Såli: Still seen at Cocos and Andersen

Scientific Name: Aplonis opaca guami (Family STURNIDAE)

Common Name: Micronesian Starling

CHamoru Name: Såli

Habitat and Natural History: It lives in many habitats from seacoast limestone cliff faces to forested mountain tops and on atolls. Generally the Såli lives in groups. It is a cavity nester. A pair lays up to four eggs and both parents incubate the eggs. They are omnivorous, feeding on seeds, fruit and insects.

Description: Glossy black with a short tail and yellow eye as an adult, the Såli is about nine inches or 23 centimeters long.

Range: The Micronesian Starling is widely distributed in Micronesia ranging through Palau; Yap; Guam; the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan, Tinian and Rota); Chuuk; Pohnpei; and Kosrae.

Current Status: Historically on Guam the Såli was found throughout the island. It is presently restricted to Cocos Island in southern Guam and to the military housing area of Andersen Air Force Base in Northern Guam. The numbers are greatly reduced. Small populations can potentially be found in pockets in Yigo, Dededo, Tumon, Tamuning, and Hagåtña.

Threats: The most serious threat to the Såli is habitat destruction and predation by the introduced brown treesnake. The Government of Guam considers the Såli to be an endangered species.

By Gretchen R. Grimm, MS