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Short-tailed Starling - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Lesser Glossy Starling; Short-tailed Glossy Starling

Photo by James Eaton
Poco Ranaka, Flores, Indonesia, June 2005
Aplonis minor


18cm. A small starling with a short tail.

  • Mostly blackish plumage
  • Iridescent bronzy purple on head and neack, brighter purple on nape, side of neck, throat and breast
  • Iridescent oily green body
  • Black wings with some green gloss
  • Black tail
  • Vermilion eye
  • Black bill and legs

Sexes similar. Juveniles are dark brown above and brown streaked below.

Photo by mehdhalaouate
Sumba Island, Indonesia, November 2005


Found in the southern Philippines (Mindanao), central and southern Sulawesi, several islands in the Flores sea (Tanahjampea, Kayuadi, Kaleo, Kaleotoa), Java, Bali and Lesser Sundas (Indonesia), including Timor.
Locally common in its range.


This is a monotypic species.
Birds from Mindanao are sometimes separated as subspecies todayensis.


Forest and forest edge. In most of its range rarely in cultivated areas, in Java and Bali found in cultivated areas and in villages. Usually below 1500m, in Mindanao in mountain forest above 900m.


Feeds on fruit and berries, takes also insects.
A gregarious species, foraging in small flocks and forming communal roosts.
Few data about breeding. Reported to nest in tree holes in small colonies, other reports say that it nests solitary, excavating its own hole in a dead tree.
Most populations are resident, some may be nomadic or migratory.


  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507

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