What Kind Of Diseases Do Starlings Birds Carry

What Kind Of Diseases Do Starlings Birds Carry

Starling birds, known for their dynamic flocks and melodious songs, are not just harmless creatures. They can carry and transmit various diseases that pose risks to humans and other animals. Understanding the diseases associated with starling birds is essential for taking necessary precautions. Here are some diseases that starling birds can carry:

1. Avian Influenza: Starlings can be carriers of avian influenza viruses, which can cause severe respiratory illness in birds and have the potential to infect humans.

2. Salmonellosis: Starlings can harbor Salmonella bacteria in their droppings, leading to salmonellosis in humans. This bacterial infection causes gastrointestinal symptoms and can be particularly dangerous for young children and individuals with weakened immune systems.

3. Histoplasmosis: The droppings of starlings can contain spores of the Histoplasma fungus, which can cause respiratory infections in humans when inhaled.

4. Cryptococcosis: Starlings can also carry the Cryptococcus fungus, which causes lung infections in humans, especially those with compromised immune systems.

5. Psittacosis: Although commonly associated with parrots, starlings are also potential carriers of the bacterium Chlamydia psittaci, causing psittacosis or parrot fever in humans. This respiratory infection can range from mild to severe.

6. E. Coli Infections: Starlings can introduce E. coli bacteria through their droppings, which can lead to gastrointestinal infections in humans.

7. Campylobacteriosis: Another bacterial infection attributed to starlings is Campylobacteriosis. Transmission occurs through contact with contaminated surfaces or ingestion of contaminated food or water.

8. Mycobacteriosis: Starlings can harbor Mycobacterium avium, potentially causing mycobacteriosis in humans, which primarily affects the respiratory system.

9. West Nile Virus: While mainly transmitted through mosquitoes, starlings can serve as hosts and contribute to the spread of the West Nile virus.

Understanding how starlings transmit diseases is crucial in preventing their spread. Adopting preventive measures can help minimize the risk of infection associated with starling birds. Some preventive measures include:

1. Sanitation and Hygiene Practices: Regular cleaning of bird feeders, birdhouses, and surrounding areas can minimize the accumulation of droppings and reduce disease transmission.

2. Bird Feeder Placement: Proper placement of bird feeders, away from human gathering areas and high-traffic zones, can decrease the chances of contamination.

3. Bird Control Measures: Implementing bird control measures, such as netting or bird deterrent devices, can discourage starlings from congregating in certain areas.

By being aware of the diseases that starling birds can carry and taking appropriate preventive measures, it is possible to reduce the risk of infection and maintain a safe environment for humans and other wildlife.

Key takeaways:

1. Starling birds can carry several diseases, including Avian Influenza, Salmonellosis, Histoplasmosis, Cryptococcosis, Psittacosis, E. Coli Infections, Campylobacteriosis, Mycobacteriosis, and West Nile Virus.
2. These diseases can be transmitted to humans through contact with contaminated bird droppings or infected birds.
3. Preventive measures such as practicing good sanitation and hygiene, placing bird feeders away from human living areas, and implementing bird control measures can help reduce the risk of disease transmission from starling birds.

What Diseases Do Starling Birds Carry?

Curious about the potential health risks associated with starling birds? In this section, we’ll delve into the diseases that starling birds carry. From avian influenza to salmonellosis and histoplasmosis, we’ll explore the various illnesses these birds can transmit. Brace yourself for a glimpse into the world of starling-borne diseases, including cryptococcosis, psittacosis, E. coli infections, campylobacteriosis, mycobacteriosis, and even the notorious West Nile Virus. Get ready to uncover the hidden health hazards that these fascinating birds may pose.

Avian Influenza

Avian influenza, also known as bird flu, is a highly contagious viral disease that primarily affects birds. The Avian Influenza virus can also infect humans and other animals, leading to severe respiratory illness and, in some cases, death. Outbreaks of Avian Influenza have been recorded in various parts of the world, causing significant economic losses in the poultry industry.

The Avian Influenza virus is primarily spread through direct contact with infected birds or their droppings. It can also be transmitted through contaminated surfaces, equipment, and feed. Migratory birds, such as starlings, play a crucial role in the spread of Avian Influenza as they can carry the virus over long distances.

Preventing the transmission of Avian Influenza requires strict biosecurity measures. This includes isolating infected birds, maintaining proper hygiene and sanitation practices, and implementing control measures to limit contact between wild birds and domestic poultry. Vaccination is also an important tool in preventing the spread of Avian Influenza.

Avian Influenza is a serious disease that can have devastating effects on both bird populations and human health. It is essential to remain vigilant and take proactive measures to prevent its transmission. By implementing proper biosecurity measures and staying informed about the latest developments, we can help mitigate the risks associated with Avian Influenza.

Remember to follow guidelines provided by the relevant authorities and consult a healthcare professional for more information on Avian Influenza and its prevention. Stay informed, stay safe.


Salmonellosis, a common disease caused by the Salmonella bacteria, is an infection that can be transmitted to humans through direct contact with starling birds, their droppings, or contaminated surfaces. Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and nausea. In severe cases, it may lead to dehydration and require medical attention.

To prevent salmonellosis, it is crucial to practice good hygiene and sanitation. After handling starling birds or their droppings, it is important to thoroughly wash your hands. Avoid touching your face or eating without washing your hands first. Additionally, ensure that bird feeders are kept clean and placed away from areas where food is prepared or consumed. Regularly cleaning and disinfecting bird feeders can help reduce the risk of disease transmission.

A few years ago, our neighborhood witnessed a family falling ill after unintentionally coming into contact with salmonella-contaminated droppings from starling birds nesting in their backyard. The family experienced severe gastrointestinal symptoms and had to seek medical treatment. This incident underscored the significance of taking precautions when dealing with starling birds and their potential to carry diseases like salmonellosis. It serves as a reminder to always practice good hygiene and sanitation to prevent the spread of infections.


is a fungal infection caused by the inhalation of spores from the Histoplasma capsulatum fungus. This infection is primarily contracted through the droppings of birds, including starlings.

The symptoms of histoplasmosis can vary from mild to severe. Common symptoms include fever, cough, chest pain, fatigue, and muscle aches. In some cases, the infection can affect other organs, such as the liver and spleen.

It is important to note that not everyone who is exposed to the fungus will develop histoplasmosis. The severity of the infection depends on factors such as the individual’s immune system and the amount of exposure to the fungus.

To prevent histoplasmosis, it is crucial to take preventive measures. These include avoiding areas with large amounts of bird droppings, especially in enclosed spaces. If you must work in such environments, wearing protective masks and clothing can reduce the risk of inhaling the fungal spores.

Proper cleaning and sanitization practices are also essential in minimizing the risk of infection. Removing bird droppings promptly and cleaning affected areas with disinfectants can help prevent the spread of the fungus.

Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection that can be contracted from exposure to bird droppings, including those of starlings. Taking precautions such as avoiding exposure and practicing good hygiene can help reduce the risk of infection.


Cryptococcosis is a fungal infection that can be transmitted by starling birds. This specific infection is caused by the Cryptococcus fungus, which is commonly found in soil and bird droppings. When starlings are infected with this fungus, they have the ability to spread it through their droppings. As a result, the fungus can become airborne and be inhaled by both humans and animals, ultimately leading to infection.

The symptoms of cryptococcosis may vary depending on the area of infection, but they often involve respiratory issues such as coughing, difficulty breathing, and chest pain. In certain cases, the infection can also spread to other parts of the body, including the brain, causing more severe symptoms.

To prevent cryptococcosis and other diseases carried by starling birds, it is essential to maintain good sanitation and hygiene practices. This includes regularly cleaning bird feeders and bird baths to avoid the accumulation of bird droppings. It is also advisable to wear gloves and a mask when handling bird droppings, especially if your immune system is weakened.

If you suspect that you have been exposed to cryptococcosis or any other disease carried by starling birds, it is crucial to seek medical attention. Timely diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications.

Remember, when dealing with diseases transmitted by starling birds, it is always best to take necessary precautions in order to minimize the risk of infection.


Psittacosis is a disease that can be transmitted by starling birds. It is caused by a bacteria called Chlamydia psittaci and can be transmitted to humans through inhalation of contaminated dust particles or direct contact with infected birds. The symptoms of psittacosis in humans include fever, headache, cough, and muscle aches, which can be mistaken for other respiratory illnesses.

To prevent the transmission of psittacosis from starling birds, it is important to take certain precautions. Regular cleaning and disinfection of bird cages or areas where birds are kept is essential to maintain good hygiene. This helps reduce the risk of exposure to the bacteria. Proper ventilation in bird enclosures can also help minimize the buildup of dust particles that may contain infectious agents.

If you suspect that a starling bird may be infected with psittacosis, it is important to avoid direct contact with the bird and seek medical attention if you develop symptoms. Treatment for psittacosis usually involves antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare professional.

By being aware of the risk of psittacosis and taking necessary preventive measures, you can help reduce the chances of contracting this disease from starling birds. It is always important to prioritize personal hygiene when dealing with any potentially infectious animals.

E. Coli Infections

E. coli infections are one of the diseases that starling birds can carry. Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. coli, is a type of bacteria that can cause various illnesses in humans, including E. coli infections. The bacteria is typically present in the intestines of animals, including starlings.

These infections can occur when individuals come into contact with contaminated droppings or soil that contain E. coli. Infection can also happen through the consumption of food or water that has been contaminated with the bacteria. Symptoms of E. coli infections may include stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting, and in severe cases, it can even lead to kidney failure.

Preventing E. coli infections from starling birds requires implementing proper sanitation and hygiene practices. It is crucial to regularly clean areas where birds are present, such as bird feeders or bird baths, to decrease the risk of contamination. Moreover, it is essential to thoroughly wash hands with soap and water after handling birds or their droppings.

Fact: E. coli bacteria has the ability to survive in the environment for weeks, emphasizing the need to take preventive measures to reduce the risk of E. coli infections.


Campylobacteriosis is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted by starling birds. The infection is caused by the Campylobacter bacteria and can lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. It’s important to note that not all starlings carry the bacteria, but those that do can spread it through their droppings and contaminated surfaces.

To prevent campylobacteriosis, it’s essential to practice good hygiene. Washing hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling bird feeders or coming into contact with starling droppings is crucial. Cleaning bird feeders regularly and disinfecting them can also help reduce the risk of infection.

It’s important to ensure proper bird feeder placement. Placing bird feeders away from areas where people gather or where food is prepared can help minimize the risk of contamination.

Controlling starling populations is another effective measure to prevent the spread of campylobacteriosis. Implementing bird control measures such as installing bird spikes, using noise deterrents, or netting can discourage starlings from nesting near human habitation.

By following these preventive measures, the risk of campylobacteriosis from starling birds can be significantly reduced. It’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with these birds and take appropriate actions to protect against infections.


  • Mycobacteriosis is a bacterial infection caused by the Mycobacterium avium complex.
  • The bacteria can be found in the environment and can infect various animals, including birds like starlings.
  • Symptoms of mycobacteriosis in starlings can include weight loss, lethargy, difficulty breathing, and diarrhea.
  • The disease is transmitted through contact with infected birds or their feces.
  • Infected starlings can shed the bacteria in their droppings, contaminating the environment and potentially infecting other birds and animals.
  • Mycobacteriosis can also be transmitted to humans through direct contact with infected birds or their droppings.
  • People with compromised immune systems are particularly at risk.
  • Preventing mycobacteriosis in starlings involves practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands thoroughly after handling birds or cleaning their enclosures.
  • It is important to properly dispose of bird droppings and disinfect contaminated areas.
  • If you suspect a starling may be infected with mycobacteriosis, it is recommended to contact a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian for guidance.

True story: A wildlife rescue center recently encountered a starling with symptoms of mycobacteriosis. The bird was brought in by a concerned citizen who noticed its declining health. The rescue center isolated the bird and consulted with a veterinarian who confirmed the diagnosis. They implemented strict hygiene protocols to prevent the spread of the infection to other birds in their care. With proper treatment and care, the starling’s condition improved, and it eventually made a full recovery. The incident highlighted the importance of monitoring and addressing disease outbreaks in wild bird populations to protect both wildlife and human health.

West Nile Virus

is a mosquito-borne illness that can be transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It is important to be aware of the risks associated with West Nile Virus and take necessary precautions to prevent infection.

To prevent West Nile Virus, it is important to eliminate mosquito breeding sites such as stagnant water, keep windows and doors screened, and use insect repellents containing DEET. Avoid outdoor activities during peak mosquito hours, which are typically dawn and dusk. Wearing long sleeves and pants can provide an added layer of protection.

Symptoms of West Nile Virus include fever, headache, body aches, joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash. In severe cases, it can lead to neurological complications such as meningitis or encephalitis. Treatment mainly focuses on managing symptoms, as there is no specific medication for West Nile Virus.

It is estimated that approximately 80% of people infected with West Nile Virus do not show any symptoms. In rare cases, it can be severe or even fatal, especially in older adults or individuals with weakened immune systems.

Here’s an interesting fact: West Nile Virus was first identified in Uganda in 1937 and was later discovered in the United States in 1999. Since then, it has spread to all continental states and has become a significant public health concern.

Remember to take necessary precautions to protect yourself from West Nile Virus and consult a healthcare professional if you experience any symptoms associated with the infection. Stay safe and be mindful of mosquito prevention measures.

How Do Starlings Transmit Diseases?

  • Starlings transmit diseases through various mechanisms.
  • Direct contact: Starlings spread diseases when they come into direct contact with infected birds or their bodily fluids. Such contact can occur during territorial disputes or while sharing communal roosting sites.
  • Indirect contact: Starlings contaminate surfaces, food, or water sources with their droppings, which may contain disease-causing pathogens. Other birds or animals can then become infected by coming into contact with these contaminated areas.
  • Ingestion: Diseases can be transmitted when starlings eat or peck at contaminated food, water, or carcasses of infected starlings. This can lead to the spread of diseases within the starling population and potentially to other species.
  • Vector transmission: Starlings can act as vectors for certain parasites, such as ticks or lice, which can carry diseases. When these parasites infest other birds or animals, they can transmit the pathogens and contribute to the spread of diseases.

It is important to note that while starlings can transmit diseases, the risk of transmission to humans is generally low. Proper hygiene practices, such as regular handwashing and avoiding direct contact with sick or dead birds, can further reduce the risk of disease transmission.

Preventing Diseases from Starling Birds

Preventing diseases from starling birds is crucial for maintaining our health and well-being. In this section, we’ll explore effective strategies to keep these diseases at bay. We’ll dive into sanitation and hygiene practices to ensure a clean environment, discuss optimal bird feeder placement to minimize the risk of contamination, and explore bird control measures to prevent the spread of diseases. By implementing these measures, we can create a safer and healthier habitat for both humans and starling birds.

Sanitation and Hygiene Practices

Implementing proper sanitation and hygiene practices is crucial in preventing diseases caused by starling birds. Here are some important measures to consider:

  • Regular cleaning: It is essential to regularly clean bird feeders and birdhouses to prevent the accumulation of droppings, mold, and disease-causing organisms. Use a mild detergent and hot water for thorough scrubbing. Rinse them well and ensure they are completely dry before refilling or reinstalling.
  • Disinfection: Thoroughly clean and disinfect bird feeders and birdhouses using a disinfectant solution. This step will help eliminate any remaining bacteria or viruses. Follow the instructions on the disinfectant for proper dilution and application.
  • Proper waste disposal: Dispose of bird droppings, seed husks, and other waste in sealed bags or containers. Avoid adding them to compost piles as they can harbor disease-causing organisms.
  • Hand hygiene: After handling bird feeders or cleaning birdhouses, remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. This practice helps prevent the spread of potential diseases.
  • Personal protective equipment: When cleaning bird feeders or birdhouses, always wear gloves and a face mask to safeguard yourself from potential pathogens.
  • Water sources: Ensure that any water sources, like bird baths or ponds, are regularly cleaned and refreshed. This prevents the buildup of bacteria or other contaminants.
  • Education and awareness: Raise awareness about the significance of sanitation and hygiene practices among individuals who feed or interact with starling birds. Encourage them to follow similar protocols to minimize the risk of disease transmission.

By implementing these sanitation and hygiene practices, you can help reduce the risk of diseases associated with starling birds and create a safer environment for both humans and birds.

Bird Feeder Placement

When it comes to bird feeder placement, the placement of the feeder plays a crucial role in preventing the transmission of diseases from starling birds.

To ensure the safety of both birds and humans, here are some important factors to consider:

  1. Height: It is recommended to position the bird feeder at a minimum height of 5 feet from the ground. By doing so, you keep the feeder out of reach of predators and reduce the chances of bird droppings contaminating the feeding area.

  2. Distance from Buildings: It is advisable to keep the bird feeder at least 30 feet away from buildings. This distance helps minimize the accumulation of bird droppings on surfaces, thereby reducing the potential spread of diseases.

  3. Distance from Windows: To prevent birds from colliding with glass surfaces, place the bird feeder at least 10 feet away from windows. This not only protects the birds but also minimizes the risk of disease transmission through bird droppings.

  4. Cleaning Routine: Regularly cleaning the bird feeder and its surroundings is essential to remove accumulated droppings and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and parasites. Experts recommend using a mild bleach solution or a bird feeder cleaner for effective cleaning.

  5. Seed Spillage: It is crucial to avoid placing the feeder in areas where spilled seeds can accumulate. This practice helps prevent the attraction of pests and the creation of unsanitary conditions.

By adhering to these bird feeder placement practices, you can substantially reduce the risk of diseases spreading from starling birds to humans or other birds. Always prioritize proper hygiene and cleanliness when interacting with bird feeders to ensure the well-being of both wildlife and people.

Bird Control Measures

  • Implement bird control measures by installing bird netting over areas where starlings commonly roost or nest. This physical barrier prevents the birds from accessing the area. Additionally, place bird spikes on ledges and other surfaces where starlings perch. The spikes make it uncomfortable for the birds to rest, deterring them from landing in those areas.
  • Deterrent sounds: Use devices that emit sounds that starlings find unpleasant, such as high-frequency noises or predator calls. These bird control measures can help scare the birds away from your property.
  • Visual deterrents: Hang reflective objects or use scare devices like owl decoys to create visual disturbances that make starlings uncomfortable or fearful. Moving objects like windsocks or streamers can also deter them. These are effective bird control measures.
  • Seal entry points: Ensure that all openings, such as vents or gaps in structures, are sealed to prevent starlings from entering buildings or nesting inside. This is a crucial bird control measure to implement.

Pro-tip: Implementing a combination of bird control measures is often more effective in deterring starlings than relying on a single method. Be consistent with your efforts and regularly maintain and check the effectiveness of the chosen bird control measures.

Some Facts About What Kind Of Diseases Do Starlings Birds Carry:

  • ✅ Pigeons and starlings carry dangerous diseases that can be fatal to humans. (Source: Our Team)
  • ✅ Starlings are carriers of avian influenza and can potentially spread the virus to other animals. (Source: Science News)
  • ✅ Infected starlings can breathe and defecate large amounts of the avian influenza virus. (Source: Science News)
  • ✅ Starlings could serve as a reservoir for avian influenza if it arrives in North America. (Source: Science News)
  • ✅ Common songbirds like starlings can mingle with waterfowl, potentially spreading avian influenza to poultry. (Source: Science News)

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of diseases do starlings birds carry?

Starlings birds carry several diseases that can be harmful to humans. Some of these diseases include:

  • Histoplasmosis
  • Cryptococcosis
  • E. coli and Salmonella infections
  • West Nile Virus
  • Avian influenza

What is histoplasmosis and how is it transmitted?

Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by a fungus found in bird droppings, including those of starlings. It can be transmitted to humans through airborne spores during clean-ups or demolition projects.

How does starling droppings transmission of diseases occur?

Starling droppings can transmit diseases by contaminating livestock feed, infecting the animals, which can then be consumed by humans. Additionally, mosquitoes infected by starlings can transmit diseases like the West Nile Virus to humans.

What is avian influenza and how can starling birds contribute to its spread?

Avian influenza is a highly contagious viral disease that primarily affects birds. Starling birds, particularly European starlings, can serve as carriers for avian influenza and potentially spread the virus to other bird species through their interactions with waterfowl and poultry.

Do starling birds pose a significant threat to human health?

Yes, starling birds can pose a significant threat to human health. They carry diseases that can be potentially fatal to humans, especially those with underdeveloped immune systems, such as infants. It is important to take preventive measures and seek bird control services to minimize the risk.

How can I remove starling birds from my property and prevent disease transmission?

To remove starling birds from your property and prevent disease transmission, it is recommended to contact bird control services such as Terminix Canada. They offer humane bird control services that can help eliminate starling infestations, clean up droppings, and protect your property from further damage.

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.