The Black-winged Starling is critically endangered with a rapid decline in the last 13 years with less than 50 mature birds remaining in the wild. Some of the last significant populations can be found in Baluran and Bali Barat National Parks
The Black-winged Starling is a small bird and measures about 23cm
The weight and the lifespan of the black-winged starling are unknown.
The Black-winged Starling is endemic to Indonesia.
The species are also known as the black-winged myna or the white-breasted starling. They recognise three subspecies: the nominate race across most of the island of Java, the tricolour which is restricted to south east Java and tertius which is found on Bali.
The Black-winged Starling has striking black and white plumage. They have black wings with a white wing patch and a black tail with white tips. There are no feathers around the eye and the bare skin around the eye is yellow. They have a yellow-orange bill. There are no obvious differences between the males and the females. The offspring are grey from their crown to their backs.
They form communal roosts in trees at night. The Black-winged Starling appears to be monogamous. Their breeding season is seasonally and varies from location to location. Birds in west Java breeds from March to May and birds in east Bali breeds in June. They nest in a twig lined rock or tree hole and they lay 3 – 4 eggs. The birds fly to their foraging at dawn and are known to eat from the backs of buffalo. They have a high pitched flight call.
They feed on fruit, nectar and insects and they forage in pairs or in small flocks in the trees or on the ground.
The Black-winged Starling prefers tropical dry forests, tropical dry or moist shrub land, pastures and grasslands at low elevations.
The Black-winged Starling was once found abundantly in Indonesia and at some stage was seen as a threat to the Bali Myna. The loss of habitat and illegal poaching for the songbird trade however placed the Black-winged Starling at the point of near extinction. The Black-winged Starling is very popular amongst collectors as a caged bird and they trade at very high prices.
More efforts are needed to end the illegal trade of this species and to enforce national legislation. A non-governmental organisation, The Cikananga Conservation Breeding Centre (CCBC), part of the Cikananga Wildlife Rescue Centre (PPSC) aims to rescue, protect and reintroduce critically endangered species. They want to reintroduce the Black-winged Starling in the wild when the captive population has reached a suitable number and genetic diversity.