Neo Chai Chin
Published: 9:50 PM, February 23, 2017
SINGAPORE — While their counterparts in the region have been hunted relentlessly for the caged-bird trade, at least 202 Straw-headed bulbuls have found a safe home in Singapore and have grown in numbers on Pulau Ubin.
The population of the endangered songbird species on the island grew at nearly 4 per cent per year over the past 15 years to at least 110, while numbers on the mainland have held steady.
These findings by six Singaporean birdwatchers were published recently in the journal Bird Conservation International.
The bird’s conservation status was raised last December from “vulnerable” to “endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, which classifies species at high risk of global extinction.
With the global population of the bird estimated at 600 to 1,700 individuals, the group in Singapore may easily comprise up to one-third of the world’s remaining wild Straw-headed bulbuls.