Sturnidae - Starlings
Many members of the starling family are noisy and gregarious and several live in close proximity to man and may even be serious agricultural pests; on the other hand, some are critically endangered. Starlings are small to medium-sized birds usually with a robust, sharp beak and strong legs and feet; they often prefer walking or running to hopping. Their diet is catholic and they are often extremely adaptable. This may be why some species are so successful, with populations numbering in the tens of millions, or in the case of the European Starling, hundreds of millions. This is in marked contrast to some species, threatened by habitat destruction and the bird trade, whose populations are treatened with extinction, such as that of the beautiful Bali Myna.
Most species are hole nesters, with the male mating with two (occasionally more) females; while he helps with incubation, he rarely feeds the chicks. In the non-breeding seasons, starlings will often gather in huge roosts - the sight of a large roosting flock (which can number a million birds or more) swirling around a building or small wood at dusk is truly awe-inspiring.
Regularly Occurring Species
Counting birds and the Wetland Bird Survey (Wednesday 22 September, 10am)
This course involves one online session of about 1 hour 45 minutes, with a trainer:participant ratio of about 1:30. Participants' microphones are muted during the presentations but there is a large interactive component...