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Common Starling | Sturnus vulgaris

The Common Starling is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Sturnidae bird family group which includes birds such as Starlings, Mynans, Oxpeckers.

The description for the Common Starling (Latin name Sturnus vulgaris) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Sturnus vulgaris can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 757 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 971. You will find a picture of the Common Starling on page 976.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

This bird is known as Eurasian Starling in the Roberts 6th Edition.

The Common Starling has a height of 22 cms and weighs around 75 gms. The head is coloured black while the bill is coloured yellow. The Sturnus vulgaris has a black coloured throat, red legs and a black coloured back. The eyes are brown.

The male Sturnus vulgaris has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is black

Eyes are brown

Bill is yellow

Legs are red

Throat is black

Back is black

Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Common Starling strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

The bird also drinks nectar from flowers high up in the tree canopy.

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Common Starling is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 6 eggs and they are coloured blue.

The bird builds its nest within a tree cavity just a few meters above the ground. The hole in the tree is normally reused in the next nesting season.

The bird builts its nest in a hole in the ground.

The bird is an urban dweller as well, being at home in parks, gardens and in old vacated buildings

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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