how many european starling

The European starling is a captivating species, often referred to as the common starling. It is indigenous to Europe, though they have been brought to other continents, such as North America, Australia and New Zealand.

These birds are mid-sized and have a black, shimmery plumage. They have a pointed beak and powerful legs which help them forage for food on the ground or in trees. They are very adaptable and can survive in various kinds of habitats, like woodlands, grasslands, cities and farms.

A unique part of the European starling is their capacity to mimic the sounds and songs of other birds. This skill is used both for communication and to attract mates during the breeding season. This behaviour is why they are popular amongst bird lovers.

Estimating the exact number of European starlings is hard, yet it’s thought that there are more than 200 million of them. This large amount is due to their adaptability, high reproductive rate and successful introduction to new lands.

To demonstrate their effect on ecosystems, I’ll tell you a real story about European starlings in North America. In the late 19th century, some Shakespeare admirers let go of 60 European starlings in Central Park, in an attempt to introduce all bird species mentioned by Shakespeare to North America. They weren’t aware that this act would lead to a huge rise in the population of these birds across the continent. Nowadays, European starlings are considered invasive species in some regions due to their vast numbers and competition with native bird species.

Overview of the European Starling

The European Starling, scientifically known as Sturnus vulgaris, is a bird species native to Europe and Asia. It has a distinctive black plumage with glossy purple and green iridescence and an average lifespan of 2-3 years with a size of 7.5-8.7 inches.

These birds are highly adaptable and can be found in various habitats such as forests, grasslands, and cities. They are omnivorous, feeding on fruits, insects, and grains. European Starlings are also known for being great mimics, able to imitate a wide range of sounds.

Unfortunately, they have been introduced to North America and other regions as an invasive species due to their aggressive behavior and competition with native bird species. To lessen the impact of European Starlings, it is recommended to:

  1. Install physical barriers.
  2. Use scare devices.
  3. Utilize bird repellents.
  4. Remove access to potential food sources.

These methods can help protect native bird species and their habitats from the negative effects of European Starling populations.

Identification and Physical Characteristics

The European Starling is a common bird in Europe that has unique identification and physical characteristics. It has a glossy black plumage with shiny iridescent feathers. The yellow beak stands out against its dark plumage, giving it a majestic presence.

These birds are medium-sized, measuring 8.5 inches in length. Upon closer inspection, small white spots can be seen speckled in their plume. The wingspan is 15-17 inches wide when in flight. Their eyes have dark irises encircled by a narrow bright yellow eye ring.

This species is known for its exceptional mimicry skills, possessing melodious songs that can replicate other birds’ voices. What’s more, starlings are highly adaptable and have a varied diet of insects and fruits, allowing them to live in different habitats in Europe.

Interestingly, these birds were not native to North America. In the 1890s America, Eugene Schieffelin released around 100 European Starlings into New York City’s Central Park. He wanted to introduce all the bird species mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays to North America. This marked their successful colonization and spread over the continent. Today, they are one of the most common and well-known birds in Europe and North America.

Distribution and Habitat

European Starlings, or Sturnus vulgaris, exist across many continents. From Europe to Asia and North Africa, these birds have a wide range and can survive in diverse places, such as cities, farms, forests, and wetlands.

Their communal roosting behavior is known. They take nesting spots in cavities, like tree hollows or buildings. They also use man-made structures, like chimneys or nest boxes. Their ability to live in various habitats allows them to colonize new areas.

To protect these starlings, we need to take measures. First, preserving natural habitats is key. This means having sustainable land management practices, so there’s food and suitable nesting sites.

Second, green infrastructure in urban spaces should be created. Plant native trees and shrubs for shelter and food, and enhance biodiversity in cities.

Lastly, rules on nest box installation will help in areas with limited natural cavities. Nest boxes provide alternative nesting options, and lessen the pressure on existing nest sites.

In conclusion, European starlings have a broad range and adapt to many environments. To conserve them, conserving habitats, urban green infrastructure, and nest box regulations are necessary. This will support starling populations while keeping the ecological balance of their habitats.

Behavior and Diet

European Starlings have amazing behaviors and food preferences. They are highly social creatures, flocking together and forming communication networks. Their diet is omnivorous, with insects, spiders, fruits, seeds, grains, berries, and even garbage being part of it.

Another interesting trait of these birds is their capability to mimic sounds. This includes the calls of other bird species and man-made noises. A study by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology showed that European Starlings can accurately imitate up to 20 different bird species! Their remarkable adaptability and vocal talents are truly remarkable.

Impact on Ecosystems

The European Starling has a huge effect on ecosystems. Let’s learn more about it.

We can see the different ways it affects ecosystems here:

Aspect Impact
Competition Outcompetes native birds
Nest Takeovers Displaces other species
Seed Dispersal Spreads invasive species
Agricultural Damage Harms crops and fruit trees

Also, starlings fly in large groups, which can cause damage to buildings and urban areas. This adds to their already huge impact.

An example of this impact is a story. In a rural area, a flock of starlings came, and native birds had to compete for resources. This upset the balance of the ecosystem, making biologists search for solutions.

These effects show that we must quickly understand and address the European Starling’s impact on ecosystems.

Human Interaction and Conservation Efforts

Humans and conservation are linked. By understanding our actions, we can save these creatures and their homes.

Birdwatchers and conservationists have been working together to watch the European starling population. Scientists believe there are about 200 million of these birds across the world. They are special for their pretty feathers and singing, and also for how they can survive in new places. People let them move to North America in the 1800s and their numbers went up. They are one of the most successful birds that people moved.

Even though some think of them as pests, they help too. The Audubon Society says they eat bugs which can hurt crops. So, it’s important to remember the good they do.

To make sure they stay around we need to know about them and make places for them. That way, we can live with them in peace.


Unveiling the enigma of European Starlings leads us to a conclusion. Their captivating feathers and patterns have enthralled researchers and bird admirers for ages.

Diving deep into their habits and habitats, we find that the species is not only abundant but also sturdy. Adaptability to diverse environments is evident in their presence across the globe.

This research also unveils remarkable insights on their migrations. These intrepid flyers travel long distances, demonstrating their perseverance. As they traverse continents, they leave a lasting impact on the surroundings.

One curious detail is that European Starlings were introduced to North America in 1890. A group of Shakespeare lovers released a hundred of these birds in Central Park, NYC. From this humble start, they proliferated and spread over the continent.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ – How Many European Starlings

1. How many European starlings are there in the world?

There is no precise count of European starlings worldwide, but estimates suggest their population ranges in the billions.

2. How many European starlings are there in Europe?

In Europe, the population of European starlings is estimated to be around 50-100 million individuals.

3. Are European starlings native to Europe?

No, European starlings are not native to Europe. They were introduced to North America, Australia, and New Zealand in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

4. Where can I find European starlings?

European starlings are highly adaptable birds and can be found in a wide variety of habitats. They are commonly found in urban areas, farmlands, woodlands, and parks.

5. Are European starlings considered invasive?

Yes, European starlings are considered invasive in many parts of the world where they have been introduced. They can outcompete native bird species for resources and pose a threat to agricultural crops.

6. What do European starlings eat?

European starlings have an omnivorous diet. They primarily feed on insects, fruits, berries, and seeds. They also scavenge for food in garbage dumps and feed on agricultural crops.

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.