Sunday, 30 March 2014

Chestnut-tailed Starling or Grey-headed Myna - Sturnia Malabarica

Today, our garden saw a flock of Chestnut-tailed Starlings (and Rosy Starlings). This is the first time in several years that we have sighted these birds at our house/neighbourhood. Their repeated collective calls forced me to go to our terrace garden, and oh, what do I see! The pretty birds flying from one tree to another, at our garden and at our neighbourhood. Growing and nurturing a garden has its own benefits, I guess.

The Chestnut-tailed Starling visits South India during winters; they fly in flocks and are said to change directions. Some websites mention that the bird's movements are poorly understood. I'm not sure about its visit during this time - summer - of the year. Whatever may be the reason for its late visit, we heartily welcome the birds.

This bird has a Yellow beak with a pale Blue base. The White eye-ring is distinctive. The underparts of the body are Grey. The under-tail may be rufous. The plumage depends on the subspecies the bird belongs to. Both sexes look alike. However, juveniles have Whitish underparts and chestnut tips to the tail feathers.

I secretly prayed that the Chestnut-tailed Starling birds stay at our garden/neighbourhood, build nests, have chicks, and then (if they desire) fly away. Stood watching these pretty birds and listened to their calls almost all the morning and afternoon. I've also recorded their calls (along with traffic noise). The birds sat along with Rosy Starlings. The other birds (Common Mynas, Crows, White-cheeked Barbets, Asian Koels, Common Tailor bird, Pigeons) at our garden were curious, and flew near them and sat with them. They seemed comfortable with each other.

My stomach was growling, and I stepped inside the house to have lunch. Oh, what a waste of time! When I returned to the garden, could see the birds for a while. Later they flew away somewhere else. Not a trace of the birds. No calls. Nothing.

Tomorrow being our New Year - Ugadi - the birds visiting us has been the best gift!

Chestnut-tailed Starling sitting on our Mango tree

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