Pastor roseus Linnaeus, 1758 ♂
Common names: Rosy starling, Rose-coloured starling, Rose-coloured pastor [En], Etourneau roselin, Martin roselin [Fr], Roze spreeuw [Nl], Rosenstar [De], Storno roseo [It], Estornino rosado [Es], Αγιοπούλι, Ακριδοπούλλι [Gr], Ala sığırcık [Tu]
IUCN Status: LC (Least Concern)
Kerkini, SERRES ● Greece
About the shot: The rosy starlings are common migrants in Kerkini and surrounding late May, when the mulberries are mature.
Description: The adult rosy starling is highly distinctive, with its pink body, pale orange legs and bill, and glossy black head, wings and tail. Males in the breeding season have elongated head feathers which form a wispy crest that is fluffed and more prominent when the bird gets excited. In winter, the crest is shorter, and the edges of black feathers within the plumage become paler as the edges of these feathers erode. Winter plumage in males is comparatively dull.
Females in contrast have a short crest and lack the sharp separation between pink and black.
The juvenile birds can be distinguished from common starling (Sturnus vulgaris) by its obviously paler plumage and short yellow bill. Young birds moult into a subdued version of the adult plumage in autumn, yet these lack the crest. They do not acquire their adult plumage until they are nearly one year old in females, and nearly two years in males. The latter grow plumage very similar to adult females in their second year, but are distinguished by longer crests and noticeably pale feather edges than female juvenile birds.
Biology: The rosy starling is a colonial breeder, and like other starlings, is highly gregarious, forming large winter flocks. They feed from fruits, berries, flower-nectar, cereal grains and insects.
Specific observations of preferred food types made on the feeding habits of rosy starling are listed as: Fruits and berries: Ficus (many species), Lantana spp., Zizyphus oenoplia, Bridelia hamistoniana, Streblus asper, grapes, mulberries (Morus), dates, Salvadora persica, Capparis aphylla and chillies. Flower-nectar: Salmalia persica, Bombax insigne, Erythrina indica and Erythrina suberosa, Butea monosperma, Careya arborea. Cereal grains: Jowar and bajra. Insects: largely locusts and grasshoppers, beetles of the families Lucanidae, Elateridae, Tenebrionidae, Buprestidae, Scarabaeidae and Curculionidae.
They are greatly beneficial to farmers as they prey on pests such as locusts and grasshoppers, thereby limiting their numbers. The birds breed in tight colonies in a very short breeding season timed to take advantage of peak abundance of grasshoppers during May to June.
Habitat: The rosy starling is a bird of steppe and open agricultural land.
Distribution: The breeding range of this bird is from easternmost Europe across temperate southern Asia. It is a strong migrant, and winters in India and tropical Asia. In India in winter, it often appears to outnumber the local starlings and mynas. In years when grasshoppers and other insects are abundant, it will erupt well beyond its core range, with significant numbers reaching France, the United Kingdom and Ireland. The starling is a summer visitor for northwestern Afghanistan, passage migrants in the rest of the Afghanistan and a regular winter visitor in most of Pakistan and India.
Wikipedia, Rosy starling