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Javan White-eye Zosterops flavus



Justification

Justification of Red List Category
The species is no longer common at any site and has rapidly declined or disappeared from multiple areas across its highly restricted and fragmented range within the past 15 years, due to trapping for the cage-bird trade and the destruction of coastal forest habitat. For these reasons, Javan White-eye is classified as Endangered.

Population justification
The population size of this species has not been quantified, but given its localised distribution and apparent rapid declines in recent years it may be considerably smaller than previously assumed. During the ‘Big Month’ citizen science event (conducted in  January 2020 comprising 22,054 checklists) across Java and Bali for example, it was recorded in just 2 (0.04%) of the 7,935 tetrads (2 × 2 km squares) visited (T. Squires and S. Marsden in litt. 2020).

Trend justification
Populations have declined in numbers greatly at several sites throughout Java (Eaton et al. 2016) and the species has been completely lost from the majority of locations where it had previously been numerous (B. S. van Balen in litt. 2019). Formerly, the species was described as abundant (in a range of habitats), but during the ‘Big Month’ citizen science event (conducted in  January 2020 comprising 22,054 checklists) across Java and Bali for example, it was recorded in just 2 (0.04%) of the 7,935 tetrads (2 × 2 km squares) visited (T. Squires and S. Marsden in litt. 2020). The rate of decline has clearly accelerated with the domestic focus on trapping, but has likely been rapid or very rapid for the past decade. Additionally, the destruction and degradation of mangroves and other coastal forest habitat is estimated to have removed 15.2% of the species's habitat in the past 10 years (Symes et al. 2018).

Distribution and population

Zosterops flavus is restricted to Java and southern Kalimantan, Indonesia. The population on Java is restricted in range and highly localised, and in Kalimantan there are few records, indicating a similar distribution here. 

Ecology

This species occurs in mangroves, coastal scrub, relict coastal forest, scattered trees and forest edges. It can also persist in low waterside trees near small towns, neat wet coconut groves, in gardens, and plantations (van Balen and Sharpe 2020). 

Threats

This species is primarily threatened by excessive capture for the domestic cage bird trade, which appears to be driving rapid declines in the population (Eaton et al. 2015; B. S. van Balen in litt. 2016, 2019). White-eyes are trapped and sold in vast quantities on Java and are a hugely popular as cheap cage birds (B. S. van Balen in litt. 2016). While the majority of birds trapped and sold in Java are Sangkar White-eye Z. melanurus (Lim et al. 2019), the habitat and range restricted Javan White-eye has been targeted apparently because there is a demand for novelty, and all species seem to have sufficient value to be caught. 42 Javan White-eyes were observed over a three day inventory of the main markets on Java in 2014 (Chng et al. 2015), with 26 individuals recorded in five markets in June 2015 (Chng and Eaton 2016). A single bird was observed in a bird shop in Singapore in 2015 (Eaton et al. 2015), indicating that there is some international trade in the species taking place. The predicted removal of the population due to trapping based on proximity to forest edge and an assessment of the species's desirability was 44% (Symes et al. 2018). The species is further threatened by the destruction and degradation of mangroves and other coastal forest habitat, which is estimated to have removed 15.2% of the species's habitat in the past 10 years (Symes et al. 2018). 

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Wild birds are protected under Indonesia law from being traded, kept, distributed or killed, but this poorly enforced.
Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct ecological studies to determine the response of this species to habitat degradation and fragmentation. Monitor population and habitat trends throughout the range. Protect significant areas of suitable forest at sites where the species is known to be common. Targeted field surveys for the species across its range in Borneo and Java are required to determine its population status. Improved enforcement of legislation.

Acknowledgements

Text account compilers
Martin, R., Fernando, E., Berryman, A.

Contributors
Benstead, P., Chng, S., Eaton, J., Gilroy, J., Khwaja, N., Mahood, S., Marsden, S., Squires, T. & van Balen, B.S.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Zosterops flavus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/09/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/09/2022.