Starlings are relatives of the mynah birds, and like them they have impressive vocal abilities and a gift for mimicry. They can warble, whistle, chatter, make smooth liquid sounds, harsh trills and rattles, and imitate meadowlarks, jays, and hawks. The songs tend to consist of either loud whistles or softer, jumbled warbling. Whistled songs are a few seconds long, often used between males. Warbled songs can go on for more than a minute, and seem mainly directed at females. Males sing several varieties of each of these two classes of songs. Females also sing, particularly in the fall. Songs often include imitations of other birds, including Eastern Wood-Pewee, Killdeer, meadowlarks, Northern Bobwhite, Brown-headed Cowbird, Northern Flicker, and others.
Male and female starlings use about 10 kinds of calls to communicate about where they are, whether there’s danger around, and how aggressive or agitated they feel. Among these are a purr-like call given as the bird takes flight, and a rattle that starlings make as they join a flock on the ground. Two types of screamlike calls indicate aggression and are often accompanied by flapping wings: one is a chattering call (described as chackerchackerchacker); the other is a high-pitched trill. Starlings also make metallic chip notes to other flock members and when harassing or mobbing predators.
Male starlings sometimes clack or rattle their bills as part of their warbled song.