European StarlingSturnus vulgaris

adult, breeding
Rob Curtis/VIREO
adult, nonbreeding
Rob Curtis/VIREO
adult, breeding
Rob Curtis/VIREO
Laure W. Neish/VIREO
European Starling


7 1/2-8 1/2" (19-22 cm). Smaller than a robin. A short-tailed, chunky, iridescent black bird; long pointed bill, yellow in summer and dark in fall and early winter. Plumage flecked with white in winter. Juvenile is uniform dull gray with dark bill.


A series of discordant, musical, squeaky, and rasping notes; often imitates other birds. Call a descending whee-ee.


song #1
wheezy sounds & other calls
immature call
song #2


Cities, suburban areas, farmlands, and ranches.


Occurs from Alaska and Quebec south throughout continent to Gulf Coast and northern Mexico. Native to Eurasia and widely introduced around the world.


Conditioned by centuries of living in settled areas in Europe, this species easily adapted to American cities after 100 birds were liberated in Central Park, New York City, in 1890. Since then it has spread over most of the continent. Its large roosts, often located on buildings, may contain tens of thousands of birds. Hordes of these birds create much noise, damage vegetable or fruit crops, and do considerable damage around feedlots, consuming and fouling the feed of domestic cattle, and have proved difficult to drive away. Starlings compete with native hole-nesters for woodpecker holes and natural cavities.


4-6 pale blue eggs in a mass of twigs, grass, and trash lined with finer plant material and feathers, and placed in a tree or building cavity.

Similar Species


American Dipper

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Gray Catbird

8-9 1/4" (20-23 cm). Smaller than a robin. A slender, long-tailed, dark gray bird with black cap and rusty undertail coverts.


Cedar Waxwing

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Bohemian Waxwing

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adult male, breeding

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adult male

Brown-headed Cowbird

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Shiny Cowbird

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Boat-tailed Grackle

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Great-tailed Grackle

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