Bird Board

ID for small black bird Brevard County

We have a small group of black birds that come every year to our our beachside condo in Brevard County. They arrive in March or April, stay about 6-8 weeks, and then move on.

They are similar to the grackles that are common in this area, except that they are smaller, and have bright yellow beaks. They all seem to be completely black, with no speckles of white, and no brown birds like the female grackles.

They sound similar to grackles in their vocalization.

Anybody have any idea what they may be?

Comments

Brian Rapoza
3 months ago

You’re describing European Starlings.

Betsy
3 months ago

Thanks!

I looked at the European Starling description, but was put off by the white speckles on the backs. Then I saw that breeding starlings may be all black.

Do you have any idea where the spend the winters and summers? They only visit with us for a few weeks this time in spring. This is about the 4th or 5th year they have been here.

Brian Rapoza
3 months ago

Starlings in Florida are not known to migrate, so I'm sure they are somewhere in your area throughout the year.

John Boyd
3 months ago

While its true that there are Starlings here all year, that doesn't mean they don't migrate. Casual observation suggests their numbers are higher in winter.

Thinking I might be mistaken, I checked "The Birdlife of Florida", where Stevenson and Anderson state: "the enormous difference in the starling's abundance in summer and winter is conclusive evidence of its migrations" I don't think we see enormous differences in Miami-Dade, but there is still a difference.

Brian Rapoza
3 months ago

I should have been more clear by saying "Starlings THAT BREED in Florida RARELY migrate, so I'm sure THERE ARE SOME in your area throughout the year"
I was basing my response on this statement from Cornell Lab of Ornithology's online "Birds of North America": "Starlings tend to be least partly migratory in the middle Atlantic states, and mostly migratory in the midwest and Great Lakes regions; breeders south of 40° latitude rarely migrate (Dolbeer 1982)."

Betsy
3 months ago

Thanks again!

These little guys definitely don't hang around after the spring. I have not seen any of them anywhere else in the neighborhood either. We have loads of grackles (they seem to LOVE Publix parking lots!) year round, but these are quite different.

Looking at the Cornell website, it shows that some birds spend the winter in northern Mexico and the Lesser Antilles, so I'm guessing that our visitors are heading north for the summer.

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