Aplonis panayensis, Asian Glossy Starling, Perling Kumbang

Written by on November 19, 2010 in Indonesia Bird with 0 Comments

Aplonis panayensis, Asian Glossy Starling, Perling Kumbang


Asian Glossy Starlings eat mainly soft fruits (papaya, banana, mangos) and berries, and sometimes insects. They are particularly fond of figs.

Slim bodied birds with narrow wings, they fly rapidly and may travel long distances to fruiting trees. They forage high in the tree tops and only occasionally land on the ground, usually to eat fallen fruit. On the ground, they walk rather than hop, and do so awkwardly.

Like others in their family, Asian Glossy Starlings are highly gregarious. They feed and roost in flocks of about 20. The flocks are compact and move quickly. Before settling down, they often perform displays over their roosting tree; wheeling in impressive twists and forming symmetrical patterns. It is believed that this helps the flocks identify the location of the roost.

Like their relatives the Mynas, the Asian Glossy Starling can also mimic the calls of other birds. In bright sunlight, their glossy plumage has an iridescent shine, changing to green, purple or black as they move about.

Breeding: Asian Glossy Starlings breed year round, with a peak in March-June. These gregarious birds nest in colonies preferring sheltered places high above the ground. Mainly tree holes (including holes made by woodpeckers) but also the crowns of palm trees, thickets of epiphytic ferns growing on trees, and even under the eaves of a house or other man-made structures. When a hole is used, only a bit of grass might be added. Otherwise, the nest is more elaborate, made of grass, waste paper and other rubbish. 3 blue eggs with dark brown spots are laid.

Migration? Asian Glossy Starlings don’t migrate but migrating Purple-backed (Sturnus sturnius) and White-shouldered (S. sinensis) Starlings sometimes join Asian Glossy Starling flocks during the migration period.

Status and threats: Asian Glossy Starling are not at risk as they have adapted well to human habitation and large flocks can even be found in urban areas. They prosper in cultivated areas including gardens and parks. They are often considered a pest on fruit plantations.

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