Behavior And Reproduction

Most starlings and mynas are fairly social birds. Some live in trees, but most spend much time on the ground. They often nest in loose colonies (birds that live together and are dependent on each other). Some species are aggressive, while others are shy and quiet, generally staying by themselves or in small groups. Their songs and calls are loud, varied, sometimes unpleasant and mechanical sounding, and rarely with any melody. Many species can imitate other birds. Starlings and mynas fly swiftly and can easily maneuver, even twisting and turning together in flocks. Species that nest in temperate climates often migrate to warmer climates during winters.

Most sturnids use the nests of other birds, often barbets and woodpeckers, many times taking away a bird's nest with its aggressive behavior. Other sturnids use crevices and holes in rocks, nest boxes, or recesses in building and other structures. They construct a large nest of grasses, leaves, fine twigs, and other available materials. Both sexes work together to make the nest, and nests are often reused.

Starling eggs are often pale blue, but also white to cream-colored or have dark spots on them. In some cases, only females incubate (sit on) eggs, while in other cases both parents incubate. The incubation period (time to sit on eggs before hatching) is


All of the 200 million or so European starlings that are found today in North America came from approximately 100 birds that were released in New York City's Central Park in the early 1890s. An American society dedicated to introducing all birds mentioned in Shakespeare's works set these birds free. The migrating birds reached northern Florida by the winter of 1918, and breeding birds were found by the 1920s in Ontario and Maine. By the 1940s, European starlings reached the west coast and, in the 1970s, the birds were seen in Alaska.

usually less than fourteen days. Hatchlings (newly born birds) are pink with some patches of down on top of head and back. They are blind for the first few days of life. Both parents feed young and, in some cases, helpers (from earlier offspring) assist in the feeding and care. The fledgling period (time for young to grow feathers necessary to fly) is usually no longer than twenty-one days. Many species produce one to three broods (young birds that are born and raised together) each year.

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