Starling

Scientific name: Sturnus vulgaris

Did you know: The Starling can mimic various sounds and has been noted in works by Pliny the Elder and Shakespeare!

What Do Starlings Look Like? (How to Identify Them)

Starlings are often mistaken for blackbirds due to their similar size. However, these birds are distinguished by their shorter tails, pointed heads, and triangular wings

At a distance, Starlings may appear black, but a closer look reveals a glossy sheen with hints of purple and green. Their feathers are speckled, particularly visible in their brown winter plumage adorned with bright white spots. 

Starlings are known for their confident walk and run on the ground, and their flight is characterised by its speed and directness.

Differences Between Male and Female Starlings

Male and female Starlings can be differentiated by subtle changes in their beak colour. While both sexes have yellow beaks, the male’s beak turns black during the winter. Additionally, the females tend to have a slightly duller hue in their plumage compared to the males.

What Do Starlings Eat?

Starlings have a varied diet that primarily includes invertebrates and fruit. They are adept at foraging on the ground, often seen probing the earth with their sharp beaks to find insects such as beetles, flies, and worms. 

During certain times of the year, they also enjoy fruits and seeds, making them omnivorous feeders.

Where Do Starlings Live? (Including Migration Info)

Starlings are versatile in their habitat preferences, inhabiting areas like woodlands, urban and suburban regions, farmlands, and wetlands. They have a significant presence in the UK with about 1.8 million breeding birds. 

These birds are partially migratory: while some populations in western and southern Europe are resident, others from northeastern regions migrate to warmer areas like Iberia and North Africa during winter.

Bird Calls & Songs (The Unique Voices of Starlings)

Starlings are not just visual spectacles; their vocal abilities are remarkable. They are fantastic mimics, capable of producing a diverse array of sounds including tweets, cheeps, clicks, and burrs. 

Males are particularly vocal during the breeding season, using their varied and intricate songs to attract mates and defend territories.

Fun Starling Facts (Kid Friendly)

  • Starlings can mimic sounds they hear, including car alarms and human speech.
  • They are known for their stunning aerial displays called ‘murmurations’, where thousands of birds move in sync.
  • The average weight of a Starling is between 75-90g, and they have a wingspan of 37-42cm.
  • Starlings are Red Listed, indicating a high conservation concern despite their large population.
  • The common Starling was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758.
  • They can live up to 2-3 years in the wild, with a record of one living almost 23 years!
  • Starlings’ eggs are pale blue and glossy, usually numbering between four to five in a nest.
  • A group of Starlings is known as a ‘murmuration’.
  • Mozart had a pet Starling that could sing part of his Piano Concerto in G Major.

Starling Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Starling

Diet: Invertebrates and fruit.
Bird Family: Starling
Length: 21cm
Wingspan: 37-42cm
Weight: 75-90g
Scientific Name: Sturnus vulgaris

The Starling Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December