Two highly threatened bird species successfully bred at Jurong Bird Park

23 Jan 2019
Jurong Bird Park heralds some great news for two highly threatened bird species of great conservation importance. For the first time ever, Santa Cruz ground-doves have been successfully bred under human care. Adding to the joy, the park managed to also breed Straw-headed bulbuls; a first in over 10 years.

The first of the Santa Cruz ground-doves chicks; this little one hatched in Jurong Bird Park on 31 December 2018. The Santa Cruz ground-dove is listed as endangered under the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.

PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

 

In August 2018, 60 endangered Santa Cruz ground-doves—probably half of the world’s wild population—were rescued from the clutch of poachers and erupting volcanoes in the Solomon Islands, to form the world’s only assurance colony in Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park. The goal is to ultimately repopulate their homeland when circumstances allow.
In a safe and stable environment, and under the expert care of Jurong Bird Park’s avian keepers, the Santa Cruz ground-doves have started producing chicks. The park has welcomed four Santa Cruz ground-dove chicks over the past few weeks, making Jurong Bird Park the first zoological institution worldwide to breed this species under human care.

A Santa Cruz ground-dove father nurturing his days-old chick. Given the volatile environment of this species’ native homeland—the Solomon Islands—there is not much data recorded on this species. This means that all the information that can be collected from the birds under human care is extremely valuable and may help better understand the species and its needs in the wild.

PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

The park has also seen similar success with the critically endangered Straw-headed bulbul, one of the most heavily-traded songbirds in Southeast Asia. It is believed that this species is extinct in half of their range states within Southeast Asia, and Singapore is likely the only stronghold of this species with just over 200 individuals remaining in the wild, according to the local nature community. Jurong Bird Park has successfully bred four straw-headed bulbul chicks over the past two years—with the last chick arriving in July 2018—who are currently on display at the park’s Wings of Asia exhibit, which houses other threatened avian species, including the Santa Cruz ground-doves.

A Straw-headed bulbul chick having a lazy day in the park’s Breeding and Research Centre. With the first hatching in 2017, Jurong Bird Park became the first in over a decade to breed these songbirds under human care and for the first time as part of a conservation breeding program, which is led by the Bird Park.

PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

A young adult Straw-headed bulbul in the park’s Wings of Asia exhibit. Songbirds like the Straw-headed bulbul face threats such as the illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade, contributing to the ‘silent forest’ syndrome.

PHOTO CREDITS: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE