Asian Pied Starling    Gracupica  contra

Etymology :

  • Gracupica : Latin word graculus – jackdaw; pica –
  • Contra : Distortion of Assamese nameKankurika

Vernacular Names :Hindi: Ablak/Ablakimyna, Sans: Bharat shabalsaarika, Pun: Dabbimaina, Bi: Sirolimyna, Ben: Guyesalik, Ass: Kankuriha, Mani: Chong nga, Burmese: Zayet, Guj: Kabarikabar, Mar: Hudi/ Kavdimyna, Ori: Ghubani, Te: Venda gorinka, Battagorinka

Distribution inIndia: Widespread resident in Central, North and East of India

Description: Size of 22-23 cm .The nominate race has forehead and cheek area  as white, rest of head to neck and down to upper breast are black, some iridescence on hind crown, nape and throat; some neck and nape feathers have white shafts and greyish webs, producing faint streaking. The mantle and scapulars are blackish with sepia-brown tinge, white line along edge of scapulars, back is blackish, rump is white. The wing is black, outer lesser coverts and inner median coverts are white; tail is black; lower breast, belly and under tail-coverts are greyish-white; iris is brownish-orange, bare skin around eye is orange; bill is red, light horn-coloured or yellow tip; legs yellowish-brown. Both the sexes are similar.

Habitat: It is found in open areas with scattered trees and wet ground, often near cultivated areas and human habitation; sewage farms and refuse tips.

Food Habits:  It has an omnivorous diet that includes animal food, fruit, nectar and flowers, and seeds. Fruits eaten are figs (and lantana Fruit. Nectar is taken from Bombax and Erythrina, flower parts of Butea and Grevillea eaten; cereal grains, including wheat, consumed. Animal food includes frogs, worms, snails, spiders, ticks, grasshoppers, crickets and caterpillars. It forages predominantly on the ground, in marshy grassland, on lawns and fields; follows cattle to catch insects disturbed by them, also follows plough on fields. It is found  usually in pairs or in small parties.

Breeding Habits: They breed in Feb-May in Southern Parts of India. They are Monogamous. The nest is built by both sexes in 11–22 days. Nest is a large domed structure with entrance hole on one side, made from twigs, grass stems, rootlets, palm leaves and feathers, also artificial materials such as plastic and plastic bags, wool, string, clothing fragments, cellophane and wire, inner chamber lined with finer material; placed on a tall tree. They lay a clutch of 4–6 eggs .The incubation done mainly by female during day for a period of 14–15 days. The chicks are fed by both parents. The nestling period is 21–25 days.