Thursday, 28 March 2013

Golden-breasted starling

Cosmopsarus regius

Photo by Nick Athanas (Antpitta)

Common name:
golden-breasted starling (en); estorninho-de-peito-dourado (pt); choucador royal (fr); estornino de pecho dorado (es); königsglanzstar (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Sturnidae

This species is found in East Africa, from southern and eastern Ethiopia, through Somalia and Kenya and into northern Tanzania.

These birds are 30-38 cm long and weigh 45-56 g.

The golden-breasted starling is found in arid areas, namely dry scrublands and savannas and to a lesser extent in dry grasslands.

They catch insects in flight and dig up termite mounds to eat termites, but will also eat some fruits and berries.

Golden-breasted starlings are cooperative breeders, leaving in social groups of 3-12 individuals who help build the nest and feed the young. They nest in tree holes, where they build a cup nest made of leaves, roots and other plant materials. There the female lays 3-5 pale green eggs with red speckles, which are incubated for 11-14 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and other group members and fledge about 3 weeks after hatching.

IUCN status -  LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as locally common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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