*This post may contain affiliate links, as a result, we may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) on any bookings/purchases you make through the links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read our full disclosure.


For decades Indonesians, particularly those in the Java region, have kept birds as pets in their homes as a symbol of high class and tradition. It is said that over 20% of all Indonesian households, particularly those in large cities, keep both domestic/commercially bred as well as wild-caught birds.

Planning a Trip in the time of COVID?

Keep in mind that information found in this article may have been impacted by travel restrictions and other closures. Double check opening hours, tour providers and hotel status before you go. And don't leave your home without travel insurance!
If you are looking for an insurance provider that covers COVID-19, we recommend SafetyWing. Get Medical and Travel Insurance starting at just $40/month and you can sign up even if your trip has already started!

Given these figures, it is no wonder that bird markets are extremely popular with the locals. A bird market is essentially an outdoor pet store, found in most cities across Java. We stumbled upon one in Malang, East Java and were fascinated by the experience.

Max at the Malang Bird Market, East Java, Indonesia
Max roaming around the Malang Bird Market, East Java, Indonesia

The market in Malang consisted of stalls upon stalls of bird cages, but there was a lot of other animals sold in this market. There were lizards, bunnies, cats, dogs, snakes, and more often sold at exorbitant prices. 

Bunnies at the Malang Bird Market, East Java, Indonesia
Bunnies at the Malang Bird Market, East Java, Indonesia
Kittens for sale at the Malang Bird Market, East Java, Indonesia
Kittens for sale at the Malang Bird Market, East Java, Indonesia
Birds in cages at the Malang Bird Market, East Java, Indonesia
Birds in cages at the Malang Bird Market, East Java, Indonesia

Despite being extremely cultural experiences, these markets are also highly controversial. As you could imagine, the animals here aren’t kept in great conditions, and many of the animals (particularly birds) that are sold at the markets are actually wild-caught, often endangered species.

Owl for sale at the Malang Bird Market, East Java, Indonesia
Owl for sale at the Malang Bird Market, East Java, Indonesia

Research indicates that these markets and the overall scale of bird-keeping in Indonesia represents a genuine conservation threat to native population of wildlife across the country. Unfortunately, the matter doesn’t seem to be high priority for the local authorities and markets like these are still booming in cities like Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Denpasar and many others.

—————————————————————————————————————————–

Cultural Close-ups is a series of photographs and stories from around the world that go beyond the pretty sights and famous attractions. If you’d like to contribute a photo and a short story to Cultural Close-Ups, please email your submission to oksana@drinkteatravel.com

What do you think of the bird trade in Indonesia?

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top