Wild Birds

Long-tailed Starlings

Long-tailed Starlings (Aplonis magna)

The Long-tailed Starlings (Aplonis magna) is endemic to the Schouten Islands off New Guinea in Indonesia. Two subspecies have been identified: the nominate race, found on Biak (a small island located in Cenderawasih Bay near the northern coast of Papua) and the subspecies “brevicauda”, which is found on Numfor Island.


Long-tailed Starlings Image
Long-tailed Starlings Image

They are starlings that range in length from 11-16 inches (28-41 cm) – from head to tip of the tail. Males and females look alike. The long tail is longer in the nominate race (as long or longer than the body); in the subspecies the tail measures only about two-thirds of the body. These birds are mostly black, with an oily green gloss over the body. In the subspecies brevicauda, the plumage is less glossy than that of the nominate race. The gloss on the head is bronze colored. The feathers of the forehead are bristled. The irises (eyes) are brown. The beak and the feet are black. Their calls are described as a series of loud warbles. These birds are typically seen in small groups or in pairs (during the breeding season). Their diet consists of fruit in trees and in the undergrowth. They nest high in trees.


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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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