Family Starlings (Sturnidae)


White-faced Starling (Sturnornis albofrontatus)


French: Étourneau de Ceylan German: Greisenstar Spanish: Estornino cingalés

Heterornis albofrontata

E. L. Layard

, 1854,

Sri Lanka


Until recently referred to as Sturnus senex, but that name not applicable, as type specimen is a misidentified subadult of Spodiopsar sericeus. Monotypic.


SW Sri Lanka.

Descriptive notes

20 cm. Smallish starling with pied plumage, feathers of crown, nape and upper mantle elongate and hackled. Has forehead, side of head, throat and chin white (sometimes tinged... read more


Song described as soft and sweet. Calls reported include sharp, high, downslurred "cheé... read more


Undisturbed rainforest; also visits fruiting trees in adjacent areas and in villages within forest... read more

Food and feeding

Diet mainly fruit; also takes nectar and insects. Recorded items are berries of Cinnamomum and fruit of figs (Ficus), and... read more


Season Apr–Aug. Nest in tree hole; either no nesting material or female places a few twigs in hole. One recorded clutch, of 2 pale... read more


Presumed resident; may cover long distances between feeding and roosting areas.

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Rare. Has very small global range, confined to wet zone of SW Sri Lanka; estimated total population fewer than 10,000 individuals and declining; population and... read more

Recommended citation

Craig, A. & Feare, C. (2020). White-faced Starling (Sturnornis albofrontatus). 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).