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Starlings in the sky



Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds in the family Sturnidae. The name "Sturnidae" comes from the Latin word for starling, sturnus. Many Asian species, particularly the larger ones, are called mynas, and many African species are known as glossy starlings because of their iridescent plumage. Starlings are native to the Old World, from Europe, Asia and Africa, to northernAustralia and the islands of the tropical Pacific. Several European and Asian species have been introduced to these areas as well asNorth America, Hawaii and New Zealand, where they generally compete for habitat with native birds and are considered to beinvasive species. The starling species familiar to most people in Europe and North America is the common starling, and throughout much of Asia and the Pacific the common myna is indeed common.
Starlings have strong feet, their flight is strong and direct, and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country, and they eat insects and fruit. Several species live around human habitation, and are effectively omnivores. Many species search for prey such as grubs by "open-bill probing", that is, forcefully opening the bill after inserting it into a crevice, thus expanding the hole and exposing the prey; this behaviour is referred to by the German verb zirkeln (pronounced [ˈtsɪʁkəln]). Plumage of many species is typically dark with a metallic sheen. Most species nest in holes, laying blue or white eggs.

Starlings have diverse and complex vocalizations, and have been known to embed sounds from their surroundings into their own calls, including car alarms and human speech patterns. The birds can recognize particular individuals by their calls, and are currently the subject of research into the evolution of human language.















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