John Ball Zoo debuts pair of Bali Mynahs

Officials at John Ball Zoo have announced the addition of two critically endangered Bali

Mynahs. The male and female arrived at John Ball Zoo from the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois.

The Bali Mynah is one of the most critically endangered species of birds in the world, and is the most critically endangered animal at John Ball Zoo. This striking member of the starling family is pure white, except for the black tips on its wings and tail, and a featherless, sky blue eye patch. Males and females look alike, each with an elegant feather crest on the head.

Along with its appearance, the Bali Mynah is known for its ability to mimic sounds of other animals, including humans. These characteristics have resulted in a demand for and illegal trade of Bali Mynahs and correspondingly a conservation crisis. The world’s remaining Bali Mynah population is only around 50 birds or fewer. More than 1,000 are known to live in zoos and other breeding programs.

Bali mynahs form monogamous pairs, and are thought to form a long-term pair-bond, strengthened by individuals performing mutual displays and preening each other. Courtship behaviors are complex and include exaggerated postures, body-bobbing and a series of vocalizations.

The pair at John Ball Zoo are part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP). They are pair bonded and have reproduced in the past. Zoo officials are hopeful that baby Bali Mynahs are in the future.

Species Survival Plans are managed programs facilitated by accredited Zoo’s through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that help to conserve species and maintain stable population in human care.

John Ball Zoo guests can view the Bali Mynahs in the Asian aviary near the Children’s

Zoo. John Ball Zoo is located on Fulton Ave., one mile west of downtown Grand Rapids.

For more information www.jbzoo.org or (616) 336-4301.