Royal starlings at English zoo are named for Prince William and Kate Middleton
In honor of the recently announced engagement of Prince William and longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton, an English zoo has named its young pair of royal starlings (get it?) after the couple. The birds are a few months old and have been hand-raised by a keeper at the Chester Zoo in northwest England.
Royal starlings, also known as golden-breasted starlings, are native to parts of east Africa, where the couple were traveling when they became engaged. "As William proposed during a visit to Kenya it would be nice to think that, as they became engaged to be married, royal starlings may have been there to witness the special event," keeper Andrew Woolham said.
Royal starlings, like other starling species, are known for their tendency to make loud vocalizations. They live in small family groupings, and often entire families help with the rearing of chicks, with adult birds dividing chores like feeding young and building nests.
Though the species is not considered vulnerable to extinction in the wild, zoos have had limited success with breeding royal starlings in captivity.
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Photo: Royal starlings William, left, and Kate sit on a branch in their enclosure at the Chester Zoo on Nov. 18. Credit: Phil Noble / Reuters