Habitat and Ecology
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
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.
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.
- 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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