Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Least Concern

Metallic Starling (Aplonis metallica)


French: Stourne luisant German: Weberstar Spanish: Estornino lustroso
Other common names: Shining Starling

Lamprotornis metallica


, 1824,

“Timor and Celebes“= Ambon


Form circumscripta distinctive, with purple gloss of head, mantle and breast tinged reddish. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. m. metallica (Temminck, 1824) – Metallic Starling – Sula Is, Moluccas, New Guinea and most satellite islands, Aru Is, and NE Australia (NE Queensland).
  • A. m. inornata (Salvadori, 1881) – #RNumfor and Biak, in N Geelvink Bay (NW New Guinea).
  • A. m. purpureiceps (Salvadori, 1878) – Admiralty Is (NW Bismarck Archipelago).
  • A. m. nitida (G. R. Gray, 1858) – Bismarck Archipelago (except NW) and Solomon Is.
  • A. m. circumscripta (A. B. Meyer, 1884) – Violet-hooded Starling – E Lesser Sundas (Damar and Tanimbar Is).
  • Descriptive notes

    25 cm; 48–67 g. Medium-sized starling with long graduated tail, and with long, lanceolate feathers on nape, and prominent red eye; black plumage with variable gloss.... read more


    Song short and fluty in tone, described as being likae that of Island Canary (Serinus canaria... read more


    Rainforest, coastal woodland, mangroves, also forest edge and clearings, gardens; visits fruiting... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly frugivorous; also takes nectar, some insects. Fruits recorded as taken in Australia include those of native trees Carallia... read more


    In E New Guinea mostly Jul–Oct (Jul–Feb around Port Moresby), but Mar–May in some areas; Aug–Jan in NE Australia;... read more


    Mainly resident or nomadic. Largely breeding visitor (mostly Jul–Feb/Mar) in NE Australia,... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common; abundant in many areas. In New Guinea, some colonies are treated as a traditional food source by humans, where certain individuals had the... read more

    Recommended citation

    Craig, A. & Feare, C. (2020). Metallic Starling (Aplonis metallica). 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 25 February 2020).