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Monday, December 30, 2019

My Encounter With a Superb Starling (Monday's Musings)

The photograph atop this entry feature a Superb Starling (Spreo Superbus) spending time in his home which is within the zoo in Central Park.

The zoo's web-page describes this avian variety as being "small, stocky birds with rounded wings and a strong, straight beak. Their upperparts and large bib are dark metallic blue-green. They have a white band along the bottom of the bib, and the rest of the chest is bright chestnut. The underparts are white. Adults have pale yellow eyes. Juveniles have darker eyes, and are duller in overall coloring than adults. Males and females look alike. They reach 7-8 inches in length.

Here are some more  of my images of this striking creature:

The webpage goes on to say "In the wild, they eat a variety of insects and other arthropods, worms, fruits, and grains.  They eat some agricultural pests, but also help themselves to the crops. At the Central Park Zoo, they eat soft-billed bird diet, chopped fruits and vegetables, and mealworms."

My next picture shows a Superb Starling about to indulge in his food of choice from a bowl that has been placed in his "home."

Their page also explains the Superb Starling is found in "Parts of northeastern Africa, including Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, and Sudan... (and) forage by probing into the soil and then forcing the beak open, creating an open space where they can search for food.  They have strong muscles attached to the beak, and captive starlings will search for a substrate to probe in, even if their food is always provided in a dish."

I saw this avian variety exactly one month ago today when I visited CP's zoo where I also saw a bird type known as the Scarlet Ibis alone and hanging out with a Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra Avosetta) as seen in the following photos respectively.

I published a blog post re that encounter where I included facts about these birds and  also confessed my trepidation in seeing avian creatures confined to a zoo; especially when it comes to Superb Starlings for evidently, they are "not threatened."

My question re animals in a zoo has been this: If they are not threatened, why confine them to a zoo?

However, within the aforementioned entry, I conceded — after hearing Jane Goodall's insightful remarks about zoos (which can be found in a video clip included in that post) — the experience of visiting a zoo could potentially raise awareness re needs of wildlife, the Rain Forest, and our environment.

On that note, I'll conclude by pointing you to my book series, Words In Our Beak, (pictured below) which I hope raises awareness about wildlife.


The stories are mostly set in a rooftop urban garden (mine) in New York City, my story is told in the voice of Cam, a female cardinal, who visits it. The goal of these books is to open readers to a simple understanding of the winged world and their environment. They are directed to children and adults who are curious about birds, and want to learn about them from a unique perspective.

This book series includes facts and photographs regarding over twenty types of birds, including European starlings, whom I'm thinking of as I write this posting, because they are in the same bird category as Superb Starlings the bird variety I've featured here.

Pictures of European starlings in my garden as well as in Central Park can be seen (respectively) in the series below.

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