‘Common bird’. That must have been the thought of those who did not clicked to open this page! I noticed some of us –birders- indeed might think common birds are less interesting to read about or might not be worth much effort to go look for in the field. How good is it to realize that a bird ‘has’ to be common, -very common- to provide us with the spectacle you may admire in the video below. Enjoy! I hope you’ll be glad to have found my ‘spotlight’ and you’re welcome of course to skip the rest of the page.
My video was made in Tagbilaran on Bohol, more exactly at the town square next to the church, where the Starlings use some of the tall trees and to a minor extend also nearby wires as a roost. My very best guess is that they might number some 20.000 birds but experience has taught me that I do underestimate numbers in bird flocks regularly. In any case, Asian Glossy Starlings are abundant on Bohol while scarce or absent on some of the other (nearby) Philippine islands, and this for no apparent reason. Perhaps the many old and historical buildings provide plenty safe nesting opportunities on Bohol while their favourite cavities in old trees or indeed the crowns of palm trees to nest in are hard to find throughout Philippines. In fact, if you’re still not much interested in the Starlings, to visit the tranquil island that Bohol is, would be worth it just to see the many beautiful old churches and other historical buildings.
St. Joseph Cathedral Church in Tagbilaran City Asian Glossy Starlings favour old buildings on Bohol.
OK, what else about Asian Glossy Starling? Mmm…something interesting and readable. Perhaps not a fact sheet with all the details about a common bird. Distribution, behaviour, feeding and the like…plenty to find though our friend Google and not to be repeated here. What they look like I guess is obvious from my photos or any image search, what they sound like you got from my video –noisy! No, no, not the jeepney hooting!
Ah! Google. I’m checking already on the 7thpage of search results. Now that I’m busy with numbers anyway, this is funny; Singapore’s mid-year bird census of 2001, dedicated to determine Singapore’s most abundant bird. Forty-eight dedicated birders to count at 29 sites throughout Singapore found Asian Glossy Starling to rank 3rd overall with 648 birds, the totals for the previous year were just 540 birds in the same 3rd rank. In 2008 the Glossies broke a record with 817 to climb to 2nd place!Euhhh, lets go birding Bohol then…, not Singapore! While I’m pretty sure the Red-eyes will rank first on Bohol, I doubt 48 keen birders would be able to stick any accurate number on them after a couple days counting…
Pitch black and shiny in bright sunlight. In diffuse light green and brownish colours appear.
I captured a thousand in this shot. This bird taking a bath fills my photo with splashes.
Still not interested in a common Starling-bird? Despite the numbers on Bohol? Aaargh!!! Now I have to admit that just an hour drive from Tagbilaran lies the excellent Rajah Sikatuna National Parkwith rare, rare, rare birds…