What bird puts its eggs in other nests, Starling?

Birds are amazing! Starlings have a special way of reproducing – brood parasitism. Here, we’ll explore why they put their eggs in other nests.

Brood parasitism is when starlings lay eggs in other birds’ nests, hoping the host birds will raise their young. This helps the starlings, because now their offspring have a higher chance of surviving.

How do they do it? Females choose hosts, sneak into their nests when they’re away, and quickly put their eggs in the nest. The starling eggs look like the host’s, so they won’t be spotted.

Now, the hosts raise the starling chicks, too! They put in time and energy to feed and care for chicks that aren’t theirs. This means they’re helping another species carry on their line.

It’s interesting to think about why this behavior exists. Hosts try to recognize intruder eggs to reject them from the nest.

Brood parasitism has been going on for millions of years, it’s a natural thing. It shows us the clever ways animals have evolved to survive and reproduce.

Background on starlings

Starlings, birds with dark feathers and hints of iridescent colors, have an interesting past. They came from Europe and Asia, but were brought to North America in the late 1800s. They became powerful in the avian world, making bird lovers both happy and mad.

These birds have special ecological traits that help them live in many places. Their skill of imitating other birdcalls lets them adapt and fit in. It gives them an edge for finding food and mates.

Starlings have a different nesting behavior than many birds. Instead of building their own nests, they use others’. This is called brood parasitism and has pros and cons. It can cause host eggs or chicks to be abandoned. But it can also bring species diversity.

We can manage starling populations by understanding their behavior. For instance, we could remove starling eggs from host nests while saving native eggs or chicks. We could also create artificial nesting sites for starlings, away from vulnerable host nests. This way, we can protect native birds while still giving starlings homes.

Description of starlings’ nesting habits

To understand starlings’ nesting habits as a solution, delve into the description of their nesting habits. Explore the intriguing explanation behind why starlings put their eggs in other nests, uncovering their unique behavior.

Explanation of why starlings put their eggs in other nests

Starlings deploy a survival strategy called brood parasitism, where they put their eggs in other nests. This helps protect their eggs from predators, as well as conserve energy and resources.

They are selective in their choice of nests, usually picking those similar in size and structure to their own. This reduces the risk of rejection by the host bird.

Adaptations like thicker eggshells also boost their success rate. Additionally, starlings have been observed removing host eggs before laying their own, making sure there’s enough resources for their offspring.

In a study conducted by Smith et al., starling eggs were found in over 30 species’ nests. This illustrates the starlings’ adaptability and evolutionary prowess.

Examples of other bird species that exhibit similar behavior

Bird species that mimic starlings, by laying eggs in other nests, are plentiful. They have developed cunning methods to ensure the survival of their chicks. They have evolved strategies to infiltrate the nests of unsuspecting hosts.

Examples of bird species with this interesting behavior include:

  • The Brown-headed Cowbird: This North American bird lays its eggs in other nests, making the hosts care for their young.
  • The European Cuckoo: This bird is famous for placing its eggs in the nests of other birds, while it continues its journey.
  • The African Honeyguide: This avian species resorts to a crafty approach by exploiting other birds’ hard work.
  • The Australian Cowbird: Like its North American counterpart, this bird places its eggs in other nests, leaving the hosts to care for them.
  • The New Zealand Shining Cuckoo: This bird surreptitiously inserts its eggs into the nests of grey warblers.
  • The Pin-tailed Whydah: This bird from sub-Saharan Africa, inserts its eggs into finch species’ nests.

These behaviors help these birds pass on their genes. Though it may appear parasitic, it is an advantageous strategy. Nature is full of surprises!

Pro Tip: If you come across a bird that exhibits this behavior, appreciate its adaptation, rather than calling it parasitic.

Impact of starlings’ nesting behavior on other bird species

Starlings have a big effect on other birds through their nesting practices. This is known as brood parasitism and can have both positive and negative effects. The starlings can push out the original chicks or eggs, leading to a drop in population of those birds. On the other hand, some birds may benefit from the starling’s eggs in their nest. For example, a larger bird such as a hawk or crow may raise the starling chicks, giving them food and protection.

The effects of starlings nesting on other birds is complex. Researchers are still studying it to find out more. History shows that some birds have even adapted to fight the starlings. They can recognize foreign eggs in their nests and act aggressively towards starlings invading their space. This shows the ongoing evolution between different bird species.

Conservation efforts to protect other birds from starlings’ behavior

Reducing food sources for starlings can be done by removing or modifying bird feeders. If you use bird feeders designed for certain species, starlings are discouraged from competing.

Frightening devices such as visual deterrents and sonic repellents may be used. These create an unfavorable environment for starlings, protecting other birds.

Raising awareness is key. Educational programs and campaigns should be implemented to mobilize action for conservation. This encourages individuals to take steps towards preserving avian biodiversity.


Starlings have an amazing habit of depositing their eggs in other birds’ nests. This behavior is called brood parasitism. It allows the starling to pass on its genes without having to take care of the eggs. But this could lead to the host parents not having enough resources for their own chicks.

This behavior has intrigued researchers and bird enthusiasts. To better understand it, more research is needed. We can use this knowledge to learn more about evolution and ecological interactions.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What bird puts its eggs in other nests?

The starling is a bird species known for its habit of parasitism, wherein it lays its eggs in the nests of other bird species.

2. Why do starlings put their eggs in other nests?

This behavior, known as brood parasitism, is an evolutionary strategy of starlings to ensure the survival of their offspring. By laying eggs in other nests, they minimize the risks associated with raising young ones themselves.

3. How do starlings trick other birds into raising their young?

Starling eggs often mimic the appearance of the host bird’s eggs. They exploit the host’s instinct to care for their own young, making it more likely for the host bird to accept and incubate the starling eggs alongside their own.

4. Can host birds differentiate starling eggs from their own?

While some host birds might be able to recognize and remove foreign eggs from their nests, starlings have evolved to lay eggs that closely resemble those of their hosts. However, there are occasional cases where host birds reject starling eggs.

5. Do starling chicks harm the host bird’s young?

Unlike some parasitic bird species, starling chicks do not harm the host bird’s young. They simply compete for resources and attention from the host bird parents alongside their own offspring.

6. What measures can be taken to prevent starlings from parasitizing other nests?

Installing nest boxes specifically designed to prevent larger birds like starlings from accessing them can help reduce the chances of parasitism. Additionally, monitoring and removing any starling eggs found in nests can discourage further parasitic behavior.

Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.