Starling

Starling

Sturnus vulgaris

The noisy, messy starling is often an unwelcome guest at the bird table thanks to its habit of arriving in a great flock and eating all the food.  However, this remarkable bird – famous for its spectacular mass aerial displays before roosting for the night – is actually in serious decline and on the RSPB ‘Red’ at risk list.  So console yourself when your bird table is emptied that you are doing your bit to conserve a special bird for the future!

 Description: From a distance the Starling looks black, but in fact has iridescent purple, green and blue plumage, speckled with white in winter.  Females have more speckling than the male.  It is about 8 ½ in (22 cm) tall and walks with a jerky movement.  It feeds in groups during the day and often creates huge flocks in the evening.  The Starling is a noisy bird, often mimicking other birds and even car alarms.

 Nesting and breeding:  The breeding season lasts from April to June, with 1 or 2 broods. Starlings often breed in colonies, with the male building a messy nest of leaves and grass in a hole in trees, buildings or cliffs.  The female lays 5-7 pale blue eggs which hatch after 13 days.  Both adults then feed the young who leave the nest after about 21 days.

Where to see them

  • Starlings are widespread in Britain, except on very high ground  
  • They are present all year round, supplemented in winter by visitors from northern and eastern Europe
  • Starlings have adapted to a wide variety of habitats, from town centres to open countryside, parks and farms 
  • What they eat

  • Starlings eat insects, especially leatherjackets (cranefly larvae), earthworms, spiders and snails  
  • In autumn and winter they eat seeds, fruit and berries 
  • Starlings will arrive en masse in gardens to strip bird tables and feeders of most foods.  They are hard to deter without scaring off smaller, more timid, birds
  • Recommended Farbrook Farm foods: Suet Pellets, All Season Wild Bird Food, Dried Mealworms
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