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German wasp | Vespula germanica

German wasp

Vespula germanica

Coral bush | Ardisia crenata

Coral bush

Ardisia crenata

Purple loosestrife | Lythrum salicaria

Purple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria

Pom pom weed | Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Pom pom weed

Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Canarybird bush | Crotalaria agatiflora

Canarybird bush

Crotalaria agatiflora

Peanut butter cassia | Senna didymobotrya

Peanut butter cassia

Senna didymobotrya

Rubber vine | Cryptostegia grandiflora

Rubber vine

Cryptostegia grandiflora

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Environmental Programmes

In order to tackle our country’s socio-economic challenges, the government adopted the Outcomes based approach to improve government performance and providing focus on service delivery. find out more

Common starling

Sturnus vulgaris

Common name:

Common starling

Scientific name:

Sturnus vulgaris

Alternative common names:

European starling; Eurasian starling

A common invasive starling found throughout the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces. It favours urban gardens and parks as well as agricultural regions where they feed on a variety of insects, fruits and seeds. This starling is very distinctive as breeding adults have a white-flecked appearance with bright yellow bill and glossy purple plumage around the head and shoulders. 

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    Europe and some parts of Asia.

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    NEMBA Category 3.

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Throughout the Western and Eastern Cape Provinces, extending slightly into the Northern Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal.

    How does it spread?

    Human beings are responsible for the spreading of this bird species through pet trade.

    Why is it a problem?

    It feeds on a wide variety of insect prey as well as fruits and seeds and competes against indigenous species for the same resources.

    What does it look like?

    Description: 21-22cm in length. Common starling has a wide variation in plumage. Both sexes are similar, although the female is less glossy than the male. In autumn, when the plumage is new, birds are glossed black, with a purple and green shine, and the tips of the body feathers have large white spots. At this time the bill is dark and the legs are brown. With wear, the white spots are lost, while the bill and legs turn yellow. During the breeding season adults become glossy-black without any spots. Young birds are dull grey-brown. Habitat: Agricultural fields, deciduous woodlands. Their main requirements are open, grassy areas in which to forage, a water source, and trees or buildings that contain suitable cavities or niches for nesting. Breeding: Prolific breeder laying 2-6 eggs which hatch after 15 days.

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General News Updates

2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasio…

26-02-2019

This is your invitation to South Africa's 2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasions. The convention is hosted by the Centre for Invasion Biology (CIB), University of Stellenbosch, and the Biolo... Read more

2019 Invasive Species Training

22-01-2019

During the past five years (2014-2018), ISSA invasive species trainers have trained 4 000 in the identification of invasive species and laws pertaining to invasive species across South Africa.  ... Read more

Alien Grass Working Group

04-09-2018

Who are we? The South African National Alien Grass Working Group was jointly initiated by the South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Centre for Excellence in Invasion Biology (C·I·B) in... Read more

Permits for planting indigenous Cynodon?

01-03-2018

On 16 February, 2018, South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs issued amendments to the regulations and lists relating to the National List of Invasive Species.  Updates to the draft&n... Read more

Invasive species training 2018 dates released

28-02-2018

Interested in invasive species?  How much do you know about NEMBA invasive species compliance for landowners and organs of state? The South African Green Industries Council (SAGIC) have released... Read more

Communications post for Africa advertised

25-01-2018

The Nature Conservancy has advertised a brand new post:  Communications Manager, Africa Region. Knowledge of invasive species and water would be an asset in this post. See details below:    Job Titl... Read more