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European Starling

Sturnus vulgaris ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: STURNIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

European Starling Photo

First brought to North America by Shakespeare enthusiasts in the nineteenth century, European Starlings are now among the continent’s most numerous songbirds. They are stocky black birds with short tails, triangular wings, and long, pointed bills. Though they’re sometimes resented for their abundance and aggressiveness, they’re still dazzling birds when you get a good look. Covered in white spots during winter, they turn dark and glossy in summer. For much of the year, they wheel through the sky and mob lawns in big, noisy flocks.

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Find This Bird

Starlings are common around cities and towns. Look in lawns, city parks and squares, and fields. They’ll be working their way across the grass, often moving in a slight zig-zag line and seeming to hurry as they stab their bills into the ground every step or two. In the countryside you’re more likely to see starlings perched in groups at the tops of trees or flying over fields or roads in tight flocks.

Get Involved

You can help scientists learn more about this species by participating in the Celebrate Urban Birds! project

View and sort images of nesting starlings online with CamClickr to help scientists archive data from our NestCams

If you have a bird using a nest box, report nesting activity to NestWatch

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A Darwinian Dance: Starlings and Falcons engage in an age-old aerial ballet. Story and Photographs in Living Bird magazine.

Visit the NestCams archives for a close-up view of starlings in their nest

Foiling Starlings at Feeders

Q & A: "There's a huge starling roost near my house and they're driving us nuts!"

All About Birds blog, Not Just Sparrows and Pigeons: Cities Harbor 20 Percent of World’s Bird Species, April 29, 2014.