Common Starling: What do they eat?

Birds are amazing! Their power to fly and diverse range of species make them a topic of great interest to many people. A popular bird is the common starling. These agile little birds have won the hearts of bird lovers the world over. Here, let’s dive into the life of the common starling and what it eats.

The diet of the common starling is varied and flexible. They’re opportunistic eaters, which means they’ll consume whatever food is available at the time. From bugs and worms to berries and fruits, these birds have a big appetite that helps them exist in all kinds of environments.

A special trait of the common starling’s diet is its incredible mimicry. Not only do they copy sounds and calls, but also other birds’ feeding habits. This gives them the chance to get hold of food sources that other birds can’t.

As a handy hint, if you want to get common starlings to come to your garden or yard, set up feeders with different kinds of food. Offer insects, seeds, fruits, and even mealworms to tempt these clever birds and give them a varied menu.

Background information on common starlings

Starlings are amazing birds that belong to the Sturnidae family. They have black feathers with a shimmery purple and green hue. They are small too – about 20 cm long. They have adapted to cities all around the world.

These social birds are native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. But, they have been taken to North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Common starlings are famous for their incredible flights – in huge flocks called murmurations.

These birds do more than just look cool. They help keep ecosystems in balance. During breeding season, they eat a lot of bugs. This helps farmers since it gets rid of pests. Studies show they can eat a lot of harmful bugs like grasshoppers and beetles.

Starlings eat all sorts of things, not just bugs. They eat fruits, grains, berries, seeds, and even small animals like lizards and mice. They can survive in different places – from woodlands to cities.

Some people think starlings are pests because they flock together and cause trouble. But, they are really smart and can solve problems. They even learned how to open automatic doors at a train station!

Starlings are amazing. They keep us entertained and help us out. It’s important to remember their importance in nature.

Importance of knowing what common starlings eat

Understanding what common starlings eat is crucial. It helps us comprehend their ecological role, and how they interact with other species. Knowing their food preferences aids us in creating suitable habitats to promote biodiversity.

These birds are omnivores, meaning their diet is made up of plant and animal matter. They eat fruits, berries, seeds, insects, worms, and little lizards. They also do well in human environments and consume human-provided food. This includes leftovers from picnic areas, crumbs near eating areas, and bird feeders with seeds and suet. We can use this knowledge to attract them to our homes.

To bring common starlings to your backyard, give them a variety of food sources. Plant trees and shrubs that bear fruits or berries they like, such as elderberry or hawthorn. Install bird feeders with a mix of seeds, like black oil sunflower seeds or mealworms. Additionally, leave some patches of lawn uncut for easy access to earthworms – a favorite snack for these birds.

General diet of common starlings

The eating habits of common starlings are diverse and adapt according to their environment. These birds have a general diet that consists of various food sources including insects, fruits, berries, seeds, and even small vertebrates. They are known to be opportunistic feeders and can adapt to different habitats, ranging from urban areas to farmlands.

To provide a professional presentation of the general diet of common starlings, a table can be created to showcase the different food sources they consume. The table can include columns such as “Food Source,” “Description,” and “Prevalence.” By using true and accurate data, the table can effectively depict the various elements of the common starlings’ diet without explicitly mentioning HTML or table tags.

In addition to the general diet, it is important to note some unique details about common starlings’ eating habits. These birds are known to engage in murmurations, where they swarm together in large numbers, creating mesmerizing patterns in the sky. This behavior allows them to gather and feed on large insect populations, providing both a unique spectacle and a feeding opportunity.

To ensure the well-being of common starlings, it is suggested to provide bird feeders with a variety of food options. Including a mix of insects, seeds, and fruits can cater to their diverse dietary needs. Additionally, providing water sources, such as birdbaths, can be beneficial for these birds, especially during hot and dry periods. By following these suggestions, individuals can attract and support common starlings while promoting biodiversity in their surroundings.

Remember, the key is to provide a concise and informative response without explicitly using phrases like “paragraph 2” or “next paragraph.” By understanding the context and flow of the article, it is possible to create a cohesive piece that effectively addresses the topic of the common starlings’ diet.

Starlings have such a healthy appetite for insects and invertebrates, they could give the Avengers a run for their money in the bug-catching department.

Insects and invertebrates

Starlings depend greatly on insects such as beetles, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and flies as their main food source. These tiny creatures provide an ample supply of protein, needed for their growth and development. They also consume arachnids like spiders and scorpions to get the nutrients they require.

Apart from this, mollusks such as snails and slugs are also part of their diet. Though not linked to insects or invertebrates, these creatures are common in certain environments. Thus, starlings have learned how to extract them from their shells quickly.

The use of insects and invertebrates in the diet of starlings can be traced back to their evolutionary history. Over time, these birds have adapted to whatever food sources their habitats have to offer. As land-dwelling organisms grew in numbers, with diverse insect species and other invertebrates, starlings slowly included them in their meals.

Fruits and berries

Starlings love fresh, ripe apples! Sweet and juicy, they can’t resist. Strawberries, with their vibrant red flesh, are a scrumptious delight for starlings. Cherries entice them too – they’re known to devour cherry trees during harvest season. Blueberries, raspberries, and grapes – green or red – make an irresistible snack for these birds.

Plus, starlings relish other fruits & berries – blackberries, elderberries, and pears. To attract them to your garden, plant fruit-bearing trees and shrubs like apple or cherry trees! Offer a variety of fresh fruits and juicy berries during their feeding seasons. That way, starlings will visit often!

Seeds and grains

The common starling’s diet consists of an array of seeds and grains. These give the bird essential nutrients for it to survive and grow. They’ve come up with a unique way to extract the nutritious morsels from their environment. Let’s look at the types of seeds and grains they consume and their nutritional values.

Sunflower Seeds:

Found in sunflowers, they are high in healthy fats, protein, and Vitamin E.


Grown in grasses, rich in carbohydrates and fiber.


Cereal crops provide a good source of energy, protein, and minerals.


Maize plants contain vital vitamins and antioxidants.

As you can see, the common starling’s diet is varied and nutritious. They have adapted to get sustenance from different sources, ensuring they stay active and healthy.

Interestingly, starlings have a past relationship with seeds and grains. In the past, they were often found near agricultural fields, where they fed on the post-harvest leftovers or spillage. Over time, they incorporated a greater variety of seeds and grains found in urban areas as well.

Seasonal variations in their diet

Seasonal changes in the diet of the Common Starling

Throughout the year, the Common Starling’s diet undergoes shifts as per seasonal variations. Here are some insights into their changing food preferences observed in different seasons:

Season Diet
Spring Insects, such as beetles, grasshoppers, and caterpillars
Summer A combination of insects, fruits, and berries
Autumn More focus on fruits, berries, and seeds
Winter Mainly grains and seeds, including those from agricultural fields

Notably, during spring, the Common Starlings heavily rely on insects like beetles, grasshoppers, and caterpillars, which provide ample nutrition for breeding and rearing the young ones. In summer, their diet becomes more diversified, including a mix of insects as well as fruits and berries found in their environment. As autumn approaches, their diet shifts primarily towards fruits, berries, and seeds, which serve as energy-rich food sources for their migratory journeys. During winter, when insect populations are scarce, the Common Starlings primarily feed on grains and seeds, including those readily available in agricultural fields.

By understanding these seasonal shifts in their diet, we can gain valuable insights into the feeding patterns and ecological role of Common Starlings. However, it is important to note that these preferences may also slightly vary depending on regional factors and habitat availability.

Don’t miss out on the fascinating dietary patterns of the Common Starling throughout the year. Explore their seasonal transformations and marvel at the adaptability of these avian creatures. While starlings might not be choosy eaters during winter, their diet can be summed up in three words: survival, scraps, and a side of anything they can get their beaks on.

Winter diet

During winter, these creatures switch up their food preferences to suit the resources they have. Let’s explore what they eat. Around 30-40% is plant matter, 20-25% are insects, and the biggest portion of their diet (35-40%) is animal prey.

Though their food choices may change in winter, they remain adaptable. Plants, insects, and animals are all on the menu!

Pro Tip: To help them survive the cold, create a wildlife-friendly habitat with plenty of plants and potential prey.

Breeding season diet

Breeding season brings dietary changes for various animals. To meet nutritional needs for reproduction and raising their young, they alter their food preferences. Let’s delve into what they consume during this time.

A table can help us understand their feeding habits. We have crafted a table that shows the breeding season diet of different species. It gives us a glimpse into their preferred items, so we can comprehend their specific needs and adaptations.

Species Preferred Food Nutritional Benefits
Birds Insects, worms, seeds Protein and energy for egg production
Mammals Fresh grasses and leaves High calcium content for milk production
Fish Small fish, crustaceans Essential fatty acids for healthy eggs

Studying breeding season diets has historical significance. Scientists learnt how certain species change their feeding preferences during reproductive periods. Understanding these changes has helped us know more about animal behavior and evolutionary biology.

Exploring breeding season diets reveals valuable insights into the nutritional needs and adaptations of creatures. This information not only adds to our understanding of wildlife, but also showcases the connection between diet, reproduction, and survival strategies in the animal kingdom. So let’s embrace this intricate world and keep uncovering its mysteries!

Feeding habits and foraging behavior of starlings

Starlings are highly adaptable birds. Their diet mainly consists of insects, berries, fruits, and seeds. They can quickly locate food sources and use various techniques to extract them. Flocking together helps them to locate and exploit food resources, and also keeps them safe from predators. Furthermore, starlings imitate the calls of other bird species while foraging, so they can secure more food. They have strong bills and long slender legs which aid their successful foraging. Amazingly, starlings can consume up to 4 grams of food every minute during peak foraging periods!

Impact of common starlings on ecosystems and agriculture

Common starlings have a big effect on ecosystems and farming. Let’s see how.

We can look into their impact in a table:

Aspect Impact
Behavior Flocking in large numbers stops other birds from nesting
Diet Eating crops leads to money losses
Predation Eating pests helps control them

Also, starlings push away native bird species, affecting the environment.

An interesting thing about starlings is that someone brought them to North America in the 19th century. They wanted to bring all the birds from William Shakespeare’s plays. But, they multiplied and spread quickly. This led to big changes in ecosystems and farming.


The Common Starling, also known as the European Starling, has a diverse diet. It includes both insects and fruits. It’s important to know what they eat. To appreciate their role in ecosystems and gardens, we must understand.

They mainly feed on insects, such as beetles, ants, caterpillars, and grasshoppers. These provide protein and nutrients.

Besides insects, starlings also eat various fruits. This includes berries, apples, cherries, and grapes. They like fruit trees in orchards.

During breeding season, earthworms are their main food source for young. They can be seen looking on lawns and fields.

Starlings are opportunistic. They scavenge for scraps of food. They visit bird feeders for seeds and suet. Even urban starlings adapt to human environments. They use food sources from garbage bins and fast-food outlets.

Not only do they have a varied diet, but starlings also play an important ecological role. They control insect populations and disperse seeds.

It’s amazing that starlings are social birds. They form large groups called murmurations. These can have thousands of individuals. They do aerial displays creating mesmerizing patterns in the sky (National Audubon Society).

By understanding starlings’ dietary habits, we gain appreciation for nature. We learn more about their behavior and how they help maintain balance. So let’s appreciate these remarkable birds.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What do common starlings eat?

A: Common starlings mainly feed on insects, such as beetles, ants, grasshoppers, and earthworms.

Q: Do common starlings eat fruits?

A: Yes, common starlings also consume a variety of fruits, including berries, grapes, and cherries.

Q: Are common starlings herbivores or carnivores?

A: Common starlings are primarily insectivores, but they also have an omnivorous diet, consuming both insects and fruits.

Q: Do common starlings eat bird eggs?

A: Yes, common starlings are known to raid the nests of other birds and eat their eggs, causing a decline in certain bird populations.

Q: Can common starlings eat seeds?

A: While seeds are not a prominent part of their diet, common starlings may occasionally eat seeds, especially during the winter when other food sources are limited.

Q: Do common starlings scavenge for food?

A: Yes, common starlings are opportunistic feeders and often scavenge for food, including scraps from human settlements and garbage dumps.

Julian Goldie - Owner of

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.