all-birds   birds



Home   grosbeak

Bird Watching Tips
Bird Houses
Nest Boxes

Parts of a Bird

Bird Shapes
Food - Feeding
Bird Feeders
Hummingbird Feeders
Favorite Birds
Songs and Calls
U.S. State Birds
Photography Tips

Bird  Posters 

Bird Pictures

    Fun Stuff
Laughing Duck

The Bird Shop
...Great Bird Books
    & Feeders
bird books

Top rated birding software
birding software


Useful Links




European Starling     starling


Identification and Pictures

(Sturnus vulgaris)starling

Starlings are short tailed black birds, with long pointed bills, triangular wings, and black eyes; about 7 1/2 to 8 1/2 inches.  They are shaped a little like a meadowlark.   Their legs are pinkish-red.  They have a purple or green iridescence, and a yellow bill in breeding plumage.  Later they are heavily speckled in brilliant white spots, and have a dark, bill.  Male, and female are similar, and young starlings are dusky gray-brown.  They have a direct swift flight.  Similar species are Brewers blackbird, and cowbirds.

Photos by Keith Lee.  The camera I use is the Canon EOS 40D.

Range and Habitat

starlingThey were introduced to America in the 1890, and are now one of our most numerous song birds.  They can be found in cities, parks, open country, and fields.  They form into huge, loud flocks, sometimes covering lawns, or fields as they forage for food.  Flocks will often be mixed with other birds such as Red-winged blackbirds, cowbirds, and others.  Large groups will perch on power lines.  The huge flocks are incredible to watch as they form amazing flowing formations.
Watch starling flock video.

Breeding and Nesting

Starlings are usually monogamous.  Males will establish a territory and nest site, and then attract a female.  They are very gregarious, and will breed close to other pairs of starlings.  During vicious fights over breeding sites, the birds will grab each other with their feet, and peck each other.  Starlings prefer nesting in cavities, but will use natural cavities, holes made by birds such as woodpeckers, or birdhouses, rather than excavate their own.  Both birds of a pair will help build the nest.  The cavity is filled grass, weeds, string, and other material.  The female will lay 4 to 7 pale blue or greenish eggs.  Both birds develop a brood patch, and incubation is for around 12 days, by both birds, with the female doing most of it.  Hatchlings will be almost naked, and will fledge in around 3 weeks.  The parents will feed the young for a few days after fledging, and the young birds may stay around the parents for 10 to 12 days, but will then join other young birds in communal roosts.  Starlings may have a second brood.  If they do they usually place new nesting material over the old.  

Song and Call

Their voice is clear whistles, rattles, and clicks, and they often imitate other birds, and even human speech, or sounds they hear around them such as car alarms.  Listen to starling sound

Food and Feeding

Starlings eat insects, worms, spiders, seeds, grains, fruit, and animals such as frogs or lizards.  They forage on the ground, in fields, lawns, and parking lots.  Probing the ground every few steps they will work their way across a lawn in a zig-zag pattern.  They often forage with other birds such as robins, sparrows, crows, Red-winged blackbirds, and cowbirds. 

Not always a well liked bird

Many people dislike starlings, and actively try to get rid of them because they are very aggressive, and may evict other songbirds from birdhouse, and attack their young, and eggs.  They are not protected by The Migratory Bird Treaty Act, so people can legally trap or kill them, or destroy their nests.

For more on food and feeding click here.
For more on feeders click here.

To learn about other favorite birds click here.

all-bird nature store All-birds Store

Bird Watching guides, books, binoculars, cameras, gifts for bird lovers, birdrobin baths, feeders and more...



Available for Immediate Download

Click here