Chestnut-tailed Starling (Sturnia malabarica)
The Chestnut-tailed Starling (Sturnia malabarica) is a small to medium-sized passerine bird belonging to the family Sturnidae. It is found in South and Southeast Asia, including countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, and Malaysia. The Chestnut-tailed Starling inhabits a range of habitats, including forests, scrublands, and urban areas.
The Chestnut-tailed Starling measures around 20-23 centimeters (8-9 inches) in length, with a wingspan of approximately 30-36 centimeters (12-14 inches). It has a distinctive white plumage, a chestnut-colored tail, and a black mask around the eyes. The bill is yellow, and the legs and feet are pink. The male and female share similar coloration and markings, with little sexual dimorphism.
The Chestnut-tailed Starling primarily feeds on fruit, such as figs, berries, and grapes, as well as insects, including beetles, grasshoppers, and ants. The bird often forages in trees and shrubs, plucking fruit from branches and gleaning insects from leaves and bark.
Reproduction and Lifecycle:
The breeding season for the Chestnut-tailed Starling typically occurs between February and June, depending on the location. These birds are monogamous and form pair bonds that can last for several breeding seasons. They build a cup-shaped nest from twigs, grass, and other plant materials, usually placed in a tree or shrub.
The female lays 3 to 4 pale blue or greenish-blue eggs, which are incubated by both parents for around 13-16 days. After hatching, the chicks are fed and cared for by both parents until they fledge, or leave the nest, at about 15-20 days old. The young birds become fully independent within a few weeks of fledging.
The Chestnut-tailed Starling is currently listed as a species of “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to its wide distribution and stable population. The species is not facing any major threats at present. However, habitat loss due to deforestation, urbanization, and agricultural expansion, as well as capture for the pet trade, could pose potential risks to the Chestnut-tailed Starling population in the future. Conservation efforts focus on habitat preservation and monitoring populations to ensure their long-term survival.