How to Tell a Male Starling from a Female?

how to tell male from starling

It can be tough to tell the difference between male and female starlings. But, there are certain features that help us identify them. Males have glossy feathers of blue, purple and green, plus longer tails. Females are more brown with hints of grey, and shorter tails.

Apart from looks, there are unique behaviors too. Males show off with songs and dances, whilst females take care of nests for their young. Cornell Lab of Ornithology states males use their plumage to signal health and vitality when looking for mates.

Understanding Male Starlings

Male starlings can be distinguished by their glossy black feathers with iridescent purple and green highlights – unlike the females’ more subdued brown coloration. Males are slimmer than females and have bright yellow eyes. During mating season, they flaunt their feathers, sing complex songs, and perform acrobatic aerial displays.

Males are renowned for their mimicry skills, with the National Audubon Society finding they can imitate over 20 species of birds and non-avian sounds. It’s a testament to their intelligence – they can learn and reproduce various vocalizations.

Identifying Male Starlings

Male starlings have something special. They boast glossy black feathers with metallic green and purple shades. Their plumage is different than the females’. Plus, they carry themselves confidently, with a proud upright stance.

They also have a distinctive yellow bill, adding to their charm. Not to mention, they have impressive singing talents. During courtship, they show off with wing flapping and bowing movements.

And, no matter the season, their bold plumage remains. So, don’t miss your chance to spot these birds! Grab your binoculars and get outdoors. Uncover their secrets with fellow bird enthusiasts. Marvel at their beauty and enjoy the thrill of spotting them. Happy birding!

Vocalizations and Calls

Birds communicate with each other through vocalizations and calls. These sounds are important for their behavior and social interactions, conveying messages such as courtship, alarm signals, and territory defense.

Male starlings produce melodious songs to attract females and mark their territory. They can also mimic other bird species’ calls and even human sounds. When in large flocks, they chatter to maintain cohesion and coordinate movements. Alarm calls are high-pitched and repetitive, warning of possible danger. During courtship, males showcase their vocal abilities with songs and wing postures. Each starling has its own unique voice.

To identify male starlings, one should listen carefully and compare sounds with recordings. Paying attention to accompanying behaviors helps in confirmation. Expert guidance can also be sought. Following these tips, one can easily recognize male starlings for a better bird-watching experience.

Nesting Behavior

Starlings show unique nest-building behaviors that are key to their survival and reproduction. Let’s explore some of these captivating behaviors!

We can observe starlings using grass, leaves, twigs, and feathers to construct intricately woven nests. Their craftsmanship is amazing as they skillfully intertwine these materials to form secure homes for their youngsters.

To understand starlings’ nesting preferences, let’s look at the table below:

Preference Location Reason
Concealment Tree cavities Protection from predators
Elevated sites Building ledges or signs Avoidance of ground-based threats
Niche exploitation Nest boxes Opportunistic use of human-made homes

Let’s discover another amazing aspect of starlings’ nesting behavior. Did you know they can adjust their nesting strategies depending on the environment and resources available? This adaptability means they can thrive in a variety of habitats.

A remarkable story illustrates this adaptive instinct. In an urban environment with no natural nests, a pair of starlings used artificial structures as substitutes. This clever instinct left observers in awe of starlings’ ingenuity.

Other Indicators of Male Starlings

Male starlings can be identified by certain characteristics. Here are a few signs that can help distinguish them from females:

  1. Plumage Coloration: Males have dark, shiny feathers with a metallic sheen, whereas females have duller feathers.
  2. Bill Color: Males have yellow bills when breeding, while females have brownish or black bills.
  3. Vocalizations: Males sing melodious and complex songs to woo potential mates, showing off their vocal skills.
  4. Display Behavior: When courting, males puff up their chest feathers and spread their wings to impress females.
  5. Size: Generally, males are larger than females.

In addition, male starlings are territorial; they protect their nesting sites from other males that could threaten their mating chances. Moreover, male starlings have a remarkable ability to mimic the calls of other bird species as part of their reproductive tactics. By imitating the calls of predators or potential threats near their nests, they scare away intruders and guard their young.

Overall, it can be concluded that identifying the gender of starlings is possible by looking at plumage coloration, bill color, vocalizations, display behavior, and size. These features show us the different tactics used by males to attract mates and keep their offspring safe.


Male starlings can be easily spotted with their unique, glittering feathers. Vibrant black, brown, and purple hues shine in the sun. Plus, their melodious tunes fill the air with enchanting melodies. During breeding season, they display intricate movements and vocalizations to attract mates. Male starlings puff out their chests, fanning their tail feathers to impress the females.

It can be tricky to identify males at first glance. But, a keen eye can pick up on subtle distinctions. Males are usually larger and have longer tails than females. To accurately tell them apart, pay attention to plumage, behaviors, size, and tail length. Listen to their song repertoire and watch for courtship displays during breeding season.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I tell if a starling is male or female?

Answer: It is quite challenging to determine the gender of a starling visually. Both male and female starlings look very similar, with no notable differences in their plumage or physical features.

2. Is there any behavioral distinction between male and female starlings?

Answer: In general, there are no distinct behavioral differences between male and female starlings. Both genders exhibit similar behaviors, such as flying in flocks, foraging for food, and building nests.

3. Are there any vocal differences between male and female starlings?

Answer: Male starlings are known for their exceptional singing abilities. During the breeding season, they often showcase their vocal prowess through complex and melodious songs. Female starlings also sing, but their songs are usually shorter and less elaborate than those of males.

4. Can genetics or DNA testing determine the sex of a starling?

Answer: Yes, DNA testing or genetic analysis can accurately determine the gender of a starling. However, it is not a practical method for most birdwatchers or enthusiasts, as it requires specialized equipment and expertise.

5. Do male and female starlings have different roles in parenting?

Answer: Male and female starlings share parenting responsibilities equally. Both genders participate in nest-building, incubating eggs, and feeding their young. They work as a team to ensure the survival and well-being of their offspring.

6. Are there any seasonal changes in the appearance of male and female starlings?

Answer: Male starlings may undergo slight color variations during the breeding season. Their feathers may appear brighter, with increased iridescence. However, these changes are subtle and may not be easily distinguished without close observation.

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.