Passenger Loses $10k Bird On Garuda Indonesia Flight

A passenger aboard a Garuda Indonesia flight from Jakarta to his home town of Pontianak in West Kalimantan, was heartbroken when he discovered one of his prized birds was missing. Rendy Lesmana had taken his prized kacer (oriental magpie-robin) along with seven other birds to compete in a bird song competition in the nation’s capital.


Rendy was returning home from a competition when he noticed the bird was missing after his Garuda Indonesia flight. Photo: Garuda Indonesia

The bird, which Rendy valued at Rp 150 million (US$10,718), was in one of six locked cages that contained three white-rumped shamas, three love birds, and two oriental magpie-robins.

While we all love the sound of birds singing in the morning, to some people, particularly in Asia, all that chirping, whistling, and singing can become somewhat of an obsession. Many bird enthusiasts spend thousands of dollars on birds and cages to compete in bird singing events that attract hundreds of competitors.

Rendy Lesmana is one of these select groups of people who travel with their birds for bird song competitions.

Rendy paid $251 to transport his birds

When speaking about the incident with Indonesian daily newspaper The Jakarta Post, Rendy said:

“The plane departed at 6:15 p.m. Jakarta time and after it landed at 8 p.m. Pontianak time, I walked to the baggage claim area.”

When Rendy went to collect his birds, he noticed that one of the cages was damaged and that his prized oriental magpie-robin was missing.


oriental magpie-robin.
Rendy was offered $10,000 for his oriental magpie-robin. Photo: Noel Reynolds via Flickr

Mad as hell that Garuda Indonesia had allowed his beloved bird to escape, Rendy said he had fulfilled all the requirements that Garuda Indonesia asked for the transportation of live animals. Rendy said he even paid a premium of Rp 3.5 million ($251) for Garuda Indonesia to transport his birds to Jakarta and back home.

“I didn’t want the birds to get stressed because they were to compete in a national competition. That was why I didn’t transport them using a cargo service. I wanted to maintain their stamina,” he explained.

Rendy had been training the bird for four years

Rendy added to his story by saying that he had cared for and trained the lost bird for four years and that it had won several chirping competitions. He even recalled how someone had once offered him $10,000 for the bird, but said he declined the offer because the bird was too precious to him.

“I’ve suffered more immaterial loss in this case because I love the bird so dearly.”

Furious that Indonesia’s national flag carrier could have lost his prized bird, Rendy said that he is going to fly back to Jakarta and file a complaint with the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport (CGK) police in Tangerang, Banten. Once he has done that he will then file a second complaint with Garuda Indonesia management.

Bird song competition in Indonesia
Bird song competitions are very popular in Asia. Photo: RudyOhelp via Flickr

When asked for his take on the missing bird, Garuda Indonesia’s station manager at Supadio Pontianak International Airport (PNK) Isman Kamanjaya confirmed the incident and said that the airport police were mediating between Rendy and the airline.

“The mediation did not end with an agreement,” Isman told the Jakarta Post, “Rendy refused to make peace and has decided to file a report with the police.”

Do you think Garuda Indonesia will take responsibility for the loss of the bird and pay Rendy compensation, or will they blame him for the bird escaping? Please let us know in the comments.