Bird Conservation in Indonesia (on the island of Java)


Indonesia’s nature constitutes one of the most valuable and, at the same time, most fragile places in the world. Its myriad islands have served as the cradle of some totally unique species. However, due to their isolation, they are much more susceptible to any sort of encroachment, which is why a lot of them are being pushed to the brink of extinction by human activities.

The Sumatran Laughingthrush, Photo: Antonin Vaidl The Sumatran Laughingthrush, Photo: Antonin Vaidl

The conservation of Indonesian fauna is the occupation of Cikananga Wildlife Center, a sanctuary on the island of Java – the largest of its kind in Indonesia. It has become world-famous mainly for its efforts to protect orangutans and gibbons. Less well-known, yet extremely important nonetheless, is its involvement in the conservation of local species of small songbirds. Prague Zoo participates in a project run by the center to protect three species of endangered Indonesian songbirds:


  • The Sumatran Laughingthrush (Garrulax bicolor)
  • The Rufous-fronted Laughingthrush (Garrulax rufifrons)
  • The Black-winged Starling (Sturnus melanopterus)

The Sumatran laughingthrush lives only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. In its homeland, it is a popular songbird to keep in a cage, and bird trapping is likely the reason why today it is regularly found in one place only – the Kerinci Seblat National Park.

The Rufous-fronted laughingthrush is endemic to Java, and its population apparently numbers no more than several hundred. Cikananga Wildlife Center has been breeding this species since 2012. 

The Black-winged starling is a critically endangered species that lives exclusively on Java and the smaller neighboring islands of Bali, Lombok and Nusa Penida. However, the populations on Java and Bali are on the edge of extinction. The long-term goal of the conservation breeding program at Cikananga is to release captive-bred individuals into the wild to reinforce wild populations.


Support provided by Prague Zoo

Prague Zoo is one of the biggest and most successful laughingthrush breeders in the world. In 2010, we became the first zoo in Europe to get Sumatran laughingthrushes to breed naturally, and from 2006 to 2008 we were successfully breeding rufous-fronted laughingthrushes. That is why ZGAP (The Zoological Society for the Conservation of Species and Populations), a leading international conservation organization, asked to partner with us.

On the basis of the alarming reports of Sumatran laughingthrush numbers constantly decreasing in the wild, it was decided that a breeding center for this species would be built at Cikananga Wildlife Center. An avicultural institution at Waddesdon Manor, England, paid for existing aviaries to be renovated and new ones to be built, Prague Zoo being delegated to allocate the funds. In October 2010, Prague Zoo sent out an experienced aviculturist to Cikananga for a half-year stay, during which he was to carry out the analysis necessary to allocate the funds effectively, train the local workers in aviculture, set up new breeding pairs, supervise the building and equipment of a new breeding facility, and collect biological data. Although his stay is over, Prague Zoo continues to assist Cikananga with specialist advice.

Today, the birds at the rescue station are breeding successfully, and we can say that the Sumatran laughingthrush population is starting to stabilize at the center. The same success has been achieved with another species for which conservation breeding efforts are underway – the black-winged starling. It remains for us to hope for a similarly propitious turn of events in regard to the rufous-fronted laughingthrush, which was added to the breeding program more recently and which represents a very rare avicultural species (no European facility kept them in 2013).

Actual Weather

PRAHA Česko Khovd Mongolsko Yaoundé Kamerun Agra Indie Stara Zagora Bulharsko Jáva, Indonésie Ochrana ptáků v Indonésii Luang Prabang Laos