Starlings

Starlings

belong to the Palaearctic genus (Palaearctic region, being a biogeographical region, originated in the Paleogene epoch and covers Europe, part of Asia and North Africa) of songbirds from the family of the starling.

The family of the starling includes more than one hundred species, which are divided into 25-32 genus. The family includes representatives of small singing passerines. The species of the starlings includes about ten species of birds. For the representatives of all these species medium sizes are characteristic, as well as a similar way of life and coloring of the plumage. The beak of the starlings can be characterized as straight, long and strong. The tip of the beak of these birds is slightly flattened. Starlings have a straight short tail. Wings are sharp.

In Russia, the common starling (shpak) is very common. Currently, the habitat of this bird is expanding. An ordinary starling occurs only in flat areas, it does not rise high into the mountains. Shpak is endowed with a wide range of sounds. Ordinary starlings can imitate the singing of other birds, as well as reproduce many other sounds.

Starlings

An ordinary starling is a migrating bird. The degree of migration (at least in Europe) depends on climatic conditions; The distance from the nest place to the place of wintering of bottles can reach two thousand kilometers. Young birds go on hibernation often in the middle of June, whereas most ordinary starlings gather in the way only by the middle of October.

The beginning of the mating season for ordinary starlings falls on early spring. If the pouches migrate, the mating season begins immediately after their arrival from the wintering grounds. The number of eggs in the masonry usually varies from four to six pieces. Nestlings of ordinary starlings are born completely helpless and in the first days of their life do not create any noise.

Starlings are omnivorous birds, that is, these birds consume both food of vegetable and animal origin. Settlements of ordinary starlings consist of small colonies of birds that have strayed into a flock of flocks. A. Shapoval and V.Paevsky, having carried out the corresponding studies, recorded that the average lifespan of the pads in their natural habitat conditions reaches twelve years.

Relatives of an ordinary starling are pink starlings. The presence of water nearby is a prerequisite for nesting a pink starling.

The gray starling is also a songbird from the family of the starling. A gray starling is a schooling bird. He nests in colonies, but sleeps and feeds in groups. The diet of gray starlings includes both plant and animal food. True, with the availability of both, and other gray starlings still prefer food of animal origin.

In Russia, the most popular starling is known.

Its second name is a shpak. Mainly, the ordinary starling inhabits the territory of mixed and deciduous forests, but more often this bird can be seen in the cult landscape. The distribution area of ​​the shpak is constantly expanding due to man – this applies not only to those continents on which the ordinary starling dwells from ancient times, but also such continents as North America, Australia. The population of an ordinary starling in North America is now very numerous. Shpak is no surprise to New Zealand and South Africa. This bird can often be found on many oceanic islands, that is, those territories where the shpak had not previously inhabited. An ordinary starling has a wide distribution area. It is not limited to any one biogeographical region, on the contrary, it is distributed in all except the neotropical area, that is, in South and Central America. An ordinary starling occurs only in flat areas, it does not rise high into the mountains, although the shpak is very tolerant in the choice of habitat. Ordinary starling often arranges accommodation not far from farms in rural areas or in populated areas.Shpaka can often be seen in salt marshes, marshes or in coastal areas, as well as steppes and woodlands. Ordinary starlings in the plan of settlement avoid those places that are difficult for humans to access. During breeding, the shpak equips nests in the niches of buildings or tree hollows. At this time, the bottoms need in the sown fields as in the forage area.

Starlings

An ordinary starling is a small bird.

The length of the body varies from 18.7 to 21.2 centimeters. The wingspan, as a rule, almost reaches thirty-nine centimeters. Weight approximately equal to seventy-five grams. The neck of the shampo is short, and the body is quite massive. The ordinary starling is endowed with a long beak (unlike Thrush, the beak is not so powerful), which is slightly curved downwards. Almost the entire year the beak has a black color, which, nevertheless, changes to yellow color during the breeding season. The base of the wings of an ordinary thrush is wide, and their end is narrowed, the length of the wings is small. Tail short tail. Its length is just over six centimeters.

The female and the male are the same color.

The back of the neck, breasts and back have plumage black with a characteristic metallic luster. However, in some subspecies feathers may have bluish, violet, greenish or bronze hues. In winter, starlings wear off the tips of feathers. That is why the bodies of these birds become noticeable specks, which have a cream or white shades. The speckles have a larger size on the outer part of the wings and on the breast. Spring molting is the reason why the color of the starlings becomes monotonous-brown. In appearance, it is still possible to distinguish the female starling from the male. In males, the feathers on the breast are elongated. The female feathers on the breast are delicate and short. In addition, the male has a bluish-colored patch at the base of the beak. The females have reddish dots at the base of the beak.

An ordinary starling is endowed with a wide range of sounds.

The composition of this range includes creaks, whistles, rattles and other noises and even meowing. Shpacks can imitate the singing of other birds. Ordinary starlings, living in North America, easily reproduce the sounds of loud zuyk, eastern forest beer, virgin partridge, and eastern meadow tropial. Russian scientists have found that bottles can imitate larks, quails, varacus, swallows, Orioles, thrushes, jays, reed and other birds. Ordinary starlings can even reproduce the croaking of a frog. It is not uncommon for people who return from the south in the spring time to suddenly start singing the voices of subtropical birds. In Central Asia and Kazakhstan, starlings can also be expected to imitate the bleating of sheep and the click of a scourge. Naturalist writer M. Zverev, having chosen the starlings as the theme of his story, described how the shpak absolutely imitated the sounds that are printed when typing on a typewriter.

An ordinary starling is a migrating bird.

The degree of migration (at least in Europe) depends on climatic conditions. In addition, the propensity to migrate in an ordinary starling increases as it moves from west to east and to the north. For example, in Ireland and the UK, a sedentary lifestyle is typical for birds. In the Netherlands, only about twenty percent of birds remain for the winter. The rest of the winter is about five hundred kilometers from the place of birth – it could be Belgium, Northern France, England. In the Russian Federation, migratory birds are almost all starlings. The distance between the nesting site and winter flats can be from one to two thousand kilometers. Flocks of starlings flying to the nesting place can be very large. And this is not only a truly spectacular sight. Local population from such accumulations of birds experiences some inconvenience. For example, during the arrival of the starlings, the population of the city of Rome, as far as possible, tries not to appear on the street in the evening. At this time the rumble of the pads can completely drown out even the noise of the transport.As a rule, the bottles return to the nesting places in the early spring, that is, at a time when the ground is still covered with snow, and some individuals return home at the end of winter. And only in early May, the migration of ordinary starlings to the north of their natural range is completed. Interestingly, the fact that the first arrive males. And only a few days after them the females of an ordinary starling return. The beginning of autumn migration occurs at the beginning of autumn. This is the time of the end of the autumn molt. The peak of the autumn migration of an ordinary starling occurs in the middle of October. It was noted that young starlings go wintering before nesting individuals – it is often the beginning of July.

Ordinary starlings form large flocks.

Sometimes it is possible to look at this unusual picture. Ordinary starlings skillfully maneuver in the air. There are times when several thousand blades synchronously repeat the turns one after another, and then elegantly land on the surface with the whole flock. Naturally, in this case the birds scatter over a very large area. However, the populations of starlings consist of small colonies of birds that have strayed into a flock of flocks. The colony of ordinary starlings, as a rule, includes several pairs of these birds. On the night, the bottles are again collected in groups. A place for spending the night can be coastal areas that are densely covered with willow or reed, and at night you can see city parks and gardens.

Ordinary starlings guard their territories.

It’s only partly true. Shpak usually protect that small area, which is used for hatching and brood chicks. As a rule, the radius of this territory does not exceed ten meters. Feeding areas are not subject to protection by ordinary starlings; Feed the swabs away from their nest. As a fodder area can serve as crop areas, gardens and outskirts of villages, as well as the coast.

Starlings

Ordinary starlings are aggressive birds.

Not friend to each other, but to other species of birds. Ordinary starlings often compete with other birds for the nesting place. For example, in the United States of America, the starlings drove out from the historical places of the redwood woodpecker. Shpak well compete for places suitable for nesting in Europe. Here their competitors are green woodpeckers and cottages. Moving to other continents, people attempted to take with them and starlings. But some of the consequences of this were negative. This was due to the natural features of the starling, which quickly multiply and have a very aggressive nature. Therefore, those regions that starlings did not settle historically, these birds have become unwelcome guests – moreover, the shpaks inflicted significant damage to the berry and grain crops. It was already a matter of considerable economic damage. In Australia there is a staff of hunters who shoot starlings. It’s about the western part of the mainland. This is the territory where the pads have not settled until the end. By the way, it is here that hunters are kept on an ongoing basis. Huge accumulations of pockets at airports can threaten the safety of air traffic.

The beginning of the mating season for ordinary starlings falls on early spring.

If the pouches migrate, the mating season begins immediately after their arrival from the wintering grounds. The breeding season for shpaks living in the northern hemisphere lasts from late March to early July. The breeding season for shpak, inhabiting the southern hemisphere, lasts from September to December. The duration of the mating season is dependent on the availability of the food base and the natural and climatic conditions. Interesting is the fact that for Asian and European populations there are three stages of breeding in one breeding season. Each of these stages ends with the laying of eggs. The first clutch of eggs contains, as a rule, four to six eggs (rarely when their number reaches seven). The first masonry starts simultaneously at all surrounding pallets.By the time it falls at the beginning of the breeding season. The second laying of eggs is related to the fact that polypynia is characteristic for pads. The third laying begins forty-fifty days after the start of the first masonry. It is also synchronized in the entire population of the common starling. As already mentioned above, the number of eggs in the masonry usually varies from four to six pieces. They have a light blue color and are devoid of speckles. The size of the eggs of ordinary starlings is approximately thirty in length and twenty millimeters in width. The weight of one egg is on average six and a half grams. In hatching eggs, the female participates mainly. At this time, the male replaces it very rarely. The duration of the incubation period varies from eleven to thirteen days.

After wintering, the males of an ordinary starling arrive first.

After arrival, they immediately begin to search for a place where the nest will be equipped. In the role of the latter can be both a birdhouse and hollow, and it is quite possible and an opening in the wall of the house. After the place is chosen, the males are attached not far from it and begin to sing. This sound signal is intended to attract females, and also to show other males that this comfortable place is already occupied. A few days after the arrival of the males, the females return to their homeland. After this event, pairs begin to form and nests are built up. Leaves, tree branches, stems, rootlets, etc. “handy” materials are used by ordinary pads as a litter for the nest, and the construction involves both male and female. Since ordinary starlings are characterized by the presence of polygyny, the male sometimes takes care of several females. Moreover, males of pads can first fertilize one female, and then the second. This phenomenon is called a consistent polygyny. The number of polygynous males varies significantly in different populations. For example, in Belgium, these males of ordinary starlings were between 20% and 60%. In some areas of Germany, where similar studies were conducted in Belgium, at least 50% of polygynous male shpak were recorded.

Nestlings of ordinary starlings are born completely helpless.

In the first days of your life the chicks do not create any noise. That is why it is possible to learn about the fact that they exist only by the shell that fell out of the nest. Moreover, the chicks remain alone for a while in the nest. This is due to the fact that both parents are sent in search of food for them at the same time. However, basically it happens either in the morning or in the evening.

At the first time after the appearance of the chicks, the female and male feed them with soft food. Родители Tougher food (for example, snails, beetles, grasshoppers, large caterpillars, etc.), parents start giving their chicks as they grow. After twenty-one to twenty-three days, the chicks are already able to leave the nest. True, they spend about two days on providing their parents. It is interesting that parents use all sorts of tricks to lure their very frightened offspring from the nest. Such tricks include, for example, the fact that the female and the male are spinning in the immediate vicinity of the nest with food, trying to entice the chicks out.

Starlings are omnivorous birds.

They eat both vegetable and animal food. In early spring, the objects of hunting of ordinary starlings are earthworms. The latter after winter are selected to the surface of the earth. In addition, packs in the spring gather wintering insects in the hidden places. When the sun begins to warm up more warmly, ordinary starlings prey on various insects. These are caterpillars and butterflies, spiders and grasshoppers. With regard to plant food, the diet of puffs, in particular, includes fruits and seeds of various plants (plums, berries, pears and apples, cherries).If suddenly it turns out that the fruit is protected by a hard skin or shell, then the bottles find a way out. They put their beaks into a small hole, and then they start to unclench it secretly. This method helps to open the contents. Ordinary starlings can bring considerable harm to vineyards and grain crops.

Birdhouses are invented for a reason.

A person has long sought a relationship with starlings, which is due to the fact that starlings are able to destroy harmful insects (for example, in gardens). That’s why people came up with the idea of ​​hammering out special houses for shpacks.

Starlings

Pink starlings are relatives of an ordinary starling.

The pink starling belongs to the family of the starling. And some researchers consider them a separate species. Most of the authors refer to pink starlings as the most common in the family of the starling family of starlings. In appearance, the pink starling, rather, looks like a crow, rather than a shpak. In the pink starling, in comparison with an ordinary starling, the beak is much thicker and shorter (its length varies from twenty-two to twenty-six centimeters). The nesting place of the pink starling is the south-eastern part of Europe and Central Asia. In Russia, a pink starling occurs in the south of Siberia and the Caucasus. The pink starling is a small bird. The length of the body varies from nineteen to twenty-two centimeters, the wingspan is, on average, thirteen centimeters. The weight of the pink starling ranges from fifty-nine to ninety grams. Pink starlings are endowed with a tuft, which consists of elongated feathers and is located on the back of the head. The crest is more pronounced in the males of the pink starling.

The presence of water nearby is a prerequisite for a pink starling nest.

In the nesting period, these birds live mainly on desert and semi-desert plains, as well as in the steppes. These are the territories that are rich in food. The diet of pink starlings includes various locusts. except for the availability of drinking and feeding bases, an indispensable condition for the construction of a nest by a pink starling is the presence of buildings with niches, artificial birdhouses, rock cliffs or steep banks of water bodies. It is interesting that pink starlings can fly every day for very considerable distances (up to ten kilometers). During the winter flights, pink starlings gather in large flocks in the area of ​​vineyards, orchards. Pink starlings do not mind eating at fruit trees. The pink starling breeds, forming colonies, but the rest of the time it lives in packs.

A pink starling is a public bird.

The pink starling feeds on large packs, the same moves from place to place. The pink starling also sleeps in groups, and nests in entire colonies. In general, his behavior in many ways resembles the behavior of the shpak. The pink starling is similarly running, while everything is scouring and looking out. In the summer, one flock of pink starlings can include several dozen or several hundred birds. In the winter, the pack is further increased. Its numbers often reach tens of thousands of individuals. Nest pink starlings usually close to each other. In one place it happens that five to six pairs of birds are grouped together. Pink starlings are more mobile than ordinary starlings. Daily they can fly significant distances. In this case, they can be seen in one place more than once. Another difference between pink starlings and ordinary ones is that the former do not show aggression towards other birds. Often they even get mixed up in mixed packs with them.

The breeding season for pink starlings depends on the availability of food resources.

For reproduction of pink starlings, an indispensable condition is abundance in the territory of nomadic locusts. That is why the breeding season for these birds is very short. As a rule, it begins in mid-May and ends in early July. Weather conditions can cause changes in the boundaries of this period.Colonies of pink starlings fall apart right after most chicks begin to fly. There are times when parents leave their nestlings not yet fit for flight in the nest and fly away. In addition, pink starlings leave nesting territory also in the event that the fodder base has run low.

Pink starlings feed in large flocks.

This occurs in a territory “rich” with insects, with a significant portion of the catch caught by pink starlings directly on the earth’s surface. The diets of their food mainly include various orthoptera, and in particular the locusts. Due to the fact that the pink starling is directly following locusts, this bird is considered very useful in those areas that are subjected to its attacks. As shown by Grinchenko, the diet of pink starlings during the breeding season is 70-100% of food of animal origin. In the period from May to July, starlings feed on orthopterans (62% of the total diet), and also eat ants, lice, mantises, beetles, terrestrial molluscs and cicadas. When the breeding season is over, vegetable food is more preferable for pink starlings. This is the time when flocks of starlings fly to territories that are rich in shrubs and fruit trees. During this period, the diet of pink starlings includes fruits of mulberry, raspberries, cherries, figs, apricots, grapes. These birds do not refuse from the seeds of some plants and the nectar of some flowers. In this case, pink starlings often do not benefit (as in the case of locusts), but, on the contrary, a significant harm to fruit trees. In India, pink starlings inflict damage on rice fields. It is interesting that among the pink starlings, there is never a fight for the right to own prey. On the contrary, those individuals who have found it, using sound signals, inform all members of the pack about this.

The gray starling is a songbird from the family of the starling.

The gray starling colonizes the territory of East Asia. It can be found on the territory of Russia. We are talking about the Far East and Transbaikalia. A gray starling is a small bird. The length of his body varies from twenty to twenty-three centimeters.

The gray starling has a gray tail color.

For this bird, the smoky gray or brown tail of the upper body, the light gray plumage of the uppertail, belly and breast are characteristic. Sometimes exceptions are the feathers of the head, which can be either black-brown with white pestrinami, and mostly white. Bunches of white feathers stand out on the cheeks of the gray starlings. Gray starlings are endowed with a brown iris of the eyes. The beak of these birds has a yellow-orange color and is endowed with a dark end. Female gray starlings have a lighter plumage than males.

Starlings

The gray starling is a schooling bird.

Nests in colonies. Spends the night and feeds in groups. In the daytime, flocks of gray starlings include, as a rule, no more than thirty individuals. True, sometimes you can meet a flock of these birds, numbering up to a hundred individuals. Summer in the night can unite a group of gray starlings, which includes up to a thousand birds. In winter, up to fifty thousand gray starlings are able to group in overnight stays.

In a single breeding season, gray egg starlings usually have two egg laying.

During the nesting period, these birds settle in colonies. The number of pairs of gray starlings in each colony reaches thirty. Nests, as a rule, settle down in birdhouses, under roofs of buildings or in hollows of trees. On the inside, the nest is lined with feathers of other birds and dry grass. The first clutch of eggs occurs almost at the same time in the entire population. The number of eggs in the first masonry varies from two to ten pieces (but usually five). Eggs have a blue color and are not endowed with dipping. The incubation period is approximately twelve to thirteen days. In the hatching of eggs, both the female and the male of the gray starling take part. However, it is the female that is in the nest most of the time.Nestlings of gray starlings are born completely helpless and naked. In the first days of life, only the male is engaged in feeding chicks. The first flight of chicks usually takes place on the twenty-first or twenty-second day of their life.

The food intake of gray starlings includes both plant and animal food.

True, with the availability of both, the other gray starlings still prefer food of animal origin. These birds eat a variety of insects. This is a bear, earthworms, beetles and their larvae, ants, caterpillars, etc. Moreover, frogs, lizards and crustaceans often become objects of hunting for gray starlings. The diet of gray starlings includes berries of mulberry, strawberries, cherries. In winter, birds consume fruits of Persian lilac, oriental persimmon, camphor laurel, sebaceous tree.

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