Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Least Concern

White-cheeked Starling (Spodiopsar cineraceus)


French: Étourneau gris German: Weißwangenstar Spanish: Estornino gris
Other common names: Grey Starling

Sturnus cineraceus


, 1835,



Has hybridized with S. sericeus#R. Monotypic.


SE Transbaikalia E to S Russian Far East, S to C & E Mongolia, N China (E from E Qinghai and Sichuan), Korea, S Sakhalin, most of Japan and S Kuril Is; non-breeding Japan (except Hokkaido), S Korea, SE China (including Hainan and Hong Kong), Taiwan and N Vietnam (E Tonkin).

Descriptive notes

22–24 cm; 68–95 g. Medium-sized, brownish-grey starling with nape and throat feathers hackled, nape feathers also elongate. Male typically has black forehead,... read more


Call a monotonous “chir-chir-chay-cheet-cheet”, with creaky quality; trilling begging... read more


Open areas, including cultivated land, pastures, open woodland, parks and towns; sometimes in... read more

Food and feeding

Omnivorous, but diet primarily invertebrates, particularly insects. Animal food includes geckos and other lizards (Reptilia), frogs (... read more


Season Apr–Jul; two broods in Japan. Monogamous. Usually in colonies of up to 30 pairs; first clutches highly synchronous. Nest an... read more


Summer visitor in N Japan (Hokkaido); resident in C & S Japan, where populations also augmented... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common throughout range; very common in parts of Japan. During non-breeding season roosts can hold in excess of 50,000 individuals.... read more

Recommended citation

Craig, A. & Feare, C. (2020). White-cheeked Starling (Spodiopsar cineraceus). 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).