1st March 2018 Daniel Roca

Urban Rosy Starling

The coastal town of Premià de Mar, very close to Barcelona, is hosting a Rosy Starling since at least February 22th, when it was initially spotted by a neighbour living in front of the old fig tree, Ficus benjamina, where a mixed flock of Common and Spotless Starlings come to roost every evening. This is certainly not the place where you would expect to find a rarity such as this one. Click to enlarge:


Since the discovery, many birders have come to try to see the bird. It can be tricky from the street, where the view of the tree upper parts is restricted. From the roof of the building across the street the view is superb. We must thank the finder, Pep Cusó, who kindly invited us to come up on several occasions, allowing fantastic views of the bird.


The starlings start to descend at around 17:50h, coming from nearby fields. At that hour the light is already poor, more so these last days, which have been cold, cloudy and rainy. Then they usually stay visible on top of the tree or on the TV antennas for some time before they take a better shelter, out of sight in the inner canopy. Not to be seen until the next day.


Rosy Starling is a rarity in Catalonia, as it is an eastern species. People don’t want to miss the opportunity to take a picture of it!


Click and spot the odd one 🙂


Interestingly, unlike most Rosy Starlings that have appeared in Catalonia in the past, the bird from Premià de Mar shows a complete adult plumage. For comparison, here is a pic of a bird from February 2006, in Llobregat Delta. You can see the contrast between moulted and retained feathers.

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