Birds of Seabrook Island

COAST BIRDS
  Contents
  Index
WORLD BIRDS
  Contents
  Index

ANECDOTES

  European Starling
 
 

BACK - NEXT

 

Species Acct.
Loons
Grebes
Procellarids
Pelicans
Herons
Ibises
Storks
Vultures
Flamingos
Waterfowl
Raptors
Turkeys
Quail
Rails
Limpkin
Cranes
Shorebirds
Gulls
Terns
Auks
Doves
Parrots
Cuckoos
Owls
Goatsuckers
Swifts
Hummers
Kingfishers
Woodpckrs
Flycatchers
Shrikes
Vireos
Crows/Jays
Larks
Swallows
Tits
Nuthatches
Creepers
Wrens
Kinglets
Gnatcatchers
Thrushes
Mimids
Starlings
Pipits
Waxwings
NW Warblers
Tanagers
NWSparrows
Cardinalines
Icterids
Finches
OWSparrows

TOP

     
View More Pictures
  Order Passeriformes
   Suborder Passeres - Oscines (Song Birds)
      Parvorder Passerida (Superfamily Muscicapoidea)
         Family Sturnidae - Starlings

  Passerines are generally smaller than non-passerines. They have a perching foot with three toes directed forward and the one backward with locking tendons to facilitate perching when their tendons are flexed. All passerines scratch by bringing the foot over the wing. Incubation ranges from 11 -21 days. Young hatch blind with little or no down and spend 10-15 days or so in the nest - development is rapid and parents provide care beyond fledging.
Oscines are passerines with complex syringeal musculature used to produce varied vocalizations. 
Muscicapids include waxwings, dippers, thrushes, Old World flycatchers, starlings, and mimids.
Starlings are small to medium-sized birds of the Old World with stout legs and a characteristic walking gait. Several species have been widely introduced to North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Many species feed by opening the bill after probing into vegetation. Their plumage is often dark with a metallic sheen. Most are hole nesters. Larger sturnids are known as mynas
     
     
  □ European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
 
    Cornell     USGS     WIki     EoL
        YEAR ROUND - Common, breeds? / Common
            HUMAN-DISTURBED HABITATS (avoids natural areas such as forest, grassland, and
                deserts) / PASTURES, EQUESTRIAN CENTER
MORE PICTURES
 
   The European Starling is a dumpy bird with a short, square tail, triangular wings, and a straight pointed bill. The adult non-breeding bird is iridescent and heavily spotted with light marks over the back, upper wing coverts, and under-parts. As their plumage wears, the spots become less distinct and the belly becomes a greenish black to form the breeding plumage. The bill is yellow in breeders and the legs are orangish. Juveniles are a drab gray with a pale throat.
European Starling
     
European Starling. Palmetto Lake
   
  RANGE: The starling was introduced from Europe  in 1890-91 and now occurs in nearly all habitats inhabited by humans in North America. It ranges from Labrador, around Hudson Bay and across the Arctic to central Alaska, then south through Baja and into northern Mexico, east along the Gulf, Florida, and north up the Atlantic. In winter they move south, often in large flocks. Most withdraw from Canada and winter in the US.
  BREEDING: Monogamous. Two (3) broods. They nest in any cavity, often on/in buildings. The male begins the nest and the female completes it. It is a loose cup of twigs, roots, grass, with a lining added by the female. She lays 4-6 (4-7) eggs which she incubates (with some help) for 12-14 days. Young are altricial and fledge after 18-21 days. Both parents care for the young. They may nest in loose colonies. They are occasionally polygynous and females may lay in other females nests (brood parasitism). They are important competitors of all hole nesters - woodpeckers, bluebirds, etc.
  DIET: Their diet includes insects, fruit, seeds, berries, and other invertebrates - refuse from human activities. They forage on the ground, often probing into the soil with their bill. They may catch flying insects. They often forage in flocks (mixed flocks with icterids in winter).
  VOICE: Their song is a series of rattling, harsh notes with some slurred whistles, a mushy, hissing, chatter with sliding whistles. It may include elements of other birds calls (mimicry).
   Non-breeding birds gather in large flocks, often with cowbirds, grackles, red-wings, even robins. Their takeoff and simultaneous defecations may fertilize a large area.
  NOTES:
   Checklists -
      Seabrook (breeds). Kiawah - common year round (breeds). Edisto - resident
      Coastal - common permanent resident. Hilton Head - common permanent resident.
        Cape Romain - uncommon/occasional (breeds)/uncommon/uncommon. Huntington Beach - common, year round.
      Caw Caw - fairly common year-round. ACE - rare year-round, breeds.
   CBC: ACE 3, 10, 9, 16, 5, 4, 18, 50; Charleston 84, 151, 43, 59, 71, 112, 100, 85, 44;
            St Helena/Fripp x, x, x, x, x, x, 142, 18; Hilton Head 710, 160, 468, 243, 74, 452, 198, 1665;
               Sun City/Okatie 89, 137, 609, 16, 627, 100, 50, 31;
            McClellanville 47, 33, 6, 16, nc, 40, 1, 25; Winyah Bay x, x, 135, 95, 05, 210, 47, 32;
               Litchfield/Pawley's 1184, 548, 593, 880, 1562, 519, 644, 79.
   SCBBA: All counties.
   P&G: Abundant resident. First recorded in Spartanburg in 1928, reaching the coast by 1924. Egg Dates: 26 March - 29 May. 1.3 M birds recorded at Clemson, 2 January 1961.
   Avendex: No reports.
   Potter: 60 European Starlings were released in central Park in March 1890. By the 1920s, they were breeding in  the Carolinas. Today they are found coast-to-coast. In the fall, they form huge flocks, often roosting with native blackbirds.
  ●  On Seabrook, we don't see large migratory flocks but starlings are common year round in our pastures and around the Equestrian Center. They are more numerous in winter when they feed in mixed flocks with Red-winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and Boat-tailed Grackles (plus Fish Crows).
       
    Banner - European Starling. Equestrian Center.
       
NEXT
 

KEY:    ■ Seabrook list     □ Kiawah list