The British Trust for Ornithology
STARLING
Sturnus vulgaris
Starling © Colin Varndell
Conservation listings

Table 4/Amber (25-49% Population decline)
Biodiversity Steering Group: Unlisted

Long term trend
UK: Rapid decline
 
Status summary
Breeding Starling abundance has fallen rapidly, particularly since the early 1980s. The BBS suggests that this decline is continuing in England and Wales, but that populations are more stable in Scotland and may even be increasing in size in Northern Ireland. Strong improvements in breeding performance have occurred, suggesting that decreasing survival rates may be responsible for the observed decline. In addition to increases in average brood size, declines in nest failure rates have been large: during the egg stage (17 days, comprising 13 days incubation + 4 days laying) failure rate fell from 18% to 6%, and during the chick stage (21 days) they fell from 12% to 5%. Overall, from egg-laying to fledging, the proportion of nests that fail has fallen from 28% to 11%. Loss of the species' preferred feeding habitat, permanent pasture, has been cited as a possible cause of the decline (Gibbons et al. 1993).
 
 
Table of population changes for Starling
Source Period
(yrs)
Years Plots
(n)
Change
(%)
Lower
limit
Upper
limit
Alert Comment
CBC all habitats 31 1968-1999 125 -75 -82 -67 >50  
  25 1974-1999 127 -66 -75 -55 >50  
  10 1989-1999 102 -46 -55 -36 >25  
  5 1994-1999 93 -28 -37 -17 >25  
CBC farmland 31 1968-1999 65 -64 -76 -48 >50  
  25 1974-1999 65 -55 -68 -38 >50  
  10 1989-1999 62 -35 -47 -19 >25  
  5 1994-1999 59 -19 -30 -4    
CBC woodland 31 1968-1999 36 -90 -96 -79 >50  
  25 1974-1999 37 -87 -95 -76 >50  
  10 1989-1999 26 -70 -83 -56 >50  
  5 1994-1999 22 -44 -59 -22 >25  
BBS UK 6 1994-2000 1461 -5 -11 0    
BBS England 6 1994-2000 1213 -21 -25 -15    
BBS Scotland 6 1994-2000 119 23 -8 66    
BBS Wales 6 1994-2000 75 -38 -54 -18 (>25)  
BBS N.Ireland 6 1994-2000 47 182 89 321   Small sample
The Breeding Bird Survey is jointly funded by BTO, JNCC and RSPB
 
 
Table of productivity information for Starling
Variable Period
(yrs)
Years Mean
annual
sample
Trend Predicted
in first year
Predicted
in last year
Change Comment
Clutch size 31 1968-1999 84 Linear increase 4.44 eggs 4.8 eggs 0.36 eggs  
Brood size 31 1968-1999 218 Linear increase 3.17 chicks 3.86 chicks 0.69 chicks  
Daily failure rate (eggs) 31 1968-1999 129 Linear decline 0.0115 nests/day 0.0038 nests/day -0.0077 nests/day  
Daily failure rate (chicks) 31 1968-1999 153 Linear decline 0.006 nests/day 0.0027 nests/day -0.0033 nests/day  
Laying date 31 1968-1999 93 None        
 
Insufficient data on CES
available for this species




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This report should be cited as:
Baillie, S.R., Crick, H.Q.P., Balmer, D.E., Beaven, L.P., Downie, I.S., Freeman, S.N., Leech, D.I., Marchant, J.H.,
Noble, D.G., Raven, M.J., Simpkin, A.P., Thewlis, R.M. and Wernham, C.V.
(2002) Breeding Birds in the Wider
Countryside: their conservation status 2001. BTO Research Report No. 278. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends)

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