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European Starling
European Starling
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Sturnidae
Rafinesque, 1815
Fregilupus (extinct)
Necropsar (extinct)

See also: Oxpecker

Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds in the family Sturnidae. Starlings occur naturally only in the Old World (Europe, Asia and Africa), some forms as far east as Australia, but several European and Asian species have been introduced to North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

They are medium-sized passerines with strong feet. Their flight is strong and direct, and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country, and they eat insects and fruit. Several species live around habitation, and are effectively omnivores. Many species search for food by opening the bill after probing it into dense vegetation; this behavior is called "open-bill probing" or is referred to by the German word "zirkeln."

Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen. Most species nest in holes, laying blue or white eggs.

Many Asian species, particularly the larger ones, are called mynas, and the members of the African genus Lamprotornis are known as glossy starlings because of their iridescent plumage. The two species of Buphagus are called oxpeckers.

European Starlings introduced to North America have been a factor in reducing native cavity nesting bird populations (such as Bluebirds and Red-headed Woodpeckers) by competing aggressively for nesting cavities.

Starlings were first brought to North America in the 1890s. Eugene Schieffelin decided that North America should contain all the birds mentioned in William Shakespeare's plays. As starlings receive a brief mention in Henry IV, Part 1, Schieffelin introduced 60 of the birds in Central Park, New York.

Starlings have diverse and complex vocalizations, and have been known to imbed sounds from their surroundings into their own calls, including car alarms, and human speech patterns. The birds can recognize particular individuals by their calls, and are currently the subject of research into the evolution of human language[1].

Species list

  • Genus Aplonis
    • Metallic Starling, Aplonis metallica
      Yellow-eyed Starling, Aplonis mystacea
      Singing Starling, Aplonis cantoroides
      Tanimbar Starling, Aplonis crassa
      Atoll Starling, Aplonis feadensis
      Rennell Starling, Aplonis insularis
      Long-tailed Starling, Aplonis magna
      White-eyed Starling, Aplonis brunneicapillus
      Brown-winged Starling, Aplonis grandis
      San Cristobal Starling, Aplonis dichroa
      Rusty-winged Starling, Aplonis zelandica
      Striated Starling, Aplonis striata
      Norfolk Starling, Aplonis fusca (extinct, c.1923)
      Mountain Starling, Aplonis santovestris
      Asian Glossy Starling, Aplonis panayensis
      Moluccan Starling, Aplonis mysolensis
      Short-tailed Starling, Aplonis minor
      Micronesian Starling, Aplonis opaca
      Pohnpei Starling, Aplonis pelzelni (possibly extinct, c.2000)
      Polynesian Starling, Aplonis tabuensis
      Samoan Starling, Aplonis atrifusca
      Kosrae Island Starling, Aplonis corvina (extinct, mid-19th century)
      Mysterious Starling, Aplonis mavornata (extinct, mid-19th century)
      Rarotonga Starling, Aplonis cinerascens
      Huahine Starling, Aplonis diluvialis (prehistoric)
      Bay Starling, Aplonis ulietensis (extinct, 1774 to 1850; formerly considered a thrush)
  • Genus Mino
    • Yellow-faced Myna, Mino dumontii
      Golden Myna, Mino anais
      Long-tailed Myna, Mino kreffti
  • Genus Basilornis
    • Sulawesi Myna, Basilornis celebensis
      Helmeted Myna, Basilornis galeatus
      Long-crested Myna, Basilornis corythaix
      Apo Myna, Basilornis mirandus
  • Genus Sarcops
    • Coleto, Sarcops calvus
  • Genus Streptocitta
    • White-necked Myna, Streptocitta albicollis
      Bare-eyed Myna, Streptocitta albertinae
  • Genus Enodes
    • Fiery-browed Myna, Enodes erythrophris
  • Genus Scissirostrum
    • Finch-billed Myna, Scissirostrum dubium
  • Genus Saroglossa
    • Spot-winged Starling, Saroglossa spiloptera
      Madagascar Starling, Saroglossa aurata
  • Genus Ampeliceps
    • Golden-crested Myna, Ampeliceps coronatus
Hill Mynah
Hill Mynah
  • Genus Gracula
    • Common Hill Myna, Gracula religiosa
      Southern Hill Myna, Gracula indica
      Enggano Myna, Gracula enganensis
      Nias Myna, Gracula robusta
      Sri Lanka Myna, Gracula ptilogenys
  • Genus Acridotheres
    • White-vented Myna, Acridotheres grandis
      Crested Myna, Acridotheres cristatellus
      Javan Myna, Acridotheres javanicus
      Pale-bellied Myna, Acridotheres cinereus
      Jungle Myna, Acridotheres fuscus
      Collared Myna, Acridotheres albocinctus
      Bank Myna, Acridotheres ginginianus
      Common Myna, Acridotheres tristis
  • Genus Leucopsar
    • Bali Myna, Leucopsar rothschildi
  • Genus Sturnia (often included in Sturnus)
    • Daurian Starling, Sturnia sturnina
      Chestnut-cheeked Starling, Sturnia philippensis
      White-shouldered Starling, Sturnia sinensis
      Chestnut-tailed Starling, Sturnia malabarica
      White-headed Starling, Sturnia erythropygia
  • Genus Sturnus
    • White-faced Starling, Sturnus albofrontatus (sometimes named S. senex)
      Brahminy Starling, Sturnus pagodarum
      Vinous-breasted Starling, Sturnus burmannicus (sometimes separated in Gracupica)
      Black-collared Starling, Sturnus nigricollis (sometimes separated in Gracupica)
      Asian Pied Starling, Sturnus contra (sometimes placed in Acridotheres)
      Black-winged Starling, Sturnus melanopterus (sometimes placed in Acridotheres)
      Rosy Starling, Sturnus roseus
      Red-billed Starling, Sturnus sericeus
      White-cheeked Starling, Sturnus cineraceus
      European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
      Spotless Starling, Sturnus unicolor
  • Genus Creatophora
    • Wattled Starling, Creatophora cinerea
  • Genus Fregilupus
    • Réunion Starling, Fregilupus varius (extinct, 1850s)
  • Genus Necropsar
    • Rodrigues Starling, Necropsar rodericanus (extinct, late 18th century?)
The supposed N. leguati was determined to be in reality a mislabelled albino specimen of the Martinique Trembler (Cinclocerthia gutturalis).
  • Genus Coccycolius
    • Emerald Starling, Coccycolius iris (sometimes placed in Lamprotornis)
Cape Glossy Starling (Lamprotornis nitens)
Cape Glossy Starling (Lamprotornis nitens)
  • Genus Lamprotornis
    • Cape Glossy Starling, Lamprotornis nitens
      Greater Blue-eared Glossy Starling, Lamprotornis chalybaeus
      Lesser Blue-eared Glossy Starling, Lamprotornis chloropterus
      Southern Blue-eared Glossy-starling, Lamprotornis elisabeth
      Bronze-tailed Glossy Starling, Lamprotornis chalcurus
      Splendid Glossy Starling, Lamprotornis splendidus
      Principe Glossy Starling, Lamprotornis ornatus
      Purple Glossy Starling, Lamprotornis purpureus
      Rueppell's Glossy Starling, Lamprotornis purpuroptera
      Long-tailed Glossy Starling, Lamprotornis caudatus
      Meves' Glossy Starling, Lamprotornis mevesii
      Burchell's Glossy Starling, Lamprotornis australis
      Sharp-tailed Glossy Starling, Lamprotornis acuticaudus
      Black-bellied Glossy Starling, Lamprotornis corruscus
      Superb Starling, Lamprotornis superbus
      Hildebrandt's Starling, Lamprotornis hildebrandti
      Shelley's Starling, Lamprotornis shelleyi
      Chestnut-bellied Starling, Lamprotornis pulcher
      Purple-headed Glossy Starling, Lamprotornis purpureiceps
      Copper-tailed Glossy Starling, Lamprotornis cupreocauda
  • Genus Cinnyricinclus
    • Violet-backed Starling, Cinnyricinclus leucogaster
      Sharpe's Starling, Cinnyricinclus sharpii (sometimes separated in Pholia)
      Abbott's Starling, Cinnyricinclus femoralis (sometimes separated in Pholia)
  • Genus Spreo
    • African Pied Starling, Spreo bicolor
      Fischer's Starling, Spreo fischeri
      White-crowned Starling, Spreo albicapillus
  • Genus Compsarus
    • Golden-breasted Starling, Compsarus regius (sometimes placed in Lamprotornis)
      Ashy Starling, Compsarus unicolor (sometimes placed in Spreo)
  • Genus Onychognathus
    • Red-winged Starling, Onychognathus morio
      Slender-billed Starling, Onychognathus tenuirostris
      Chestnut-winged Starling, Onychognathus fulgidus
      Waller's Starling, Onychognathus walleri
      Somali Starling, Onychognathus blythii
      Socotra Starling, Onychognathus frater
      Tristram's Starling, Onychognathus tristramii
      Pale-winged Starling, Onychognathus nabouroup
      Bristle-crowned Starling, Onychognathus salvadorii
      White-billed Starling, Onychognathus albirostris
      Neumann's Starling, Onychognathus neumanni
  • Genus Poeoptera
    • Narrow-tailed Starling, Poeoptera lugubris
      Stuhlmann's Starling, Poeoptera stuhlmanni
      Kenrick's Starling, Poeoptera kenricki
  • Genus Grafisia
    • White-collared Starling, Grafisia torquata
  • Genus Speculipastor
    • Magpie Starling, Speculipastor bicolor
  • Genus Neocichla
    • Babbling Starling, Neocichla gutturalis
  • Genus Buphagus
    • Red-billed Oxpecker, Buphagus erythrorhynchus
      Yellow-billed Oxpecker, Buphagus africanus

External links

  • Starling videos on the Internet Bird Collection
  • [2] a huge flock of starlings enjoys playing with two resilient trees.

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