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.
Glossy Tree/Philippines Glossy/Red-eyed
Perling/Perling Mata Merah (Malay)
Asian Glossy Starlings eat mainly soft fruits (papaya, banana, mangos)
and berries, and sometimes insects. They are particularly fond of
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.
and wetland wildlife at
Sungei Buloh Nature Park
features: Medium (20cm), dark glossy green plumage
which appears black
(right) and juvenile (left)
from Morten Strange
in poor light; eyes red. Genders look alike.
Juvenile: Upper parts blackish
brown; underparts whitish streaked black.
Call: Described as metallic
ink when perched; noisy piping or ringing whistle
In flight: Direct and rapid,
usually at tree-top height; wings small and triangular;
Status in Singapore: Very
common resident throughout the island and North and South
World distribution: India
to the Philippines and Sulawesi.
Classification: Family Sturnidae
(Starlings, Mynas, Oxpeckers). World 148 species, Singapore
9 species of which 3 are introduced.
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.
- Morten Strange,
"A Photographic Guide to Birds of Malaysia and Singapore: including
Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Borneo", Periplus, 2000
(p. 345: description, voice, habits, distribution, status, photo).
- Morten Strange,
"Tropical Birds of Malaysia and Singapore", Periplus
Editions, 2000 (p. 58-59: habits, habitat, photo).
- Lim Kim Seng,
"Pocket Checklist of the Birds of the Republic of Singapore",
Nature Society (Singapore), 1999 (Abundance, status, Chinese and Malay
- Morten Strange,
"Birds of Southeast Asia: A photographic guide to the birds
of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia",
New Holland, 1998 (p. 90-91: photo, facts).
- Lim Kim Seng and
Dana Gardner, "Birds: An Illustrated Field Guide to the Birds
of Singapore", Sun Tree Publishing Ltd., 1997 (p. 103: identification,
status in Singapore, distribution, diagram, number of species).
- G W H Davison
and Chew Yen Fook, "A Photographic Guide to Birds of Peninsular
Malaysia and Singapore", New Holland Publishers Ltd., 1995
(p. 132: identification, status in Singapore, distribution, photo).
- Morten Strange
and Allen Jeyarajasingam, "Birds: A Photographic Guide to the
Birds of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore", Sun Tree Publishing,
1993 (p. 58: description, distribution, habits, habitat, photo).
- Clive Briffett,
"A Guide to the Common Birds of Singapore", BP Science
Centre,1992 (p. 125-126: habit, habitat).
- Lim Kim Seng,
"Vanishing Birds of Singapore", Nature Society (Singapore),
1992 (p. 16: status in Singapore).
- Christopher Hails,
"Birds of Singapore" illustrated by Frank Jarvis, Times
Editions, 1987 reprinted 1995 (p. 142: habits, description, status in
Singapore, and lovely drawings of the birds).
- M W F Tweedie,
"Common Birds of the Malay Peninsula", Longman,1970
(p. 54: description, distribution, habits, habitat, drawing).
- G C Madoc, "An
Introduction to Malayan Birds", Malayan Nature Society, 1947
(p. 196-197: description, habits, habitat).
- Sir John A S Bucknill
and E N Chasen, "Birds of Singapore and South-East Asia",
Tynron Press, 1927, edition 1990 (p. 205-206: identification, status
in Singapore, distribution, field notes on habits, drawings).