Metallic Starlings

We stopped at the park in the middle of Innisfail for a short break on our way to Chillagoe and were unexpectedly delayed by a spot of birdwatching. A large tree right on the highway was loaded with big untidy nests and, we soon realised, their makers.

They were Metallic Starlings, Aplonis metallica, which are rarely seen in Townsville. Their nominal range is along the coast from about Mackay to Cape York but most sightings (scroll down to map) are between Ingham and the Daintree, i.e., in the Wet Tropics.

Metallic Starling nests
Metallic Starling nests in outer branches of an old tree

Metallic Starling and nests
Metallic Starlings keeping a good lookout

They are quite distinctive birds, red-eyed, black in the shade but iridescent greens and purples in sunlight. They could perhaps be mistaken for Drongos but behaviour alone would quickly identify them, since the Starlings are far more social.

Metallic Starling feeding baby
Feeding time

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