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Rose-coloured Starling (Sturnus roseus) | by Brian Carruthers-Dublin-Eire
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Rose-coloured Starling (Sturnus roseus)

Castleglen Grove Dundrum Co.Down Ireland 07-07-2019


[order] Passeriformes |

[family] Sturnidae | [latin] Sturnus roseus | [UK] Rose-Coloured Starling | [FR] Martin roselin | [DE] Rosenstar | [ES] Estornino rosado | [IT] Storno roseo | [NL] Roze Spreeuw


spanwidth min.: 37 cm

spanwidth max.: 40 cm

size min.: 20 cm

size max.: 22 cm


incubation min.: 13 days

incubation max.: 16 days

fledging min.: 21 days

fledging max.: 26 days

broods 1

eggs min.: 3

eggs max.: 7



Physical characteristics


Medium-sized, rather short-billed crested starling with pale orange-pink legs. Adult in worn plumage basically blue to purple-black, with striking pink jacket on back, flanks, and belly. spotted and streaked in fresh plumage. Sexes similar, some seasonal variation.




In west palearctic, ranges over lower middle latitudes, mainly in steppe, semi-desert, and mediterranean lowland zones. Movements often governed by ephemeral localized abundance of gregarious invertebrate food organisms, concentrated in dry, open, often arid spaces, as well as grasslands and stony or rocky terrain. Requires ready access to water, but not dependent on wetlands or sea coasts. Resorts to trees and bushes, usually only in smallish groupings. Gregarious movements often lead over upland or mountains regions.


Other details


Sturnus roseus is a widespread summer visitor to south-eastern Europe, which accounts for less than half of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population is relatively small (<210,000 pairs), and was broadly stable between 1970-1990. Although most European populations experienced sizeable fluctuations during 1990- 2000, the species remained broadly stable overall.




In breeding season mainly insects, especially locusts and grasshoppers, and other swarming Orthoptera , after young fledge, major items are grapes and mulberries. Takes fruit, nectar, and seeds autumn and winter. Acrididae remain flightless for C 40-50 days over summer, presenting ideal food resource. During breeding season, most food taken from surface of ground but some Orthoptera caught in the air. When taking Orthoptera from ground, large flocks move in one direction, with birds in front moving faster than those behind, birds from rear flying to front in 'roller-feeding' fashion.




This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It has a large global population, including an estimated 180,000-520,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from]




Egg laying late May to early June in Hungary and Greece. April to mid May in Kazakhstan. Nest site is a hole among stones, scree, also in crack in rocks or cliff, under railway sleeper, in wall or bridge, under roof, in thatch, in nest-hole of Sand Martin, and sometimes in hole in tree, especially willow. Nest is roughly made of thin twigs and grasses, lined with finer grass, often with fresh wormwood and feathers, or of dry stems and leaves of annual herbs, especially giant fennel or grass. In sites which are used annually, this Starling often re-uses nest of previous year. 3-6 eggs are laid incubated for 14-16 days by both sexes.




Migratory, wintering south-east of breeding range in peninsular India and Sri Lanka; migrates in flocks (sometimes huge) by day. Populations from west of range migrate almost directly east before heading south-east into India. In line with irregular colonization of breeding areas, spring invasions occur west of normal range in south-east Europe (notably to Yugoslavia and Greece), apparently less frequent and smaller than formerly; similarly, at edge of breeding range, numbers may vary from thousands to few (e.g. in Hungary). At Villafranca in north-east Italy, 6000-7000 pairs bred in exceptional influx in 1875; but in 20th century only vagrant to Italy. Further north in Europe, vagrant both seasons. In Britain and Ireland, recorded chiefly mid-May to beginning of November; widely distributed, with many in Shetland (Scotland), chiefly May-July, and in Isles of Scilly, chiefly October; 4 records of successful overwintering. In Sweden, recorded mostly May-June. In France, 1900-89, 28 records involving 62 individuals, mainly in west and south; one overwintering record.

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Taken on July 7, 2019