Bali Starling recovery plan (PHPA/Birdlife, 1997)

Below article discuses the 'Species Recovery Plan for the Bali Starling', by PHPA/BirdLife International & Departemen Kehutanan, August 1997.

BS-recovery-00Bali Starling Species Recovery Plan


Preparation Team: Paul Jepson, Sebastianus van Balen (BirdLife International), Tony R. Soehartono,(Directorate of BKSA & KFE PHPA), Ani Mardiastuti (Faculty of Forestry, IPB); Maps & Graphics: Jeni Shannaz; Design & Layout: Tomie Dono; Cover photo: Alain Compost; Bali Starling Project Sponsors 1991-1994: Art Ortenberg / Liz Claiborne Foundation; American Zoo and Aquarium Association, Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust; Swedish Ornithological Society Laporan ini juga tersedia dalam Bahasa Indonesia dan dapat diperoleh di: BirdLife International-Indonesia Programme, PO Box 310/Boo; Bogor 16003, Indonesia; Tel/Fax: +62251333234. Citation: PHPA/BirdLife International-IP. 1997. Rencana Pemulihan Jalak Bali [Bali Starling Recovery Plan]. Bogor: PHPA/BirdLife International-Indonesia Programme. Publication of this Recovery Plan was made possible by the generous support of Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Fisheries, The Netherlands.


Introduction 1; Part p.1: Background information: p.3; Biological assessment: p.3; Population numbers, distribution and movements: p.3; Life expectancy and mortality: p.5; Habitat requirements: p.5; Home-range and territoriality: p.6; Breeding biology: p.6; Feeding biology: p.7; Inter-specific competition: p.7; Mortality: p.7; Ecological relations: p.8; Legal and Management Framework: p.8; Legal status: p.9; Utilization and cultural appreciation: p.9; Bali Starling and tourism: p.10; Species Limiting Factors: p.10; Definite limiting factors: p.11; Potential limiting factors: p.13; Part II: Recovery Plan: p.15; Recovery Plan Goals: p.15; Target: p.15; Goals: p.15; Ability of Bali Starling to recover: p.16; Action Programme: p.17; References: p.23


(p.1) The Bali Starling, fauna symbol of Bali Province, is one of the world's rarest birds, which for the last ten years has been on the verge of extinction in the wild. In 1991 the wild population fell to an all time low of 14 birds, and although intensive conservation efforts brought about some recovery, the population has again fallen to an all time low of 14 birds, and although intensive conservation efforts brought about some recovery, the population has again fallen to just 14 birds and is critically small. 

BS-recovery-00c-forewordThis recovery plan identifies the priority actions that are required to bring about an increase of the wild population to safe levels, estimated at 150 birds. It has been prepared by a team from the Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (PHPA), the Bali Barat National Park and BirdLife International in consultation with other agencies and individuals who have been involved in Bali Starling conservation during the last ten years. It is based on experience gained during the Bali Starling Project, which ran from 1987 to 1994.

It is clear that saving the Bali Starling requires coordinated action by local government agencies, communities around the national park as well as PHPA. It is important to note that although the Bali Starling is protected in Indonesia, the main threat comes from illegal capture of wild birds to supply demand from Indonesian aviculturists who have no alternative source.

In the 1960s, before Indonesia ratified CITES, wild-caught Bali Starlings were exported to supply demand in Europe and America; an activity which caused a major decline in the wild population. However, these birds bred well in captivity overseas and today there are many Bali Starlings in captivity outside Indonesia.

The recommendation in this recovery plan to reduce poaching of wild birds through the supply of an alternative source of (hopefully cheaper) captive bred birds in Indonesia is not without risk or problems. However, I believe this is a pragmatic approach, which will make catching wild birds no longer worth the risk. Once this pressure is removed, all the indications are that the wild population will quickly recover its numbers. PHPA has already issued Forestry Ministerial Decree No. 771/Kpts-II/1996 on the utilisation of wild and captive bred plant and animal species, which enables limited utilisation of captive bred protected species, such as Bali Starling.

The recovery plan identifies the need to improve yet further strict guarding of the wild population and identifies key areas for future research to understand more about the species' ecology as a basis for developing approaches for sympathetic management of Bali Starting habitat.

The Bali Starling is a beautiful component of Indonesia's natural heritage and we need to take urgent action now to ensure that future generations can still enjoy seeing this bird in the wild. I hope that all agencies whose activities affect the Bali Starling will support the implementation of the action priorities identified in this plan. (signed) Soemarsono, Director General of PHPA


(p.2) Species action plans have been adopted asd the framework for rare species conservation in many countries. They are based on the principle that species conservation will be more effective if: a) it is evaluated and planned in advance; b) if actions have measurable objectives (the quickest way to learn is by experience); and c) if all the agencies that have an input into the species' conservation, work towards a common goal.

The purpose of this action plan is therefore to: agree on measurable conservation objectives for the Bali Starling; assemble all relevant knowledge on the Bali Starling; gain consensus on priorities for practical action; assign responsibilities for actions; determine annual work programmes; integrate activities and actions of government and non-government agencies; monitor and evaluate the implementation of activities; efficiently channel resources to the highest priority actions for achieving species conservation

This action plan for the Bali Starting has been prepared as a result of a detailed consultation process including workshops held at the Bali Barat National Park. It is based or the experience gained from the Bali Starling Project. This collaborative project between the Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (PHPA), the Bali Barat National Park, BirdLife International and the American Association of Zoos ran from 1987 to 1994.

This plan represents the best course of action for the conservation of the Bali Starling based on our current knowledge base. The period of this plan is up until the end of REPELITA VI (1999) at which time it should be thoroughly reviewed in the light of new information and experience gained by the consortium of agencies and individuals who, we hope, will use this plan as their guide.

The recovery plan presents a set of prioritised activities. Implementing all of these activities is beyond the human and financial resources of the PHPA and Bali Barat National Park. We hope that other agencies will take on components of this plan or provide financial support for their implementation.

BS-recovery-03Part I: Background information, biological assessment, population; Population numbers, distribution and movements

Image left: Alain Compost/Dok Birdlife IP

(p.3) The wild population is currently just 14 individuals. Commencing in 1973 periodic censuses were made and since 1984 annual post-breeding population censuses have been conducted using a standardised methodology (van Balen 1995). In 1990 a pre-breeding census was added. The population trend is shown in Graph I.

Graph I. Numbers of wild birds and fledglings by 1989 1997

1991/92 Recovery

(p.4) The population recovery between 1991 and 1992 is attributed to a combination of effective guarding and favourable climatic conditions during the breeding season (van Balen and Gepak 1994). Ineffective guarding during 1993/4 led to a subsequent decline.Since then whilst guarding was improved, there has been no further significant recovery and indeed the 1997 population has fallen again to its lowest-ever level. Standardized population estimates are not available before 1984, however on the basis of earlier literature it is reasonable to assume that the Bali Starling was previously significantly more abundant. Reports from early this century refer to large flocks (van der Paardt 1926; von Plessen 1926) with the highest densities in the western-most region of Bali (notably Teluk Terima), where the remaining wild population is now located.


Graph I (above): Numbers of wild birds and fledglings by 1989-1997 (Jeni Shannaz/Birdlife International - IP)

Distribution: The Bali Starling is dependent on monsoon forest (see General habitat) which originally covered the once sparsely populated north-western part of Bali; available evidence suggests densities in the first half of this century were highest in the area of Teluk Terima, and lower in the central part of its range. The species was absent from the southern part of Bali (von Plessen, 1926).

Range contraction: The area of monsoon forest contracted in line with the development of plantations and agriculture. By 1970, monsoon forest and the species' distribution were almost exclusively restricted to the area of north-west Bali which is now the national park.


Map I (left): Historical distribution of Bali Starling (Jeni Shannaz/Birdlife-IP)

(p.5) Interviews with local people indicate that the Bali Starling disappeared from the southern part of their range in the 1960s, and from the north-eastern parts in the 1970s.

By the mid 1980s the species' range had contracted further and Bali Starlings were confined to the Prapat Agung peninsula, below an altitude of 150-200 m. It is possible that this is sub-optimal habitat for Bali Starling into which it had been pushed by poaching pressure. This remains the situation today.

Annual movements: Clear patterns in seasonal distribution have been noted. In recent years during the breeding season the entire population has been confined to Teluk Keior and Teluk Brumbun, an area of only 250-300 ha. During the dry season (April to October), birds have been known to disperse 8-9 km to the south and southwest (groups of up to 30 have been noted in the past), and gather in communal roosting trees. At the onset of rains they return to their breeding grounds (see Historical distribution map). Surveys have confirmed there is no dispersion outside the above-mentioned area (van Balen et al. in prep.).

Reports from 1914-1926 mention that the species occurred in low densities in the northern coastal areas of West Bali, and was absent from this area along the west coast in the months February-July. The birds would appear in large numbers in September-November, towards the end of the dry monsoon, throughout northwest Bali, including Gilimanuk on the west coast (van der Paardt 1926: von Plessen 1926).

Daily movements: During the breeding season (November to April), the adult breeding population is sedentary within the territories of Teluk Kelor and Teluk Brumbun. Non-breeding and immature birds also roost in this area, but roam over large distances (up to 2-3 km) to forage. Towards the end of the dry season, when food resources are limited, distances between roost and foraging sites increase to 5-6 km.

Life expectancy and mortality: longevity in captivity

Nothing is known about life expectancy of wild birds. No systematic banding studies have been conducted and available demographic data are blurred by poaching activities. In captivity, ages of up to thirty years have been recorded, and 7-12 years (Spilsbury, 1970) is considered a reasonable estimate of longevity.

Habitat requirements: Breeding habitat

During the breeding season, the remaining wild population occupies fire-induced open shrub and savanna monsoon forest, found below an altitude of 150-175 m in the northeast part of the peninsular Prapat Agung. This habitat is dominated by (p.6) Acacia ieucophloea trees with an undergrowth of Lantana camara and Eupatorium shrubs and Imperata cylindrica grass. It is intersected by moister and more densely forested valleys dominated by the trees Grewia koordesians, Vitex pubescens,
Borassus flabellifer and Schoutenio ovata.

Non-breeding habitat

In the non-breeding season the population disperses into the open mixed forest edge and flooded savannah woodland in the southern parts of the Prapat Agung peninsula. In the 1920s vegetation types, variably described as 'dry savannah', 'shrub woodlands', and 'tall and dense forest' were cited as the habitat of Bali Starling. This monsoon forest exists only where there are several dry months (<60 mm rainfall) annually. The species has also been reported in small numbers from the hills in the interior of West Bali (von Plessen, 1926). Old reports exist of Bali Starting occurring and nesting in coconut groves near villages (Hayward et al. 1981: van Helvoort et al. 1986).

Home-range and territoriality: territory

A home-range of 2.4-3.5 hectares was reported for a breeding pair at Teluk Kelor (Cahyadin 1992), which may be typical. There is an indication that breeding pairs maintain territories throughout the year.

Breeding biology: breeding bahaviour

Breeding pairs establish territories at the onset of the first rains in October-November, after which the birds start to bring twigs, grass, feathers and leaves into the nest hole. They have been seen defending the immediate surroundings of their nest holes against Black-winged Starling (Stunus melanopterus) and Spangled Drongos (Dicrurus hottentottus).

Nest site selection: Nests have been recorded in seven tree species but any suitably large and reasonably secure nest hole may be utilized irrespective of tree species. Nest holes are old excavations of woodpeckers or barbets, or cracks in old trees. In captivity Bali Starlings are catholic in the choice of nest sites; broods have been raised in conventional nest boxes and logs, in underground holes and on radiator systems high up in aviaries.

Incubation period: No accurate data on wild birds are available. In captivity, an average incubation period of 13 days is found (Sieber 1983). In captive birds, the female does most of the incubation (West and Pugh 1986).

Parental care: In captivity birds fledged from the nest after an average of 23 days after hatching

(Sieber 1983). After fledging juveniles stay with their parents for a few weeks after which they join juvenile flocks guided by a few adult birds.

Reproduction rates: (p.7) In a favourable wet season of five to seven months Bali Starlings have two or occasionally three clutches, of up to three eggs and raise two or three young per clutch. In captivity birds have been reported to breed successfully up to six times a year, laying clutches of two to live, but normally three or four eggs, of which only 50-90% hatch (Schmidt 1968: Spilsbury 1970).

Feeding biology: feeding bahviour

The Bali Starting is an arboreal feeder, spending most of its time in trees and shrubs. In the dry season. Bali Starlings occasionally search for invertebrates on the ground.

Diet: The diet is mainly invertebrates and vegetative material, the balance varies with the season. A 1990-1991 study of a pair showed that the caterpillars of Geometridae form the main diet during the first weeks after hatching (Cahyadin 1992). The berries of non-native Lantana camara constitute an important part of the diet during the beginning and towards the end of the dry season (van der Paardt 1926: Bali Starling Project (BSP) unpublished data). During the height of the dry season flocks appear to follow the flowering of Etythrina trees and wander from one area to another (van Helvoort, pers. comm.; BSP unpublished data).

Inter-specific competition

The Black-winged Starling is most closely related to Bali Starling and therefore considered a possible competitor for food resources and nest holes (Sieber 1978). However, this starling is typically an open woodland bird and was reported as being very scarce in West Bali in times when Bali Starlings were still numerous (von Plessen 1926): this suggests habitat segregation.

Mortality: natural predator

A record of a snake entering a nest hole and consuming two Bali Starling nestlings (van Helvoort 1986) is the only confirmed case of predation. Other possible nest predators include monitor lizards (Varanus salvator). geckos (Gecko sp.) and macaques (Macaca fascicularis) (W. Suryawan, pers. comm.). Possible predators of full-grown birds are birds of prey. During a release in November 1993 of Bali Starlings, birds were lost to a pair of Black-winged Kites (Elanus caeruleus) and perhaps a Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (Collins and Putra in van Balen and Dirgayusa 1994). In October, the northwest tip of Bali is a major passage area for migratory raptors (Ash 1994), but most of these pass over very high and it is unlikely that they pose a significant predation threat.

Disease: Atoxoplasma-like protozoa have been found in faeces of wild birds (E. Greiner 1994, in litt.), but fledgling success suggests the disease is not a serious problem. No other data are available for wild birds. (p.8) Captive birds suffer from a variety of diseases. These include Atoxoplasmosis, Hemochromatosis, avian pox, cataract and endoparasite, such as gapeworms and tapeworms (Spilsbury 1970). Atoxoplasmosis is the most important mortality factor in captive the population (Jeggo 1981, Partington et al. 1989).

Ecological relations: climate

The main range of the Bali Starling has a dry monsoon climate, with a rainy season from December to April, and a dry season from June to October (Sandy 1987). However, shifts in the rainfall pattern by several months are known and variations in intensity occur and may relate to El Niño Southern Oscillations. The breeding season of Bali Starlings coincides with the rainy season. The onset of the rains triggers off the development of young leaf sprouts and foliage-consuming caterpillars. The latter form the main diet of the nestlings during the first weeks (Cahyadin 1992).

BS-recovery-08Habitat: The burning history of the Bali Barat National Park may have had a positive impact on the Bali Starling. Certain plants important for Bali Starling biology have certainly benefitted (e.g. Lantana, Acacia leucophloea) from fires. Moreover, the resulting open grazing fields of alang-alang grass attract large ungulates, with which the Bali Starlings often associate: "deer riding" and Bali Starlings perched on cattle has been observed (I WA. Dirgayusa, pers. comm. 1994). Some limited cattle grazing may therefore benefit Bali Starlings.

Image: Legal and management framework

Legal status: IUCN status

(p.9) The Bali Starling was first classed as an endangered species in the 1966 IUCN Red Data Book. It is currently classed as 'critical' according to IUCN threat categories (Collar et al. 1994; Shannaz et al. 1995).

CITES status: In 1970 it was included on Appendix I of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and international trade is strictly regulated. The Republic of Indonesia signed this convention in 1978.

National laws: Since 1970, the species has been protected under the prevailing Indonesian laws (Decree of Minister of Agriculture SK 421/Kpts/Um/8/l 970). Act No. 5 of 1990 concerning conservation of living resources and their ecosystem established penalties of up to Rp 100,000,000 and imprisonment of up to five years for people in illegal possession of this species. In 1991, registration was required for all protected animals in public ownership (ministerial decree SK Menteri Kehutanan No. 310/Kpts-ll/l991). Forestry Ministerial Decree No. 77 l/Kpts-ll/1996 enables the sale of protected species bred in captivity.

Constitution of the Bali Barat National Park: The remaining wild population of the Bali Starling is confined to the Bali Barat National Park. In 1947, Bali Barat Game Reserve was established by the Council of Kings of Bali (Dewan Radja-Radja Bali. Besluit No. E I /4/5), with the primary aim to preserve the last remaining Balinese tigers in an area that covered 19,600 ha. In 1982, the Bali Barat reserve was declared a National Park by ministerial decree No. 736/Mentan/X/l 982. The boundaries of the National Park were designated by the Ministerial decree No. 493/Kpts-ll/I 995 on 15 September 1995. Bali Barat National Park covers an area of 19.000 ha. Approximately 5,000 ha of its buffer zone, which was designated as protection forest and production forest in the past declaration, is not included in the boundaries of the national park.

Bali starling management: Up until 1994 management objectives with respect to the Bali Starling, have been set in the plan and operational proposals of the Bali Starling Project. Since this date, the national park has defined annual management objectives.

Utilization and cultural appreciation: Bali Starling in Bird collections

By virtue of its beauty and rarity, the Bali Starling has always been a favoured species in bird collections. Seventeen years after its discovery, the first Bali Starlings were exported to Europe (Ezra 1931). In the 1960s the species increased in popularity with bird-keepers in Europe, the USA and Singapore, and hundreds of birds were shipped to meet the demand. The birds bred prolifically in American zoos to the extent that they became an 'out' species because there was no market for surplus birds (Pagel 1993; Siebels and Bell 1994). (p.10) Bird keeping is a traditional and popular passtime in Java, and demand for Bali Starlings increased in line with popularity in overseas collections. In the absence of productive domestic captive breeding programmes, and restrictions on the reimport of captive-bred birds to Indonesia, this demand was and continues to be met from the wild population.

Fauna provincial symbol: In 1991 the Bali Starling was adopted as the faunal symbol of the province of Bali (Holmes 1990). This has resulted in increased popularity of the species amongst the local community of Bali; the Bali Starling has since appeared in dances and songs and is regularly featured in contem0pary Balinese art. The Bali Starling is a national and international symbol of endangered wildlife. Like the tiger, Orangutan, rhino and komodo lizard, the Bali Starling is invariably included in the list of Indonesian threatened wildlife and conservation efforts in speeches and presentations.

Bali Starling and tourism

Bali is Indonesia's premier tourist destination. Due to global awareness and interest in conservation and the environment, most nature-lovers coming to Bali have heard about the species and its plight.

Visitor access

A restricted access policy for visitors to Bali Starling habitat was introduced in 1990, when it was felt that disturbance to the core area should be kept to an absolute minimum. However, due to demand, since 1991 bird-watching groups led by internationally acknowledged ornithologists have been allowed access to see the birds, under strictly controlled circumstances. So far groups from Birdquest, King Bird Tours and Victor Emanuel Tours have visited the park, and made donations to the project.

BS-recovery-10Image left: Species limiting factors

(p.11) The flow chart diagrammatically illustrates the population limiting factors. These can be divided into definite and potential limiting factors. The under-lying cause(s) of each limiting factor is identified in the outer circles. Capture of wild birds is the most serious limiting factor and it is this which has pushed the species to the brink of extinction,

Definite limiting factors

This is the single most serious limiting factor even though it is illegal and a 40-man guard force based at five guard posts is in place. It has been demonstrated that controlling poaching results in a rapid population expansion (see Graph I) when strict guarding of the Prapat Agung peninsula was maintained for two years.

Illegal capture (poaching): Wild birds are usually caught with birdlime and decoys, but young are also occasionally taken from the nest. Poaching occurs because of problems with guarding, high demand from Indonesian aviculturists and tensions between the enclave community and National Park.

Problems with guarding: During the period of the Bali Starling Project (1991 -1994) the National Park guard force was trained in patrolling systems and provided with essential equipment. Guarding remains problematic on account of the following.

A. Low motivation and moral of guard force, this results from: lack of prosecutions of the poachers they apprehend; lack of prosecutions of people owning wild-caught birds; limited interest and support in their work and needs from the Natonal Park management; limited field facilities, in particular limited fresh-water and poorly equipped guard posts; low wages; poorly maintained field equipment.

B. Clever poachers: A Bali Starling may sell for $2,000 or more on the Indonesian black market. Poachers have become increasingly sophisticated and are well equipped with mist-nets, telescopes and handy-talkys. Moreover, they appear to be well informed of guard movements, shift changes etc.

C. Demand: It is demand for wild-caught Bali Starlings which motivates the poachers and the need for an effective guard force. There is a demand for wild-caught Bali Starlings because: by virtue of its beauty it is highly prized among bird-keepers; ownership of a Bali Starling brings status and prestige to these keepers; until very recently there has been no alternative source of Bali Starlings for Indonesian bird keepers, as captive bred birds are (illegally) only available in very small numbers.

BS-recovery-12Image (above): Limiting factors of Bali starling in the wild

D. Dissatisfied enclave: (p.13) Contributing to the above are historic tensions between an enclave of Madurese immigrants and the National Park authorities. This tension generates in antipathy towards the Bali Starling and participation of enclave people in poaching. The under-lying cause of this tension is the enclave community's uncertainly about their future and whether or not they will be translocated from the park.

Short rainy season: The length of the rainy season directly effects the number of broods reared in a given year and hence expansion of the population. The length of the rainy season varies in an unpredictable cycle related to the El Nino oscillation.

Small population: A small population is inherently vulnerable to extinction from natural disasters, such as extended drought, wild fires and disease epidemics.

Potential limiting factors

A number of additional factors may limit the population. Furthermore proposed developments in and around the National Park may negatively impact on the wild population in the future. These potential limiting factors are discussed below.

Drinking water availability: Standing water is severely limited during the height of the dry season, and it is believed that during such times Bali Starlings rely on dew collecting on trees in the morning. It is not known whether this naturally results in increased mortality, however it is known that birds concentrating at limited drinking holes are more vulnerable to being caught by poachers.

Nest hole availability: With the current small breeding population this is not a limiting factor. However, timber collection is thought to have reduced the natural availability of nest trees and this may limit recovery at an unknown breeding density. Ninety-six artificial nest sites (nest boxes) were erected in the Prapat Agung area in 1984 and 1986. None were utilized by Bali Starlings and the reason for this is unclear.

In-breeding depression: In passerine birds, the significance of limited gene pools and inbreeding depression in relation to reproductive success and adult mortality is largely unknown. In the case of Bali Starling a rapid population increase was possible from just 14 birds (see Graph I). In-breeding should therefore be considered a possible limiting factor.

Natural causes: Predation and disease must limit the population, however the significance is unknown, Predators of adult birds include birds of prey and of nests, snakes and monitor lizards.

Introduced diseases: Atoxoplasmosis, a disease which results in higher mortality rates in chicks, is wide-spread in the captive Bali Starling population. There is a risk of introducing this (p.14) disease through the release of captive bred birds that have not be rigorously quarantined and screened for this disease.

Forest fire: There is an ever-present risk of fire in the monsoon forest habitat, but it is not known if this will have a negative effect on the wild population.

Hotel developments: The construction of hotels in the eastern part of the park, adjacent to the Banyu Wedang area and the Gilimanuk Bay, could pose a serious threat to remaining pockets of monsoon forest in the surroundings of the park. This would limit a future population expansion of the species.

Proposed Java-Bali bridge: Three inter-insular bridges are planned for the next decades; Java-Madura, Java- Sumatra and Java-Bali; the latter as the lowest priority. If this bridge is constructed, the shortest span would undoubtedly be chosen, and is from Watu Dodol in Java to Lampu Merah in Bali Barat. Should this project be approved it would incur severe damage and disturbance to Bali Starling habitat.

Power line: The construction of a long line of transmission pylons is currently being carried out through part of the Bali Barat National Park. The power line will follow the western coastline. Its precise impact on habitat has not yet been evaluated.

BS-recovery-15Part II: Recovery Plan

Image left: Alain Compost/Dok. Birdlife-IP

Recovery plan goals: Target

(p.15) To restore to 40 individuals the wild population of Bali Starting in the Bali Barat National Park by the year 2000 and to at least 150 birds by the year 2005.


So as to achieve this aim this recovery plan has four principal goals. These goals have been identified from an evaluation of limiting factors based on biological and cultural assessments (see Species limiting factors). These are: 1. To promote an immediate population recovery: Reduce the poaching of Bali Starlings from the wild population to insignificant levels; Promote inter-agency responsibility for Bali Starling conservation and secure support for implementation of actions in this plan; 2. To extend the knowledge base: through management orientated research, understand the ecological parameters which may further limit the wild population and assess techniques for intervention management of the ecosystem; 3. Reduce demand for wild-caught birds: establish an Indonesian Bali Starling association with responsibility to develop alternative sources of Bali Starlings in Indonesia through captive breeding or import, and to restock the wild population if required.

Ability of Bali starling to recover

(p.16) The breeding season of 1990/1991 and 1991/1992 demonstrated that under favourable climatic conditions the Bali Starling has a high reproductive rate and good fledgling survival. In combination with strict control of poaching a three to fourfold increase of the wild population in two years was achieved. A recovery model is presented in Graph 2 and on the basis of this the population goal of 40 individuals by the year 2000 is considered a realistic target. A recovery to viable numbers (currently thought to be 500 birds in the wild) appears unlikely considering the present extent and condition of the habitat.


Graph 2 (above): Estimated model of Bali Starling population until the year 2003 (Jeni Shannaz/Birdlife International - IP)

Recovery model: A simple model for population recovery can be constructed from a knowledge of annual recruitment rate, number of new pairs entering the breeding population each year and the annual mortality rates.

The population monitoring in 1990-1994 (see Graph I) provides data on which these estimates can be calculated. The average productivity per pair was 3.975 young per year. A coefficient for mortality is more difficult to estimate. In 1990/91 when poaching was controlled mortality was just 6%, in 1991 /92 it was 21 % and it increased to 59% in 1992/93 and 1993/94 when poaching again got the upper hand. As the purpose of this model is to demonstrate the population recovery that could be achieved if poaching is controlled, we have used the 1992/93 mortality figure of 21 % in this model. Bali Starlings take two years to mature, therefore there is a time lag in the acceleration of a recovery. We have made a reasonable estimate of number of breeding pairs entering the population each year (shown on Graph 2). We have estimated the starting population at 11 birds from 2 pairs. The model assumes that habitat and nest hole availability are not limiting factors.

The release of captive-bred Bali Starlings into the wild to strengthen the wild population is recommended only if numbers in the wild are at a critically low level. Attempts to release captive-bred birds (van Balen and Gepak 1994) as well as retrieved wild-caught birds (Collins and Putra 1994) have refined the release techniques, although only a very few release birds successfully survived in the wild.

Action programme

(p.17) The following matrix summarises key activity areas for Bali Starling conservation. The three left hand columns of the matrix identify the limiting factors and causes which the activity addresses, The four right hand columns describe the activity, the relative importance of the activity, the agencies recommended to take responsibility for implementing the activity and the frequency of the activity.

Guarding and prosecution: The essential activities are those concerned with bringing about significant reduction in the incidence of poaching Bali Starlings from the wild population. Two complimentary approaches are required: strict guarding of the wild population including prosecutions of people caught poaching; and reducing the demand from Indonesian bird keepers for wild-caught Bali Starlings.

Alternative supply: The actions proposed under the latter heading represent the boldest and most innovative component of this plan. Efforts over the last ten years to control people keeping and purchasing wild-caught Bali Starlings have largely proved ineffective. This plan takes a pragmatic approach, namely to make available captive-bred birds to supply this demand. It is expected that given a choice between a captive-bred bird and a wild- caught bird a buyer will make the responsible choice in favour of the former, especially as it is believed that captive-bred birds will become significantly cheaper than illegal birds. Birds could be imported from Europe or the USA, but increasingly it is expected that Indonesian captive breeding centres will be able to meet the demand.

Two other messages are clear from the assessments and discussions which preceded this plan. Inter-agency action: The Bali Starling can only be saved if there is coordinated inter-agency action and the national and local levels. Research: Key information on Bali Starling ecology is still lacking and the knowledge base needs to be improved as a basis for future management within the National Park. Essential activities are those which are deemed necessary to protect the species from further decline and establish a framework for recovery. Important activities are those which are required in addition to essential activities to achieve a recovery of the wild population. Desirable activities: are those which will support the effectiveness of the above activities, or which will expand the knowledge base in order to facilitate improved management decisions in he future.

Limiting factors Cause Activity Priority Agency Frequency Indicators
Poaching Poachers know location of nesting and roosting trees 1. Strictly protect and guard nesting and roosting trees: a. Consider installing alarm system and other deterants at trees ♦♦♦ BBNP/NGO 1997, annual maintenance Evaluation of alarm systems and budgets; if practical, alarm system or other deterants installed in field; regular random checks on function of system.
    b. Guard trees closely ♦♦♦ BBNP every breeding season Number of robbed nests (0 = success).
    c. Conduct regular patrols on Prapat Agung peninsula ♦♦♦ BBNP daily Difference between population pre-breeding plus annual recruitment and the population number at the next pre-breeding census.
  Ineffective guard force 2. Maintain and develop effective guarding: a. Good personnel management ♦♦♦ BBNP Ongoing Number of visits per year by the Head of NP or head of security to guard post.
    b. Improve work environment BBNP 1997/8 Repairs and maintenance to guard post, fresh water supplies regularly delivered, etc.
    c. Organise refresher courses for park management and guards ♦♦ BBNP 2x per year Number of park staff attending courses.
    3. Strengthen law enforcement: a. Prosecute poachers apprehended ♦♦ DA/Police/BBNP As required Number of successful prosecutions
    b. Prosecute owners with illegal birds ♦♦ DA/Police/BBNP As required Number of successful prosecutions
  Demand for wild birds because no alternative source in Indonesia 4. Establish an association to develop alternative sources: a. Develop source of captive-bred birds for sale in Indonesia based on existing captive-

bred stock

♦♦ PHPA/BS Assoc 1997/8 Productivity of captive breeding and number of Bali Starlings offered for sale.
    b. Effectively implement regulations to promote import and commercial breeding of Bali Starling ♦♦ PHPA 1997/8 Number of Bali Starling imported
    c. Introduce regulations to allow import from outside Indonesia ♦♦ PHPA 1997  
    d. Encourage and regulate breeders ♦♦ PHPA/BS Association Yearly Evidence of self-regulating breeders' association
  Dissatisfied enclave and lack of alternative livelihoods 5. Positive integration of enclave with BBNP: a. Clarify legal status of enclave ♦♦ Agrarian affairs, forestry, local govt 1997/8  
    b. Continue and develop community liaison ♦♦ BBNP/loca govt./enclave l 4 per year Number of meetings between BBNP and committee enclave
    c. Develop eco-sensitive new enterprises for enclave community ♦♦ Project   New project initiated
Proposed infra structural development Lack of approved park zoning 6. Consultation between all sectors on activities in and around BBNP       Number of meetings
  BS not referred to in provincial structure plan a. Establish regular provincial level meetings ♦♦ BBNP, local govt. 1 every two years, July  
  AMDALs not strictly enforced b. Establish regular Kecamatan meetings ♦♦ BBNP, Bappeda min. 1 per year  
  Pressure for tourist facilities c. Evaluations of recovery plan ♦♦♦ PHPA/BBNP/ local govt./NGO 1 per year, April  
Important management decisions not taken because unaware of need Lack of essential information 7. Monitor wild population: a. Conduct pre & post-breeding population census with independent accreditation ♦♦♦ BBNP with local NGO, University 2 per year Census conducted with independent observer in May/June and Sept/Oct.
    b. Census annual breeding success ♦♦♦ BBNP/NGO Each year Robust data on number of nests, clutches and young fledged
Habitat may be insufficient in extent Habitat lacking in area or important characteristics 8. Develop fuller understanding of species population and ecology a. Investigate population demography University   Number of research projects initiated and conducted
    b. Investigate population movements and dynamics University    
Habitat may be sub-optimal Natural factors c. Investigate feeding ecology University   Number of peer-reviewed scientific papers on Bali Starling ecology
  Modification through timber extraction; Collection of exotic plant d. Investigate habitat dynamics ♦♦ University    
Water availability may limit population Topography resulting in lack of permanent water 9. Evaluate potential for intervention management       Same as above
    a. Investigate effects of providing drinking water University    
    b. Investigate effects of providing artificial nests University    
Small population size Low recruitment of young birds 10. Release captive birds if required: a. Ensure birds to release are disease free ♦♦♦ BS Assoc./PHPA   Results of testing
    b. Select suitable birds and release sites ♦♦ BS Association   Release proposal report referring to studbook and field surveys.
    c. Ensure effective pre-release training and release techniques ♦♦ BBNP    
    d. Monitor survival ♦♦ BBNP   Results of monitoring
    11. Promote public support for Bali Starling conservation: a. Extension to schoolchildren ♦♦ BBNP/NGO/Educ. & cult. dept. Ongoing Number of school visits
    b. Promote popular support for Bali Starling conservation around BBNP PHPA 1997/8 Reports of public awareness programme
    c. Promote general public awareness through mass media     PHPA/NGO/BBNP Ongoing Number of media articles or broadcasts

Summary of priority activities. Notes: ♦♦♦ = Essential; ♦♦ = Important; ♦ = Desirable

Essential activities

(p.21) Maintain good personnel management of the Bali Barat National Park guard force; Prosecute any poachers apprehended in the Prapat Agung peninsula; Maintain regular patrols on Prapat Agung Peninsula; Strictly guard and protect nest trees; Consider installing alarm system and other deterants at trees; Positively integrate enclave with BBNP; Conduct regular evaluations of this recovery plan; Conduct a pre and post-breeding census of the wild population. Census the breeding success, in terms of number of nests and young birds fledged each year; If any releases of captive Bali Starlings occur, ensure all birds are disease free.

Important activities

Improve the terms and conditions of the guard force; Conduct refresher courses for National Park management and guards; Prosecute people whose ownership of Bali Starlings is illegal; Continue and develop the liaison committee between the Bali Barat National Park and enclave community; Develop a source of captive-bred birds for sale in Indonesia; Effectively implement regulation to promote import and commercial breeding of Bali Starlings; Encourage captive breeders; Introduce regulations to allow import from outside Indonesia; Develop eco-sensitive new enterprises in the enclave; Conduct regular inter-agency action plan meetings in Bali at provincial and Kecamatan (sub-district) level. Investigate the dynamics of Bali Starling habitat; If birds are to be released: ensure suitable individuals are selected and monitor the survival of released birds; Promote Bali Starling conservation to schoolchildren.

Desirable activities

Improve the guards' work environment; Promote popular support for Bali Starling conservation in communities around the National Park; Promote a general awareness of Bali Starling conservation through the mass media; Provide the enclave with basic infrastructure and facilities; Investigate population demography of the wild population. Investigate seasonal movements of the wild population; Investigate the feeding ecology of the wild population; Investigate the effect of providing supplementary drinking water to the wild population; Investigate the effect of artificial nest sites on breeding success.

References (p.23-24)

  • Ash, J. (1984) - Bird observations on Bali. Bull. Brit.Om.CI. 104: 24-35
  • Balen, B. van & Dirgayusa, I W.A, (1994) - Bali Starling Project activity report. November 1993 -June 1994. PHPA, BirdLife International, Bali Barat NP. AZA
  • Balen, S. van (1995) - Metodologi sensus populasiJalak Bali Leucopsar rothschildi di Taman Nasional Bali Barat. Bogor: PHPA/BirdLife – Indonesia Programme (Memorandum Teknis No. 7)
  • Balen, S. van & Gepak, VH. (1994) - The captive breeding and conservation programme of the Bali Starling Leucopsar rothschildi. In: Olney, RJ.S., Mace, G.M. and
  • Feistner, A.TC. Creative Conservation. Interactive management of wild and captive animals. Chapman & Hall, London
  • Cahyadin, Y. (1992) - Studi beberapa aspek ekologi burung Cuhk Bali (Leucopsar rothschildi Stresemann 1912) pada musim berkembang biak di Teluk Kelor, Taman Nasional Bali Barat. Bandung: Padjadjaran University (Student report)
  • Collar, N.J., Crosby, M.J. and Stattersfiixd, A.J. (1994) - Birds to Watch 2. The world list of threatened birds. Cambridge, U.K.: Birdlife International (Conservation Series No.4)
  • Ezra, A. (1931) - Successful breeding of Galeopsar salvadori and Leucopsar rothschildi; Avicultural Magazine 9: 305-307x
  • Hayward, J.R., Ringrosc, A.J., Lee, j.D. & Magill, W.J.D. (1980). Preliminary report of the Oxford expedition to Bali Barat (MS)
  • Helvoort, B.E. van (1986) - White-wash campaign for illegally kept Bali Starlings in Indonesia. Gilimanuk, Bali: Bali Starling Project III (Unpubl. Proposal, also in Indonesian).
  • Helvoort, B.E. van, Soetawidjaya. M.N. & Hartojo, P. (1986) - The Rothschild's Mynah (Leucopsar rothschildi); a case for captive or wild breeding; Cambridge, UK: International Council for Bird Preservation
  • Holmes, D. (1990) - Symbolic bird and animal of Indonesia's provinces. Voice of Nature 85: 28-35
  • Jeggo, D.F. (1981) - Rothschild's Mynah (Leucopsar rothschildi) at jersey Zoological Park. Awe. Mag. 86: 29-32
  • Paardt. Th. van der (1926) - Manoek Poetih: Leucopsar rothschildi. Trap. Natuur, 15:169- 173
  • Pagel, T. (1993) - Balistar- Situation heute. Gefederte Welt 117: 330-332, 372-375
  • Partington, C.J., Gardiner, C.H., Fritz, D., Phillips, L.G. & Montali, R.J. (1989) – Atoxoplasmosis in Bali Mynahs Leucopsar rothschildi. Joum. Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 20: 328-335
  • Plessen, V. von (1926) - Verbreitung und Lebensweise von Leucopsar rothschildi Stres. On. Alonctsber., 34: 71 -73
  • Plessen, V. von (1926) - Ueber eine kleine Vogelsammlung aus Bali. J.f.Orn. 74: 549-556
  • Sandy. I.M. (1987) - Atlas Indonesia. Jakarta: Universitas Indonesia
  • Schmidt, C.R. (1968) - Miscellaneous observations on birds in the Zurich Zoo, with special reference to breeding activity. Avic. Mag. 74: 61-67
  • Seibels, R.E. & Bell, K.J. (1993) - The Bali Mynah, The American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria's species survival plan. Awe. Mag. 99(4): 207-212
  • Sieber, J. (1983). Nestbau, Brut und Jugendaufzucht beim Balistar (Leucopsar rothschildi). Zoologische Garten N.F.Jena 53(3-5): 281-289
  • Shannaz, J., Jepson, R & Rudyanto. (1995) - Burung-faurung Terancam Punah di Indonesia; PHPA/BirdLife International - Indonesia Programme, Bogor
  • Spilsbury, D.T. (1970) - Rothschild's Mynah (Leucopsar rothschildi). Register and report on 1969 census. Avic. Mag. 76: I 15-1 29
  • Stresemann, E. (1912) - Description of a new genus and a new species of bird from the Dutch East Indies. Bull. B.O.C. 3 1: 4-6
  • Stresemann, E. (1913) - Die Vogel von Bali. Aus den zoologischen Ergebnissen II. Freiburger Molukken-Expedition. Novitates Zoologicae 20: 325-387
  • West, C.C. & Pugh, RB. (1986) - Breeding and behaviour of Rothschild's Mynah. Dodo 22: 84-97

A bibliography of references of the Bali Starling is available in: Balen. B. van (199b). Bibliography of the Bali Starling Leucopsar rothschildi. PHPA/BirdLife International-Indonesia Programme. Technical Memorandum No. 6


  • PHPA/BirdLife International & Departemen Kehutanan (1997) - Species Recovery Plan: Bali Starling (August 1997)

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