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Sought-after species face rapid declines

Straw-headed Bulbul, © TEE LIAN HUAT

 In the Asian region, overexploitation is considered a particularly significant threat for many threatened bird species, causing rapid declines in both numbers and range. Examples include: Philippine Cockatoo which was once widespread, and known from 52 islands, but with recent records from just eight; and Straw-headed Bulbul which was once widespread in lowland areas of South-East Asia, but with recent records almost all from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Brunei.


Map of western Indonesia and the Philippines showing historic and current ranges of Philippine Cockatoo and Straw-headed Bulbul

BirdLife International (2001)

In the Asian region, overexploitation is considered a particularly significant threat for many threatened bird species, causing rapid declines in both numbers and range (BirdLife International 2003). Examples include:

  • the rapid decline of Swan Goose Anser cygnoides (Vulnerable) in the lower Yangtze basin in China, owing to large-scale commercial hunting
  • the rapid decline of Maleo Macrocephalon maleo (Endangered) at many of its nesting colonies on Sulawesi (Indonesia), owing to uncontrolled egg harvesting
  • the huge range reduction of Philippine Cockatoo Cacatua haematuropygia (Critically Endangered) and Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus (Vulnerable), owing to intensive trapping for the cage-bird trade and compounded by habitat loss (BirdLife International 2001; see figure).

In the case of the cockatoo, trapping is changing the age structure of the remaining population, with fewer and fewer young birds (on the island of Palawan, the stronghold, chicks are taken from every accessible nest). Individual island populations are expected to go extinct as a result. For the bulbul, much sought after for its celebrated song, extinction is imminent in Sumatra. Continual imports of illegally captured Malaysian birds feed the high demand in Indonesia, depleting populations in its remaining stronghold (BirdLife International 2001, 2008).



Related Case Studies in other sections

Related Species

References

BirdLife International (2001) Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International.
 
BirdLife International (2003) Saving Asia’s threatened birds: a guide for government and civil society. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International.
 
BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008. CD-ROM. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International

Compiled 2004, updated 2008

Recommended Citation:
BirdLife International (2008) Sought-after species face rapid declines. Presented as part of the BirdLife State of the world's birds website. Available from: http://birdlife.org/datazone/sowb/casestudy/181. Checked: 23/04/2014