Sturnus is a genus of starlings. As discussed below, the taxonomy of this group is complex, and other authorities differ considerably in which species they place in this genus, and in the species boundaries within Sturnus.
The Sturnus starlings are terrestrial species; they walk rather than hop, and have modifications to the skull and its muscles for open-bill probing. The latter adaptation has facilitated the spread of this genus from humid tropical southern Asia to cooler regions of Europe and Asia.
The more northerly breeding species are completely or partially migratory, wintering in warmer regions.
Sturnus starlings nest in holes in trees or buildings. They are omnivorous and mostly feed on the ground; they specialise in taking invertebrates from just below the surface. This is facilitated by the head adaptations mentioned above, which enable the birds to probe with the bill open, closing it to secure prey items.
The plumages within this group are variable, but all the species have the starling's familiar triangular wing shape.
The other species have been placed in this, closely related, or their own genera in the past. As delimited here, the genus Sturnus is an evolutionary grade and not a monophyletic group (Zuccon et al. 2006). It appears as if Acridotheres, Leucopsar, and possibly others would have to be included here to make the present genus a truly evolutionary group (Jønsson & Fjeldså 2006). However, this would create an even more diverse and less informative assemblage, so it is probably more advisable to split the genus into several, reinstating taxa such as Pastor and Temenuchus.
This has to wait for a more thorough study of all species' relationships; in the meantime, the old taxonomic sequence is preserved and suspected affiliations of the currently included species are remarked upon:
First record of metacestodes of Mesocestoides sp. in the common starling (Sturnus vulgaris) in Europe, with an 18S rDNA characterisation of the isolate
Jan 01, 2004; Key words: Mesocestoides, Sturnus vulgaris, metacestodes, tetrathyridia, Cestoda, birds Abstract. Metacestodes of Mesocestoides...
A comparison of four regimens for treatment of iron storage disease using the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) as a model.(Original Study)
Jun 01, 2006; Abstract: European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) were fed an iron loading diet (3235 ppm) for 31 days to induce nonheme liver iron...
Impact of supplements on iron absorption from diets containing high and low iron concentrations in the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris).(Original Study)(Clinical report)
Jun 01, 2006; Abstract: Iron absorption was compared in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) fed diets containing high iron (1585 ppm), high...