what does a starling look like

what does a starling look like

Starlings, also known as Sturnus vulgaris, are small to medium-sized birds. Their feathers are sleek and glossy, with an iridescent array of colors, such as green and purple, when seen up close. They have long, slender beaks, pointed wings for agile flight and strong legs for perching on various surfaces. Plus, their distinctive walk involves lifting wings slightly to stay balanced.

But, are you aware of the intricate patterns that starlings possess? It’s like a mosaic masterpiece – a beauty that can be enjoyed in the right light. Every feather fits perfectly into the design!

Pro Tip: To appreciate starlings, find a quiet spot outdoors. Observe them individually or in flocks. Notice how they interact and marvel at their coordination when flying in formation.

Description of a Starling

The Starling is a common bird worldwide. It has a length of around 20 cm and a wingspan of around 40 cm, making it an elegant creature that soars gracefully. It has sleek, iridescent feathers ranging from black to greenish-purple.

What makes this bird special is its agility in the air. It can swiftly maneuver with precision. It also has a melodious song that adds to its charm.

These birds are highly social and can form huge flocks during migration or roosting. They can range from thousands to millions of birds, creating an amazing spectacle in the sky.

There is a phenomenon called murmuration, where hundreds or thousands of starlings fly together in a coordinated pattern, forming mesmerizing shapes in the sky. Videos of this have gone viral on social media.

Physical Appearance

A starling’s physical appearance is incredible. Let’s take a closer look! Starlings have beautiful feathers that cover their bodies. Here’s a table with some details:

Feathers Colors
Plumage Glossy black with iridescent purple and green hues
Wings Brownish-black with white spots

Something special about starlings is their feathers can change color. In winter, the feathers are grayish-brown and in summer they turn to a glossy black.

Starlings have a stout beak and strong legs, which helps them find food and perch. They are around 8-9 inches long.

I once had the pleasure of seeing a starling up close. I was walking in the park when I saw a flash of colors from a nearby tree. I got closer and saw a male starling. His feathers were gorgeous and he was singing a beautiful song.

Features of a Starling

Starlings are distinctive birds. Their sleek body is adorned with glossy feathers, giving them a striking look. The head and beak are proportionate, helping them feed and communicate. With a wingspan of 37-42 centimeters, they can fly far. Plumage varies in color according to species, making them captivating to observe.

Features of Starlings:

Feature Description
Size Small to Medium
Wingspan 37-42 centimeters
Plumage Varied coloration
Beak Proportionate

Starlings are clever birds. They can imitate sounds and calls accurately, making communication within their flock easy. They can also adapt to new habitats.

Pro Tip: To attract starlings, provide food such as fruits and bugs. Installing bird feeders also helps, so you can enjoy seeing them close up.

Behaviors of Starlings

Starlings have cool behaviors that make them stand out! Let’s take a look.

  1. Starlings are social animals. They form large flocks called “murmurations” with thousands or even millions of birds. They fly together in incredible patterns.
  2. Also, starlings can mimic sounds from their environment. They can copy the calls of other birds and even human noises.
  3. Moreover, starlings are good at finding food. They have sharp beaks and can flip over leaves to look for insects and invertebrates.
  4. During mating season, males do interesting courtship displays. They puff up their feathers, sing, and do acrobatics to attract mates.

See this for yourself! Go outside and watch starlings or find videos of murmurations online. Don’t miss out!

Distribution and Habitat

The starling species have a worldwide presence, with populations on each continent aside from Antarctica. They can live in many conditions, like woodlands, grasslands, urban zones and even farmlands. To show the distribution and habitat of starlings, here is a table:

Region Habitat
North America Forests, farmlands, suburban areas
Europe Wooded areas, parklands, agricultural lands
Asia Forests, wetlands, open plains
Africa Savannahs, grasslands, urban environments
Australia Woodlands, coastal regions

Interesting to note, they have become usual inhabitants of cities throughout the world. Their capability to nest in cavities like tree holes or crevices of constructions has enabled them to make it in cities lacking proper nesting sites. In the 19th century, sixty European starlings were released into Central Park in New York City, as part of an effort to add all birds in William Shakespeare’s works to North America. This population rapidly increased and spread throughout the continent. Sadly, they are now considered an invasive species due to their effect on native birds and farming crops.

To sum up, starlings are wide-spread globally and can live in various habitats from forests to cities. However, their introduction to North America has had big ecological effects.


We’ve delved into the world of starlings! From their black feathers with iridescent specks, to their pointed beaks, they are a blend of elegance and practicality. When they spread their wings, a pattern of white spots is visible against the deep black plumage – adding to their allure.

Starlings are also known for their vocal abilities – their melodious songs can be heard in wooded areas. These serve as both self-expression and establishment of territory.

To catch a glimpse of these mesmerizing birds, visit open fields, meadows or woodland areas – binoculars will help you get a closer look.

Now you know why starlings are so fascinating to bird enthusiasts!

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs about what a starling looks like:

1. What does a starling look like?

A starling is a medium-sized songbird with a stocky build and a pointed, triangular shape. It has a sleek black plumage with glossy feathers that have a purple or green iridescence in bright light.

2. How big is a starling?

A starling is approximately 7-9 inches in length and has a wingspan of 12-17 inches. It weighs around 2-3 ounces.

3. Do starlings have any distinctive markings?

Yes, starlings have white or light-colored spots in their plumage, especially during their winter season. These spots, known as star-shaped or speckled spots, are most noticeable on their body.

4. What is the beak color of a starling?

A starling has a sharp and pointed beak, which is yellow in color during breeding season and dark brown or black during the rest of the year.

5. Are there any differences between male and female starlings?

In terms of appearance, male and female starlings look similar. Both have the same plumage color and markings. However, during the breeding season, males may develop extra glossy feathers, making them appear more vibrant.

6. Can you describe a starling’s flight pattern?

Starlings have a swift and agile flight pattern. They are known for their ability to perform acrobatic aerial displays, including synchronized swirling and intricate formations.

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.