The feeding ecology, productivity and management of Starlings in Canterbury, New Zealand [article]

J. D. Coleman, University Of Canterbury
The starling Sturnus v. vulgaris L. is native to Western Europe, but through liberation now occurs widely throughout North America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. The species became established in New Zealand following nation-wide liberations between 1862 and 1883 (Thompson, 1922), and by 1895 occurred in immense flocks in nearly all districts (Kirk, 1895). In Canterbury, birds were liberated by Acclimatisation Societies in 1867 (20) and in 1871 (40) (Thompson, op. cit.). At
more » ... cit.). At approximately the same time, many birds were released by private citizens and starling numbers increased rapidly. Since that time the natural aggressiveness, adaptability and capacity for rapid colonization inherent in the species have led to its present widespread distribution in lowland Canterbury. Apparently, starlings captured in Britain formed the bulk of birds liberated in New Zealand. However, birds from this source have been considered to show "marked differences in the degrees of development of their reproductive systems", and the existence of two local races has been postulated (Bullough, 1942) viz. a resident early-breeding British bird and a later breeding migrant European form. Amadon (1962) disagreed with this thesis and considered the Continental and British birds to be identical, and referred them to Sturnus v. vulgaris L. Although both "races" may have been included in the stock introduced into New Zealand, the Canterbury population appears to be phenotypically uniform. Starlings are ubiquitous on farmlands of many countries and, because of their varied diet, have been frequently studied. Starling foods, feeding habits and breeding biology have been examined in detail in North America (Kalmbach and Gabrielson, 1921; Lindsey, 1939; Kessel, 1957; Howard, 1959), Australia (Thomas, 1957 a-e) , Great Britain (Collinge, 1924-27; Dunnet, 1955, 1956) and Europe (Kluijver, 1933; Szijj, 1956; Shlapak, 1961; Karpovich, 1962; Pfabe and Szypul, 1964; Havlin and Folk, 1965; Gromadski, 1969). There has been little work done on thi [...]
doi:10.26021/7525 fatcat:pbawoovji5fzlk5x7etvi35rey