Archived 2016 topics: Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus): uplist from Least Concern to Vulnerable?

Currently listed as Least Concern on the basis that the species does not approach any of the thresholds for listing as Vulnerable. However, populations of the species within its natural range (Java and Bali [Craig and Feare 2016b]) have declined rapidly as a result of trapping for the bird trade, and possible through the effect of pesticide use (Eaton et al. 2015). It is reported that the species is now only seen infrequently, and often these reports are likely to be escapes (Chng et al. 2015, J. Eaton in litt. 2016). Very large numbers are being supplied from Sumatra to Java but the population within the species native range has declined considerably and the species is now only seen infrequently. The decline is almost entirely attributed to capture for the wild bird market, and 2054 individuals were counted in a three day inventory of birds openly for sale at the main markets on Java (Chng et al. 2015). It is possible that birds from the introduced (and flourishing) population on Peninsular Malaysia are actually now being used to supply birds for the trade back to Java.

With the IUCN classification taking into account native populations only, the population decline on Java has been very rapid, and is considered likely to have been in excess of 30% within the previous three generations (11.7 years). On this basis it is proposed that the species be listed as Vulnerable under criterion A2bd+3d+4bd.

Current and future rates of decline are uncertain. Should there be evidence that the population over a three generation period has declined at a rate exceeding 50% then the species would meet the thresholds for listing as Endangered under one or more of the A criteria.

The current population size is unclear given that many recent records may relate to escapes. It appears likely that the wild population now numbers fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, which in conjunction with the ongoing decline in the population would certainly qualify the species as Vulnerable under criterion C1.

Could there actually now be fewer than 2,500 mature individuals present in the wild in Java and Bali, with an estimated decline of at least 20% within two generations (7.8 years)? If there was evidence to demonstrate that this is the case, the species would qualify as Endangered under criterion C1.



Chng, S. C. L., Eaton, J. A., Krishnasamy, K., Shepherd, C. R. & Nijman, V. 2015. In the market for extinction: an inventory of Jakarta’s bird markets. Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia: TRAFFIC.

Craig, A. & Feare, C. (2016b). White-vented Myna (Acridotheres javanicus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 August 2016).

Eaton, J.A., Shepherd, C.R., Rheindt, F.E., Harris, J.B.C., van Balen, S. (B.), Wilcove, D.S. and Collar, N.J.C. 2015. Trade-driven extinctions and near-extinctions of avian taxa in Sundaic Indonesia. Forktail 31: 1-12.

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5 Responses to Archived 2016 topics: Javan Myna (Acridotheres javanicus): uplist from Least Concern to Vulnerable?

  1. Bruno Durand says:

    As a regular birdwatcher in Bali, I’m not surprised. Denpasar bird market had large quantities of javan myna for sale in the past years too (now declining), and it’s quite unusual to see this species in nature.
    I presume that one of the next to join the Vulnerable list will be the long-tailed shrike (lanius schach), for the same reasons…

  2. James Eaton says:

    On birding tours to west Java, visiting four well-birded sites, along with travelling vast distances through villages and countrysides, we now rarely seen more than 5 individuals of the species (at the same site), and now appears largely extirpated from West Java.
    On Bali the bird still persists in some numbers (roosting sites can contain as many as 50 birds at a Black-winged Myna site in South Bali). Unfortunately I have no further data to back up the uplisting to Endangered, despite that being my gut feeling.

  3. Adam Miller says:

    Planet Indonesia is a grassroots NGO based in West Kalimantan (Borneo) Indonesia. Among a number of programs, we are currently the only local NGO in the region with a large program focused on the wild bird trade. Beginning in 2015 we began the first investigations into the wild bird trade in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Our initial goal was to challenge the idea that the bird trade in Indonesia was a Java/Sumatran-centric enterprise, and investigate if the bird trade was rampant in rural areas among other ethnic groups as well.
    We investigated the 7 major cities in West Kalimantan and traveled major roads connecting urban and rural areas to map out shops and collect data. From 3 (ranging from 5-6 weeks per survey minimum time between surveys 6 weeks) surveys covering the entirety of West Borneo, we found a total of 13,498 individual from 123 species in over 90 different shops.
    Our data raises extreme cause for concern as we had not expected to find such a large number of species sold in rural and underdeveloped areas in of Indonesia.

    Across our surveys we found a total of 176 individuals for sale with an average price of USD $21.00.

    We cannot comment on the wild populations in Java, however, based on demand and the number of species for sale we also support the up listing of this species as it is heavily targeted by trappers throughout its home range and a high demand and interest for this species remains across Indonesia (e.g. this species is commonly sold in Kalimantan bird markets). Without regulation we expect this species to continue to decline throughout its native range.

  4. Serene Chng says:

    TRAFFIC would like to share information on trade observations of this species, in a bid to quantify and better understand the threat from overexploitation.

    This species is regularly observed for sale in markets in Indonesia. 840 individuals were recorded from 43 stalls in an inventory of five markets in Surabaya, Malang and Yogyakarta in June 2015 (Chng and Eaton, 2016). 56 were recorded for sale in Bandung in September 2016, where one individual was priced at IDR 200,000 (USD15).

    Records of two seizures involving the species were found, indicating that unreported and illegal trade of this species is ongoing. The first is a shipment from Balikpapan to Tanjung Perak in 2015, containing 320 Javan Mynas (of which 5 were found dead; The second is a seizure of a shipment of 28 Javan Mynas and other species being smuggled from Sumatra to Jakarta ( These seizures form an unknown proportion of illegal trade of this species.

    In line with the above comments, we support the uplisting of this species based on continued exploitation from wild populations for trade.

    Chng, S.C.L. & Eaton, J.A. 2016. In the Market for Extinction: eastern and central Java. TRAFFIC. Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.

  5. Rob Martin (BirdLife International) says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2016 Red List would be to adopt the proposed classifications outlined in the initial forum discussion.
    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 28 October, after which the recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    Please note that we will then only post final recommended categorisations on forum discussions where these differ from those in the initial proposal.

    The final 2016 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in early December, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

Comments are closed.