Birds – The starlings Family

Birds – The starlings Family

The starlings Family

The starlings Family

In this article we will see: “The starlings Family”, birds, diverse and captivating, grace our skies with their melodies. From vibrant plumage to impressive flights, they captivate with endless wonders.

Birds – The starlings Family

Brief Background of: The starlings Family

The starlings Family, known as Sturnidae, includes starlings, mynas, roselins, oxpeckers, and other species ranging in length from 17 to 42 cm. They have fairly long, slender, straight beaks that are slightly curved, except for oxpeckers, which have thick and short mandibles. With the exception of species like roselins that have well-developed rectrices (tail feathers), their tails are often short and square.

They have robust legs and are adept walkers. Most starlings are black or predominantly dark in color, with their plumage illuminated by metallic or oily reflections. However, some species stand out within the group with their partial plumage of gray, red, pink, and even yellow. Additionally, some species have tufts and bare skin caruncles.

Appearance and Behaviour

Their flight is fast, direct, and sustained by rapid wingbeats interspersed with brief glides. Migratory starlings are capable of covering long distances, including over seas.

Within the diverse order of passerines, starlings hold a unique position. They are highly intelligent, resourceful, lively, and adept at making the most of any situation, which is why taxonomists rightfully place them just ahead of corvids, another group of birds known for their intelligence despite their less appealing aesthetics. Imaginative and adaptable, starlings are skilled problem solvers and improvisers, able to overcome difficulties.

This adaptability has contributed to the remarkable success and widespread distribution of certain species, particularly starlings. Starlings are also known for their vocal abilities, with each species having its own distinct and original song, often incorporating numerous imitations. Mynas, in particular, are renowned champions of imitation.

Food

As perching birds par excellence, starlings inhabit forests of varying sizes, both temperate and tropical. They primarily feed on insects, which they capture in branches, on the ground, or even on the backs of large African mammals. Many starlings also consume worms, berries, fruits, and some are even perfect omnivores.

Reproduction

Being naturally gregarious, starlings may nest individually or form scattered associations or colonies. They typically nest inside cavities, with trees being the most commonly used natural element. However, European starlings readily adopt artificial nest boxes, and they may also nest high up in the eaves of a water tower, on cliffs, or even in a rabbit burrow.

The nest cavity is lined with straw, grass, leaves, and moss, and the nest cup is isolated with feathers. Clutches consist of 3 to 5 white, green, or pale blue eggs. The incubation period lasts between 12 and 17 days. The young are provisioned by both adults. Some highly prolific species like the common starling have multiple broods per year, coupled with the relative inaccessibility of their nests to predators, ensuring a high level of reproduction.

Individuals breeding in northern regions are migratory. The Sturnidae family is represented by 107 species, mostly concentrated in tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and Polynesia. There is only one species in Australia and America, with the European starling being introduced to the United States at the end of the last century. Three species breed in Europe: the common starling, spotless starling, and roselin.

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A final word

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