Daurian Starlings flocking

on 31st October 2009

“At Changi Business Park late this afternoon, one of my habitual weekend dog walking haunts, I saw a flock of at least 100, perhaps double that, Daurian Starlings (Purple-backed Starlings) (Sturnus sturninus). At first they were flitting from tree to tree near the large lake, chirruping away to each other, and it took me a while to work out what they were – despite their relative commonness, I have never actually positively ID’ed one before. 

“About ten minutes later I came across them again, and something flushed them from the trees they were in. They instantly coalesced into a formation and soared and swooped and whirled, the late afternoon sun catching their pale underparts.

“A beautiful sight, and one I have not seen in Singapore before. It reminded me of my childhood in England where I would see vast cloud-like flocks of Common Starlings (S. vulgaris, though I didn’t have any idea then, other than just ‘starlings’). 

It made my day!”

Howard Banwell
11th October 2009

Note: The Purple-backed Starling is a common winter visitor and passage migrant to Singapore, flocking in large numbers in many parts of the main island. Such sights can be seen around September-October and again in March. An earlier post can be seen HERE.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

5 Responses

  1. A very large flock of purple-backed starlings was seen at Lorong Halus about 6pm on 10 Oct. I counted more than 600 birds in one of the photos taken. As the photo covers only about 2/3 of the flock, I estimated that there were at least 900 birds! It was quite spectacular seeing them in flight and changing direction in unity.

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