Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Vagrant Starlings (Family: Sturnidae) recorded in Sri lanka

    Birds that appear outside their normal range are known as vagrants. This post summarizes up to date published sight records of vagrants of the family Sturnidae (Starlings) in Sri Lanka.

Confirmed vagrants

     1) Chestnut-tailed starling [Grey-headed Starling] (Sturnia malabaricus)
A flock of Chestnut-tailed starlings were first time recorded in Sri Lanka from Anuradhapura in January 1984 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1985). However there is a reference in CBC notes of 1944 to an unconfirmed sight record of two Grey-headed Mynahs in Colombo toward the end of June 1944. "Its attractive whistling call was also heard" (Anon., 1944). Again in March 1985 five birds were observed among the thousands of Brahmny, Common and Rosy mynahs at Kalamatiya (Hoffmann, T. W., 1986). For the 3rd year in succession a flock including several immature was reported from Anuradhapura in January 1986 and even during the December of same year it was continue to be noted there (Hoffmann, T. W., 1987). It was also been noted at Kalamatiya during January same year (Hoffmann, T. W., 1987). In December 2002 several birds were observed at Udawalawe National Park (Siriwardana, U., 2003). Subsequent records are - 

Unconfirmed vagrants:

Species for which there are only one or two sight records exist categorized here as unconfirmed vagrants. Problematic records without sufficient details are also included.

     2) Purple-backed starling [Daurian Starling] (Sturnia sturninus)
Sight record from Udawalwe national park in December 2002 by Upali Ekanayake is the first record of it in Sri lanka.( Siriwardana, U., 2003). A flock of eight birds was again reported near the Udawalawa causeway by Dulan Ranga Vidanapathirana on 9th January 2014. They were photographed by M.D.Gehan Rajeev and Sudheera Bandara two days after. (

     3) Asian Pied Starling (Sturnus contra)
Sight record at Kotiyagala of Yala national park in early 1986 by P.B. Karunaratna and D. Bartholomuesz is the only record. (Kotagama S. & Ratnavira G., 2010: 299).


Anon., 1944. Notes from the Bird Club. Loris. 3(5):191.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1987. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1986. Loris, 17(5), 209-210
Hoffmann, T. W., 1986. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1985. Loris, 17(3), 99-101.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1985. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1984. Loris, 17(1), p10-12.
Kotagama, S., Ratnavira, G. 2010. An illustrated Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka. Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka, Colombo.
Siriwardana, U., 2003. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2002. Loris, 23(3&4), 36-39.

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