Backyard Birds

Tanimbar Starlings

The Tanimbar Starlings (Aplonis crassa) – also known as Little Starlings –  are endangered, medium-sized starlings.  They are endemic to Indonesia where they are confined to the Tanimbar Islands of Larat and Yamdena. 

They are typically found in the canopy of forest edges, wooded areas, or mangroves.  They are usually seen in pairs or small groups (outside the breeding season).   


The Tanimbar Starling measures ~ 7.9 inches / 20 cm from the top of the head to the top of the tail. It has a comparatively sturdy bill. The plumage is uniformly dark charcoal-black glossed.  The tail is medium-length.  The eyes are dark. 

The plumage of juveniles is browner, with streaking below and rufous-tinged tails.

Similar Birds

Metallic Starlings:   The Metallic Starling is longer than the Tanimbar Starling.  The plumage is less colorful. The Metallic Starling can also easily be identified by their red eyes.

Calls / Vocalizations:

Their vocalizations are described as a harsh, metallic “brrrrrit” and a disyllabic “tzewit.”

Global Names:

  • Catalan:  estornell de les illes Tanimbar
  • Chinese:  塔宁辉椋鸟 / 塔尼巴輝椋鳥
  • Croatian:  tanimbarski čvorak
  • Czech:  špaček tanimbarský
  • Danish:  Tanimbartræstær
  • Dutch:  Tanimbarpurperspreeuw
  • German:  Tanimbarstar
  • Finnish:  tanimbarinkottarainen
  • French:  Stourne des Tanimbar
  • Hungarian:  tanimbar-szigeteki énekesseregély
  • Italian:  Storno delle Tanimbar
  • Japanese: taninbarukarasumodoki /  タニンバルカラスモドキ
  • Lithuanian:  Tanimbarinis aplonis
  • Norwegian:  Tanimbarstare / Tanimbarstær
  • Polish:  skworczyk stalowy
  • Portuguese:  estorninho-das-tanimbar
  • Russian:  Танимбарский скворец
  • Slovak:  majna tanimbarská
  • Serbian:  Čvorak sa Tanimbarskih ostrva
  • Spanish:  Estornino de las Tanimbar 
  • Swedish:  tanimbarstare
  • Ukrainian:  Шпак-малюк тенімбарський

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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