Both sexes are similar, although the female is less glossy than the male. You can see starlings all year round. Still one of the commonest of garden birds, its decline elsewhere makes it a Red List species. Find out more about the nature and wildlife outside your window. They are one of only a few birds who live in otherwise barren industrial urban wastelands. Sauer, J. R., D. K. Niven, J. E. Hines, D. J. Ziolkowski Jr., K. L. Pardieck, J. E. Fallon, and W. A. In autumn, when the plumage is new, birds are glossed black, with a purple and green shine, and the tips of the body feathers have large white spots. In winter, huge roosts can be found in plantations, reedbeds and city centres. Nests can be built in as little as 1-3 days. They often forage with other species, including grackles, cowbirds, blackbirds, House Sparrows, Rock Pigeons, American Robins, and American Crows. The whole colony feeds communally in what is termed a home range. In the summer and autumn, they take more seeds and berries and this seasonal shift is matched by a lengthening of their intestine to cope with the increased plant material, which is harder to digest. As the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, the RSPB use your donations to restore habitats, protect species and save nature. Starlings usually lay 4-6 eggs in mid-April. After they’ve paired, males follow their mates everywhere, chasing off other males. Starlings only nest in cavities and are happy to use those provided by people—stove, dryer, and exhaust fan vents, for example—are popular nest sites, along with the bird houses we put up. Starlings nest in holes and cavities, especially in trees, but often use holes in buildings, including occupied houses. Nature is an adventure waiting to be had. Partners in Flight (2017). Find out more about the partnership, © The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. Heathland home to more than 2565 species. They wander over the ground, often quite rapidly, poking their closed bill into the ground and using their strong jaw muscles to force open the bill and search for soil insects and other invertebrates. Smaller than blackbirds, with a short tail, pointed head, triangular wings, starlings look black at a distance but when seen closer they are very glossy with a sheen of purples and greens. A Field Guide to the Natural History of North American Birds, Including All Species That Regularly Breed North of Mexico. Catch up with the RSPB’s own nature detectives on the case as they look to save some very special places. Still one of the UK's commonest garden birds. Nature is an adventure waiting to be had. Males choose the nest site and use it to attract females. To attract a mate, the male builds the base of the nest from dry grass and leaves in a hole and sings from perches close to the nest entrance. Only the female broods the chicks, although both parents feed them. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA. Each common starling changes its course an… The female completes the nest by making a nest cup and lining it with fine grasses, moss and feathers. Smaller than blackbirds, with a short tail, pointed head, triangular wings, starlings look black at a distance but when seen closer they are very glossy with a sheen of purples and greens. Confrontations can escalate into birds charging at each other and stabbing with their long bills. SC037654, We use cookies on our website to help give you the best online experience. Watching starlings in flocks can reveal several ways that these gregarious birds communicate with their neighbors. Sibley, D. A. Their main requirements are open, grassy areas in which to forage, a water source, and trees or buildings that contain suitable cavities or niches for nesting. The Birder's Handbook. The species rates a 7 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. It’s nesting season for our waterfowl too but what are the rules you need to follow for ducks, geese or swans? It shows general distribution rather than detailed, localised populations. (2019). Within your lifetime, species such as song thrushes, cuckoos and even hedgehogs could die out altogether. Lutmerding, J. Among the species they’ve chased off are Wood Ducks, Buffleheads, Northern Flickers, Great Crested Flycatchers, Tree Swallows, and Eastern Bluebirds.Back to top, European Starlings are common and widespread but their populations decreased by about 52% between 1966 and 2015, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Although flock size is highly variable, huge, noisy flocks - murmurations - may form near roosts. They are stocky black birds with short tails, triangular wings, and long, pointed bills. As well as a free gift and magazines, you’ll get loads of ideas for activities to try at home. The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. Starlings are conspicuous and widespread in the UK, occurring everywhere except for the highest parts of the Scottish Highlands. See our ideas to keep you connected to nature during coronavirus, From our regular emails to your favourite social media, there’s more than one way to keep in touch with nature. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). SC037654, We use cookies on our website to help give you the best online experience. (2014). UK passage is the number of individuals passing through on migration in spring and/or autumn. Read more advice about what to do if you find a bird that needs help. Large numbers arrive in autumn to spend the winter here. Catch up with the RSPB’s own nature detectives on the case as they look to save some very special places. See some of the ways you can get into green living. We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy, The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International.