Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Sturnidae

Scientific Name: Sturnus albofrontatus
Species Authority: (Layard, 1854)
Common Name(s):
English White-faced Starling
Sturnus senex senex Collar and Andrew (1988)
Sturnus senex senex Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993)
Sturnus senex senex Collar et al. (1994)
Taxonomic Notes: Use of the specific name albofrontatus follows BirdLife International (2001).

Identification information: 22 cm. Medium-sized, grey starling with pale face. Adult has dirty white face, dark grey upperparts with slight green gloss and pale lavender-grey underparts with fine white shaft streaking. Some birds have nearly all white head. Blueish-brown bill, with blue base to lower mandible. Juvenile has whitish supercilium, ear-coverts and throat and dull brown upperparts. Dark grey underparts. Voice Generally rather silent except starling-like chirp.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v);C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Derhé, M., Gilroy, J.
This species is listed as Vulnerable because it has a small, severely fragmented population and range, which are undergoing a continuing decline as a result of degradation and clearance of humid forest.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2006 Vulnerable (VU)
2004 Vulnerable (VU)
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1988 Near Threatened (NT)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Sturnus albofrontatus is endemic to Sri Lanka, where it is restricted to the wet zone in the south-west of the island. It appears to have always been scarce, although possibly under-recorded, and is declining, with an increasingly fragmented population of no more than a few thousand individuals.

Countries occurrence:
Sri Lanka
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 10000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 11-100
Continuing decline in number of locations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Lower elevation limit (metres): 460
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1220
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of recent records and surveys by BirdLife International (2001), who concluded that it is unlikely that it currently numbers more than a few thousand individuals. This estimate equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend Justification:  The population is suspected to be decreasing at a moderate rate, in line with habitat loss and degradation within the species's range. The rate of decline is expected to be slower over the next ten years.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 2500-9999 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: Yes
No. of subpopulations: 2-100 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation: 1-89

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is confined to undisturbed moist forest in the lowlands and foothills from 460-1,220 m. There are occasional records from forest-edge sites. It feeds on tree fruit, invertebrates and the nectar of the red cotton tree, commonly foraging in the upper canopy of tall trees in large mixed-species flocks. Little is known of its breeding ecology. It does not undertake seasonal movements, but is believed to cover long distances between its roosting and feeding-sites.

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 4.4
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threat is the extensive clearance and degradation of forests, particularly in the wet zone, through logging, fuelwood collection, conversion to agriculture and tree plantations, gem mining, settlement and fire. As a primarily canopy dwelling species, it has been particularly badly affected by selective logging. Some protected forests continue to be degraded and suffer further fragmentation.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
It is legally protected in Sri Lanka. A moratorium was passed in 1990 to protect wet zone forests from logging. It occurs in several national parks and forest reserves, most notably Sinharaja National Heritage Wilderness Area. A survey of the biodiversity of 200 forest sites was carried out from 1991-1996.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct a comprehensive survey to clarify its distribution and status and to produce management recommendations for this species in conservation forests and other protected areas. Research its ecology, particularly movement between forest patches. Encourage protection of remaining important areas of forest holding this and other threatened species, including proposals to designate conservation forests, and ensure their effective management. Maintain the current ban on the logging of wet zone forests. Promote programmes to create awareness of the value of biological resources amongst local communities.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Sturnus albofrontatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22710844A38246614. . Downloaded on 08 October 2015.
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