Caged to compete: Indonesia's bird singing competition

Owners clap from the sidelines as a bird singing contest takes place in Indonesia, an event that conservationists say negatively impacts Indonesia's wild bird population.

Last Sunday (February 17) many species of songbirds were entered in the singing competition held at Bintaro Graha Raya, Indonesia.

Singing competitions such as this one threaten a decrease in the population of wild birds, to the point of near extinction, as they are being caught and sold to participate in such competitions, environmentalists say.

Although all the competing birds are supposed to be captive-bred, breeder certificates are not required for birds to be entered into the competition, according to the filmer.

Breeding licenses are also easily exploited by wildlife launderers who pass of wild-caught animals as captive-bred, according to a local news outlet.

The high cash prizes mean the competitions are taken very seriously and the pressure is on for those that participate to enter the best bird they can find into the competition.

Cash prizes can be anywhere between $1,200 and $20,000 with the winning bird increasing dramatically in value.

The winning bird is worked out by being assessed on its ability to mimic the singing of other birds- and the more voices they can mimic the greater the chances of the owner winning.

With such large prizes on offer, the populations of Indonesia's 50 native songbirds looks set to fall even further.