I spotted this bird in India a day ago in a park located inside a city. There are no nearby water bodies around the park. The bird is slightly larger than the average person's fist. Does anyone know what species of bird is it?

  • $\begingroup$ Ardeidae perhaps? $\endgroup$ Jun 29 '17 at 18:23
  • $\begingroup$ Please describe the habitat you found it in. For example, in a park, in the forest, near some water, etc. Also please provide an approximate size. $\endgroup$ Jun 29 '17 at 18:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @theforestecologist I've added some details to the post. $\endgroup$ Jun 29 '17 at 18:53

Looks to be either a chestnut-tailed starling (AKA grey-headed myna, Sturnia malabarica) or a Malabar starling (Sturnia blythii) in the Sturnidae (or starling) family.

  • S. blythii was previously considered a subspecies of S. malabarica.

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S. malabarica, Source: universebirds.com

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S. blythii on the left and S.malabarica on the right.

Description: Adults are approximately 20 cm long. They have grey heads/neck, blackish remiges, and reddish-brown (i.e., "rufous") belly and undertail. Their beaks are yellow with pale bluish bases.

  • The poor coloration in your photo seems to show the base of the beak being a paler grey color (vs. the yellow of the rest). I'm going to guess that this was really at least slightly bluish in hue and the color did not show up in your low-quality photo.

Range: As you can see in the map below, they are present throughout most of India:

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Source: Natural Earth and Myself

  • According to here, S. blythii is more constrained to just southwest India.

You can see videos of specimens here.

Further References:

  • Fina a list of most (all?) species of birds in India on Wikipedia.

  • Here is a good site with hundreds of photos of Indian bird species.


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