Overview

Distribution

Range Description

Sturnus albofrontatus is endemic to Sri Lanka, where it is restricted to the wet zone in the south-west of the island. It appears to have always been scarce, although possibly under-recorded, and is declining, with an increasingly fragmented population of no more than a few thousand individuals.

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Range

Forests of wet zone of sw Sri Lanka.

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It is confined to undisturbed moist forest in the lowlands and foothills from 460-1,220 m. There are occasional records from forest-edge sites. It feeds on tree fruit, invertebrates and the nectar of the red cotton tree, commonly foraging in the upper canopy of tall trees in large mixed-species flocks. Little is known of its breeding ecology. It does not undertake seasonal movements, but is believed to cover long distances between its roosting and feeding-sites.


Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v);C2a(i)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is listed as Vulnerable because it has a small, severely fragmented population and range, which are undergoing a continuing decline as a result of degradation and clearance of humid forest.

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Population

Population
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of recent records and surveys by BirdLife International (2001), who concluded that it is unlikely that it currently numbers more than a few thousand individuals. This estimate equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The main threat is the extensive clearance and degradation of forests, particularly in the wet zone, through logging, fuelwood collection, conversion to agriculture and tree plantations, gem mining, settlement and fire. As a primarily canopy dwelling species, it has been particularly badly affected by selective logging. Some protected forests continue to be degraded and suffer further fragmentation.

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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
It is legally protected in Sri Lanka. A moratorium was passed in 1990 to protect wet zone forests from logging. It occurs in several national parks and forest reserves, most notably Sinharaja National Heritage Wilderness Area. A survey of the biodiversity of 200 forest sites was carried out from 1991-1996.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct a comprehensive survey to clarify its distribution and status and to produce management recommendations for this species in conservation forests and other protected areas. Research its ecology, particularly movement between forest patches. Encourage protection of remaining important areas of forest holding this and other threatened species, including proposals to designate conservation forests, and ensure their effective management. Maintain the current ban on the logging of wet zone forests. Promote programmes to create awareness of the value of biological resources amongst local communities.

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Wikipedia

White-faced Starling

The white-faced starling, (Sturnornus albofrontatus), is a member of the starling family of birds. It is an endemic resident breeder in Sri Lanka. It was for a long time erroneously known as S. senex; this was eventually identified as a junior synonym of the red-billed starling (Mees 1997).

The adults of these 22 cm-long birds have green-glossed dark grey upperparts and whitish underparts. The head is paler than the underparts. The sexes are similar, but juveniles are duller, with brown upperparts and greyer underparts.

As the genus Sturnus is highly paraphyletic, it was not certain whether the present species would be retained therein. Though it was not included in recent studies (Jønsson & Fjeldså 2006, Zuccon et al. 2006), its appearance suggests it is not close to the European starling, the type species of Sturnus. It is also generally not included among those species which are often (and probably correctly) placed in Acridotheres. Most taxonomic authorities place the species in its own genus, Sturnornis.

This passerine is typically found in tall forest, usually high in the canopy. The white-faced starling builds its nest in a hole. The normal clutch is two eggs.

Like most starlings, the white-faced starling is fairly omnivorous, eating fruit, nectar and insects.

In culture[edit]

In Sri Lanka, this bird is known as Hisa sudu Sharikava in the Sinhala language.

References[edit]

  • BirdLife International (2004). Sturnus albofrontatus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 20 July 2007. Database entry includes brief justification for why this species is Vulnerable.
  • Grimmett, Richard; Inskipp, Carol, Inskipp, Tim & Byers, Clive (1999): Birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J.. ISBN 0-691-04910-6
  • Jønsson, Knud A. & Fjeldså, Jon (2006): A phylogenetic supertree of oscine passerine birds (Aves: Passeri). Zool. Scripta 35(2): 149–186. doi:10.1111/j.1463-6409.2006.00221.x (HTML abstract)
  • Mees, G.F. (1997): On the identity of Heterornis senex Bonaparte. Bull. B. O. C. 117(1): 67-68.
  • Zuccon, Dario; Cibois, Alice; Pasquet, Eric & Ericson, Per G.P. (2006): Nuclear and mitochondrial sequence data reveal the major lineages of starlings, mynas and related taxa. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 41(2): 333-344. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.05.007 PMID 16806992 (HTML abstract)
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