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Asian Pied Starling - BirdForum Opus

Alternative names: Pied Starling; Pied Myna

Nominate subspecies showing subtle plumage hues of summer
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Gurgaon, Haryana, India, May-2017
Gracupica contra

Sturnus contra


Subspecies G. c. floweri
Photo © by Chaiyan
Central Thailand, December 2002

22cm (8½ in). A medium-sized Starling.

  • Black and white plumage
  • Creamish yellow bill
  • Orange skin around eye
  • White ear coverts and underparts
  • Black throat and upper breast
  • White scapular line and inner wing coverts in largely black wings
  • Yellowish-brown legs

Sexes similar. Juveniles are browner than adults, their cheek patch is dirty white.


From extreme eastern Pakistan to north and central India, southern Nepal, Bangladesh, Burma, southwest China, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and on Sumatra, Java and Bali.
Introduced around Bombay, in Japan and in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Common in most of its range.


Photo © by Alok Tewari
Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, India, June-2017


Five subspecies are recognized[1]:

  • G. c. contra:
  • G. c. sordidus:
  • Northern Assam
  • G. c. superciliaris:
  • Manipur and Myanmar south to Tenasserim
  • G. c. floweri:
  • G. c. jalla:

Some authorities place this species in genus Sturnus.


Photo © by Alok Tewari
Communal roosting shared with Bank Myna
Basai Wetlands, Gurgaon, Haryana India, Jan. 2015

Cultivated areas such as ricefields, open lowlands, especially well-watered cultivated areas, reservoirs and parks and gardens. Mainly in the lowlands.


Forages on the ground, usually in pairs or small groups. In non-breeding season also in bigger flocks of up to 30 birds.


Omnivorous. Feeds on animal food, fruit, nectar, flowers and seeds.


Breeds from February to October in India, May to July in southeast Asia, September to October in Java. A monogamous species, sometimes breeding in loose colonies. The nest is a large domed structure made of twigs, grass stems, rootlets, palm leaves and artifical material (like plastic bags). It's placed 5 to 15m above the ground in a tall tree, an electricity pole or a lamppost. Lays 4 - 6 eggs, 3 in Java.


A resident species with some local movements in extreme northwest of range.


Call given by a small number of individuals feeding on Salvadora persica blossom and fruits, early morning.

Recording by Alok Tewari
Bharatpur Keoladeo National Park, India, Dec.-2014


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507
  3. BF Member observations

Recommended Citation

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