🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.
Monday, 16 December 2013
The shy Glossy
I have never known Glossy Starlings to be shy. Whenever we visit the Kruger National Park, they are as brazen as can be, stealing food out of your plate as you're having lunch on the deck and will readily take food out of your hands. But the Glossy visiting my garden is terribly shy. I've been trying to get pics of him for months, to no avail. As soon as they see me, they head straight for the tree tops.
The other day I was having coffee on my patio, camera at the ready, and finally spotted one of them at a bird bath. I was quite a distance away, but daren't move for fear of him taking flight. So the next best thing was to try and zoom in through the maze of plants and tree trunks. Moving very slowly and scarcely breathing, I managed to get a few distant shots of this gorgeous bird with his metallic sheen and very bright eyes.
As he was testing the water and getting ready for his bath (and I saw that he knew I was there and keeping a close eye on me!) a not-so-shy African masked Weaver landed on the bird bath and I thought, "Oh no! that's going to be the end of this now!
Not phased by the Starling's dirty looks at all, the little fella hopped right in and started splashing away.
The Starling got a good soaking in the process!
Shortly after the Weaver left, so did the Starling, without having his bath. Maybe he had gotten wet enough from the Weaver's splashing, but I got the feeling he wasn't happy with my spying at all!
The Glossy Starling - Lamprotornis intense (family Sturnidae) - is endemic to Africa and occurs from Angola and Zambia to Southern Africa, where it is locally common across much of the region, excluding central Mozambique, the Karoo, Namib Desert and the fynbos biome in the Western Cape. It can occupy a variety of different habitats, especially wooded savannah, forest edges, riverine bush, plantations, parks and gardens.
It eats insects, fruit, nectar and scraps of human food, doing most of its foraging on the ground, running and hopping in search of food items. It often associates with antelope, removing ectoparasites from them as well as catching the insects they disturb.
Interesting Info :
- It is a monogamous, cooperative breeder, meaning that the breeding pair may be assisted by up to 6 helpers, who often remain with them through many breeding seasons.
- It usually nests in tree cavities, either natural or excavated by woodpeckers or barbets, but it may also use a hole in a riverbank, metal pipe or even a post box used daily. It adds coarse material such as twigs into the cavity until the platform is close to the entrance, after which it adds a lining of dry grass, dung and snake skins. It often uses the same nest over multiple breeding seasons, in fact one breeding pair was recorded using the same site for 20 years.
- Egg-laying season is mainly from September-February.
- It lays 2-6 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female.
- The chicks are fed by both parents and helpers, leaving the nest after about 20 days after which they remain with the group for at least week.