The Ashy Starling

4th July 2010
Distribution: This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 140,000 km. It is endemic to Tanzania and Kenya.

Status: The global population size has not been quantified, but it is believed to be large as the species is described as 'frequent' in at least parts of its range. Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Habitat: The Ashy Starling inhabits acacia savanna, dry bush, open woodlands or even farmlands.

General habits: The Ashy Starlings are often associated with the baobab. They can become very tame in protected areas where they live a safe and comfortable life. So tame in fact, that some of them will walk with a cool and jaunty swagger, straight through the open door of the TSL café in Tarangire (Tanzania), each and every morning, heading straight for the cake and sugar!

Feeding habits: Like most starlings, this species feeds on insects and fruits.

Description: Most of the bird is a "ashy grey" colour, the wings being more brownish, and the legs and the eye black.

Did you know: Starlings occur naturally only in the Old World (Europe, Asia and Africa), some forms as far east as Australia, but several European and Asian species have been introduced to North America and Australia; the Common Starling is a serious pest in both continents. Many Asian species, particularly the larger ones, are called mynas, and in some regions, starlings are also referred to as grackles.

Starlings have diverse and complex vocalizations, and have been known to imbed sounds from their surroundings into their own calls, including car alarms, and human speech patterns.

The Ashy Starling is also called: Spréo cendré [French]; Grauglanzstar [German]; Tuhkakottarainen [Finnish]; Egyszínü csöricske[Hungarish].