Monday, 1 December 2014

Metallic starling

Aplonis metallica

Photo by Larry Thompson (Discover Life)

Common name:
metallic starling (en); estorninho-lustroso (pt); stourne luisant (fr); estornino lustroso (es); weberstar (de)

Order Passerifores
Family Sturnidae

This species is found throughout the lowland areas of New Guinea and in several nearby islands, including the Maluku and Northern Maluku Islands, and the Bismark Islands, as well as in the Solomon Islands and in Australia, in northern Queensland.

These birds are 25 cm long and weigh 48-67 g.

The metallic starling is mostly found in moist tropical forests, also using mangroves, forest edges and clearings, dry coastal savannas and rural gardens.

They are mainly frugivorous, but also take nectar and some insects.

Metallic starlings can breed all year round, varying among different parts of their range. They nest in colonies of up to 400 pairs, all occupying a single tree. Each nest is a domed structure with a side entrance, made of small pieces of wood, tendrils of vines and strips of bark, and lined with strips of palm leaves. The female lays 1-3 light blue eggs with grey-purple and reddish spots. There is no available information regarding the length of the incubation and fledgling periods, but chicks are known to be fed by both parents.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as locally common to abundant, although uncommon or rare on the Tanimbar islands and Sulu Islands in Indonesia. The population trend is difficult to determine because of uncertainty over the impacts of habitat modification on population sizes.

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