More plaudits for Tiritiri Matangi

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

Recognition of the wonderful experience visitors have when visiting the Island h..

Results of the 2019 Photo Competition

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

The results of this year's competition have now been decided. Click here (/2019-photo-co..

Lighthouse Open Day

Date posted: 30-Apr-2019

Our historic lighthouse, signal station and diaphonic foghorn will all be on dis..

We need a new Treasurer

Date posted: 08-Apr-2019

The Supporters need a new treasurer to take over in September when Kevin Vaughan..

2019 Concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2019

OrigiNZ, the tartan taonga are returning for the 2019 concert. Click..

Tiri's three unique foghorns

Date posted: 01-Feb-2019

Our next social event will take place on Monday 18th March when Carl Hayson and ..

Young Conservation Superstars win awards!

Date posted: 27-Jan-2019

Gabriel Barbosa and teacher Kate Asher, a team leader who co..

Entries for the 2019 photo competition

Date posted: 19-Jan-2019

We are now taking entries for the 2019 photographic competition. You can enter u..

Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Starling

Scientific name:

 Sturnus vulgaris

 

 

Conservation status:

 Introduced and naturalised

Mainland status:

 Locally abundant

Size:

 21cm, 85g 

Lifespan:

 14+ years possibly

Breeding:

 October - January

Diet:

 Invertebrates, fruit and nectar

Starling - photographer: Max McRaeIntroduced into New Zealand between 1862 and 1883 and now abundant throughout the mainland and suitable offshore islands in farmland, orchards, gardens, forest edges and beaches.

The breeding plumage is glossy black with a purple sheen on the head and breast, and a dark green sheen and buff spangling on the wings and abdomen.  The bill is pointed and, in the breeding season, is yellowish with a bluish base in the male and a pinkish base in the female. When not breeding the head and body is spotted buff and white and the bill is dark. The call is a descending whistle: ‘cheeoo’, and the song is a rambling collection of clicks, rattles, warbles and gargles interspersed with musical whistles.  They are good mimics.

Starlings feed and roost in large flocks, and are well-known for their spectacular pre-roosting flights in huge flocks, which twist and turn and often resemble smoke against the sky. On teh ground, their waddling, jerky walk is rather distinctive and the birds feed by jabbing their bills into the soil. Their diet is a mix of invertebrates such as grass grubs, caterpillars, moths, worms, snails and spiders, and fruit and nectar from flax and pohutukawa flowers.

Breeding takes place between October and January. The nest is a cup of dry grass, twigs and leaves built in tree holes, crevices in cliffs and in buildings and garden nest boxes. Clutches of 3–5 clear pale blue eggs are incubated by both parents for 11 days. Both parents feed the chicks until they fledge at 18–20 days and often continue to feed them for 1–2 weeks after they leave the nest.

Starlings breed and roost on Tiritiri Matangi; flocks of several hundred often arrive from the mainland around dusk.

Learn more about the starling at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by:  Max McRae ©

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking.
Moon, G The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Birds.