[ Leucopsar rothschildi ]
||7 to 8 inches
||approx. 7 to 8 inches
||fruits, insects, worms, and invertebrates
||frugivore and softbill diet, mealworms, and crickets
||northwestern Bali, a small section of Bali Barat National Park (possibly only about 10 left in the wild)
savannah and open woodlands
Rare Beauties from Bali
Bali mynahs are found only on the Indonesian island of Bali in the Indian Ocean. Today, approximately 60 wild Bali mynahs live in a small area of Bali Barat National Park, in the northwestern corner of the island.
The birds inhabit open woodland and savannah (grassland with trees), where they are most active in the early morning and at dusk.
Female and male Bali mynahs look alike, having beautiful white feathers, black tipped wings and tails, and a bright powder blue crescent of skin around the eyes. Their heads are topped off by a lacy white crest of feathers. They are about the size of cardinals.
A whole lot of chatter
The main way Bali mynahs communicate with each other is by vocalizing. They whistle and squawk repetitively, often bobbing their head up and down at the same time. Mynahs flock together during the dry season on Bali, and vocalizing is very important at this time.
Vocalizations with head bobbing are particularly important during courtship. A male trying to attract a mate bobs up and down, with his white feather crest raised. If the female is attracted to him, the two stand side by side, bobbing and calling to each other.
Bali mynahs are omnivores, which means they eat plants and other animals. (Unlike carnivores, which eat only meat, and herbivores, which eat only plants). The Bali mynah menu includes fruit, seeds, insects, worms, caterpillars, ants, and other invertebrates. During the dry season when food is scarce, Bali mynahs live in groups. Living in groups helps them find food better and also keeps them safer from predators—the more eyes looking out for enemies, the better the chance an enemy will be seen. Animals that eat Bali mynahs include snakes, monitor lizards, monkeys, and birds of prey.
Building a nest
When Bali mynahs pair off to mate, they build nests in tree cavities. It takes about two weeks for a mated pair to construct a nest from bark, leaves, and grass. The female lays two to five bright blue eggs, and both sexes incubate the eggs for two weeks. When the chicks break through the eggs, they have only a few clumps of down on their heads and back. Ten days later, the rapidly growing chicks sprout feathers. The young birds leave the nest after about three weeks.
Traded and endangered
Bali mynahs are among the rarest birds in the world. Like many island species, Bali mynahs are easily threatened with extinction because they live in small, clumped groups. Bali has been heavily deforested so now there is much less habitat for birds to nest in. But the main threat to Bali mynahs is the illegal pet trade.
Bali mynahs at Brookfield Zoo
As part of the Bali Mynah SSP program (which began in 1981), Brookfield Zoo is currently home to several Bali mynahs. The Perching Bird House is the off-exhibit home to a breeding pair of mynahs. They’re kept out of sight because it increases the chance that they will reproduce successfully.
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