Information

Wildlife in Italy: Starling Sturnus vulgaris

Wildlife in Italy: Starling Sturnus vulgaris

Systematic classification and distribution

Class: Birds
Order: Passeriformi
Family: Sturnidi
Kind: Sturnus
Species: S. vulgaris

Species of passerine native to Eurasia and northern Africa, it was also introduced by man in North America and Australia where it easily settled.
Habitat: cultivated regions, villages, cities. During the nesting period, it prefers places where there is the possibility of finding cavities to build the nest, while for the rest of the year it adapts to different types of habitats, from open fields to freshwater marshes.

Starling - Sturnus vulgaris L. (photo http://jrscience.wcp.muohio.edu)

Starlings (photo http://toscana-notizie.it)

Distinctive characters

Total length: 20-23 cm
Wingspan: 35-40 cm
Weight: 70-90 grams

During the summer, adults have black plumage with green and violet reflections, visible above all on the head and chest. The beak is pointed, yellow and slightly curved, the legs are reddish. The tail is short, barely extending beyond the tips of the closed wings. The winter plumage is black with the tips of the light colored feathers, which give a white dotted appearance; the beak is dark brown. The juveniles, on the other hand, have gray - brown feathers, a whitish throat and a dark beak. The only distinctive trait between the sexes is a spot located at the base of the beak: it is bluish in males, reddish in females.
(More information www.istitutoveneto.it)

Biology

It loves to nest high places, even up to 15 meters, on houses, among trees, on cliffs, it adapts to nest on the ground if it does not find cavities. Breeding season generally starts in spring and ends in early summer. European starlings usually go through three breeding periods, and the result of each is a brood, the first of which occurs simultaneously with other starlings that are in the same area. The last brood occurs about 50 days after the first. The female lays 4 - 5 light-colored eggs, and hatching them partly helped by the male for at least 12 days. The first eggs hatch at the beginning of April, and the young ones reach maturity in July. The young leave the nest at about 21 days of age, after which they form small flocks. As the summer progresses, the flocks increase in number until they reach hundreds or even thousands of individuals. In the evening they gather together from places even miles away to spend the night.
Omnivorous bird, it feeds on insects, seeds, invertebrates, vertebrates, plants, fruits. The starling feeds its young exclusively with insects.


Video: Sturnus Vulgaris: A Second Look (January 2022).