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Chestnut-tailed starling or Grey-headed myna

Sturnia malabarica


Sterling family of perching birds. It is a resident or partially migratory species found in wooded habitats in India & Southeast Asia. They have grey upperparts and blackish remiges.In the nominate subspecies and blythii, the underparts (incl. undertail) are rufous, but in nemoricola the underparts are whitish tinged rufous (especially on flanks and crissum). The nominate and nemoricola have a light grey head with whitish streaking (especially on crown and collar region). Both subspecies have white irides and a yellow bill with a pale blue base. The sexes are similar, but juveniles have whitish underparts and just chestnut tips to the tail feathers. Like most starlings, the chestnut-tailed starling is fairly omnivorous, eating fruit, nectar and insects. They fly in tight flocks. I have seen either a pair or in small flocks of four.


Open woodland, cultivation with scattered trees, often in young forest plantations and also close to human settlements. Found from the lowland to the foothills, up to 2000m in India.


Bengali name - Kath Shalik (কাঠ শালিক), Badami Shalik (বাদামী শালিক), etc. Other common names - Grey-headed Starling, Grey-headed Myna, Ashy-headed Starling, Ashy-headed Myna, Blyth’s White-headed Starling (blythii), Blyth’s White-headed Myna (blythii), Malabar White-headed Starling (blythii), Malabar White-headed Myna (blythii)

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Spotted by

Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Spotted on Mar 31, 2015
Submitted on Mar 31, 2015

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