JAKARTA — The songbird trade in Indonesia has battered the wild population of the Sunda laughingthrush, an important seed disperser in the primary forest ecosystem, a new study shows. Bird market surveys in more than 30 cities across Indonesia between December 1991 and February 2020 point to a population decline in the Sunda laughingthrush (Garrulax palliatus), attributed to its popularity among songbird collectors. The bird was encountered in two-thirds of 365 surveys observed by the group of scientists from Indonesia, Canada and the U.K. The paper, published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research in November, found a significant decrease in the number of laughingthrushes offered on sale over time, from around 50 birds per survey in the 1990s to about 20 birds per survey in the 2000s, and fewer than 10 birds per survey in the 2010s. At the same time, the surveys revealed a significant increase in the market price of the species, with sellers offering it for between $35 and $55 at present. “We wanted to call attention to the detrimental trade in laughingthrushes, and songbirds in general, while exploring the effects this trade has on the lesser-studied Sunda laughingthrush in particular,” study lead author Boyd Leupen, program officer at Vancouver-based nonprofit Monitor Conservation Research Society, told Mongabay in an email. The Sunda laughingthrush. Image courtesy of Mohit Ghatak. The species is popular for its piercingly loud and unique call that hobbyists often use to train other songbirds for competition. Songbird contests in Indonesia have spawned thriving…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer