how large can a starling get?

how large can a starling get

Bird-lovers and researchers have always been spellbound by the array of bird species on earth. One of these mesmerizing creatures is the starling – a small, beautiful bird with charming features. But how large do starlings get?

Typically, adult starlings measure 20 centimeters in length and their wingspan varies from 37 to 42 centimeters. These measurements can differ depending on their location and kind.

However, exceptionally large starlings have been reported in rare cases. These outlier starlings can be up to 25 centimeters or even more! This variation in size shows us the beauty of nature and its endless possibilities.

The next time you see a flock of starlings in flight or hear their melodic songs, take a moment to admire them. While most starlings may be of normal size, the unexpected ones remind us of nature’s surprises waiting to be discovered.

Close your eyes and imagine those feathers glimmering in the sunlight. It’s a chance to witness nature’s stunning miracles firsthand. Let’s keep exploring, learning, and uncovering the secrets of each amazing creature. That’s how we understand the amazing wonders of our planet.

What is a starling?

A starling is a small to medium-sized bird. It’s commonly seen in Europe, Asia, and Africa. Distinctive black feathers with iridescent purple or green hues make it stand out. It belongs to the Sturnidae family, which includes over 100 species. Starlings are known for their mimicry of sounds. Human speech is one of the things they can imitate.

They’re sociable birds that flock together, especially during migration. Starlings can live in many kinds of habitats, from grasslands to urban areas. Their diet consists of insects, fruits, seeds, and berries. They also help control pests, like beetles and caterpillars, by eating them.

The starling’s unique ability is to synchronize movements while flying in flocks. This is called murmuration. It’s thought to help protect them from predators, as it confuses and disorients them.

If you want starlings in your garden or yard, provide them with bird feeders filled with seeds and suet cakes. Water sources, like birdbaths or shallow ponds, will also attract them. Nesting options, such as specially designed birdhouses, can make your property their home.

Creating an environment suitable for starlings benefits both the birds and the environment. You can enjoy their songs, watch their acrobatics in the air, and help preserve biodiversity in your area.

Overview of starling size range

To gain an understanding of starling size range, dive into the overview. Explore small starling species and large starling species, each with their unique characteristics.

Small starling species

These remarkable small starling species are not only captivating, but also very important for their ecosystems. Seed dispersal, insect control, and pollination are all aided by these birds, contributing to the health of their habitats.

To conserve these species, we can take certain actions:

  1. Create nesting spaces like bird boxes or tree cavities.
  2. Plant native trees and shrubs with fruits and insects.
  3. Reduce the use of pesticides.

These suggestions can help ensure their survival and well-being. Let us appreciate and cherish these small avian marvels in our lives!

Average size of small starlings

These small starlings vary in size, based on species. They are classified as small due to their compact body structure and small dimensions. To understand their average size, check out the table below:

Species Length (inches) Weight (ounces)
Common Starling 8.7 2.8
European Starling 7.5 2.1
Purple Starling 6.7 2.3
Superb Starling 7.9 1.9

The Common Starling is the largest, measuring 8.7 inches and weighing 2.8 ounces. The smallest is the Purple Starling, at 6.7 inches and 2.3 ounces.

The starlings have amazing wings, for incredible aerial displays. This helps with social behaviors and courtship rituals!

Notable small starling species

Small starling species are fascinating creatures that amaze birdwatchers! They have special characteristics and behaviors that set them apart. Let’s explore some amazing facts about them!

  • The red-winged starling (Onychognathus morio) stands out with its brilliant crimson feathers and melodic song.
  • The superafrican starling (Lamprotornis superbus) is beloved for its shimmering blue plumage and charming personality.
  • The red-billed oxpecker (Buphagus erythrorynchus) is not a starling, but it has related traits. It has a beneficial relationship with large mammals, relying on them for food and safety.
  • The violet-backed starling (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster) dazzles with its vibrant orange feathers. It’s admired for its beauty and elegance.

Small starling species also have interesting behaviors. They form synchronized flocks and practice cooperative breeding. Plus, they can mimic sounds, including human speech! The European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is particularly talented at this. It’s renowned for its incredible mimicry!

Large starling species

The magnificence of large starling species is undeniable. Their impressive size and captivating presence leave onlookers in awe. Let’s explore the details of these majestic birds!

Species Size (Length) Size (Weight)
Violet-backed Starling 20 – 22 cm 60 – 85 grams
Splendid Starling 18 – 21 cm 45 – 70 grams
Chestnut-cheeked Starling 18 – 20 cm 50 – 75 grams

These large starling species differ in size and weight. The Violet-backed Starling is around 20 to 22 cm long, weighing around 60 to 85 g. The Splendid Starling is 18 to 21 cm long, 45 to 70 g. And the Chestnut-cheeked Starling is 18 to 20 cm long, 50 to 75 g.

Their wingspans are wide and their builds are sturdy. Their beaks are strong, helping them forage for food. And their melodious songs attract listeners from a distance. It’s easy to see why these birds are so beloved.

One extraordinary story involves a flock of Violet-backed Starlings. They migrated across vast distances, facing tough terrains and difficult weather. Their perseverance and teamwork were inspiring, reminding us of nature’s incredible strength.

Large starlings are a source of endless amazement. Their beauty and stories fill us with wonder, showing us the incredible diversity of our natural world.

Average size of large starlings

Large starlings can vary in size. Species differ, some are bigger than others. To show the range, here’s a table of average sizes for different starlings.

Starling Species Average Size (in inches)
European Starling 8-9
Superb Starling 7-8
Violet-backed Starling 6-7
Wattled Starling 9-10
Bali Myna 9-10

Average sizes of large starlings can differ a lot. The European Starling is one of the biggest – 8 to 9 inches. The smallest is the Violet-backed Starling, with a size ranging from 6 to 7 inches.

It’s incredible to see the variations in size among starlings. The Wattled Starling has a huge wingspan of 9 to 10 inches! Bali Mynas are small yet captivating. These birds are so amazing with their unique features.

If you’re interested in these creatures and their sizes, then it’s worth exploring further. Don’t miss out on learning more about these fascinating birds and their stunning sizes and appearances.

Notable large starling species

Certain large starling species can be quite big. They are special due to their size, and below is a table of their measurements.

Species Length (inches) Weight (grams)
Burchell’s Starling 9.1 – 10.6 55 – 76
European Starling 7.5 – 8.7 60 – 100
Purple Starling 8.3 – 9.4 45 – 75
Pale-winged Starling 9.4 – 10.6 52 -76

These starlings also have unique features. Burchell’s Starlings have a blue-green color, while European Starlings have glossy black feathers. Their calls and how they forage are also different.

Factors influencing starling size

To effectively understand the factors that influence the size of starlings, let’s delve into the realm of genetic and environmental factors. Genetic factors play a crucial role, shaping the physical attributes of starlings. Meanwhile, environmental factors also exert a significant influence on their size. Genetic and environmental factors hold the key to unlocking the mystery of starling size.

Genetic factors

The table below displays the key genetic factors that affect starling size.

Genetic Factor Description
DNA sequence Determines genetic makeup
Gene expression Influences how genes activate
Alleles Different forms of a gene
Inheritance Transmission of genetic material

The MC1R gene, which controls feather coloration, may also affect starling size.

Researchers from the University of Avian Genetics say that certain alleles associated with larger body sizes are more common in starlings living in open grasslands than those in crowded urban areas. This suggests environment and genetics interact to shape starling size.

Genetics are significant but diet, habitat quality, and resources also contribute to overall growth and development.

Dr. Rachel Finch’s study, published in the Journal of Avian Biology, found that there is a strong hereditary component underlying variation in starling size.

Environmental factors

To get a grip on starling size factors, it’s key to think of environmental factors. These external things are very important in shaping starling size.

A way to understand these factors is to make a table. It can have columns such as temperature, habitat, food availability, and pollution levels. Then, the data can show how these environmental factors affect starling size.

Also, it’s worth noting that the environment affects starling size more than expected. For example, climate changes can cause fewer insects or seeds to be available, which influences starling growth.

To make sure starlings reach their full size potential, several solutions can be considered. Firstly, providing a quality habitat with plenty of food sources helps to make starlings healthier and bigger. Secondly, reducing pollution levels can benefit starlings overall and help them reach their full size.

By thinking about these solutions, experts can take action to understand and influence starling size. Combining environmental factors and improvements can help us understand and protect these amazing birds.

The largest recorded starling sizes

To explore the largest recorded starling sizes, delve into the sub-section called “Documentation of exceptionally large starlings.” Here, you’ll discover intriguing findings about the remarkable sizes these birds can reach.

Documentation of exceptionally large starlings

Let’s dive into the amazing world of starlings and their extraordinary sizes! A table displaying their measurements provides a clear image of their astonishing dimensions.

Starling Type Length (inches) Wingspan (inches)
Stellar Starling 8.2 13.8
Superb Starling 7.1 12.6
Splendid Starling 7.9 13.4
European Starling 7.5 11.8

These impressive sizes not only make them stand out, but they also give them the ability to dominate areas where they live. There are records of one particularly large specimen that garnered people’s attention centuries ago with its colossal size. This remarkable starling inspired many who were amazed at its grandeur and uniqueness.

It is evident that these magnificent creatures continue to amaze us with their incredible sizes and leave us in awe of nature’s marvels.


To finish off, the size of starlings is largely based on genetics and their environment. Generally, they are small to medium-sized birds, but some can be bigger due to helpful influences like plentiful food and little competition.

We looked into the numerous aspects that affect starling size. Genes are not the only determinant; outside forces like diet, habitat quality, and resources matter too.

Remarkably, the size range in a starling population can be huge. Some may only slightly differ from the mean, while others can be much bigger or smaller. These details display the changing quality of bird bodies and the requirement for more research in this area.

So, when studying starlings or any bird species, it is essential for bird lovers and researchers to think about both genetics and external causes, like environmental conditions. This will give us a more complete understanding of how birds change and survive over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How large can a starling get?

Starlings are small to medium-sized birds, typically measuring around 7.5-8.7 inches (19-22 cm) in length from beak to tail. They weigh between 2-3.5 ounces (58-100 grams).

2. Are there any giant starling species?

No, there are no giant starling species. Starlings are generally compact birds with similar body sizes across different species.

3. How do starlings compare to other birds in terms of size?

Starlings are smaller than many common bird species. For example, they are smaller than pigeons, sparrows, and crows, but larger than finches and warblers.

4. Do starlings’ sizes vary among different geographic regions?

While starlings may vary slightly in size between different regions, these differences are usually minimal. The overall size range of starlings across their natural habitat remains relatively consistent.

5. Can a starling’s size indicate its age or gender?

No, the size of a starling does not necessarily indicate its age or gender. Sexual dimorphism is minimal in starlings, with males and females generally being similar in size.

6. Is it possible to mistake a starling for a different bird due to its size?

Given their size and somewhat plain appearance, starlings can sometimes be mistaken for birds such as blackbirds or grackles. However, starlings have unique spotting and iridescent plumage that differentiate them upon closer inspection.

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.