We’re working tirelessly at the zoo and with our partners in the field to do all we can to try and save the species before it disappears forever. We started the first ever European conservation breeding programme for the Javan green magpie in December last year.
Experts are warning that the songbird may be close to extinction in the wild as no sightings of the bird have been recorded recently which may be a sign that there are very few left.
The situation is a desperate one but we’re certainly not giving up. We’re committed to supporting our project partners, Cikananga Conservation Breeding Centre (CCBC), in Java on a vital conservation breeding programme. Last year six pairs of the birds were flown from Indonesia to the zoo to build an insurance population for the species in Europe, making these four chicks extremely precious.
“I have had the privilege of working with many rare and beautiful birds, but none are more precious than the Javan green magpie – one of the world’s most endangered species. We’ve been working with CCBC for more than six years. In that time we’ve seen Javan green magpies disappear almost completely from the wild as they are captured for the illegal bird trade. Huge areas of forests that were once filled with beautiful songbirds, are falling silent.”
Andrew Owens, Curator of Birds at Chester Zoo
“Knowing that our first pair had nested was a momentous occasion for us – seeing the first chick was even more special. All four chicks have now fledged and are currently sporting blue feathers, which will eventually turn apple green as they mature.
“So far we have successfully bred from two adult pairs and these four chicks are a vital addition to the worldwide population. Every individual we breed here could help save the species as the clock is ticking and time is running out.”
Losing beautiful songbirds to the illegal wildlife trade
The long term aim is to return the birds bred at the zoo and in Java back into the forests of Indonesia. Sadly, it’s not just the Javan green magpie that is disappearing from forest across South East Asia – we’re also working with CCBC to save other threatened bird species, including the Sumatran laughing thrush, Rufous-fronted laughing thrush and black-winged starling.