what type of bird is a starling

what type of bird is a starling

Starlings are amazing birds that fascinate both birdwatchers and casual observers. They belong to the Sturnidae family, which includes around 120 species. Their dark feathers are sprinkled with iridescent colors, making them captivating to watch.

These birds have an amazing ability to mimic other sounds – from human speech to the songs of other birds. This has earned them the nickname “feathered mimics“. Plus, they are social and form flocks during certain seasons. The synchronized aerial displays of these flocks are known as murmurations – a breathtaking show!

Starlings have an omnivorous diet, meaning they eat a variety of things – from insects to fruits, grains, and even garbage. This adaptability allows them to live in all sorts of habitats, from urban to rural areas. Despite being seen as pests, they play an important role in controlling insect populations.

Want to attract starlings to your yard? Provide bird feeders with suet and mealworms – their favorites! Install nesting spots like birdhouses or roosting boxes. Also, adding native plants will attract insects for the starlings to eat.

By learning more about starlings, we can appreciate these incredible creatures even more. So the next time you spot one fluttering by or hear its song, take a moment to marvel at the beauty of nature’s feathered wonders.

What is a starling?

Starlings, scientifically known as Sturnus vulgaris, are birds of medium-size. They have a beautiful glossy black plumage and can mimic various sounds. They normally measure 20 cm and weigh 75 grams. These birds are found in Europe, Asia and North America.

They have amazing acrobatic flight patterns with synchronized movements. Starlings are very social and normally live in large flocks, sometimes made up of millions of individuals. They are known for their melodious bird songs.

Starlings are extraordinary mimics. They can imitate not only bird calls but also human speech and mechanical sounds like car alarms or ringing telephones.

If you want to attract starlings to your garden, offer nesting boxes or platforms, at least 3 meters above the ground. Plant native trees and shrubs that bear fruits and berries. Place bird feeders with mealworms, suet cakes or sunflower seeds.

By making your garden attractive to starlings, you can observe them closely and contribute to conservation. Do not use pesticides as they can harm wildlife, including starlings.

How to identify a starling

The starling is a captivating bird. With its glossy feathers and melodic songs, it appeals to both birdwatchers and ornithologists. Starlings belong to the Sturnidae family, with over a hundred species worldwide. They have interesting feather patterns, making them easy to spot.

Here are five steps to identify a starling:

  1. Size and Shape: Starlings are small-medium birds with short tails and plump bodies. Males are slightly bigger than females at 7-9 inches long. Their wings are triangular when at rest, but streamlined in flight.
  2. Coloration: Adults have black feathers that shimmer in the sun. White speckles give them a freckled look. During breeding season, males show gorgeous plumage with purplish-green and bronze hues.
  3. Beak: Starlings have a stout, sharp, and yellow beak. It is strong enough to pick up insects in soil and plants.
  4. Voice: Listen for their varied vocal repertoire. They are excellent mimics of other birds, humans, and even car alarms! Their songs include squeaks, trills, whistles, and melodious gurgles.
  5. Behavior: Starlings are social and often gather in large flocks—murmurations. They prefer urban areas, perching on wires and feeding on insects.

Plus, starlings learn how to mimic sounds during early development. Juveniles listen to adults and adopt their vocalizations. This adaptability is fascinating.

I once saw a murmuration of thousands of starlings at sunset. They created mesmerizing shapes across the orange and pink sky. It was an awe-inspiring sight. Nature’s beauty and harmony were breathtaking.

Interesting facts about starlings

Starlings are birds that have long been admired. They have sleek black feathers and a rainbow-like shine. These birds belong to the Sturnidae family, with over 120 species. Their vocal talents are impressive; each starling can produce many sounds and tunes. Plus, they fly in huge flocks that are quite a sight.

Adapting well to urban areas, starlings nest in trees and buildings. They are opportunistic eaters, devouring anything from insects to garbage. These birds can be found everywhere, except Antarctica.

But, did you know that starlings can also mimic other noises, like car alarms and phones? They are even popular as pets. A man named Eugene Schieffelin had a dream to bring every bird mentioned in Shakespeare’s works to North America. He released starlings into Central Park in New York City and it worked – now there are more than 200 million starlings in North America!

Conservation status and threats

The starling’s conservation status is a worry. It faces many threats in the wild. For example, deforestation and urbanization cause habitat loss, destroying nesting sites and reducing suitable habitats. This leads to a drop in population. Pollution, like pesticides, can be lethal to the birds and their food sources. Invasive species, such as cats, also pose a risk. Climate change can disrupt the birds’ migration patterns and food availability.

These birds are also susceptible to illnesses, like avian flu. This could have dire consequences for their numbers. Furthermore, illegal capture for pet trade is another threat. This leads to illegal trafficking.

A way to help these birds is to support organizations that focus on bird conservation.


Starlings, of the family Sturnidae, are a diverse group of birds. They possess remarkable traits that make them stand out. From their spectacular murmurations to their intelligence and adaptability, starlings are truly captivating.

These birds are known for their remarkable ability to create stunning displays in the sky called murmurations. These aerial ballets involve thousands of starlings forming synchronized patterns – an astonishing sight to behold. Scientists believe murmurations have multiple purposes, including protecting from predators and exchanging information.

Starlings are also highly adaptable birds. They have colonized many regions across the globe, including North America, South Africa, and Australia. This adaptability enables them to thrive in varying habitats from cities to farmlands. Consequently, humans both love and hate starlings due to their effect on local ecosystems and agricultural practices.

Moreover, starlings show high levels of intelligence. Studies demonstrate that they can solve problems similar to primates and demonstrate creative thinking capabilities. Their cognitive abilities let them quickly learn new behaviors and adjust their foraging techniques.

The introduction of starlings to North America is an interesting chapter in ornithology. In 1890, Eugene Schieffelin released sixty European Starlings into New York City’s Central Park to introduce all bird species mentioned by Shakespeare. Little did he know this would lead to 200 million breeding individuals across the U.S.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What type of bird is a starling?

A: A starling is a small to medium-sized, passerine bird belonging to the family Sturnidae.

Q: What is the scientific name of a starling?

A: The scientific name for a starling is Sturnus vulgaris.

Q: Where are starlings found?

A: Starlings are native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, but have been introduced to other parts of the world, including North America.

Q: What do starlings look like?

A: Starlings have glossy black feathers with a metallic sheen, and in the breeding season, they develop iridescent speckles on their plumage.

Q: What do starlings eat?

A: Starlings have an omnivorous diet consisting of insects, fruits, berries, seeds, and grains. They are also known to scavenge for food.

Q: Are starlings considered pests?

A: Starlings can become pests when they form large flocks and roost in urban areas, causing noise and mess. However, they also have ecological benefits, such as controlling insect populations.

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.