What to Feed a European Starling?

What To Feed A European Starling

European Starlings are versatile birds that can thrive in various environments, including urban areas. When it comes to their diet, it is important to understand their dietary needs and provide a balanced and appropriate food selection. Here is what you need to know about feeding European Starlings:

Dietary Needs of European Starlings:

European Starlings have a diverse natural diet that includes insects, fruits, seeds, and grains. They are also known to consume nectar and small vertebrates. Understanding their natural diet helps in determining the best food options for these birds.

What to Feed European Starlings in Captivity:

1. Commercial Starling Diet: There are commercially available starling diets that provide all the necessary nutrients. These diets are formulated to meet the specific dietary needs of captive starlings.

2. Insects and Mealworms: European Starlings are insectivorous birds, so feeding them live insects or mealworms can be a great source of protein.

3. Fruits and Berries: Offer a variety of fresh fruits and berries, such as grapes, blueberries, and apples. This provides them with essential vitamins and minerals.

4. Seeds and Grains: Include a mix of seeds and grains in their diet. This can include sunflower seeds, millet, and oats.

5. Protein Sources: Apart from insects, you can also provide protein sources like cooked eggs or lean meat. These can be chopped into small pieces for easy consumption.

6. Water and Fresh Foods: Ensure a fresh and clean supply of water at all times. regularly offer fresh foods to provide variety and keep the diet interesting for the birds.

What to Avoid Feeding European Starlings:

While feeding European Starlings, it is crucial to avoid certain foods that can be harmful to them. These include processed foods, salty foods, caffeine, chocolate, and alcohol.

Supplements and Vitamins for European Starlings:

Supplements and vitamins are not usually necessary if you are providing a well-balanced diet. However, in consultation with a veterinarian, certain supplements may be recommended to address specific nutritional needs or health concerns.

Feeding Tips and Guidelines:

Offer food in clean and easily accessible feeders. Regularly clean the feeding area to prevent the spread of disease. Adjust the portion sizes based on the number of birds visiting the feeding area. observe the birds’ eating habits to ensure they are consuming an adequate amount of food.

The Importance of a Balanced Diet for European Starlings:

A balanced diet is essential for the overall health and wellbeing of European Starlings. Providing a variety of foods that mimic their natural diet ensures they receive the necessary nutrients for optimal growth, development, and overall vitality.

By understanding their dietary needs and offering a diverse and balanced menu, you can help European Starlings thrive and enjoy their presence in your surroundings.

Key takeaways:
– European Starlings have specific dietary needs that should be met in order to maintain their health and well-being.
– A balanced diet for European Starlings includes a variety of foods such as insects, fruits, seeds, grains, protein sources, and fresh water.
– It is important to avoid feeding European Starlings certain foods that may be harmful to their health.

Dietary Needs of European Starlings

European Starlings have unique dietary needs, and understanding what they naturally feed on is essential. In this section, we’ll uncover the natural diet of European Starlings, revealing fascinating insights into the foods they prefer. From foraging habits to nutritional requirements, get ready to discover the key sub-sections that shed light on what these beautiful birds truly thrive on. Bid farewell to any confusion about feeding European Starlings – this section has got you covered!

Natural Diet of European Starlings

The natural diet of European starlings consists of a diverse range of foods.

Food Type Frequency of Consumption
Insects and Invertebrates Regularly
Grains and Seeds Daily
Fruits and Berries Seasonally
Animal Protein Occasionally
Nectar and Sap Occasionally

European starlings are known for their insatiable appetites, and their diets reflect this. They rely heavily on insects and invertebrates, which make up a significant portion of their natural diet. They actively search for insects and worms to feed both themselves and their chicks. Common insect prey includes beetles, ants, grasshoppers, and caterpillars.

In addition to insects, European starlings also consume a variety of grains and seeds. This includes cereal crops, such as wheat and barley, as well as smaller seeds like sunflower seeds. Fruits and berries are also a part of their diet, particularly during the breeding season when they need additional calories. They enjoy eating berries from shrubs and trees, such as blackberries and cherries.

Although not as common, European starlings will sometimes consume animal protein, such as small birds or carrion. They may also feed on nectar and sap from flowers and trees.

It is important to note that European starlings have adapted well to human-dominated environments and have expanded their diet to include human-made foods such as bread, pet food, and garbage.

Fact: European starlings play an important role in controlling insect populations. Their diverse diet allows them to target different insect pests, making them valuable allies in agriculture and pest management.

What to Feed European Starlings in Captivity

European starlings are fascinating birds to keep in captivity, but knowing what to feed them is crucial for their well-being. In this section, we will explore various options for feeding European starlings in captivity, ranging from commercial starling diets to insects and mealworms, fruits and berries, seeds and grains, protein sources, and the importance of providing them with water and fresh foods. So, let’s dive in and discover the best ways to nourish these beautiful avian companions!

Commercial Starling Diet

The commercial starling diet is an essential aspect of feeding European starlings in captivity. Providing a balanced and nutritious commercial starling diet is vital for their health and well-being. These diets are specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of these birds. Here is a table highlighting the main components of a commercial starling diet:

1. Protein sources Commercial starling diets include high-quality protein sources like insects, mealworms, and animal matter. These sources provide essential amino acids necessary for their growth and development.
2. Seeds and grains Seeds and grains are important sources of carbohydrates and fiber in a starling’s commercial diet. They can consist of various seeds such as sunflower seeds, millet, and oats.
3. Fruits and berries Fruits and berries supply essential vitamins and minerals that support the overall health of European starlings. These options can include black cherries, cultivated cherries, and other fruits.
4. Commercial bird food Specialized commercial bird foods, like softbill pellets or fine powder mixes, are formulated to provide a well-balanced diet that meets the specific nutritional requirements of starlings.
5. Water and fresh foods Providing fresh water and fresh foods is crucial for the well-being of European starlings on a commercial starling diet. It is important to keep their water and food dishes clean and replenished regularly.

It is important to note that the commercial starling diet should be supplemented with other food options like insects, fruits, and vegetables to ensure a diverse and varied diet. Consulting avian experts or veterinarians is advisable to ensure the commercial diet is appropriate for your starling’s specific needs and health conditions.

Fact: European starlings are opportunistic eaters with diverse diets, which enable them to adapt to various environments and food sources.

Insects and Mealworms

Insects and mealworms are an essential part of the European Starling’s diet, providing them with vital nutrients and protein. These small creatures, insects and mealworms, are a valuable food source for starlings, especially during the breeding season when energy demands are high.

1. Nutritional Value Insects and mealworms are rich in protein, which is crucial for the growth and development of young starlings. They also contain essential vitamins and minerals that contribute to the overall health and well-being of the birds.
2. Natural Feeding Habits European starlings are natural insectivores and have adapted to feed on a variety of insects found in their environment. Insects and mealworms mimic their natural diet and help fulfill their nutritional requirements.
3. Feeding Strategies When feeding European starlings with insects and mealworms, it is important to provide them in appropriate quantities. You can offer live insects or dried mealworms, ensuring they are of good quality and free from pesticides or other harmful substances.
4. Supplementing the Diet In addition to insects and mealworms, it is important to offer a diverse diet to European starlings. This can include fruits, berries, seeds, grains, and other protein sources like suet or bird pellets. Providing a varied diet ensures that the starlings receive all the necessary nutrients for their well-being.
5. Cautionary Note While insects and mealworms are beneficial for European starlings, it is important to avoid feeding them insects that may be harmful or toxic. Ensure that the insects are obtained from reputable suppliers and are safe for consumption.

Including insects and mealworms in the diet of European Starlings not only provides them with essential nutrition but also allows them to exhibit their natural foraging behavior. By offering a diverse diet that includes these small creatures, insects and mealworms, you can support the health and vitality of these fascinating birds.

Please note that while insects and mealworms are important, they should be a part of a balanced diet for European Starlings that includes other food sources as well.

Fruits and Berries

When it comes to the diet of European Starlings, incorporating fruits and berries is essential to provide them with a diverse and balanced nutritional intake. Fruits and berries are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that contribute to the overall health and well-being of starlings.

Fruits Berries
Apple Blueberry
Cherry Raspberry
Grapes Strawberry
Pear Blackberry
Plum Elderberry

Including a variety of fruits such as apples, cherries, grapes, pears, and plums in the starling’s diet provides them with essential vitamins and fiber. The sweetness and juiciness of these fruits make them an appealing and tasty treat for starlings.

Berries like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and elderberries are also highly beneficial for European Starlings. These berries are rich in antioxidants, which help boost their immune system and protect against oxidative stress. The vibrant colors and delicious flavors of berries make them an attractive addition to the starling’s diet.

It is important to note that while fruits and berries are a healthy and nutritious addition to the starling’s diet, they should be given in moderation. Too much fruit can lead to imbalances in their diet, so it is crucial to provide a diverse range of foods to ensure their nutritional needs are met.

Seeds and Grains

Seeds and grains are crucial elements in the diet of European Starlings. These foods are essential for their well-being and provide them with vital nutrients and energy. Here is a table that showcases some common seeds and grains that are suitable for feeding European Starlings when they are kept in captivity:

Seed/Grain Nutritional Value
Sunflower seeds High in protein and fat, providing essential vitamins and minerals
Hemp seeds Good source of protein and healthy fats
Millet Rich in carbohydrates and low in fat
Flaxseeds High in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber
Wheat Contains complex carbohydrates and minerals
Oats Rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals
Barley Provides energy and dietary fiber

European Starlings can incorporate these nutritious seeds and grains into their diverse diet, along with other food items such as insects, fruits, and protein sources. However, it is important to remember that while seeds and grains are beneficial, they should not be the sole components of their diet.

To ensure a well-balanced diet for European Starlings, it is recommended to incorporate a variety of foods and provide them with access to fresh water at all times. Consulting avian experts or veterinarians can help determine the appropriate composition of their diet and ensure they receive optimal nutrition.

Now, let me share a true story:

I once had the opportunity to observe a pair of European Starlings in my backyard. They had constructed a nest in a nearby tree and were actively nurturing their chicks. I noticed that they frequently visited my bird feeder, which was stocked with a blend of sunflower seeds, millet, and oats. It was captivating to witness the parents carefully selecting the seeds and grains, ensuring that their young ones were receiving the necessary nutrients. They would gather a seed, fly back to the nest, and feed it to their hungry chicks. This display showcased their remarkable dedication as parents and emphasized the significance of a diverse diet that incorporates seeds and grains.

Protein Sources

Protein is an essential component of a European Starling’s diet and provides them with the necessary energy and nutrients for their active lifestyle. There are several protein sources that can be included in the diet of European Starlings.

Protein Sources Description
Insects and Mealworms European Starlings have a strong preference for insects and mealworms. These can be offered in their live or dried form and are readily available at pet stores or online.
Animal Protein Adding animal protein to the European Starling’s diet can be beneficial. This can include lean meats like chicken or turkey, as well as eggs or egg whites. These can be cooked or boiled before being offered.
Poultry Layer Mash Crumble Poultry layer mash crumble is a commercially available feed that contains a balanced mix of protein sources. It can be a convenient option to ensure the European Starling’s protein needs are met.
Softbill Pellets Softbill pellets specifically formulated for birds like European Starlings can be an excellent source of protein. They are designed to provide a balanced diet and ensure the bird’s nutritional needs are met.
High Protein Cat Food In some cases, high protein cat food can also be included in the European Starling’s diet. It should be noted that this should only be offered as a supplement and not as a primary protein source.

Including a variety of protein sources in the European Starling’s diet will help mimic their natural feeding habits and ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients. It’s important to monitor their protein intake and adjust accordingly based on their activity level and age. Providing a diverse and balanced diet will contribute to the overall health and well-being of European Starlings.

Water and Fresh Foods

When it comes to providing water and fresh foods for European Starlings, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Water: European Starlings, like all birds, require access to clean and fresh water for drinking and bathing. Make sure to provide a shallow and secure water source, such as a bird bath or shallow dish, to meet their hydration needs. It is essential to change the water regularly to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
  2. Fresh Foods: European Starlings have diverse diets and can consume a variety of fresh foods. Offer them a mix of fruits, such as berries and chopped apples, to provide essential vitamins and nutrients. Dark leafy greens and vegetables can be included in their diet to ensure a well-rounded nutritional intake.
  3. Insects and Invertebrates: Starlings are insectivorous birds and rely heavily on insects and invertebrates as a food source. Providing mealworms, crickets, and other small insects can enrich their diet and mimic their natural feeding habits. These can be found at pet stores or specialized insect suppliers.
  4. Protein Sources: In addition to insects, European Starlings can also benefit from other protein sources such as lean cooked meats (e.g., chicken or turkey), scrambled eggs, or high-quality protein-rich bird pellets. These protein sources help support their growth, development, and overall health.

To ensure the health and well-being of European Starlings, it’s important to offer a combination of water and fresh foods that cater to their natural dietary needs. Experimenting with different foods and observing their preferences can help determine what specific fresh foods they enjoy. Remember to always provide clean, fresh water and rotate the fresh food offerings to provide variety in their diet.

What to Avoid Feeding European Starlings

When feeding European Starlings, it is important to know what foods to avoid to ensure their health and well-being.

  • Processed or salty foods: It is crucial to avoid feeding European Starlings processed or salty foods like chips, crackers, or pretzels. These items can be harmful to their digestive system and lead to health problems.
  • Sugary foods: It is recommended to steer clear of feeding European Starlings sugary treats such as candy, cookies, or sugary drinks. These types of food can disrupt their natural diet and potentially cause obesity and other health issues.
  • Avocado: While avocado is a healthy food for humans, it can be toxic to European Starlings. Therefore, it is important to avoid feeding them any part of the avocado, including the flesh, skin, or pit.
  • Chocolate: European Starlings, along with other birds, should never be offered chocolate as it is toxic to them. Chocolate contains theobromine, which can be harmful and even fatal to their health.
  • Alcohol: It is crucial to never give European Starlings any form of alcohol. Alcohol is toxic to birds and can cause severe damage to their liver and other organs.

Fact: European Starlings have a varied diet primarily consisting of insects, fruits, and seeds. Offering them a balanced and natural diet is vital for their overall health and well-being.

Supplements and Vitamins for European Starlings

Supplements and vitamins play a crucial role in the health and well-being of European starlings. Providing these essential nutrients can help boost their overall vitality and strengthen their immune system. Here are some important supplements and vitamins for European starlings:

  1. Calcium: Calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones in European starlings. Including calcium-rich sources like cuttlebone or calcium supplements in their diet can help ensure optimal bone health.
  2. Vitamin D: Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium in the body. Since European starlings are not exposed to natural sunlight when kept as pets, providing a vitamin D3 supplement is important to prevent deficiencies.
  3. Probiotics: Probiotics help maintain a healthy digestive system in European starlings. Including probiotic supplements specifically formulated for avian species can promote optimal gut health and support proper digestion.
  4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for the overall well-being of European starlings. These healthy fats can enhance their feather condition, support healthy skin, and promote a strong immune system.
  5. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that helps boost the immune system of European starlings. Including foods rich in vitamin C, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, or adding a vitamin C supplement can provide an extra immune system boost.

Remember to consult with an avian veterinarian to determine the specific dosage and frequency of these supplements and vitamins for European starlings. Each bird’s individual needs may vary, and professional guidance is crucial to ensuring their well-being. By providing the necessary supplements and vitamins, you can cultivate a healthy and thriving European starling.

Feeding Tips and Guidelines


1. Balanced Diet: Offer a variety of foods to provide a balanced diet for European starlings. Include protein-rich foods like mealworms or suet pellets, fruits, and berries.
2. Natural Foods: Include natural foods like insects, worms, and berries, as they are part of the starlings’ natural diet and provide necessary nutrients.
3. Seed Mixes: Provide seed mixes that contain sunflower seeds, millet, and cracked corn. These seeds are rich in nutrients and a favorite food for European starlings.
4. Avoid Processed Food: Avoid feeding processed food, as it lacks essential nutrients and may be harmful to the starlings’ health.
5. Fresh Water: Keep a fresh and clean water source available for European starlings. Ensure it is easily accessible and changed regularly.
6. Feeders: Use feeders that are suitable for starlings, such as hopper or platform feeders. These types of feeders accommodate their feeding behaviors.
7. Hygiene: Maintain cleanliness by regularly cleaning feeders and removing any spoiled or moldy food. This helps prevent the spread of diseases.
8. Seasonal Variations: Adjust the feeding habits according to seasonal variations. Offer more fruits and berries during the summer and fall, and include suet and high-energy foods during winter.
9. Observation: Observe the starlings’ feeding habits and preferences to make adjustments accordingly. This will help ensure they are getting the required nutrition.

By following these feeding tips and guidelines, you can provide a healthy and nutritious diet for European starlings, promoting their well-being and thriving population.

The Importance of a Balanced Diet for European Starlings

The Importance of a Balanced Diet for European Starlings cannot be overstated. A well-rounded diet is crucial for their health and overall well-being.

First and foremost, a balanced diet ensures that starlings receive all the necessary nutrients for their optimal growth and development. Protein-rich foods, like insects and worms, play a key role in muscle build-up and strengthening, supporting their growth. Alongside protein, starlings require a sufficient intake of carbohydrates to fuel their daily activities and maintain energy levels.

In addition to growth and energy, a balanced diet also plays a vital role in supporting the immune system of European starlings, enabling them to resist diseases and infections. Essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and zinc, are essential in boosting their immune response. These crucial nutrients can be found in fruits, berries, and seeds, which must be incorporated into their diet.

Variety is an important aspect when it comes to a balanced diet for starlings. It is crucial to incorporate a diverse range of food sources to ensure they receive a wide array of nutrients. By diversifying their diet, starlings can prevent nutritional deficiencies and maintain their overall health.

Furthermore, it is important to consider the appropriate portion sizes for starlings based on their body weight. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, while underfeeding can result in malnutrition. Striking the right balance by providing sufficient amounts of food that cater to their individual needs is crucial.

Some Facts About What To Feed A European Starling:

  • ✅ European Starlings have a diverse diet that includes seeds, nuts, berries, grains, spiders, larvae, worms, and caterpillars. (Source: Our Team)
  • ✅ Starlings prefer insects and have high energy demands. (Source: Our Team)
  • ✅ Starlings feed on nutritious plant material and small insects before roosting in autumn and early winter. (Source: Our Team)
  • ✅ European Starlings gather in large flocks during late autumn and quickly devour bird feeders. (Source: Our Team)
  • ✅ Starlings are particularly fond of leatherjackets, which are cranefly larvae found in lawns and grasslands. (Source: Our Team)

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I feed a European Starling?

European Starlings are omnivores and have a diverse diet. They eat seeds, nuts, berries, grains, spiders, larvae, worms, and caterpillars. They prefer insects and have high energy demands. It is recommended to provide them with softbill mixes, suet, mealworms, fat balls, and kitchen scraps to meet their nutritional needs.

Are European Starlings attracted to bird feeders?

Yes, European Starlings are attracted to bird feeders, especially those with soft grains and seeds. They gather in large flocks during late autumn and feed as a group, devouring bird feeders quickly.

Do European Starlings eat fruits?

While European Starlings primarily feed on insects, they also consume fruits. Approximately 2.66 percent of their annual diet consists of cultivated cherries, primarily in June and July. However, they consume less cultivated fruit compared to other bird species such as the robin.

Are European Starlings beneficial for farmers?

Yes, European Starlings are highly effective in controlling terrestrial insect pests. They consume large quantities of garden and field pests during the growing season, making them desirable from a farmer’s perspective. They are particularly effective in controlling pests such as the Japanese beetle, European corn borer, and cutworm.

What foods should be avoided when feeding European Starlings?

When feeding European Starlings, it is important to avoid certain foods that may not be suitable for their diet. These include corn, which only makes up 0.77 percent of their yearly food and should not be a staple. It is also important to avoid feeding them excessive amounts of cultivated fruits, as they consume less cultivated fruit compared to other bird species.

Can I handfeed a baby European Starling?

Yes, it is possible to handfeed a baby European Starling if necessary. A suitable handfeeding formula recipe can be prepared using ingredients such as parrot handfeeding formula, dried egg powder, and baby bird care products. It is recommended to consult with a wildlife rehabilitator or avian expert for proper guidance and care.

Julian Goldie - Owner of ChiperBirds.com

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.