Jersey Zoo’s first Javan green magpie chick!

Posted: 20th March, 2018

Jersey Zoo are delighted to announce that they have successfully bred their first Javan green magpie chick. This bird species is Critically Endangered, with a wild population of around 100 individuals. They are also pleased to reveal that the chick is male and the bird keepers along with a public vote have chosen the name Eko which means ‘first’ in Javanese.

Hester Whitehead, a Senior Bird Keeper at the Zoo, was thrilled about the new addition to the Bird Department. “We are extremely pleased to have bred Jersey Zoo’s first Javan green magpie and we hope that he will be the first of many!”

The Javan green magpie is Critically Endangered, primarily due to poaching for the illegal songbird trade. The huge demand for captive songbirds is leading to many species being forced to the brink of extinction, particularly the more vocal and brightly coloured species, such as the Bali starling, Sumatran laughing thrush and of course, the Javan green magpie. This demand is giving rise to the Asian songbird crisis – the very real threat of the complete loss of some of the region’s prettiest and most unusual birds. Other threats to this species include habitat loss and degradation, driven by agricultural expansion, logging and mining.

This chick, which hatched in August 2017, is fantastic news for the species, as he is now part of a captive population that will help to repopulate the Javan green magpie’s native habitat in the future. Chester Zoo holds the majority of the captive European population of 22 birds, and they are responsible for bringing them into Europe.

Hester also commented, “We’re proud to be part of the team of aviculturalists breeding Javan green magpies. It's crucial that we establish a captive population of this beautiful, Critically Endangered bird, before it disappears from its native forests.”

Durrell is also proud to be part of EAZA’s Silent Forest campaign, which aims to address and mitigate the ongoing songbird extinction crisis in Asia, and increase awareness within and beyond the zoo community. Durrell’s Bird Department is taking a leading role in designing all facilities and husbandry protocols for one of the Silent Forest projects, the Sumatran Songbird Sanctuary, located in North Sumatra Province. They will also lead on the training of veterinary personnel and keeping staff at the sanctuary. Find out more about the project here.

Fun fact: The Javan green magpie’s bright green plumage is attained through its diet. If they’re not fed the correct food, they can turn blue!

Go behind the scenes with Jersey Zoo’s Javan green magpies: watch video

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