Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Near Threatened

Rusty-winged Starling (Aplonis zelandica)


French: Stourne mélanésien German: Rostflügelstar Spanish: Estornino de Melanesia

Lamprotornis zelandicus

Quoy and Gaimard

, 1830,

Tasman Bay, New Zealand; error = Vanikoro Island


Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. z. maxwellii H. O. Forbes, 1900 – Nendo (Santa Cruz), in WC Santa Cruz Is.
  • A. z. zelandica (Quoy & Gaimard, 1830) – Vanikoro, in S Santa Cruz Is.
  • A. z. rufipennis E. L. Layard, 1881 – Banks Is and N & C Vanuatu (S to Malakula, Paama and Lopevi#R).
  • Descriptive notes

    19 cm. Rather small, dull-plumaged starling. Male nominate race has forehead, crown and nape dark brown with paler, olive edges; mantle and back brown, greenish gloss on back... read more


    Most common call a short, melodious "zee-twee"; also repeated metallic whistles. Song... read more


    Forest; also secondary growth and partly cleared areas, including wooded gardens. On mountainous... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet primarily fruit; also gleans insects from foliage. Forages mostly in lower canopy, sometimes lower. Generally singly or in pairs.


    Reported as nesting in tree hole high above ground. No other information.



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near-threatened. Restricted range species: present in Vanuatu and Temotu EBA. Poorly known species. Generally uncommon to scarce... read more

    Recommended citation

    Craig, A. & Feare, C. (2020). Rusty-winged Starling (Aplonis zelandica). 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).