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26

Common Starling

(Sturnus vulgaris)
Alternate name(s): "Starling", "European Starling"
German name(s): "Star"

Size: 19-23 cm; wing span 31-44 cm
Weight: 60-100 g
Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Common Starling at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat, finding this species

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "vulgaris"

ADULT

MALE

BREEDING

Frontal view of a male Common Starling in breeding plumage - note the absence of specks on the front; the blue-grey base of the bill indicative of a male (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Ostrow Mazowiecka, Masovia, Poland, May 2015]

Male Common Starling in breeding plumage on an high perch (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Ostrow Mazowiecka, Masovia, Poland, May 2015]

Male Common Starling in breeding plumage marking its territory from an high perch (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Ostrow Mazowiecka, Masovia, Poland, May 2015]

Frontal view of a Common Starling in breeding plumage

Lateral view of a Common Starling in breeding plumage

Sex unknown

Dorsal view of a Common Starling in breeding plumage (photo courtesy of M. Eaton)
[Near Tromso airport, Tromso, Norway, in June 2018]

NON-BREEDING

Sex unknown

Near-frontal view of a Common Starling in transitional plumage (still with lots of speckles indicating eclipse), now with two grubs... (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Bergen, Norway, May 2016]

Near-lateral view of a Common Starling in transitional plumage (still with lots of speckles indicating eclipse, with a grub (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Bergen, Norway, May 2016]

Lateral view of a Common Starling in transitional plumage (still with lots of speckles indicating eclipse, poking for food in a lawn (photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Bergen, Norway, May 2016]

... and now with four; it is evident that this bird, although still largely in eclipse plumage, is feeding young
(photo courtesy of D. Wilczynska)
[Bergen, Norway, May 2016]

Common Starlings in eclipse plumage, feasting in a bird feeder (photo courtesy of M. Thomas)
[Eltville, Hessen, Germany, January 2018]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Mar - Aug Eggs: 4 - 5 Incubation period: 13 - 14 days Fledging age: ca. 21 days

The length of the breeding season depends on geographic latitude and can start in February in southern parts of the range.

Nest building: Male Incubation: Female & male Dependent care: Female & male

Nest

Type: Basket in hollow Material: Straw, grass, twigs Height above ground: >2? m

Common Starling at the entrance of its nest hollow in a dead tree trunk

Common Starling carrying nesting material

Eggs

Size: 30 x 21 mm Colour: Glossy pale-blue Shape: Tapered oval

Behaviour

Migratory Common Starlings tend to form - often large - flocks, congregating prior to departure.

In central Europe, Common Starlings are partial migrants; here a flock congregating on a power line for the trek southwards (photo courtesy of H. Dahlem-Senger)
[Eltville, Hessen, Germany, September 2016]

Large flock of Common Starlings congregating on power lines (photo courtesy of M. Thomas)
[Eltville, Hessen, Germany, October 2014]

Food, Diet

Common Starling in non-breeding plumage taking fat from a bird feeder (photo courtesy of M. Thomas)
[Eltville, Hessen, Germany, January 2018]

Call(s)/Song

For this species we have recorded the following call(s)/song. The interpretation of their meaning is our own; comments and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

star_dw_20160916.m4a vulgaris
(Central Poland)
Various © DW
star_20150528_2.mp3 Contact calls? © MD
star_20150528_4.mp3 Contact calls? © MD
star_20150528_3.mp3 ? © MD
star_20160701.mp3 ? © MD

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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