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Seeing Bali Myna, Leucopsar Rothschildi


Dave Sargeant

5 July 1999

Bali Starling, Leucopsar rothschildi, Photo by Tony Tilford

UPDATE - August 2001 - by Phil Benstead on Oriental Birding:

There are apparently only 6 birds remaining in the wild in the Park. These are fairly easily but rather expensively available to all. We were approached by guides within minutes of checking into our hotel in Gilimanuk. We arranged permits and boats through our
guide at the National Park HQ the next day. The boat hire to the best area (near the release cages) costs Rupiah 150,000-200,000 for the first four hours and then Rupiah 20,000 per hour thereafter. The park also insists on a 'donation' of Rupiah 200,000 (currently USD25) per person. I was happy to pay this as they insist it goes towards conservation of the bird [JWW: Yeah, sure!] but an official receipt was not possible apparently. I hope everything is all above board. [That would be unprecedented!]

We saw three Bali Starlings relatively easily and also recorded Beach Thick-knee and Great-billed Heron. Black-winged Starlings were hard to find and look set to become the next Bali Starling along with Java Sparrow (which we could not find at all). We eventually found Black-winged Starling by staking out some flowering trees that our guide knew about.

Dave Sargeant's report from 1999:

The set-up and visiting arrangements have changed a lot in the three years since my last visit. Previously it was difficult even to get permission to visit. Now, however, it seems you can simply bowl-up to the park headquarters and ask. Only two specific wardens are allowed to accompany guests, but if they are present, they are willing to take visitors - for a price. As with everything in Indonesia, bargaining is required. The asking price is something like Rp500,000 (about $80) per person. However I paid Rp600,000 for two people, and a friend of mine, visiting the previous week, paid Rp700,000 for two people.

Captive-bred birds are now being released into the small truly wild original population. I was told by the guide that there are currently about 15 wild, plus 15 released birds. Released birds are ringed before release. During one afternoon we saw about 9 birds. Of two seen well one was ringed, one not. The guide told us that there has been a successful breeding between a wild and a released bird last year The birds are much more easily found now than previously. A large pre-release cage has constructed at the release site (15 birds were inside it last week), and I think many of the birds stay in the general area after release. I am not sure if there is any help with supplemental feeding the birds after release. Although the birds we saw were in the general area of the release site, none of the birds were actually staying around the release site. They seem to disperse into the main valley behind it.

Tony Tilford, The Bali Starling

39 captive Bali Starlings taken in armed robbery at Bali Barat National Park in November 1999; developers building villas within the National Park. (KSBK)

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