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Indonesia Tops the Countries with Number of Endemic Birds in the World

      • Indonesia is the fourth country in the world with the highest number of bird species.

      • In 2023, there were 11 new additions to the list of bird species in Indonesia. However, three of them were downlisted.

      • The International Union for Conservation of Nature has downgraded the threatened status of 24 species.

      • The threat status of a number of birds in Indonesia has not been assessed due to lack of information.

    Beluk jampuk (Bubo sumatranus), salah satu spesies burung yang mengalami peningkatan status keterancaman. (Foto: Burung Indonesia/Jihad)Barred Eagle-owl (Bubo sumatranus), one of the bird species whose threat status has increased.

    As one of the most mega-diverse countries, Indonesia ranks fourth in the world in terms of bird species after Brazil, Peru and Colombia. This year, Indonesia had a total of 1826 bird species, an increase of 11 species from the previous year. However, three species were removed from the list.

    In terms of endemicity, Indonesia retains its position as the country with the highest number of endemic bird species, with a total of 541 species. Seven of the eleven new endemic species recorded in Indonesia are the result of taxonomic splitting. Revision of bird taxonomy is still the main factor for species additions in Indonesia, followed by new species descriptions.

    The description of the new species also contributed to the addition of a bird species: Zosterops paruhbesar, a species endemic to the island of Wangi-wangi. Known locally as the kacamata wangi-wangi, the scientists who described it say it is morphologically and genetically distinct from other members of the genus Zosterops, which is the main basis for identifying it as a new species.

    Of the eleven species added, seven have a limited distribution within Indonesian territory, namely the Buru Grasshopper-warbler (Locustella disturbans, endemic to Buru Island), Seram Grasshopper-warbler (Locustella musculus, endemic to Seram Island), Sulawesi Leaf-warbler (Phylloscopus nesophilus, endemic to Sulawesi Island), Wangi-wangi White-eye (Zosterops paruhbesar, endemic to Wangi-wangi island), Wakatobi White-eye (Zosterops flavissimus, endemic to Wakatobi Islands), Wakatobi Sunbird (Cinnyris infrenatus, endemic to Wakatobi Islands), and Flores Flowerpecker (Dicaeum rhodopygiale, endemic to Flores Island).

    International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) threat status classification

    In addition to the new species described this year, there are at least 10 bird species in Indonesia whose threat status has not yet been assessed due to a lack of information and their relatively recent description. More research, monitoring and tracking is therefore needed to address this issue.