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starling

star·ling / ˈstärling/ • n. a gregarious Old World songbird (Sturnus and other genera) with a straight bill, typically with dark lustrous or iridescent plumage but sometimes brightly colored. The starling family also includes the mynahs, grackles, and (usually) the oxpeckers. star·ling2 • n. a wooden pile erected with others around or just upstream of a bridge or pier to protect it from the current or floating objects.

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starling

starling, any of a group of originally Old World birds that have become distributed worldwide. Starlings were released in New York City in 1890; since then the common, or European, starling (Sturnus vulgaris) has spread throughout North America. They often collect in loud, noisy flocks. Starlings destroy some insects, but they are generally considered a nuisance and an agricultural pest because they drive away smaller, desirable birds and damage fruit trees and other crops. They have iridescent, blackish plumage and a long bill which is yellow in spring and summer. They mimic bird songs and other sounds. Starlings are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Sturnidae.

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starling

starling Any of several species of small, aggressive birds found throughout the world. The common Eurasian starling, Sturnus vulgaris, is mottled black and brown. It feeds on the ground on insects and fruit, often damaging crops. Length: to 36cm (14in). Family Sturnidae.

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starling

starling.
1. Protective piles round the piers of a river-bridge, or a pointed projection of the pier called cut-water.

2. Breakwater formed of piles driven closely side by side in hydraulic constructions.

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starling

starling Late OE. stærlinc, f. stær starling, corr. to MLG. star, OHG. star m., stara fem. (G. sta(h)r), ON. stari :- Gmc. *staraz, -ōn, -an-, rel. to L. sturnus; see -LING1.

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starlings

starlings See STURNIDAE.

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starling

starlingbrambling, rambling •hatchling • brandling •gangling, wrangling •crackling • sapling •fatling, Gatling •mantling, scantling •darling, sparling, starling •sampling • starveling •dwelling, misspelling, self-propelling, spelling, swelling, telling, upwelling •trembling • vetchling • fledgling •nestling, wrestling •storytelling •failing, grayling, mailing, paling, railing, sailing, tailing, unavailing, veiling, wailing •changeling • boardsailing •parasailing •appealing, ceiling, Darjeeling, dealing, feeling, Keeling, peeling, revealing, self-sealing, shieling, wheeler-dealing, wheeling •reedling, seedling •weakling • Riesling •deskilling, filling, grilling, killing, Pilling, quilling, Schilling, self-fulfilling, shilling, Trilling, unfulfilling, willing •sibling • kindling • piffling •inkling, sprinkling, tinkling •Kipling, stripling •princeling • witling •brisling, quisling •painkilling •filing, piling, reviling, tiling, unsmiling •motorcycling • hairstyling • rockling •gosling •calling, Pauling •lordling • porkling •cowling, fowling •foundling, groundling •ruling, schooling •intercooling • wirepulling •grumbling •buckling, duckling, Suckling •youngling • coupling • dumpling •puzzling • swashbuckling •shearling, yearling •hireling •towelling (US toweling) •gruelling (US grueling) •babbling, dabbling •marbling • scribbling •mumbling, rumbling •sanderling • middling • doodling •underling • rifling • shuffling •strangling • fingerling •enamelling (US enameling) •rustling • rattling •bitterling, chitterling •titling •sterling, Stirling •nurseling, nursling •earthling

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Starlings

Starlings

Starlings in North America

Importance of starlings

Resources

Starlings are robust, stocky song birds in the family Sturnidae. They have a stout beak and strong legs, and are included with other perching birds in the order Passeriformes. There are about 110 species of star-lings, whose natural range includes Eurasia, Africa,

the Pacific islands, and Australia. Starlings are small-to medium-sized birds, ranging in body length from about 4-17 in (10-43 cm), and are mostly found in forests, shrubby woodlands, and urban and suburban habitats. Starlings tend to be fast, direct fliers. Most species form flocks during the non-breeding season, and most northern species are migratory to some degree. Their songs are usually inventive and consist of garrulous chatters of whistles, squeaks, and imitated sounds. Starlings feed widely on small invertebrates and fruits. Most species nest in cavities in trees or rocks, and both sexes cooperate in the feeding and rearing of the young.

Most species of starlings, including the mynah bird, are distributed in tropical regions. Some of these are extremely beautiful birds. In Africa, for example, some of the most attractive bird species are starlings, with their brilliant metallic-green, blue, purple, and violet plumage. Notable are the long-tailed glossy starling (Lamprotornis caudatus ), the chestnut-bellied starling (Spreo pulcher ), and the superb starling (Spreo superbus ). The African star-lings also include the oxpeckers (Buphagus ), which glean ticks and blood-sucking flies off the back of large mammals.

Many species of starlings are endangered because of the widespread destruction of their natural habitat (tropical forest, savanna, or shrubland). For example, the beautifully white Rothschilds mynah (Leucopsar rothschildi ) of Bali, Indonesia, is critically endangered

because its natural forest has been extensively cleared for agricultural uses and it is illegally poached for the cage-bird trade.

Starlings in North America

One of the worlds most widely introduced birds is the European or common starling (Sturnus vulgaris ) that now occurs virtually worldwide in temperate regions of Eurasia, North America, and Australia. This starling was first successfully introduced to North America in 1890 in Central Park, New York City, when 60 birds were released. There had been earlier releases of common starlings by homesick European immigrants, but these had failed to establish a breeding population. However, once the common starling became locally established in New York, it expanded its range explosively, and this species now occurs throughout most of temperate North America. In recent decades the European starling has consistently been the most numerous species tallied on the annual Christmas bird counts, and it may now be the most abundant species of bird in North America.

The European starling is an attractive bird, especially during the late winter to summer when it bears its dark-glossy, spotted, nuptial plumage. These short-tailed birds flock together during the non-breeding season, and they sometimes occur in huge aggregations of hundreds of thousands of birds. The European starling forages widely for invertebrates, especially insects living in the ground or in grass. During winter this bird mostly eats grains and other seeds. Although not a very accomplished singer, the renditions of the European starling are interesting, rambling assemblages of squeaks, whistles, gurgles, and imitations of the songs of other birds, and also of other sounds, such as squeaky clotheslines. Because the European starling is so common and lives in cities and most agricultural areas, it is possibly the most frequently heard and seen bird in North America, and also in much of the rest of the temperate world.

Another starling introduced to North America is the crested mynah (Acridotheres cristatellus ), released in Vancouver in the 1890s, where it became established but did not spread more widely.

Importance of starlings

A few species of starlings are considered to be important pests. For example, in North America the European starling is widely regarded as a problem when it occurs in large numbers. This species has contributed to the decline of some native species of birds by competitively displacing them from nesting cavities, which are usually in short supply. Various native birds have been affected by this competition with starlings, including the eastern and mountain bluebirds (Sialia sialis and S. mexicanus, respectively ), the tree swallow (Iridoprocne bicolor ), and the red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus ). The European starling can also foul buildings with its excrement, corroding stone and metals and creating a health hazard to people through exposure to pathogenic fungi. In addition, the European starling sometimes causes agricultural damage, especially to certain tender fruits, such as cherries. For similar reasons, the Indian mynah (Acridotheres tristis ) is often considered a pest in tropical regions.

However, these abundant species of starlings are also beneficial in some respects, because they eat large numbers of potentially injurious insects, such as cut-worms and other beetle larvae that can damage lawns. The European starling and Indian mynah are also among the few non-human animals that can tolerate urban environments, and these birds provide an aesthetic benefit in cities.

A few species of starlings are easily bred in captivity, and are important in the pet trade. The best-known example of this is the hill mynah (Gracula religiosa ), native to South and Southeast Asia and widely kept as a pet. This attractive species maintains a busy and noisy chatter, and can be easily trained to mimic human words and phrases.

See also Introduced species.

Resources

BOOKS

Feare, C. The Starling. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984.

Feare, C., and A. Craig. Starlings and Mynahs. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999.

Forshaw, Joseph. Encyclopedia of Birds. 2nd ed. New York: Academic Press, 1998.

Bill Freedman

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Starlings

Starlings

Starlings are robust, stocky song birds in the family Sturnidae. They have a stout beak and strong legs, and are included with other perching birds in the order Passeriformes. There are about 110 species of starlings, whose natural range includes Eurasia, Africa , the Pacific islands, and Australia . Starlings are small- to medium-sized birds, ranging in body length from about 4-17 in (10-43 cm), and are mostly found in forests , shrubby woodlands, and urban and suburban habitats. Starlings tend to be fast, direct fliers. Most species form flocks during the non-breeding season, and most northern species are migratory to some degree. Their songs are
usually inventive and consist of garrulous chatters of whistles, squeaks, and imitated sounds. Starlings feed widely on small invertebrates and fruits . Most species nest in cavities in trees or rocks , and both sexes cooperate in the feeding and rearing of the young.

Most species of starlings, including the mynah bird, are distributed in tropical regions. Some of these are extremely beautiful birds. In Africa, for example, some of the most attractive bird species are starlings, with their brilliant metallic-green, blue, purple, and violet plumage. Notable are the long-tailed glossy starling (Lamprotornis caudtus), the chestnut-bellied starling (Spreo pulcher), and the superb starling (Spreo super-bus). The African starlings also include the oxpeckers (Buphagus), which glean ticks and blood-sucking flies off the back of large mammals .

Many species of starlings are endangered because of the widespread destruction of their natural habitat (tropical forest, savanna , or shrubland). For example, the beautifully white Rothschild's mynah (Leucospar rothschildi) of Bali, Indonesia, is endangered because its natural forest has been extensively cleared and converted into agricultural use.


Starlings in North America

One of the world's most widely introduced birds is the European or common starling (Sturnus vulgaris), that now occurs virtually worldwide in temperate regions
of Eurasia, North America , and Australia. This starling was first successfully introduced to North America in 1890 in Central Park, New York City, when 60 birds were released. There had been earlier releases of common starlings by homesick European immigrants, but these had failed to establish a breeding population. However, once the common starling became locally established in New York, it expanded its range explosively, and this species now occurs throughout most of temperate North America. In recent decades the European starling has consistently been the most numerous species tallied on the annual Christmas bird counts, and it may now be the most abundant species of bird in North America.

The European starling is an attractive bird, especially during the late winter to summer when it bears its dark-glossy, spotted, nuptial plumage. These short-tailed birds flock together during the non-breeding season, and they sometimes occur in huge aggregations of hundreds of thousands of birds. The European starling forages widely for invertebrates, especially insects living in the ground or in grass. During winter this bird mostly eats grains and other seeds . Although not a very accomplished singer, the renditions of the European starling are interesting, rambling assemblages of squeaks, whistles, gurgles, and imitations of the songs of other birds, and also of other sounds, such as squeaky clotheslines. Because the European starling is so common and lives in cities and most agricultural areas, it is possibly the most frequently heard and seen bird in North America, and also in much of the rest of the temperate world.

Another starling introduced to North America is the crested mynah (Acridotheres cristatellus), released in Vancouver in the 1890s, where it became established but did not spread more widely.


Importance of starlings

A few species of starlings are considered to be important pests . For example, in North America the European starling is widely regarded as a problem when it occurs in large numbers. This species has contributed to the decline of some native species of birds, by competitively displacing them from nesting cavities, which are usually in short supply. Various native birds have been affected by this competition with starlings, including the eastern and mountain bluebirds (Sialia sialis and S. mexicanus, respectively), the tree swallow (Iridoprocne bicolor), and the red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus). The European starling can also foul buildings with its excrement, corroding stone and metals and creating a health hazard to people through exposure to pathogenic fungi . In addition, the European starling sometimes causes agricultural damage, especially to certain tender fruits, such as cherries. For similar reasons, the Indian mynah (Acridotheres tristis) is often considered a pest in tropical regions.

However, these abundant species of starlings are also beneficial in some respects, because they eat large numbers of potentially injurious insects, such as cutworms and other beetle larvae that can damage lawns. The European starling and Indian mynah are also among the few non-human animals that can tolerate urban environments, and these birds provide an aesthetic benefit in cities.

A few species of starlings are easily bred in captivity, and are important in the pet trade. The best known example of this is the hill mynah (Gracula religiosa), native to South and Southeast Asia and widely kept as a pet. This attractive species maintains a busy and noisy chatter, and can be easily trained to mimic human words and phrases.

See also Introduced species.

Bill Freedman

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"Starlings." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Starlings." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. . Retrieved September 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/starlings

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