European Starling
Sturnus vulgaris
Family Sturnidae

A very successful introduced bird, the European Starling began with 100 individuals released in the early 1890’s. A highly social bird, which does not defend territory beyond its own nest site, the European Starling is nevertheless blamed for the decline of many bird species, due to its rapid spread.
Identifying Traits (male):

  • Stocky and “blackbird-like”
  • Short, square-tipped tail
  • Triangular, pointed wings
  • In Spring, iridescent green and purple feathers with yellow bill. In Winter, heavily speckled with black bill.
  • Flight rapid and direct
  • Juvenile retains pale, gray head briefly
  • Size: 20-23 cm (8-9")
  • Weight: 60-96 g (2.1-3.4 oz)


Identifying Traits (female):

  • Smaller than male with a more conical bill
  Adult male    
Adult pair

Voice: A moderately soft series of rattles, whistles, and clicks. Also a harsh tseer. Can mimic other birds.

Habitat: Open country, farms, fields, parks, cities.

Range: The European Starling can be found throughout the continental United States

Interesting Facts: All European Starlings in North America are descendants of 100 birds introduced to America in the early 1890’s. Released in New York City’s Central Park by a society whose mission it was to bring to America birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s works, the starling quickly spread to all corners of North America. Today over 200 million starlings are estimated to live on this continent.



Home | Glossary | Search | Help | About | References