Rosy Starling and its head feathers


“While many birders are currently rushing down to shoot the rare visitor, the male Rosy Starling (Sturnus roseus), at Gardens by the Bay (above), most are unknowingly missing that rare shot which the Rosy Starling is noted for.

StarlingRo [JamesTann]

“It has a unique characteristic that it normally displays during mating season (Zhang Licong, pers. comm.). This is to raise all its head feathers to attract the female.

“I saw it doing it once yesterday but could only manage to get a shot after the feathers were lowering (above)! It didn’t do it again. Missed opportunity. Must go and re-try.

StarlingRo [JamesTann]

“Here’s how it looks just after the action which I missed (above), plus a shot of how birders are shooting it cleanly (below).”

StarlingRo [JamesTann]

The image below by Lee Khee Meng shows the same bird in all its glory with its head feathers raised (added 1444h, 1st October 2016).


James Tann
9th September 2016

Note: This starling is a vagrant, which is defined by The Ornithologist Dictionary (J Erritzoe, K Kampp, K Winker & CB Frith, Lynx Ed., Barcelona) as “a rare visitor found far beyond its normal geographical range, typically recorded only once or twice in any area in question.”

According to Wikipedia “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; …”

This post is a cooperative effort between Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behavior through photography and videography to a wider audience.


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