European Starling

Conservation status

Least Concern

Population Trend


Alternate Names

Common Starling

Native Habitat

Woodland, Town


Fruits, Berries, Insects


European Starling

Sturnus vulgaris

The European Starling is a passerine bird in the family starling.  This species of starling is native to most of temperate Europe and western Asia. It is resident in southern and western Europe and southwestern Asia, while northeastern populations migrate south and west in winter to these regions, and also further south to areas where it does not breed in Iberia and north Africa. It has also been introduced to Australia, New Zealand, North America, and South Africa.

It is among the most familiar of birds in temperate regions. It is 25 cm long, with a wingspan of 45 cm and a weight of 90gm. The plumage is shiny black, glossed purple or green, and spangled with white, particularly strongly so in winter. Adult male European Starlings are less spotted below than adult females. The throat feathers are long and loose, and used as a signal in display. Juveniles are grey-brown, and by their first winter resemble adults though often retain some brown juvenile feathering especially on the head in the early part of the winter. The legs are stout, pinkish-red. The bill is narrow conical with a sharp tip; in summer, it is yellow in females, and yellow with a blue-grey base in males, while in winter, and in juveniles, it is black in both male and female.

Moulting occurs once a year, in late summer after the breeding season is finished; the fresh feathers are prominently tipped white [breast feathers] or buff [wing and back feathers]. The reduction in the spotting in the breeding season is achieved by the white feather tips largely wearing off. Starlings walk rather than hop. Their flight is quite strong and direct; they look triangular-winged and short-tailed in flight.

Regional Names
  • Bengali:
    চিত্রা শালিক
  • French:
    Étourneau sansonnet
  • Gujarati:
    તેલીયું વૈયું, કાળુ વૈયું
  • Malayalam:
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Sturnus vulgaris