The trade in wild birds

19,000: Birds for Sale in Jakarta’s Biggest Markets

By RACHEL NUWER

birds

 A salesmen and his birds in one of Jakarta’s markets. Researchers warned that the trade in wild birds was driving some species to extinction. Credit WEDA/European Pressphoto Agency

There’s a saying in Java: “A man is considered to be a real man if he has a house, a wife, a horse, a dagger and a bird.”

Birds are the most popular pet in Indonesia, sought as living objets d’art, good luck charms or, in the case of rare species, status symbols. Some are prize possessions whose owners enter them in singing competitions, while others are referred to as “pet flowers” — something cheap and nice-looking that will soon die. Read more.