Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
FAMILY XVII.--STURNINAE. STARLINGS.
Bill nearly as long as the head, moderately stout, or rather slender,
nearly straight, compressed toward the end; upper mandible with its outline
straight, slightly convex toward the tip, the ridge somewhat flattened, the
sides sloping and convex, the edges sharp and overlapping, with a very slight or
obsolete notch, close to the depressed tip; lower mandible with the angle long
and rather acute, the crura rather broad and flat at the base, the dorsal line
straight, the edges sharp, the tip slender; gap-line ascending gently at the
base, then direct. Head ovate or oblong, flattened above; neck of moderate
length; body rather, full. Feet moderately stout; tarsus rather short,
compressed, with seven interior scutella; toes moderate, or rather long, the
first stouter, the lateral toes equal, the outer adherent at the base. Claws
rather long, moderately arched, compressed, acute. Plumage rather compact.
Wings of moderate length, with the first quill very small, the third and fourth
longest. Tail short or of moderate length, rounded, and generally emarginate.
Roof of upper mandible with a median ridge; tongue slender, thin-edged, with the
tip slit and lacerated; oesophagus without dilatation; stomach roundish, its
muscular coat rather thin, the epithelium dense, and longitudinally rugous;
intestine of moderate length and width; coeca very small, cylindrical; cloaca
ovate or oblong. Trachea simple, with four pairs of inferior laryngeal muscles.
Nest on the ground, or in cavities; eggs about five.