbird C. media but is now considered
a separate species. Restricted to Sumatran sub-
montane forest where it was previously common,
its current status is poorly known and field surveys
are required. Recently, it has been noted in the bird
trade in Europe, Singapore and its native Indonesia,
but the impacts of the trade remain to be evaluated.
Oriental Magpie Robin
Credit: Tan Siah Hin David
Sunda Laughingthrush Garrulax palliatus
This comprises two subspecies: G.p. palliatus and
G.p. schistochlamys. While G.p. schistochlamys
still occurs in numbers in the wild in East Malaysia,
its status in Kalimantan is not well-known, and G.p.
palliatus is undergoing rapid declines in Sumatra
and has disappeared from most easily-accessible
areas of forest it should inhabit. A genomic, range-
wide enquiry is recommended for subspecies
differentiation, and to determine if they should be
treated as separate conservation units. Given trade
levels, legal protection for this species in Indonesia
is recommended.
Ruby-throated Bulbul Pycnonotus dispar
Previously considered conspecific with the
widespread mainland Asia Black-crested Bulbul
P. melanicterus, this Indonesian endemic is found
in large numbers in trade and has become absent
throughout much of its former range in Sumatra,
Java and Bali. Field surveys are required to
clarify their conservation status and management
needs. Reassessment of its IUCN status is also
recommended.
Ruby-throated Bulbul
Credit: Gabriel Low
19
Orange-spotted Bulbul
Chestnut-capped Thrush
Credit: James EatonCredit: James Eaton
Greater Green Leafbird
Credit: Tan Siah Hin David
Orange-spotted Bulbul Pycnonotus
bimaculatus
Endemic to montane forests of Sumatra and Java,
three subspecies are recognized. Two are still
locally common and widespread despite huge
numbers encountered in trade, whereas the
subspecies P.b. snouckaerti, confined to Aceh
province in northernmost Sumatra, is of particular
conservation concern due to its restricted range
and few records. It is expected to be elevated to
species status and instantly be treated as globally
threatened. Field surveys are required to clarify
their conservation status and management needs,
particularly the subspecies P.b. snouckaerti. Species
identification material for the three taxa will enable
finer-scale information to be collected during market
surveys to determine the origin of birds.
Chestnut-capped Thrush Geokichla interpres
Resident through the Greater Sunda region, Sulu
islands and east to Flores, there have been no
recent records from the wild in Java, where it was
formerly considered common. Targeted trapping
of this species is still widespread, although recent
evidence suggests it is declining. It is found in
large numbers in trade, with sizeable numbers
of fledglings observed. The extent of commercial
ranching of this species in Indonesia and how this is
being regulated needs to be investigated.
Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati
A lowland forest species widespread across the
Sundaic region, huge numbers have recently been
detected in markets and seizures in Kalimantan,
Sumatra and Java. The subspecies C.s. sonnerati
endemic to Java is now likely to be rare as all
individuals recorded to subspecific level in the
Javan markets have been of the subspecies C.s.
zosterops, from the Greater Sunda region outside of
Java. The nature of this cross-border trade and the
threat it poses to wild populations requires further
investigation. As this species is increasingly used in
songbird competitions, the new surge in demand
willbeaconsiderablethreattowildpopulations;
improved understanding of demand and use of
the species in songbird competitions is needed. Its
IUCN status also requires reassessment.
20
Chestnut-backed Thrush Geokichla dohertyi
Endemic to the Lesser Sunda islands from Lombok
through to Timor and Wetar, this monotypic species
is still locally numerous. It has been recorded in
small numbers in Javan markets, and while trapping
appears to have subsided throughout its range
further study is required to determine its current status
in trade.
Chestnut-backed Thrush
Pin-tailed Parrotfinch
Javan Myna
Credit: James Eaton
Credit: James Eaton Credit: Tan Siah Hin David
Javan Myna Acridotheres javanicus
This formerly abundant and highly adaptable
species is now a rare bird throughout its native
range of Java and Bali due to extremely high levels
of trapping for trade. However, it has become
established as an abundant and widespread
invasive in Malaysia and Singapore, with several
other feral populations also found throughout
Borneo, Lesser Sunda region and Sumatra. One
possibility would be to reintroduce feral populations
to Java and Bali.
Pin-tailed Parrotfinch Erythrura prasina
Found throughout Southeast Asia, this species
has long been considered a pest species by rice
farmers, swarming in flocks of thousands. Flocks
of this magnitude are now seldom seen, due to
trapping with large numbers found in trade. The
current population status in the wild and trade
requires investigation.
Orange-headed Thrush Geokichla citrina
A widespread species across Asia, comprising 11
subspecies, the subspecies G.c. rubecula, confined
to Java and Bali, is now thought to be very rare due
to habitat loss and trapping for trade. Little is known
about how distinct G.c. rubeculamaybe;eldand
genomic studies should be carried out to determine
appropriate conservation actions. One study alleges
that 116,000 chicks are harvested from the wild
in a small area of Bali but the species is very rarely
encountered by birdwatchers on the island. The
extent of commercial captive breeding or ranching
of this species in Indonesia and how this is being
regulated needs to be investigated.
Orange-headed Thrush
Credit: Tan Siah Hin David
21
Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosus and
other Zosterops species in the complex
White-eyes are under heavy trapping pressure in
Indonesia. The Oriental White-eye, comprising 11
subspecies, is a widespread species across Asia.
Cryptic diversity within this complex is presumably
high, and there is a good possibility that Indonesian
subspecies represent taxonomically distinct species.
With populations on some islands declining rapidly,
and huge numbers found encountered in trade
in Southeast Asia, there is a need to disentangle
the taxonomic uncertainty surrounding this species
complex in order to establish which entities require
conservation action. Other Zosterops species found
in the region are also found in huge numbers in
trade and require further study.
Oriental White-eye
Hill Blue Flycatcher
Asian Fairy Bluebird
Credit: Tan Siah Hin David
Credit: Tan Siah Hin DavidCredit: Tan Siah Hin David
Hill Blue Flycatcher Cyornis banyumas
Occurring across Asia, this species currently comprises
eight subspecies. The two subspecies on Java (C.b.
ligus and C.b. banyumas), are distinct morphologically
and vocally, but genomic differentiation is unclear.
The Javan forms are now rare, thought to be primarily
because of trade, as well as habitat loss. The
taxonomy of the species requires a comprehensive
review;especiallytheJavansubspecies.Thelong
distance migrant C.b. magnirostris and the
Bornean subspecies C.b. coeruleatus may be
sufficiently distinct to warrant specific status. Species
identification material for the subspecies will enable
finer-scale information to be collected during market
surveys to determine the origin of birds.
Asian Fairy Bluebird Irena puella
Widespread across Asia, this species comprises
six subspecies. Although common throughout much
of its range, records of the Javan race I.p. turcosa
have been sparse in recent years. Whether this is to
do primarily with habitat loss or trapping is worthy
of further investigation, and could be combined with
field surveys of other Javan forest species.
Grey-cheeked Bulbul Alophoixus bres
Found throughout much of the lowland rainforest that
remains in the Sundaic region, the Grey-cheeked
Bulbul is currently experiencing high trapping
pressure especially in parts of its Kalimantan and
Javan range. It may consist of four different cryptic
species;genomicenquiriesarenecessaryinorder
to clarify conservation needs for each distinct taxon.
The race A.b. bres (Java and Bali) is becoming
increasingly rare in the wild, and the subspecies
endemic to Borneo A.b. gutturalis is increasingly
used as a cheaper alternative to Straw-headed
Bulbul in songbird competitions. The Sumatran and
mainland Southeast Asian race A.b. tephrogenys
is found regularly in Javan bird markets. Improved
understanding of demand and use of the species in
songbird competitions is needed.
22
Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach
Widespread across Asia, this species comprises
nine subspecies. Large numbers are observed in
trade;improvedunderstandingofdemandanduse
of the species in songbird competitions is needed.
Although it is well-known in the avicultural industry
that Lanius species are difficult to breed, many of
the records are of chicks and fledglings, suggesting
that they are ranched rather than captive-bred. The
extent of commercial captive breeding or ranching
of this species in Indonesia and how this is being
regulated needs to be investigated.
Long-tailed Shrike
Credit: Tan Siah Hin David
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This Summit was made possible through the generous support of Wildlife Reserves Singapore. We would like
to thank all participants for their input into the contents of the proceedings and strategy, and all who have read
and commented on drafts of this document.
23
APPENDICES
Appendix I: List of Summit Attendees
Name Organisation
Bernd Marcordes AG Zoologischer Garten Köln
Bradley T. Gardner Begawan Foundation
Carol Kenwrick Begawan Foundation
Adeline Seah Biodiversity Connections Singapore
Nancy Gibson Bird Conservation Society of Thailand
Thattaya Bidayabha Bird Conservation Society of Thailand
James Eaton Birdtour Asia
Hum Gurung BirdLife International Asia
Nigel Collar BirdLife International
Paul Insua-Cao The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (BirdLife UK)
Ria Saryanthi Burung Indonesia
Anais Tritto Cikananga Conservation Breeding Center
Resit Sözer Cikananga Conservation Breeding Center
David Jeggo Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
Darmawan Liswanto Fauna & Flora International
Karthi Martelli Full Circle Foundation
Simon Bruslund Heidelberg Zoo
24
Name Organisation
Phill Cassey Invasion Ecology Group, University of Adelaide
Rudianto Sembiring Indonesian Species Conservation Programme
Dewi M. Prawiradilaga Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI)
Angelin Lim Jurong Bird Park
Ivan Choo Jurong Bird Park
Nicole Tay Mandai Safari
Geoffrey Davison National Parks Board, Singapore
Frank Rheindt National University of Singapore
Vinayagan Dharmarajah Nature Society of Singapore
Samsul Hadi Pelestari Burung Indonesia
Tony Sumampau Taman Safari
Chris R. Shepherd TRAFFIC
Serene Chng TRAFFIC
Nisha Sabanayagam TRAFFIC
Jill Capotosto TRAFFIC
Madhu Rao Wildlife Conservation Society/Asian Species Action Programme
Dwi Adhiasto Wildlife Conservation Society
Sonja Luz WRS
Luis Neves WRS
Jessica Lee WRS
Adam Miller Planet Indonesia International
25
Appendix II: Detailed species-specific actions
Species Scientific Name Actions Needed
First Tier
1Black-winged
Myna
Acridotheres
melanopterus
Surveys across the former and known range of the three subspecies
should be carried out to determine the presence and status of
remaining wild populations. These may be combined with surveys
with Java Sparrow, Asian Pied Starling and Javan White-eye in the
same locations to make the most of limited resources
To continue surveys for suitable release sites and to monitor success
of release populations
Population-genomic research to establish the levels of genomic
differentiation between the three subspecies
Ensure that only pure individuals are used for breeding purposes,
and eliminating hybrids from programmes
Prevent inbreeding depression through genetic analysis of breeding
individuals in captivity and use of studbooks. International Studbook
already established since March 2016
Develop species identification materials for subspecies so that
market surveys can record subspecies and hybrids. This finer-scale
information will enable the Working Group to determine the origin
of birds
Currently not listed in CITES. Recommend CITES Appendix III listing
– require proposal by Indonesian Government
Determine the extent of commercial captive breeding of this species
in Indonesia, and how this is being regulated
Find out if there are any Black-winged Mynas held with traders
in Singapore for potential absorption into assurance colonies.
Evidence of international trade would support a CITES listing.
Improved in-situ anti-poaching protection for the species
For the West Java race of Black-winged Myna Acridotheres
melanopterus melanopterus, follow the recommendation of the
international studbook, and continue with breeding and transfer to
selected institutions
For the Balinese race of Black-winged Myna Acridotheres
melanopterus tertius, acquire additional founder stock and develop
regional studbook
2Common Hill
Myna
Gracula
religiosa
Field surveys on several islands off the coast of west Sumatra to
assess the status of wild populations of island subspecies
A range-wide genomic study is urgently needed to elucidate
the taxonomic status of a number of forms, including subspecies
G.r. robusta, G.r. enganensis, G.r. batuensis, G.r. miotera and G.r.
venerata
Clarify listing of the species and other specific subspecies in
Indonesian legislation
Determine if there is international trade in these subspecies
Determine where individuals of the certain subspecies might be held
captive
26
3Asian Pied
Starling
Gracupica
contra
Targeted searches to determine presence of wild populations of
the jalla subspecies (*Combine witht surveys for the Black-winged
Myna, Java Sparrow and Javan White-eye on Java, enlisting the
assistance of local birdwatching communities)
Urgent genomic research is required to provide scientific evidence
of the distinctness of the Javan Pied Starling. If deemed sufficiently
differentiated, the Javan Pied Starling would instantly become a
candidate species for listing by IUCN as “Extinct in the Wild” and
would warrant considerable conservation action
Identify pure G.c. jalla individuals for a breeding programme
Determine the extent of commercial captive breeding of the jalla
subspecies in Indonesia, and how this is being regulated
Develop species identification materials for subspecies so that
market surveys can record subspecies and hybrids. This finer-scale
information will enable the Working Group to determine the origin
of birds
Carry out a feasibility study for legal protection of this species. If
there are plans for reintroduction in Indonesia, they will require
national protection
Identify several breeding facilities in Java or Singapore
4White-rumped
Shama
Copsychus
malabaricus
Urgent survey work is needed to establish the existing wild
population status of identified lesser-known subspecies across
Sumatra, Java and surrounding. (This can be undertaken in
conjunction with surveys for Hill Myna)
A range-wide taxonomic inquiry using genome-wide DNA markers
to elucidate the taxonomic status of a number of forms, building
on existing work to include all Indonesian forms that are under
immediate trapping pressure
Develop species identification materials for subspecies so that
market surveys can record subspecies and hybrids. This finer-scale
information will enable the Working Group to determine the origin
of birds
Look into having this species listed in CITES Appendix III and/or II,
pending better understanding of international trade
Carry out feasibility study for legal protection of this species in
Indonesia
Improved understanding of demand and pricing details (tail length,
song, subspecies, etc) in markets and bird clubs
Utilise genetic information about the various subspecies for the
establishment of captive breeding programmes
Identifying holding facilities in Indonesia
27
5Javan White-
eye
Zosterops
flavus
Targeted field surveys for the species across its range in Borneo
and Java. (*Combined with surveys with Java Sparrow, Asian Pied
Starling and Javan White-eye)
Genetic studies to determine genomic differences between the
Bornean and Javan populations
Develop species identification materials for Zosterops species,
which are morphologically difficult to differentiate
Carry out feasibility study for legal protection of this species in
Indonesia
Determine if international trade is a threat
Clarify if the songbird competition class for the species in
Singapore is for the Zosterops complex or only Oriental White-eye
6Silver-eared
Mesia
Leiothrix
argentauris
Perform field surveys for the species in Aceh and assess suitability
for reintroduction programmes (*This work may be combined with
surveys for the Sumatran Laughingthrush, Sunda Laughingthrush,
Ruby-throated Bulbul and Sumatran Leafbird)
A range-wide genetic inquiry to clarify the taxonomic status of the
Sumatran populations
Develop species identification materials for subspecies so that
market surveys can record subspecies. This finer-scale information
will enable the Group to determine the origin of birds
Investigate international trade using CITES trade data
Carry out feasibility study for legal protection in Indonesia
Initiate captive breeding programmes for the Sumatran subspecies
7Java Sparrow Lonchura
oryzivora
Carry out field surveys to identify new populations, and to
understand better habitat requirements
Support existing nest-box conservation breeding projects
Determine the extent and sustainability of commercial nest-box
harvesting schemes (“ranching”) in Indonesia, and how this is being
regulated
Determine characteristics and measurements of original wild type
before any onset of domestication using museum specimens
8Straw-headed
Bulbul
Pycnonotus
zeylanicus
Perform field surveys in Brunei, Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore
to establish wild population status
A population-genomic study is needed to ascertain the distinctness
of the Bornean population from individuals that occur in the rest of
its range
Continue monitoring trade of species across entire range – include
Thai-Malaysian border and Brunei and utilizing CITES trade data
Determine the extent of commercial captive breeding across its
range, and how this is being regulated
Lobby for improved site-based protection in protected areas across
range
Support up-listing to Critically Endangered on IUCN Red List and
CITES Appendix I
Initiate captive breeding programmes in Singapore and Indonesia
28
9Rufous-fronted
Laughingthrush
Garrulax
rufifrons
Perform field surveys across west and central Java to ascertain the
presence of wild populations
Targeted studies on habitat requirements to inform in-situ
conservation management if sufficiently large populations can be
found, as well as reintroduction programmes
Carry out population-genetic study to establish the level of
differentiation of the subspecies slamatensis
Targeted searches in markets and with dealers and private
collectors, and facilitating the confiscation of birds found in trade to
supplement captive breeding programmes
Recommend IUCN up-listing to Critically Endangered
10 Bali Myna Leucopsar
rothschildi
Provide recommendations to guide the development of a Bali Myna
conservation strategy
Creation of an international advisory board that will assist in
improving in-situ and ex-situ management programmes, including
post-release monitoring protocols
Implementation of anti-poaching units at reintroduction sites
Carry out genetics research to determine the degree of inbreeding
and number of existing founding individuals
11 Sumatran
Laughingthrush
Garrulax
bicolor
Perform field surveys to identify wild populations in northern
Sumatra, and to determine ecological requirements of the species,
to inform in-situ conservation management and reintroduction
schemes
Urgently recommend legal protection in Indonesia
Determine if international trade is a threat
Recommend IUCN up-listing to Endangered
Continue and expand ex-situ conservation breeding programmes,
coupled with genetic studies to minimise inbreeding
12 Javan Green
Magpie
Cissa
thalassina
Perform field surveys to determine the population status and habitat
requirements in the wild to inform reintroduction schemes. The
surveys may be combined with searches for other species, such as
the Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush
Targeted searches in markets and with dealers and private
collectors, and facilitating the confiscation of birds found in trade to
supplement captive breeding programmes
Urgently recommend legal protection in Indonesia
Continue and expand ex-situ conservation breeding programmes,
coupled with genetic studies and exchanges between breeding
institutions to minimise inbreeding
29
Species Scientific Name Actions Needed
Second Tier
13 Oriental
Magpie Robin
Copsychus
saularis
While many of these subspecies are poorly differentiated, at least
three of them (C.s. amoenus, C.s. adamsi and C.s. pluto) look
strikingly different from the other subspecies and may deserve
species-level treatment. A genomic, range-wide enquiry and
morphological analysis covering as many subspecies as possible is
necessary to help guide conservation efforts
14 Sumatran
Leafbird
Chloropsis
media
Perform field surveys for the species in Sumatra. This work may be
combined with surveys for other Sumatran species
15 Sunda
Laughingthrush
Garrulax
palliatus
A genomic, range-wide enquiry is necessary for subspecies
differentiation, and to determine if they should be treated as
separate conservation units
Recommend legal protection of this species in Indonesia
16 Greater Green
Leafbird
Chloropsis
sonnerati
Determine if international trade is a threat
Improved understanding of demand and use of the species in
songbird competitions
17 Orange-spotted
Bulbul
Pycnonotus
bimaculatus
Field surveys into their distribution, numbers and habitat
requirements to help clarify their conservation status and
management needs, particularly subspecies P.b. snouckaerti
Develop species identification materials for subspecies so that
market surveys can record subspecies. This finer-scale information
will enable the Group to determine the origin of birds
18 Orange-
headed Thrush
Geokichla
citrina
Little is known about how distinct G.c. rubeculamaybe;eldand
genomic studies should be carried out to determine appropriate
conservation actions
Determine the extent of commercial captive breeding or ranching of
this species in Indonesia, and how this is being regulated
19 Oriental
White-eye
and Zosterops
species
complex
Zosterops spp A range-wide genomic enquiry examining most subspecies across
the range will be necessary to determine species differences and
resulting conservation efforts
20 Hill Blue
Flycatcher
Cyornis
banyumas
Range-wide genomic study and field surveys into their distribution,
numbers and habitat requirements to help clarify their conservation
status and management needs, particularly subspecies C.b.
magnirostris and C.b. coeruleatus
Develop species identification materials for subspecies so that
market surveys can record subspecies. This finer-scale information
will enable the Working Group to determine the origin of birds
21 Ruby-throated
Bulbul
Pycnonotus
dispar
Range-wide genomic study and field surveys into their distribution,
numbers and habitat requirements to help clarify their conservation
status and management needs
Recommend review of the IUCN Red List status
30
22 Grey-cheeked
Bulbul
Alophoixus
bres
Range-wide genomic study and field surveys into their distribution,
numbers and habitat requirements to help clarify their taxonomic,
conservation status and management needs
Improved understanding of demand and use of the species in
songbird competitions
23 Asian Fairy
Bluebird
Irena puella Determine if species decline is primarily due to habitat loss or
trapping for trade
24 Long-tailed
Shrike
Lanius schach Improved understanding of demand and use of the species in
songbird competitions
Determine the extent of commercial captive breeding or ranching of
this species in Indonesia, and how this is being regulated
25 Chestnut-
backed Thrush
Geokichla
dohertyi
Determine current species status in trade
26 Javan Myna Acridotheres
javanicus
Consider reintroducing feral population back to native range
27 Pin-tailed
Parrotfinch
Erythrura
prasina
Determine current species population status in the wild and trade
28 Chestnut-
capped Thrush
Geokichla
interpres
Improved understanding of demand and use of the species in
songbird competitions
Determine the extent of commercial captive breeding or ranching of
this species in Indonesia, and how this is being regulated
Summit participants deep in discussion
Credit: TRAFFIC
31
ORGANIZATION PROFILES
Wildlife Reserves Singapore www.wrs.com.sg | www.wrscf.org.sg
Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) is dedicated to the management of world-leading zoological institutions—
Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and Singapore Zoo—that aim to inspire people to value and
conserve biodiversity by providing meaningful and memorable wildlife experiences. A self-funded organization,
WRS focuses on protecting biodiversity in Singapore and Southeast Asia through collaborations with like-
minded partners, organizations and institutions. Each year, the four attractions welcome 4.6 million visitors.
TRAFFIC www.traffic.org | facebook.com/trafficsea
TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is
not a threat to the conservation of nature. TRAFFIC has an enviable reputation as a reliable and impartial
organization, a leader in the field with a unique role as a global specialist leading and supporting efforts
to identify and address conservation challenges and solutions linked to trade in wild animals and plants of
conservation as it relates to wildlife trade. TRAFFIC’s global network is research-driven and action-oriented,
committed to delivering innovative and practical conservation solutions based on the latest information.
TRAFFIC’s Southeast Asia presence was established in 1992, with a Regional Headquarters in Petaling Jaya,
Malaysia. The modest but dedicated team works in a region that is considered one of the world’s biggest
centres of wildlife trade. This office has, over the years, called much needed attention to the problem of wildlife
trafficking and unsustainable use of wild plants and animals through its numerous initiatives and publications.
Cikananga Wildlife Center www.cikanangawildlifecenter.com
The Cikananga Wildlife Center (Yayasan Cikananga Konservasi Terpadu), with the Cikananga Conservation
Breeding Center (CCBC) as one of its programmes, was established in August 2001 as a non-profit NGO, to
assist the Indonesian Government with law enforcement regarding wildlife species in trade, and their subsequent
rescue, rehabilitation and release. In 2008 the organization started to set up breeding programmes for several
species of Endangered and Critically Endangered species to prevent their extinction. Currently species such
as the Javan Warty Pig (EN), Sumatran Laughingthrush (VU), Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush (EN), Black-winged
Myna (CR) and Javan Green Magpie (CR), are being successfully bred. The Center is located 30 km south of
the town of Sukabumi, in West Java, Indonesia.
32
Recommendations from the first
Asian Songbird Trade Crisis Summit 2015
held in Jurong Bird Park, Singapore,
27-29 September 2015.
... Southeast Asia, one of the most biodiverse regions on earth, has among the highest proportion of threatened species for most higher classes of animals (Myers et al. 2000, Sodhi et al. 2010, Hughes 2017. Throughout the region, the trade in wild-caught songbirds-prized for their vocal ability, plumage, rarity, and cultural significance-is having a massive effect on wild populations (Nijman 2010, Lee et al. 2016, Symes et al. 2018, Indraswari et al. 2020. The resulting "Asian Songbird Crisis" has left many species facing extinction, while for others the damage trade has wrought on their populations is still poorly understood due to insufficient monitoring , Shepherd and Cassey 2017, Bergin et al. 2018, Marshall et al. 2020. ...
... Accordingly, the global population size of wild Black-winged Mynas is considered to be below 100 individuals, probably ~85. This circumstance indicates a clear and urgent need to carry out a thorough ecological assessment of the species to inform its conservation management strategy (Lee et al. 2016). We therefore sought to (1) document its current distribution and estimate its population size within Baluran National Park; (2) use species distribution modeling to identify potentially suitable areas that should be prioritized for appropriate management; and (3) identify the barriers to population expansion in different parts of the park and recommend interventions that can break these down. ...
Article
The Black-winged Myna (Acridotheres melanopterus) is an Endangered passerine endemic to the islands of Java and Bali, Indonesia. Illegal trapping to supply the cage-bird trade has led to its near-total extinction, with the global population estimated to number fewer than 100 individuals. We estimated the current range and population size of the species at Baluran National Park, which supports Java’s last known population, and used species distribution modeling to evaluate potential suitability of currently unoccupied areas across the park to identify priorities for management intervention. We estimate that the Black-winged Myna population numbers 179 individuals (95% CI: 111–288; density: 14.3 ± 3.5 individuals km–2) and that its current range is 12.3 km2. Our model indicated that some 72 km2 of the park (30% of total area) has potentially suitable habitat for the species, and we infer that the principal cause for the disparity between its current and potential range is trapping, compounded by savanna loss and degradation due to illegal domestic cattle grazing and the spread of invasive thorny acacia (Vachellia nilotica). The partial clearance of acacia in recent years appears to have assisted a modest population recovery by the myna. Its further population growth and range expansion in Baluran will depend on effective management of illegal poaching, further clearance of acacia, and easing domestic cattle grazing pressure on areas of savanna, particularly through engagement with communities living inside the park. Any actions that increase the size of the Black-winged Myna population are likely to benefit other threatened savanna-dependent wildlife in the park, notably banteng (Bos javanicus) and Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus). While our models and recommendations may be applicable to other protected areas in Java, and indeed other threatened myna species, trapping and habitat change may have site-specific dimensions, especially outside of protected areas, and thus demand local bespoke solutions.
... Vast numbers of wildlife are traded in animal markets in the region, many of which are trapped illegally (Nash 1993, Chng et al. 2018. Amongst bird species, parrots, and songbirds (passerines) are commonly owned pets both globally and in the region, and demand for these species has been linked to the extirpation of wild populations of many species within these groups , Lee et al. 2016, Olah et al. 2016. ...
Article
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The practice of keeping birds is a long-held tradition in Southeast Asia, including in Singapore. Beyond market surveys that have documented Singapore's sizeable bird market, there is a compelling need to understand the underlying drivers of demand for songbirds, and how these are influenced by social factors. We conducted semi-structured surveys of 114 songbird owners in Singapore, so as to determine their behaviour, demography, and preferences for owning songbirds and mapped Singapore's songbird trade network. Forty-four percent of respondents reported to not prefer either wild-caught or captive-bred birds and another 37% preferred captive-bred birds. Over half (51%) did not think that there were any differences in the singing capabilities of the songbird from either source. Influence from family members and close contacts were cited as the most influential motivational factor for bird-keeping. The majority of respondents were middle-aged (77% aged 40 and above), and two-thirds (67%) were of Chinese ethnicity. Purchasing power and socioeconomic status were not deemed to be strong considerations for owning songbirds. Neither was songbird ownership regarded as a status symbol, in contrast to parrot ownership in Singapore. Instead, social factors played influential roles in the songbird community, shaping the way owners gather, interact, and trade at bird shops and bird cage hanging spots. This study offers novel insights into the motivations underlying songbird ownership and its complex community linkages. We advocate for conservation interventions to target specific demographic groups that are embedded and influenced by communities so as to promote sustainable trade in songbirds.
... The commercial trade in wild birds poses a serious threat to the survival of a growing number of species in Asia , Lee et al. 2016. In Indonesia, a wide variety of species are sold in bird markets, which can be found in virtually all major towns and cities as well as in many smaller villages (Chng et al. 2018a, Rentschlar et al. 2018. ...
Article
Bird trade has led to increasing endangerment of species throughout South-East Asia. An opportunistic survey of two bird markets in Makassar, Sulawesi, Indonesia, highlights continuing problems with illegal trade. In June 2019, a total of 63 species, accounting for 6,352 birds, were observed in two Makassar bird markets. The majority of the birds observed were native to Indonesia, but not necessarily native to Sulawesi, illustrating the movement of birds for commercial trade across the archipelago. Fifteen of the species observed are protected under Indonesian legislation, and the vast majority of the rest were likely to have been taken from the wild outside of Indonesia’s annual harvest and trade quota system. Such illegal trade is a major contributing driver to the decline in wild populations and undermines national legislation and conservation efforts.
... Subsequently, given that demand for pets in China has increased, Huadiwan may have been on par with other megadiverse urban bird markets in Southeast Asia (e.g., Pramuka market in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Chatuchak market in Bangkok, Thailand [Techachoochert & Round, 2013]). In 2017, due to the decline of several populations of songbird species in Asia, the Asian Songbird Extinction Crisis was declared (Lee, 2016;Shepherd & Cassey, 2017). One of the most well-documented declines due to unsustainable trade in China has been the Yellow-breasted Bunting, Emberiza aureola (Heim et al., 2021;Kamp et al., 2015). ...
Article
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The prevailing methodology of noncontinuous wildlife market surveys contributes little to our understanding of the spatiotemporal variations of markets and their supply. Here, we investigate trends in bird trade in a large regional domestic market. Near‐continuous monthly surveys at a pet market in Guangzhou, China discovered over 95,000 individuals of 147 species between 2011 and 2013. We analyzed optimal survey frequency, finding that autumn is the best season to detect maximal species diversity. In a mixed‐effects model, we found that species‐specific purposes for trade controls the occurrence of species across shops in a market. A buffer analysis showed that 13 of the 15 most abundant species are distributed within 200 km of the market. However, hotspots of range overlap for wild‐caught, native species were found at great distances from the market within China and along China's borders. Identifying the location of theoretical trapping bottlenecks (areas where trapping levels are high) from this market data can help identify regions (e.g., southwest China) that are affected by trade, where local bird populations may be experiencing residual impacts from harvesting. Our results provide insights to improve methodologies for monitoring wildlife markets and identify priority regions for population surveys of in‐demand wild bird species.
... Indonesia is one of the most biodiverse nations on earth, but habitat loss through land-use change is a major threat to wildlife and habitats, while illegal trapping of wild birds has triggered an 'Asian Songbird Crisis' (Margono et al., 2014;Lee et al., 2016;Hughes, 2017). This trade affects at least 32 threatened species in Indonesia and many common species BirdLife International, 2021), with households in Java, Indonesia's most populous island, keeping some 74 million cage-birds (Marshall et al., 2020). ...
Article
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Citizen science projects remain rare in biodiverse yet data-poor countries, contributing to a shortfall in generating data for biodiversity monitoring and promoting public stewardship of nature. We document and analyse BigMonth2020, a month-long birdwatching event across Java and Bali, publicised through social media and incentivised with grants and competitions. Over 20,000 lists containing 100,000 bird records were submitted to the ‘Burungnesia’ phone app. Spatial coverage extended to 71% of the islands’ 3,408 atlas grid squares (6.9 × 6.9 km), including 1,613 previously undocumented squares, with 353 bird species recorded, representing 74% of Java and Bali’s avifauna excluding vagrants; 27 threatened species were recorded, with new records for 204 grid squares. Almost 25% of contributors were female, 72% were under 30 years old, and most were graduates and members of birdwatching clubs. The project cost less than US$10,000 to run, and serves as a model for rapidly establishing a distributional baseline for monitoring biodiversity trajectories.
... Indonesia has the second highest number of threatened birds globally and the threat posed by illegal bird-trapping for the cage-bird trade, compounded by ongoing habitat loss, has led to the declaration of an 'Asian Songbird Crisis' (Lee et al. 2016, Hughes 2017, BirdLife International 2020. These pressures are nowhere more acute than on Indonesia's most densely populated island, Java, which is home to more than 140 million people. ...
Article
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Hunting for the wild meat trade, medicines and other human uses has decimated Indo-Burma's vertebrate biota and has led to widespread defaunation. Yet, there is surprisingly little data on how hunting impacts wild bird assemblages in different landscapes here. Based on concurrent snapshot surveys of bird hunting, food markets and hunting attitudes across six Indo-Burma countries , we found that hunting threatens species not only in forested landscapes but also wetlands and farmlands such as orchards and paddy fields-ecosystems overlooked by past studies, with at least 47 species associated with wetlands and agricultural lands identified from market surveys across the region. High rates of mortality are suffered when hunting tools such as nets are used to exclude perceived bird pests in both aquaculture and agricultural landscapes, with over 300 individual carcasses of at least 29 identifiable species detected in one aquaculture landscape sampled in Thailand. We warn that the potentially unsustainable trapping of species for consumption and trade in Indo-Burma, coupled with high incidental mortalities, could decimate the populations of erstwhile common and/or legally unprotected species. There is an urgent need for stronger regulatory oversight on the hunting take of wild birds and the use of hunting tools such as nets. Alongside this, conservation practitioners need to better engage with rural communities to address unsustainable hunting practices, especially outside of protected areas.
Technical Report
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Singapore’s demand for wildlife traded as pets online has not been well studied. Previous inventories of pet shops in Singapore have shown an existing significant market for wildlife pets, particularly birds. While physical markets are still active, online platforms are increasingly important marketplaces. Facebook is a popular platform with more than 4.3 million active users in Singapore– and is often used by the wildlife pet trading community. Between December 2018 to April 2019 TRAFFIC researchers explored the scale of the online wildlife pet trade to analyse trends and assess trade dynamics. A snapshot of trade activity in 2021 to assess the current situation was also completed. The results were shared with the National Parks Board (NParks) Singapore and Facebook for follow-up action.
Article
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Keeping wild birds is a deeply engrained and widely prevalent cultural practice, with a history going back thousands of years. One of the more recent trends to emerge from this practice is the singing contest, which pits male birds against each other to impress human judges with their songs, plumage, and movement. A champion bird can garner social prestige and, in some cases, considerable sums of prize money for its human owner. Today these contests drive demand in the global songbird trade, especially in Southeast Asia where more bird species are threatened by trade than in any other region of the world. This literature review aims to describe how we study the songbird trade and identify new research opportunities with a focus on singing contests. We aggregated 219 papers published between 1990 and 2020 and categorized them according to geographic origin, publication date, and academic focus. We found that singing contests currently take place in 19 countries across five of the world’s biogeographic regions, using at least 36 species of birds. Our analysis revealed that research on the songbird trade is most prevalent in the Indo-Malay, Neotropic, and Palearctic regions, tends to prioritize birds over humans, and corresponds with the prevalence of singing contests. Education and Outreach had the fewest publications of any discipline in our review, and we conclude this kind of research may provide a valuable basis for future conservation strategies targeting the songbird trade at a global scale.
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