Overview

Brief Summary

Description

The Bali starling is one of the rarest birds in the world and relatively new to science being first described in 1912 by Walter Rothschild (3), from whom the bird gains its specific name. This medium-large starling is almost entirely white apart from black wing- and tail-tips and the striking, bare blue skin around the eye (4). The crest is long and drooping, the bill is yellow and the legs are a greyish blue (4).
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Biology

The breeding season runs from October to November (4) and nests are preferentially made within woodpecker holes in the trunks of trees (2). Males become very aggressive at this time (2). Outside the breeding season, Bali starlings could previously be found in flocks of up to 40 birds, often roosting in dense coconut trees (2). Adults feed on ants, termites and caterpillars but also on fruits and seeds (2) (3).
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Distribution

Range Description

This species is endemic to the island of Bali, Indonesia, where it formerly ranged across the north-west third of the island. It has perhaps long been uncommon (numbers in the early 1900s, the period of discovery, have been retrospectively guessed at 300-900, although this is thought to be a gross underestimate), but has declined drastically in population and range. Illegal poaching reduced numbers to a critically low level in 1990, when the wild population was estimated at c. 15 birds. Conservation intervention coupled with the release of a few captive-bred birds raised this to between 35 and 55. However, despite excellent breeding success and continuing conservation efforts, the population continues to fluctuate and fell to six birds in 2001 (P. Benstead verbally 2003). Continuing releases have raised numbers in West Bali National Park, such that surveys in March 2005 found 24 individuals (P. Wood in litt. 2005) and in 2008 the population here was believed to be around 50 birds (G. Dijkman in litt. 2007, 2008). However, it is uncertain how many of these released birds have bred successfully in the wild and therefore can be regarded as "mature individuals" following IUCN guidelines. A population has been introduced on Nusa Penida Island (apparently not part of the native range) derived from captive individuals. The population appears to have adapted to the island and is breeding, with a total of 65 adults and 62 young present in 2009 (G. Dijkman in litt. 2007, 2008). Around 1,000 individuals are believed to survive in captivity. There was an apparent sighting of a pair of birds in East Java, but this has not been confirmed and is likely to be escaped or released captive birds (A. Blakemore in litt. 2011).

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Range

Coastal nw Bali (Bali Barat National Park). ±55 birds in 1993.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Historic Range:
Indonesia (Bali)

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Range

Endemic to the island Bali in Indonesia and previously found throughout the northwest third of the island (4).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
In the breeding season (usually October and November), it inhabits fire-induced open shrub, tree and palm-savanna and adjacent closed-canopy monsoon-forest (tropical moist deciduous), below 175 m. In the non-breeding season, birds disperse into open forest edge and flooded savanna woodland. In the past they also occurred, and even nested, in coconut groves near villages. Previously thought to rely on cavities excavated and vacated by other birds, released individuals on Nusa Penida have nested in sugar palm, coconut and fig trees (G. Dijkman in litt. 2007, 2008).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Inhabits monsoon forest and acacia savannah (2).
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Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 25 years (captivity) Observations: Two wild-born animals estimated to have hatched in 1961 died in 1986 at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle (http://www.zoo.org/). A highly endangered species.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Leucopsar rothschildi

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 6
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
CR
Critically Endangered

Red List Criteria
B1ab(v);C2a(i,ii);D

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2015

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Symes, A.

Contributor/s
Benstead, P., Blakemore, A., Brickle, N., Dijkman, G., Wood, P., Kenwrick, C., Bayu Wirayudha, I. & Halaouate, M.

Justification
This stunning starling qualifies as Critically Endangered because it has an extremely small range and a tiny population which is still suffering from illegal poaching for the cagebird trade. Releases of captive-bred birds have boosted the population, but it is uncertain how many of these have yet bred successfully in the wild. In due course, if the population continues to grow and trapping pressures can be brought under control, the species may warrant downlisting.


History
  • 2013
    Critically Endangered (CR)
  • 2012
    Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Threatened (T)