European Starling

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Sturnus Vulgaris

European Starling

Both males and females have iridescent black, glossed purple or green, and spangled with white, especially in winter.

Males are less spotted than females, throat feathers are long and loose while females are smaller and more pointed.

After molting, fresh feathers are prominently tipped white (breast feathers) or buff (wing and back feathers), which gives the bird a speckled appearance.

The reduction in the spotting in the breeding season is achieved through the white feather tips largely wearing off.

Juveniles are gray-brown and by their first winter resemble adults but often retaining some brown juvenile feathering, especially on the head.

Males have rich brown irises, and females, mouse-brown or gray.

BILL: narrow and conical with a sharp tip, brownish-black in winter, females have lemon yellow beaks while males have yellow bills with blue-gray bases in summer.

SIZE: measures about 7.5 – 9.1 inches in length, with a wingspan of 12 – 17 inches.

WEIGHT: about 58 – 101 grams.

COLOR: iridescent black, glossy purple, glossy green, white, buff, brown, yellow, blue-gray and gray-brown.

Insects like grasshoppers, beetles, flies, caterpillars, snails, earthworms, millipedes, and spiders.

Fruits such as wild and cultivated cherries, holly berries, hackberries, mulberries, tupelo, Virginia creeper, sumac, and blackberries; as well as grains, seeds, nectar, livestock feed, and garbage.

Mowed lawns, city streets, agricultural fields for feeding, trees, buildings, and other structures.

SUMMER - Western Europe and around the Caspian Sea that expands to Scandinavia and Western Russia.

WINTER - Iberian Peninsula, Middle East, and northern Africa.

Highly vocal all year long except when molting.

Males sing a highly variable and have many components. They warble, click, whistle, creak, chirrup, and gurgle.

They are also accomplished mimics, often copying songs or sounds of other birds and animals or even of mechanical sounds and human sounds.

In flight, they call a "querrr?" sound, a metallic 'chip' warning of a predator's presence, and a snarling call when attacking.

NEST: Unpaired males find a suitable cavity, to build nests to attract single females, often decorating it with ornaments such as flowers and fresh green material, which the female later disassembles upon accepting him as a mate and make the final arrangements.

EGGS: 3 - 6 bluish or greenish-white eggs.

INCUBATION: 12 days, both sexes.

NESTLING PHASE: 21 - 23 days.

They are tenacious, energetic birds that can be aggressive when feeding or nesting.

They are generally solitary or found in pairs during breeding season, they will form large roosting flocks that may number up to one million birds or more during fall and winter.

The oldest recorded wild European Starling in North America was a male and was at least 15 years, 3 months old.


European Starling Infographic




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