Sunday Inspiration – Starlings, Mynas and Rhabdornis

Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) by Robert Scanlon

Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) by Robert Scanlon

I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. (Psalms 50:11 NKJV)

This weeks Sturnidae Family is rather large with 123 species presently. (Twenty-three are Mynas; three are Rhabdornis; one Coleto and the rest are Starlings.) Here in the U. S., when we think of a Starling it is a very the plain Common (European) Starling. Yet other Starlings are very colorful and beautiful creations from our Lord.

Golden-breasted Starling at NA

Golden-breasted Starling at National Aviary by Lee

The name “Sturnidae” comes from the Latin word for starling, sturnus. Many Asian species, particularly the larger ones, are called mynas, and many African species are known as glossy starlings because of their iridescent plumage. Starlings are native to the Old World, from Europe, Asia and Africa, to northern Australia and the islands of the tropical Pacific. Several European and Asian species have been introduced to these areas as well as North America, Hawaii and New Zealand, where they generally compete for habitats with native birds and are considered to be invasive species. The starling species familiar to most people in Europe and North America is the common starling, and throughout much of Asia and the Pacific, the common myna is indeed common.

Bali Myna (Leucopsar rothschildi Palm Beach Zoo by Lee

Bali Myna (Leucopsar rothschildi Palm Beach Zoo by Lee

Starlings have 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 human habitation and are effectively omnivores. Many species search for prey such as grubs by “open-bill probing”, that is, forcefully opening the bill after inserting it into a crevice, thus expanding the hole and exposing the prey; this behaviour is referred to by the German verb zirkeln (pronounced [ˈtsɪʁkəln]).

Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) Eggs ©WikiC

Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) Eggs ©WikiC

Plumage of many species is typically dark with a metallic sheen. Most species nest in holes and lay blue or white eggs.

Metallic Starling (Aplonis metallica) by Ian

Metallic Starling (Aplonis metallica) by Ian

Starlings have diverse and complex vocalizations and have been known to embed 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.

Stripe-headed Rhabdornis (Rhabdornis mystacalis) ©©

Stripe-headed Rhabdornis (Rhabdornis mystacalis) ©©

James J. S. Johnson just wrote about the murmuration of the Starlings in Choreographed Choir on the Wing: Birds of a Feather Flock Together. “The starlings are generally a highly social family. Most species associate in flocks of varying sizes throughout the year. A flock of starlings is called a murmuration. These flocks may include other species of starlings and sometimes species from other families. This sociality is particularly evident in their roosting behavior; in the non-breeding season some roosts can number in the thousands of birds.” (Most information from Wikipedia)

Starling Murmuration

Starling Murmuration

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Many of the family members in random order:

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“Once Upon A Tree” ~ Choir – and – “Sing To Jesus” ~ Angel Long & Jessie Padgett

More Sunday Inspirations

Sturnidae – Starlings, Rhabdornis

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Metallic Starling

Starling – Wikipedia

Wages or a Gift

 

3 thoughts on “Sunday Inspiration – Starlings, Mynas and Rhabdornis

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