ShaunMorrison's picture

Starling with an unusual beak

Observed: 26th June 2008 By: ShaunMorrison
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course complete
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Bird2
Description:

I noticed this bird amongst a large group of juvenile starlings feeding in my back garden. It took me a few days before I was able to get a picture of it.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

Jonathan's picture

Amazing. Beak shape is so

Amazing. Beak shape is so important to ecology and survival, it plays an important part in the evolution of birds (think Darwin's finches), so it is extraordinary to see this. I wonder if the bird forages in a different way because of the size of its beak?

Jonathan
University of Edinburgh and Biodiversity Observatory (OU)

bobthebirder's picture

aberrant starlings

It's not that unusual to see starlings with long or curved beaks but this one must be the most extreme individual I've ever come across! You can imagine that it would actually do quite well with such formidable mouthparts, as long as they don't become a nuisance in any way. As starlings feed on lawns a lot of the time this one might actually be at an advantage when it comes to pulling invertebrates out of the soil. If this is the case we might eventually see more long-billed starlings in the future if these birds breed more successfully than their conventionally-structured relatives. As this hasn't happened yet we must assume that the normal sized beak is the best all-round shape.

Bob Ford