Belongs to: thrushes

Compare with: blackbird

Starling Sturnus vulgaris

BoCC Red list

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Swaggering, quarrelsome garden bird, now in serious decline across the whole of its range

Habitat: equally at home in garden, park, woodland and farmland

Widespread and common resident, joined in winter by visitors from Scandinavia


Dark, glossy bird with yellow bill, 20–22cm; young are brownish until they grow their adult feathers

Often feed in flocks, probing the ground for their favourite food, leatherjackets; also eat fruit, bread and household scraps

Outside the breeding season, gather just before dusk in large numbers to roost (noisily) at favourite sites  


Untidy nest of grass in a hole in a tree or building, or in a nest box

Usually 2 broods of 5–7 pale blue eggs, April–May

Our birds fly south into Europe in winter and are replaced by others from northern and eastern Europe

© Alan Williams

© Robert Welham