Indonesia has the highest number of endemic bird species of any nation on earth, many of which are highly threatened. As much as Indonesia is known for its share of rare and endemic birds, the country is also home to some of the world’s critically endangered birds. Deforestation, hunting, and inadequate protection measures have been major contributors to the threatened sustainability of the country’s avian fauna.
Blue-Fronted Lorikeet (Charmosyna toxopei)
The Blue-Fronted Lorikeet (Charmosyna toxopei) is an endemic parrot species confined to the Buru Island of Indonesia. The population of this species is small, owing to the continued degradation of its habitat. The rare sightings of the bird have been made in mid-altitude forests. The bird depends on nectar and pollen of flowering trees as its diet. The parrot lives in pairs and may form groups of up to 10 members. Severe logging on the island has rendered the bird as critically endangered. Due to the continued decrease in numbers, the Gunung Kapalat Mada and the Waeapo protected areas were established to facilitate its sustainability.
Sumatran Ground Cuckoo (Carpococcyx Viridis)
The Sumatran Ground Cuckoo (Carpococcyx Viridis) only inhabits the Sumatran Island of Indonesia. The bird is large at around 55 centimeters in length, and it is a terrestrial forest-dwelling cuckoo species. The bird is characterized by greenish black tail and wings, green legs, black crown, the dull color green on the mantle, on the side of the necks, on the upper back, on the upper breast and the lower back and blue and green on the bare skin surrounding the eye. The majority of sightings of this bird have occurred in the Barisan Mountains, and it remains a rare species to be seen. The bird’s population has been decreasing, and a situation is attributed to hunting and deforestation. The numerous protected areas on the Barisan Mountains are home to a few specimens of the bird such as the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park.
Siau Scops-Owl (Otus manadensis siaoensis)
The Siau Scops-Owl (Otus manadensis siaoensis) is an owl endemic to the Siau Island of Indonesia. The Siau Scops-Owl is a small forest dwelling owl, characterized by a large head and feet. The owl also has finely barred wings and tail and typically grows to 17 centimeters. Not much information is known about this bird due to its rarity. Sometimes regarded as extinct, its existence is mostly based on the local people’s affirmations. Given that Siau Island is not a large island and it has little vegetation, the population of the Siau Scops-Owl has always been modest. Continued deforestation on Siau Island has been identified as the major threat to the bird’s sustainability.
Black-Chinned Monarch (Symposiachrus boanensis)
The Black-Chinned Monarch (Symposiachrus boanensis) is an endangered bird found on the Indonesian Island of Boano. The bird’s habitat range is both tropical/subtropical moist shrubland and lowland forests on the island. The bird is characteristically black with white underparts and a distinctive black chin. The bird is presumably sedentary and prefers the higher elevations of the island. Due to its already small population, the bird is particularly vulnerable to continuing deforestation on Boano Island.
Protecting Indonesia's Birds
Other critically endangered birds of Indonesia include the Javanese Lapwing (Vanellus macropterus), the Sangihe Shrikethrush (Coracornis sanghirenis), the Caerulean Paradise-Flycatcher (Eutrichomyias rowleyi), Rueck’s Blue-Flycatcher (Cyornis ruckii), the Banggai Crow (Corvus unicolor), the Sangihe White-Eye (Zosterops nehrkorni), and the Bali Starling (Leucopsar rothschildi). The government of Indonesia continues to face the herculean task of protecting the country’s rich avian fauna biodiversity from habitat degradation, poaching, the pet trade, and the effects of climate change.