Rome: Authorities in Rome were forced to close roads for cleaning after heavy weekend rainfall made streets and pavements covered in bird droppings too slippery for pedestrians and traffic.

The downpour washed the guano deposited by millions of migratory starlings from trees onto the streets. The result was a slimy fungal mush that led to car and motorcycle accidents.

Concerned for the safety of citizens, city authorities closed several roads on the banks of Tiber river for most of Saturday while workers attempted to hose the streets back into a safe state.

Starlings swarming above Rome’s historic buildings are one of the iconic sights of the capital, but dealing with their excrement is a perennial problem for the city.

This season, efforts to stop them congregating in the plane trees lining the Tiber got a late start because of budget cutbacks.

The starlings’ excrement creates a particularly slick mess because the little black birds spend their time in Italy gorging on olives on the outskirts of Rome.