I photographed this white-cheeked starling (Sturnus cineraceus) this morning on my bike ride. In the foreground is a farmer’s attempt at scaring away birds from his garden, but it didn’t work in this case. There were 4 starlings in the field. I spotted a group of them this winter near the Yodo River near the city center and finally got a chance to get a clear photo. They are one of the common backyard or urban birds in Japan.
When I first saw them I thought they were mynah birds, a type of starling and it turns out they are closely related. The white-cheeked starling is also known as the gray starling for obvious reasons. The females look similar to males, just a bit duller in color. I am not sure the sex of this bird. My bird count in Japan is rising.