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The Always-Blushing Crest and the Swift

Kakatua sumba memiliki karakteristik yang berbeda secara mencolok dibandingkan subspesies kakatua-kecil jambul-kuning lainnya.
Kakatua sumba

Being a country with abundant biodiversity, Indonesia is inhabited by 1818 species. The geographical features of Indonesia’s group of islands, from vast oceans to lush tropical rainforests, make it a haven for various exceptional and mesmerizing birds. To the Archipelago, the birds’ beautiful feathers, distinctive behaviors and melodious voices are invaluable treasures.

On an island in the southern part of Indonesia lives a lovely bird which always seems to blush in shyness due to its orangish patch on the cheeks. The up-curved orange crest emphasizes its elegant figure. The bird is known as the Citron-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua citrinocristata).

This species is a cousin to the Yellow-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua sulphurea) which is distributed in the Lesser Sunda Islands, Sulawesi, Bali and Timor. The Citron-crested Cockatoo’s distribution itself is limited to Sumba Island, southern part of Nusa Tenggara Timur Province.

Primary and secondary forests are habitats for the Citron-crested Cockatoo, in particular the trees. Enormous trees with medium water content on its trunk, such as nggoka (Chisocheton sp.) and marra (Tetrameles nudiflora), are the most favored places due to their suitability for the females to nest and lay eggs. The incubation period of this species spans to 30 days.

The Citron-crested Cockatoo is used to be a subspecies to the Yellow-crested Cockatoo, but then was separated mainly due to striking morphological characteristic differences between the two: larger bill, longer wings and tail, dominantly pale-orange ear-coverts and long orange crest.

Further evidence showed that the juvenile of Citron-crested Cockatoo has darker color bill compared to other juvenile of subspecies of Yellow-crested Cockatoo, emphasizing the need for species reclassification.

In the 70s, the population was so abundant that it was considered a pest of maize by the locals. But today, the numbers have dropped dramatically following hunting and pet trade, which prompted the International Union for Conservation of Nature to declare this bird as Critically Endangered (CR).

The Little One from the Coast

The vast expanse of Indonesia’s coast is also a habitat for a charming little creature: the Javan Plover (Charadrius javanicus). This tiny bird has a short beak, tiny—15 cm in length—figure, a pair of alert eyes to watch surroundings and agile legs to run around the sand.

Its dependence on the coastal area to forage and breed makes this species categorized as wader. Aside from the shores, the Javan Plover can also be found on aquaculture ponds.

Although it’s endemic to Java, the distribution is not limited to the Java and Kangean islands. This bird is confirmed to inhabit the southern coast of Sumatra (Lampung Province), Sulawesi, Meno, Semau and Flores islands. To this reason, its Vulnerable status has been upgraded to Least Concern.

This reddish-brown-headed bird is an important indicator in its coastal habitat. This little bird loves small shellfish, worms, fish and shrimp. Therefore, human awareness of the importance of the existence of birds in nature must increase, so that nature remains sustainable and becomes a home for all creatures. Despite its distribution having been confirmed to exceed the Java Island area, it doesn’t lessen our concern for that little bird. Our concern will keep the Javan Plover running on beach sand.

Cerek jawa (Charadrius javanicus)
Cerek jawa