Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Least Concern

Purple-backed Starling (Agropsar sturninus)


French: Étourneau de Daourie German: Mongolenstar Spanish: Estornino dáurico
Other common names: Daurian Starling

Gracula sturnina


, 1776,

southern Dauria between Onon and Argun Rivers, south-east Russia




E Mongolia, SE Russia (SE Transbaikalia E to Ussuriland), NE & C China (E Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang S to S Gansu and Shandong) and N Korea; non-breeding SE Asia and Greater Sundas.

Descriptive notes

16–19 cm; 100 g. Small, short-tailed starling. Male has grey head to upper mantle, small patch of glossy purple feathers on rear crown, scattered glossy purple feathers... read more


Song a varied mix of whistles, trills and chatters, including some mimicry. Calls include loud... read more


Breeds in forest steppe, mixed forest, forest clearings, riparian woodland and villages, mainly in... read more

Food and feeding

Diet primarily insects; also earthworms (Oligochaeta) and fruit, some seeds including arillate seeds of acacias. Insect food includes moths... read more


Breeds May–Jun in Russia and Korea. Monogamous. Solitary, nests normally 50–80 m apart. Nest built by both sexes, from dry... read more


Migratory, arriving in N breeding areas in May, leaving Russia in late Jul and Korea in Sept–... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Fairly common to uncommon in breeding range. Rather local in much of non-breeding range, but not uncommon in Singapore. In Korea encouraged to nest... read more

Recommended citation

Craig, A. & Feare, C. (2020). Purple-backed Starling (Agropsar sturninus). 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 28 February 2020).