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Yellow-eyed Starling Aplonis mystacea
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This poorly known and probably nomadic species is thought to have a moderately small population, which is likely to be declining owing to hunting and habitat degradation. However, a better understanding of its status could result in this species being downlisted.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Distribution and population
Aplonis mystacea has a scattered range across New Guinea (Papua, formerly Irian Jaya, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea) but is easily overlooked and may prove to be more widespread (Beehler et al. 1986, Coates 1990, Burrows 1993, Beehler and Bino 1995). It is a generally scarce and probably nomadic.

Population justification
This is a poorly known species and no population estimates are available.

Trend justification
There are no data on population trends; however, the species is suspected to be declining slowly, owing to habitat loss and hunting.

It is a species of lowland forest, usually in riverine or alluvial lowlands, but also occurs in the hills to 580 m (Beehler and Bino 1995).

This species may have a naturally small and scattered population threatened locally by logging and hunting. The one known breeding colony (of c.200 birds) was in a single large tree in a sparsely populated area, which was cut down in order to eat the eggs and chicks (Safford 1996).

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Regularly monitor the population at selected sites. Attempt to study movement patterns of individuals to better understand movements and habitat requirements. Protect significant areas of primary riverine and alluvial lowland forest, both at sites where it is known to occur, and more extensively within its known range. Research its tolerance of logged and degraded forest. Raise awareness of the scarcity of this species locally and find ways to prevent the felling of nesting trees.

Beehler, B. M.; Bino, R. 1995. Yellow-eyed Starling Aplonis mystacea in Central Province, Papua New Guinea. Emu 95: 68-70.

Beehler, B. M.; Pratt, T. K.; Zimmerman, D. A. 1986. Birds of New Guinea. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Burrows, I. 1993. Some notes on the birds seen in the Turama river area, Gulf Province. Muruk 6(1): 28-32.

Coates, B. J. 1990. The birds of Papua New Guinea, 2: passerines. Dove, Alderley, Australia.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Safford, R. 1996. A nesting colony of Yellow-eyed Starlings Aplonis mystacea. Emu 96: 140-142.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Derhé, M., Dutson, G., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Aplonis mystacea. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Sturnidae (Starlings)
Species name author (Ogilvie-Grant, 1911)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 141,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species