Starlings, the unusual sort

2005 September 14
by David J. Ringer

SPRINGFIELD, MO. — I heard back from Guy Dutson today about my Aplonis starling mystery. He was interested in my report and said that my description did indeed sound like Atoll Starlings.

Of especial interest was the comment, “Immature Atoll S is all-dark with paler rufous fringes on the underparts – very different from immature Singing Starlings.” That seems to fit with my observations. While I did not specifically see rufous-fringed birds, I did see some that looked dull, lacking the greenish sheen. I did not observe even one bird that was white below and streaked.

Dutson continued: “Based on its small geographical range, BirdLife listed Atoll S as Vulnerable in 2000 but the IUCN red list criteria have subsequently changed and its status is now Near Threatened. Nonetheless, it would be good news for the species if it was also on Wuvulu!”

I never expected to come away with data of interest to the larger scientific community. It’s all very exciting, though I still keep wishing I’d been better prepared.

Related posts:

  1. A cloud of confusion
  2. Prince of Serendip
  3. If you don’t see, listen

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