Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pycnonotus Zeylanicus [Straw-Headed Bulbul]

Pycnonotus Zeylanicus, famously called as Straw-Headed Bulbul and ‘Cucak Rawa’ as Indonesian named it, from Family Pycnonotidae has a large size as 28 cm, with a loud and bubbling sound becoming a favorite and preferred bird for the birds lover in Indonesia since early ‘70’s. There is a reason of name Cucak Rawa in Indonesia, why they called it like that is because of its habitat. They prefer forest edges near waterways such as streams, large river and tidal mangroves, those places called 'Rawa or Rawa-Rawa' in Bahasa Indonesia [as also stated by Morten Strange in his book ‘Birds of Indonesia’]. This bird also could live in the aviary or cage for more than ten years with a good caring and feeding.

The conservation status is Vulnerable. Listed on Appendix II of CITES. Highly prized caged birds; poaching and trapping has led to dramatic population declines and local extinction, habitat loss also a problem. Habitat preservation offers some protection, but capture and trade still permitted in some areas.
Before ‘70’s, it was previously common and then the numbers are extremely reduced mainly due to the bird trade. The population in Indonesia, occurs in parts of Java, all Sumatra and Kalimantan. In the late of ‘70’s, seem already extinct in Java as the population of this bird’s collector are mainly located in Java. Today, even in Sumatra this bird is becoming rare now as the exploitation of this bird in ’80’s to 90’s was blown.

At late of ‘90’s to ’00 some birds lover is getting harder in giving effort to breed this bird. As the time goes by, the effort is resulting good news. In many places, news has arose that the breeders are breeding these birds successfully. It is now very difficult to find this bird in the market, which came from the wild/caught from the forest. Usually it came from the breeder, as we could see they wore ring in their legs.

I remember the first time I have got this bird by buying in the Kupang birds market in Surabaya in 1984. It cost me Fifteen Thousand rupiahs, where I should have to save my daily pocket money for about couple months at that time. The bird seller put the birds in a big bamboo cage, where tens of it is placed in there. We just have to mark the bird by spraying with water for then the seller could recognize to be caught. Absolutely we could not get the best bird as we expected through this way.

Today, 25 years later, the bird’s price has been goes up to around Two Millions each, in around 2007. The price has been peaked up to more than 100 times! It was the price for the ‘new comer birds’. If you want to have a good one, the one that always singing all days, you have to prepare some more additional money. The highest rate were held by the bird which could sing just like a couple or more than three birds [Indonesian used to called in ‘Ropel’ sound]. It was an amazing sound, which you will never forget if you ever heard it, very beautiful and wonderful. The sound that only could produced by this bird. If you want to collect this type, at least you shall prepare to be cost for more than Ten or Twenty Millions rupiahs minimum, it’s a to date rate.

I bought this kind Straw-Headed Bulbul in the early’90’s is still around a Hundred Thousands in Rupiah. That time, I have had collected 5 birds and today, I also start to breed this bird by collecting about 5 birds also. Even I am not really sure how I can continue this breeding experiment due to my work business and job assignment, which often takes time. Absolutely, this will push aside my duty to take care these birds of mine.

I have several references regarding the breeding of Straw-Headed Bulbul. The oldest one is a book written by a vet., Drh. Nugroho, ‘Budidaya Burung Cucak Rawa’, which set his book and released in December 1986 and I bought his book in 8-9 years after that release time and until today, they still produce the copies and available in the book store. He is also an ex. Chief of Ornithology Society in Indonesia.

The other old book is ‘Cucak Rawa’, written by Sudrajat, ex. Lecture and a staff in Government Bureau. The book was released in 1993. The other books were released after that. It is a little bit difficult to find a book about bird in Indonesia at that time, compared what is been available in the book stores today.

Both of the books on above seems have inspired a lot of people who really want to know about the breeding of this bird, to start the breeding as soon as the have finished read the book. Really powerful book, inspiring and give spirit. I like those books, even the writing style is very orthodox, the picture is poor and the book it self is short. But it was good in the content, anyway. I admire that. You better read it too, for your knowledge at least.

Why this bird kind is getting higher and higher in its price? Surely we all knew the answers. The extinction was the main answer. The great news is, the bird exhibitions and championship in Indonesia for the time being is excluding this bird kind. This matter also decreases the interest of the birds lover to collect it. Due to the economically reason, breeders are now growing in number to breed this bird. Hopefully, the rare and extinct marked to this bird will surely banish as the number of this bird population is increased day by day. Why don’t you try to breed this bird also? Join in battle field to fight against this bird’s extinction….

Next essay, I will tell you more about this bird based on my experiences in more than 25 years caring and collecting this kind of bird. That’s a very interesting thing. Just stay clicking this site bro …

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