The Common Starling
(Sturnus vulgaris) is a passerine bird in the family Sturnidae.
This starling is native to most of Eurasia, but has been introduced
to South Africa, North America, Australia and New Zealand. This
adaptable and omnivorous species has proved to be a pest in several
of these countries. In Western Australia, which is starling-free,
the government pays full-time hunters to patrol the border and
shoot starlings as they arrive. It is resident in southern and
western Europe, but migrates from colder regions to these areas,
and further south to Iberia (where it does not breed) and north
Africa. The Starling is catholic in its choice of habitats, and
can be found in any reasonable open environment from farmland
These birds will
eat almost anything, including farmland invertebrates and berries.
This is a highly gregarious species, forming huge flocks in winter,
and providing a spectacular sight as they descend into evening
reed-bed roosts, often attracting birds of prey. Large roosts
(exceptionally up to a million birds) can form in city centres,
causing a great deal of mess from their droppings. This is a hole-nesting
species, and has impacted on native species where it has been
introduced because of competition for nest sites. This must be
one of the most familiar of birds, with its shiny black plumage
spangled with white. Confusion is only likely in Iberia in winter,
when it has to be distinguished from the closely related Spotless
Starling, which, as its name implies, has less spotting on its
plumage. Adult males are less spotted below than adult females.
Juveniles are dull brown, and by their first winter resemble adults
but are browner especially on the head.
Above Images From The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service