Starlings are small to medium-sized birds that have a cosmopolitan distribution. Hybridization has been recorded in a few genera, Mino, Sturnus and Lamprotornis.


A genomic study found signatures of ancient introgression between the Javan Myna (A. javanicus) and a subspecies of the Black-winged Myna (A. melanopterus tertius). This introgression event might have transferred genomic regions involved in black plumage color, but this hypothesis remains to be tested (Sadanandan et al., 2020).

Black-winged Myna (Acridotheres melanopterus) © Doug Jasonjj | Wikimedia Commons


Common Starling (S. vulgaris) and Spotless Starling (S. unicolor) are known to interbreed (Motis, 1992). Based on allozymes, the gene flow between these species was estimated at six migrants per generation (delaCruzCardiel et al., 1997).

Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) and Spotless Starling (S. unicolor)
Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) and Spotless Starling (S. unicolor)


delaCruzCardiel, P. J., Deceuninck, B., Peris, S. J. & ElenaRossello, J. A. (1997). Allozyme polymorphism and interspecific relationships in the Common starling (Sturnus vulgaris) and Spotless starling (S-unicolor) (Aves: Sturnidae). Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 35, 75-79.

Motis, A. (1992). Mixed breeding pairs of European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) and Spotless starling (Sturnus unicolor) in the north-east of Spain. Butlletí del Grup Catalá d’Anellament, 19-23.

Sadanandan, K. R., Low, G. W., Sridharan, S., Gwee, C. Y., Ng, E. Y., Yuda, P., Prawiradilaga, D. M., Lee, J. G. H., Tritto, A. & Rheindt, F. E. (2020). The conservation value of admixed phenotypes in a critically endangered species complex. Scientific reports10(1), 1-16.

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