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Jerdon's starling, vinous-breasted starling
The Jerdon's starling is a small bird with a light head, a yellow bill, a dark stripe through each eye, and a reddish breast. It has black back, wing and tail feathers with distinctive whitish markings on the edges of the wings.
30-37.5 cm (12-15 in.); wingspan 11.5-13 cm (4.6-5.6 in.)
Mostly feeds on insects and berries
Approximately 14 days
Approximately 3 weeks
Inhabits forests, savannahs, and grasslands
In some regions, starlings are also referred to as grackles.
Starlings live in small family groups of 3-12 members and are very noisy.
Starlings live mainly on insects, termites being a favorite. They catch the termites by opening their ground tunnels with rapid flicks of their bill.
Starlings use their beak to pry open small crevices in a unique way. They first insert their beak, open it, then they peer between the upper and lower mandibles into the space for food.
Starlings are excellent mimics, but also have a variety of croaks, whistles, and hisses. Scientists believe mimicking other bird songs is an extension of singing ones own species song. Singing is a way to communicate territory to other nearby males. If the starling is able to successfully mimic the territory song of other species, it may well keep those males out as well.
ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION
Starlings were first introduced to the U.S. in the 1800s. Only 100 were released, but today more than 200 million are live here. Consequently, they compete with native bird species for nesting sites.
Starlings are also a food source for predators.
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