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BTO Blueline
STARLING
Sturnus vulgaris
Starling © Colin Varndell
Conservation listings

Europe: no SPEC category, secure
UK: Red (>50% population decline)

Long-term trend
England: rapid decline
 
Status summary

Breeding Starling abundance has fallen rapidly, particularly since the early 1980s, and especially in woodland (Robinson et al. 2002). The declines have been greatest in the south and west of Britain; recent BBS data suggest that populations are currently more stable in Scotland and may even be increasing in Northern Ireland. The species' UK conservation listing has recently been upgraded from Amber to Red. Strong improvements in breeding performance have occurred, suggesting that decreasing survival rates, particularly of young birds, may be responsible for the observed decline (Freeman et al. 2002). Loss of the species' preferred feeding habitat, permanent pasture, and general intensification of livestock rearing are likely to be having adverse effects on farmland populations (Crick et al. 2002).

 
CBC/BBS England graph
 
Table of population changes for Starling
Source Period
(yrs)
Years Plots
(n)
Change
(%)
Lower
limit
Upper
limit
Alert Comment
CBC/BBS England 33 1967-2000 356 -77 -84 -71 >50  
  25 1975-2000 436 -71 -78 -63 >50  
  10 1990-2000 859 -46 -54 -39 >25  
  5 1995-2000 1339 -21 -25 -17    
BBS UK 8 1994-2002 1465 -13 -18 -7    
BBS England 8 1994-2002 1213 -24 -28 -19    
BBS Scotland 8 1994-2002 119 38 8 75    
BBS Wales 8 1994-2002 77 -44 -58 -26 (>25)  
BBS N.Ireland 8 1994-2002 48 53 0 133    
BBS acknowledgement
 
BBS UK graph
BBS England graph
BBS Scotland graph
BBS Wales graph
BBS N Ireland graph
 
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 33 1968-2001 82 Linear increase 4.44 eggs 4.83 eggs 0.39 eggs  
Brood size 33 1968-2001 215 Linear increase 3.21 chicks 3.83 chicks 0.62 chicks  
Daily failure rate (eggs) 33 1968-2001 127 Linear decline 0.0118 nests/day 0.0033 nests/day -0.0085 nests/day  
Daily failure rate (chicks) 33 1968-2001 150 Linear decline 0.006 nests/day 0.0025 nests/day -0.0035 nests/day  
Laying date 33 1968-2001 91 None        
 
Clutch size graph
Brood size graph
Egg nest failure graph
Chick nest failure graph
Laying date graph
Insufficient data on CES
available for this species
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This report should be cited as:
Crick, H.Q.P., Marchant, J.H., Noble, D.G., Baillie, S.R., Balmer, D.E., Beaven, L.P., Coombes, R.H.,
Downie, I.S., Freeman, S.N., Joys, A.C., Leech, D.I., Raven, M.J., Robinson, R.A. and Thewlis, R.M. (2004)
Breeding Birds in the Wider Countryside: their conservation status 2003.
BTO Research Report No. 353. BTO, Thetford. (http://www.bto.org/birdtrends2003)

Pages maintained by Susan Waghorn and Iain Downie: Last updated 16 February, 2009