TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Topeka Zoo recently welcomed one of the rarest bird species in the world to its Tropical Rainforest habitat.
A critically endangered species of bird called the Bali Myna (Leucopsar rothschildi) hatched at the Topeka Zoo on July 2 for the first time in five years. The Bali Myna faces extinction in the wild. The zoo said the recent hatching signifies another step towards boosting the population and sustainability of the species.
It was estimated in 2001 that there were only about six Bali Mynas left in their native habitat in Bali, Indonesia due to habitat loss and illegal trapping for the caged songbird trade in the region, according to the Topeka Zoo.
“Bali Mynas are one of the most endangered species we care for here at the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center,” said Joe Maloney, an employee of the zoo who works closely with the birds. “We are proud to provide an environment in which breeding pairs can thrive and look forward to seeing our newly hatched Bali chick grow up and contribute to the survival of the species.”
Bali Mynas are cavity nesters, so the zoo said the chick is currently located in a special box built by keepers meant to simulate a cavity nest while allowing enough space for animal care staff to keep a close eye on them.
The rare bird species typically lays 1-3 eggs per clutch – usually, only one of the birds survives and will begin flying at 3-4 weeks old until it achieves full independence around 6-7 weeks old, according to the zoo.
“Mynas are inquisitive, active birds who appear to always know what is going on around the rainforest,” said Wrylie Guffey, animal curator for the zoo. “We are especially excited since this is our first chick in 5 years. The mom and dad are excellent parents and you can regularly catch glimpses of them carrying food to their nesting area.”
The zoo said their distinct plumage and calls make them one of the most recognizable residents of the zoo’s Tropical Rainforest habitat.
“Bali Myna are one of the most beautiful and vocal birds in our rainforest dome,” said Maloney. “They are a bright white bird with gorgeous blue around their eyes. Both males and females have crests on their heads that will raise up when they are engaged in their courtship displays.”
Those interested in viewing the Bali Myna can visit the endangered bird in the Tropical Rainforest habitat at the Topeka Zoo, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.