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Species Guide

Singing Starling

Aplonis cantoroides

The singing starling, known scientifically as Aplonis cantoroides, is a medium-sized bird, measuring approximately 20 centimeters in length. This species boasts a glossy black plumage and is noted for its bright red irises, which add a striking contrast to its dark feathers. The younger birds present a paler appearance with streaked underparts and brown irises, distinguishing them from their adult counterparts.

Identification Tips

To identify the singing starling, look for its shorter, square tail and a thicker bill, which set it apart from the metallic starling. The adult's glossy black plumage and bright red irises are key characteristics, while the immature birds have a more subdued coloration with streaked underparts.


The singing starling is quite adaptable, making its home in forest edges, gardens, and cultivated areas with trees. It is also comfortable in urban environments and can be found in coconut groves, indicating its ability to thrive in a variety of settings.


This bird is native to New Guinea and several nearby island groups, including the Bismarck Archipelago, Admiralty Islands, and Solomon Islands. It has also been spotted in the Australian territory of the north-western Torres Strait, specifically on Boigu and Saibai Islands.


Singing starlings are colonial nesters, often choosing tree hollows, cliffs, and even buildings as sites to lay their eggs. A typical clutch comprises 2 to 3 pale blue eggs.

Song & Calls

The vocalization of the singing starling is a distinctive, high-pitched, down-slurred whistle that is repeated, serving as an auditory hallmark for the species.

Diet and Feeding

The singing starling enjoys a varied diet of fruits, predominantly figs, and will also eat insects. This flexibility in diet likely contributes to its ability to inhabit diverse environments.

Conservation status

The singing starling is currently classified as Least Concern by the IUCN. This status reflects the bird's large range and the lack of evidence indicating a decline in its population.

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Singing Starlings on Birda

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Rafael Lerch
08 Apr 2023 - 8:34pm
Solomon Islands

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