bird picture.

Red-billed starling

The red-billed starling, “silky starling”


21–24 cm; 65 g. Medium-sized starling with forehead, crown and nape feathers somewhat elongate and hackle-like.

The red-billed starling (Spodiopsar sericeus) also called “silky starling” is found in China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

In Hong Kong, the red-billed starling is an abundant winter visitor to open habitat. Small numbers stay in summer to breed. In winter, the red-billed starling forms large flocks.

red-billed starling in hong kongthe red-billed starling


Click here to hear the red-billed starling voice.


The red-billed starling nests in holes in trees and in the roofs of houses, where they lay four pale blue eggs. He will hatch after 14 days incubation and the chicks fledge after another 14 days.


The red-billed starling is not globally threatened and generally fairly common. Numbers thought to be probably stable or perhaps increasing.

French: Étourneau soyeux
German : Seidenstar
Spanish : Estornino Piquirrojo
Italian :  Storno beccorosso
Russian : Красноклювый скворец


red-billed starling

Fun fact about the red billed starling 

Little is known about the surprising breeding ecology of the silky starling. A study conducted in 2011 with artificial nest boxes to study the breeding ecology of red-billed starlings and white cheeked starlings showed intraspecific nest parasitism (INP) behaviours by the red-billed starlings. Using the obvious morphological differences or partition of egg-laying on 40 nest boxes installed, the study showed:

  • 33 boxes were occupied by the red-billed starlings
  • 17 brooks were successfully hatched
  • The clutch size of red-billed starlings starlings ranged from 6 to 7 eggs
  • The clutch size of white-cheeked starlings starlings were above 7 eggs
  • Red-billed starlings had a longer nestling period than white-cheeked starlings, as well as a higher feeding rate
  • Red-billed starlings were more vigilant and more agressive that the white-cheeked starlings during their nestling period.

One of the nests was later confirmed INP by the red-billed Starling, after the fledglings had fledged.


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