Starling

Sturnus vulgaris

Such is the strength of association between the Starling and humans that this species is unmistakeable. While the head and body size is close to that of a Blackbird, the overall appearance is of a more rakish, bustling bird, often noisy and flighty. At distance, the adults appear black, but on closer viewing the iridescent nature of the plumage becomes evident. Adults in breeding plumage have a yellow bill. Young Starlings are dull brown in colour, often with a pale throat. It is possible to tell the sex of two adults of a breeding pair of Starlings. The male does have much more glossy plumage but an even more obvious feature is that, from mid-February onwards, British and Irish breeding male Starlings will have a blue blush at the base of their bill and in females this is pink.

Starlings will eat a wide variety of food but typically adults will be found probing in lawns, parks and fields, searching for larvae of insects such as ‘daddy long-legs’ or crane flies to feed to their youngsters.

Starlings are red-listed birds of conservation concern. 

For more information about Starlings, see the BTO’s BirdFacts and Wider Countryside Report.

Nestbox building instructions (PDF)

  • Large nest box with hole (45mm)
  • Nest height: At least 2.5m above ground
  • The nest is made of a heap of plant material, lined with feathers, moss and wool
  • Egg laying starts between early April and mid June. One or two broods
  • 4 to 5 eggs. Light blue
  • Incubation time: 12-15 days
  • Nestlings fledge after 19-22 days