Sturnus vulgaris is the scientific name of the Common Starling. Its literal meaning is ‘Starling Common’. They are certainly common in my dad’s garden:
They are threatened elsewhere so they are a red listed bird:
Many people think they are black. Nothing could be further from the truth:
Their iridescent green and purple plumage of the adults is wonderful as they strut around the lawn:
The newly fledged juveniles are delicate shades of brown:
The juveniles are always hungry:
Their gape is enormous:
This juvenile is eating a piece of pizza:
As the adult transfers the food to the juvenile they both close their third eyelids – their nictitating membranes – so their eyes seem opaque. It’s a reflex action which helps protect their eyeballs. It reminds me of the way people close their eyes when they kiss:
When humans do it, though, it’s usually not to avoid pizza crumbs.
The juvenile closes its beak all too briefly:
And then it’s busy begging for food again. Children. They are always hungry.
If the Starling’s decline continues we may have to change their name. No longer Sturnus vulgaris, they might become Sturnus infrequens.