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Jerdon's Starling

Scientific Classification

Common Name
Jerdon's starling, vinous-breasted starling
Genus Species
Sturnus burmannicus

Fast Facts

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
Clutch Size
3–5 eggs
Fledging Duration
Approximately 3 weeks
Life Span
12–14 years
Southeast Asia
Inhabits forests, savannahs, and grasslands
Global: Unknown
IUCN: Not listed
CITES: Not listed
USFWS: Not listed

Fun Facts

  1. In some regions, starlings are also referred to as grackles.
  2. Starlings live in small family groups of 3–12 members and are very noisy.
  3. Starlings live mainly on insects, termites being a favorite. They catch the termites by opening their ground tunnels with rapid flicks of their bill.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.


Austin, G. Birds of the World. Golden Press, Inc., New York. 1961.

Gotch, A.F. Birds - Their Latin Names Explained. Poole, Dorst: Blandford Press, 1981.

Perrins, C. Birds: Their Life, Their Ways, Their World. New York: The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. 1979.

Perrins, C. M. and A. L.A. Middleton, eds. The Encyclopedia of Birds. New York: Facts on File Pub. 1985.

Perrins, C. M. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Birds: The Definitive Reference to Birds of the World. New York: Prentice Hall Press. 1990.