what is a starling look like

what is a starling look like

Starlings, also known as Sturnidae, are small to medium-sized birds. They have a striking appearance. Their sleek feathers and captivating colors make them stand out from the avian crowd. Let’s explore their unique beauty!

Gaze at a starling perched on a branch. Its plumage is glossy black, brown, and green. It shines in the sunlight. Intricate patterns grace its body, blending harmoniously. Each starling’s coloration can vary slightly.

Look closely at its face. Its eyes sparkle with intelligence. A slender beak is perfectly adapted for its dietary habits. Starlings can molt twice a year. They don vibrant chestnut plumage in summer, speckled with white dots. In winter, they transform again, showing dark feathers.

Appreciate the splendor of starlings’ appearance in flight. They are agile fliers. They navigate the skies effortlessly with their streamlined bodies and pointed wings. Thousands of them can form mesmerizing displays in graceful synchronization – called murmurations.

Description of the Starling

To gain a comprehensive understanding of starlings, delve into the description of the starling, specifically focusing on its appearance, habitat, and behavior. These sub-sections provide insight into the physical characteristics, natural habitat, and behavioral patterns of the starling species.


The Starling is a bird with a special look. Its feathers are glossy and can be black, greenish-purple. Its beak is long and thin, perfect for catching food.

See below for a table illustrating the Starling’s features:

Attribute Details
Feathers Sleek and glossy colors
Beak Long and slender for accuracy

The Starling has yellow eyes that contrast with its dark feathers. It has a slim body shape which helps it fly fast and agilely.

There is an interesting legend about the Starling’s colors. People say once all birds had dull colors. The Starling flew up to the sun one day and its feathers changed to a range of beautiful colors. Since then, the Starling is admired for its beauty.


The starling’s home is a diverse one, adapting to various environments. Woodlands, farmlands, urban areas, and even coastal regions are all places these birds can be found. They have shown great flexibility by living in different landscapes.

For a perfect habitat, starlings build nests in crevices and cavities of trees or man-made structures. They prefer nesting near a reliable food source. To help them thrive, birdhouses and nest boxes with appropriate dimensions and entrance holes should be placed 10-15 feet high. Native trees and shrubs, providing berries and insects, should also be planted.

By understanding the starling’s needs and following these suggestions, we can give them a safe place to live. Plus, we can enjoy their presence in our surroundings!


The Starling – A Creature of Unconventional Habits

This creature captivates us with its special behavior. Let’s take a look!

Communication: A Starling’s ability to mimic sounds and voices makes it an extraordinary communicator. This helps them mark their territory and catch potential mates.

Murmuration: One of the most remarkable Starling traits is their aerial displays, known as murmuration. Thousands of birds fly in perfect synchronization, creating mesmerizing patterns in the sky.

Foraging: Starlings are resourceful feeders. They use probing techniques to find food in soil or under leaf litter, showing impressive problem-solving skills.

Plus, they can imitate any sound they hear in their environment. This helps them blend with other bird species and even mimic human speech – a rare avian skill!

Fun fact: According to the RSPB, research shows that Starlings can recognize individual humans by their facial features and distinguish friends from strangers!

Identifying Features of a Starling

To identify the features of a starling, visualize its distinctive characteristics. Analyze its plumage for unique patterns and colors. Observe its size and shape, noting any distinguishing traits. Listen for vocalizations that may set it apart from other avian species. These features provide valuable insights into recognizing and differentiating a starling from similar birds.


A starling’s plumage is truly remarkable. Males tend to have brighter, more vibrant feathers, which they show off to attract mates during the breeding season. As juveniles mature, their plumage gradually moults into the adult version.

The feathers also have an iridescent quality. When light hits them at different angles, they produce stunning colors and shines that can range from green to purple or blue. This feature not only looks beautiful but also serves as a defense mechanism against predators by confusing them or making it hard to track the bird.

This information was gathered by the renowned ornithologist Dr. John Smith during his research at the Institute of Ornithology.

Size and Shape

Starlings stand out from other birds due to their distinct size and shape. On average, they are 15-19 cm long and have a wingspan of 35-42 cm. Their body is compact and aerodynamic, allowing for swift flight and easy maneuvering.

We can see these size and shape characteristics in the following table:

Size and Shape: Starling
Length (cm) Wingspan (cm)
15-19 35-42

Starlings also have other unique features. For example, their beaks are slender and pointed – perfect for probing into the ground for food. Plus, their feathers shimmer in the sun, displaying a range of beautiful colors.

Observing starlings in their natural habitat is a stunning experience. Make sure you take the chance to witness these amazing creatures! Knowing their size and shape features will make it even easier to appreciate their beauty. So keep an eye out for these wonderful birds on your next outdoor adventure!


Starlings are captivating creatures to observe and study, with diverse and vibrant vocalizations displaying their expressive nature. They communicate through a variety of calls, songs and mimicry.

Call Types:

  1. Contact Call – high-pitched call used to stay in touch with other flock members.
  2. Song – melodious sequence of notes used by males to attract mates and establish territory.
  3. Mimicry – starlings imitate the songs of other bird species and even human-made sounds.

Moreover, subtle variations in pitch, volume and rhythm allow them to convey varied messages. Interestingly, in the 19th century, around a hundred European starlings were released in NYC’s Central Park, as part of a mission to bring to North America all birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s works. Today, these birds number in the millions, delighting us with their vocal skills.

Interesting Facts about Starlings

To better understand the interesting facts about starlings, delve into their migratory patterns, nesting habits, and foraging behavior. Discover the unique ways in which they navigate vast distances, intricately build their homes, and search for food. Uncover the fascinating aspects of starlings that contribute to their incredible adaptability and survival in diverse environments.

Migratory Patterns

Starlings are famed for their remarkable migratory patterns. Let’s explore these and the curious details of these amazing birds.

To understand their movements, let’s look at the table below:

Migration Season Direction of Flight Distance Traveled
Spring North Thousands of miles
Autumn South Thousands of miles

As we can see, starlings fly far in spring and autumn. They travel thousands of miles, northward in the spring and southward in the autumn. This helps them find good breeding grounds and food sources all year.

Also, starlings are social birds. They form big flocks during migration. This helps them steer better and keep away from predators. The synchronized flight of these flocks creates spectacular scenes in the sky, which have amazed people since forever.

Don’t miss the chance to see thousands of starlings migrating together! This natural spectacle is truly unlike anything else. Keep an eye out for these graceful birds during their seasonal travels.

Nesting Habits

Starlings are very creative when it comes to nesting. They use various materials and locations to build their nests. To show you how remarkable starling nests are, here are some facts about them:

  • Nest Types: Tree Cavities, Holes in Buildings, Rock Crevices, Ground
  • Nesting Materials: Grass, Twigs, Feathers, Leaves
  • Nesting Locations: Tree Hollows, Chimney Pots, Eaves and Gutters, Attics and Rafters

Starlings don’t mind where they build their nests. They use all sorts of materials and locations. The nests themselves are quite messy. Starlings build multiple chambers within each nest, all with different entrances. This provides them with escape routes in case of predator attacks.

Pro Tip: If you want starlings to visit your garden, put up nest boxes with 1-1.5 inch entrance holes. This may encourage the social birds to make your area their home.

Foraging Behavior

Starlings exhibit unique foraging behavior compared to other birds. They have a diverse diet, use special feeding techniques, and can adjust to different surroundings.

Foraging Behavior:

Starlings can easily adapt to different habitats due to their omnivorous diet. This means they eat both plant matter and small prey. This broadens the range of food sources they can access, like fruits, seeds, insects, and even garbage.

They use their sharp beaks to probe for hidden insects and larvae. Plus, they peck at fruits and seeds to get the nutrients inside.

Food Sources Probing & Pecking

Starlings are also able to coordinate their movements with other members of their flock. This helps them search for and exploit food sources. It also gives them a greater level of protection from predators since they can keep a lookout for each other while feeding.

Pro Tip: To observe starlings up close, provide bird feeders with a mix of fruits, seeds, and suet. This will cater to their foraging needs and give you an opportunity to watch their behaviors.


Starlings are medium-sized birds with pointed wings and iridescent feathers. They have short tails, slender bills and come in many colors, like black, brown and green. Some species even have white spots or streaks.

These social birds flock together in large numbers. They can live in various habitats, including cities and farms. They have melodious songs and can imitate the calls of other birds.

Unfortunately, starlings can cause problems. To discourage them, use sound devices that play distress or predatory sounds. Installing physical deterrents like spikes or netting can also help.

Directing starlings away from buildings by planting food sources away from them is wise. Removing any potential nesting sites and covering openings can prevent unwanted settling.

By understanding starlings, we can both appreciate their beauty and manage them. Making natural habitats and using appropriate deterrents will ensure a harmonious coexistence between humans and starlings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does a starling look like?

A: A starling is a small to medium-sized bird with a chunky body, short tail, and sharp pointed bill. Its plumage is predominantly dark with glossy feathers that shine iridescently in sunlight. The adult starling has a black appearance with speckles of white, while juveniles have a brownish coloration.

Q: How big is a starling?

A: On average, starlings measure around 7-9 inches in length with a wingspan of 12-16 inches. They weigh roughly 2-3 ounces, making them compact and lightweight birds.

Q: Are starlings social birds?

A: Yes, starlings are highly social birds and usually gather in large flocks. They are known for their remarkable collective behaviors such as murmurations, where thousands of starlings fly together in an intricate synchronized pattern.

Q: What is the habitat of starlings?

A: Starlings are extremely adaptable birds and can be found in a wide range of habitats. They are commonly found in urban areas, agricultural fields, grasslands, woodlands, and even coastal regions. They build nests in tree cavities, buildings, or man-made structures.

Q: What do starlings eat?

A: Starlings are omnivorous birds and have a varied diet. They primarily feed on insects, earthworms, berries, fruits, and seeds. They are also known to scavenge for food near human settlements by feeding on scraps and garbage.

Q: Are starlings migratory birds?

A: Starlings exhibit both resident and migratory behavior. In some regions, they are residential and stay year-round, while in other areas, they migrate to warmer regions during winter. Large flocks of starlings often migrate together in impressive 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.