Family STURNIDAE

The intrinsic muscles of the syrinx fixed to the ends of the bronchial semi-rings; the edges of both mandibles smooth, or the upper one simply notched; hinder aspect of tarsus bilaminated, the laminae entire and smooth; wing with ten primaries ; tongue non-tubular; nostrils always clear of the line of forehead, the space between the nostril and the edge of the mandible less than the space between the nostril and the culmen; plumage of the nestling typically streaked; no rictal bristles nor vestige of any; sexes alike or very nearly so; rectrices twelve; first primary minute; one moult in the year.

The Sturnidae or the Starlings and Mynas, as restricted in this work, form one of the best-defined families of the Passeres. I exclude from this family the Grackles (Eulabes) and the Glossy Starlings (Calornis), which have hitherto been associated with the true Starlings by nearly all writers. These two genera differ in so many important matters, as has been already pointed out, that I cannot look upon them as in any way closely allied to the Sturnidae.

The Sturnidae are spread over a considerable portion of the Old World. A few species are migratory, but the majority, especially of the Indian species, are resident. They are almost without exception gregarious. They frequent trees, but the main portion of their food is obtained on the ground. They breed in holes of trees and buildings, a very few only making nests of straw in branches, and they all lay unspotted eggs of various tints of blue.

The plumage of the young of the Sturnidae is in most cases streaked below. This is most evident and most developed in Sturnus; but many other genera show indications of streaking in various degrees. On the other hand, some genera appear to have the young quite plain. The series of nestlings in the British Museum is necessarily very imperfect, since little attention is paid by collectors to the acquisition of young specimens in down.

Key to the Genera.

a. Wing pointed, secondaries falling short of tip by more than Length of tarsus.
a1. Crest extremely long, much exceeding tarsus in Length and reaching to upper back………………PASTOR, p. 518.
b1. Crest moderate or obsolete, always shorter, than tarsus.
a2. Feathers of forehead short, lying flat and directed backwards; entire head feathered.
a3. Bill stout, as long as head, broad and bluntly tipped,
a4. Covering membrane of nostril plumed only on posterior half; plumage glossy, speckled………………STURNUS, p. 519.
b4. Covering membrane of nostril plumed throughout ; plumage neither glossy nor speckled………………SPODIOPSAR, p. 624.
b3. Bill slender, shorter than head, nar¬rowing regularly to a sharp point.
c4. Middle rectrices longer than the outermost………………STURNIA, p. 525.
d4. Middle rectrices shorter than the outermost………………AGROPSAR,, p. 530.
b2. Feathers of forehead Lengthened, pro¬jecting forward; region of eye naked………………AMPELICEPS, p. 531.
b. Wing blunt, secondaries falling short of tip by less than Length of tarsus.
c1. Crest much longer than tarsus, reaching to upper back………………TEMENUCHUS, p. 532.
d1. Crest shorter than tarsus,
c2. Bare skin on side of head.
c3. Frontal feathers short and inclined backwards,
e4. Bare skin of face restricted to a patch behind eye………………STURNORNIS, p. 533.
f4. Bare skin of face extending both below and behind eye………………GRACULIPICA, p. 534.
d3. Frontal feathers Lengthened and erect ………………ACRIDOTHERES, p. 537,
d2. No bare skin on side of head.
e3. Bill shorter than head, culmen curved; frontal feathers Lengthened, curly, erect………………AETHIOPSAR, p. 539.
f3. Bill as long as head, culmen straight; frontal feathers short and inclined backwards ………………STURNOPASTOR, p. 542.

BookTitle: 
The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
Reference: 
OATES EW. The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.1 1889.
Title in Book: 
Family STURNIDAE
Book Author: 
Eugene William Oates, Edited by William Thomas Blanford
Year: 
1889
Page No: 
515
M_ID: 
26655
M_SN: 
Sturnidae
Volume: 
Vol. 1
Term name: 
id: 
718

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