Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Least Concern

Asian Pied Starling (Gracupica contra)


French: Étourneau pie German: Elsterstar Spanish: Estornino pío común
Other common names: Pied Myna

Sturnus contra


, 1758,

Calcutta, India


Hitherto treated as conspecific with G. jalla (see that species). Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. c. contra (Linnaeus, 1758) – extreme E Pakistan (Lahore area), N & C India (E to W Assam, S to extreme N Karnataka and N Andhra Pradesh), S Nepal and Bangladesh.
  • G. c. sordida (Ripley, 1950) – NE India (E Assam).
  • G. c. superciliaris (Blyth, 1863) – NE India (Manipur), Myanmar (except S & E) and SW China (SW Yunnan).
  • G. c. floweri (Sharpe, 1897) – S & E Myanmar, Thailand (except E), NW Laos and Cambodia.
  • Introduced (presumed nominate race) in United Arab Emirates and perhaps Saudi Arabia; also W India (Bombay area), Japan and Peninsular Malaysia#R.

    Descriptive notes

    22 cm; 76–90 g. Medium-sized starling with feathers of forehead and crown hackled, and feathers of hindcrown and nape elongated. Nominate race has forehead and cheeks... read more


    Song, by both sexes, a prolonged series of phrases with shrill churrs and a few croaking and... read more


    Open areas with scattered trees and wet ground, often near cultivated areas and human habitation;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Omnivorous, diet includes animal food, fruit, nectar and flowers, and seeds. Fruits taken include those of figs (Ficus), ... read more


    Season Feb–Oct (mainly May–Jul) in India, May–Jul in SE Asia; possibly Apr–Sept in Arabia; occasionally double-... read more


    Resident. Local movement in extreme NW of range.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to locally abundant in most of Indian Subcontinent range, uncommon in W; common to fairly common in SE Asia. Common in Bombay... read more

    Recommended citation

    Craig, A., Feare, C. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Asian Pied Starling (Gracupica contra). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 10 December 2019).