2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Birds

European Starling
European Starling
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Sturnidae
Rafinesque, 1815

Fregilupus ( extinct)
Necropsar ( extinct)
See also: Myna, 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 behaviour 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 .

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
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