Monday, 9 April 2012

Malabar Starling

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The Malabar Starling (Sturnia blythii) is also known as the Malabar White-headed Starling or Blyth's Starling. Until recently it was considered conspecific with Chestnut-tailed Starling (Grey-headed Myna) and placed in genus Sturnus but is now considered a full species.

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It is distinctive from the former species, in having a white head, which contrasts the cinnamon-brown breast.  The upper-parts are grey while the rump is orange-brown.

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The wings are also grey with black primaries and brown secondaries. The tail which is grey is tipped with chestnut. The eye is greyish and the bill is amusingly coloured blue at base, green in middle and yellow at the tip.

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The females have a greyer head and the juveniles are a grey-brown. However, there is also an opinion that the females and males be similar.

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They can be usually found in pairs or in flocks – small or big. Like other starlings they can fly in large flocks with great synchrony.

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This species is thought to be endemic to the Western Ghats and is resident here. They feed on insects, seeds, fruits and nectar.

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The are found in open woodland and cultivations with scattered trees and in young forest plantations and also close to human settlements. The breeding season is thought to be between April and May.

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  Sighting Information:
Location: Sharavathi valley wildlife sanctuary
Date: April 1 2012
Time: Morning; 7:25 AM
Weather: Sunny morning
Other Details: A couple of these birds was seen high in the treetops. Flying back and forth. There was also a Pompadour Green Pigeon sitting in close proximity