Are Starlings waterbirds?

Subject: Are Starlings waterbirds?
From: "Martin O'Brien" <>
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 1997 15:21:02 -0812 (utc)
A new thread, and it may be research oriented!

An interesting observation has come my way regarding the introduced European 
Starling in 

On return to Melbourne from the coastal Victorian town of Queenscliff near Port 
Phillip Bay 
heads a few weeks ago, Richard Loyn and myself made a brief visit to the Swan 
Bay wetlands 
to check for water/wader birds.  While crossing the causeway to the island 
Richard noted 
Starlings feeing on the mudflats just like medium sized waders do.  As we could 
not stop, 
their food was not determined.  I thought this curious as I hadn't observed 
such behaviour 
before by Starlings but gave it no further thought.

Today I received some ~regular waterbird counts from Eileen Collins of Chiltern 
who is involved 
in the Regent Honeyeater Recovery effort.  On one of the count sheets she noted 
100s of 
Starlings feeding in the shallows of Great Southern Swamp near Wangaratta in 
Victoria.       Coincidence?

My theory is that due to the particularly dry summer in Victoria this season, 
the ground is 
much harder to dig in if you're a Starling.  Wetland edges then might 'fit the 
bill' so to speak.

Keep a look out for your next flock of Starlings and see where they are 
feeding.  Is this 
'normal' or or at least not unusual behaviour for the species?
Martin O'Brien
Wildlife Policy Officer
Flora and Fauna Branch
Department of Natural Resources and Environment
GPO Box 41
East Melbourne,  3002
Tel: +61 3  9412 4273
Fax: +61 3 9412 4586

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