European Starling

European Starling pair perched on a cable

What does it look and sound like? The European Starling shows considerable variation in plumage.  Both adults resemble each other, although the female is considered less glossy than the male.  In autumn, the plumage is glossed black, with a purple and green iridescence.  The feathers have a buff tip, which gives the bird a spotted appearance.  These spots are almost completely absent from birds in spring.  During the breeding season, August to January, the bill and legs are yellow, becoming brown outside of this time.  Young birds are grey-brown, becoming more glossed black with age.

Where does it live? In Australia it is found throughout the east and south-east.

What are its habitats and habits? It was once a common bird of the deciduous woodlands, particularly in its native range, but now favours the more urban areas, and has also become a familiar sight around human habitation. It is also a prominent bird in open cultivated areas, and is a well-known pest of orchards.  Other food includes insects and their larvae and human scraps.

Interesting fact: The European Starling was introduced into Australia in the late 1850’s. It originated from Europe.

Scientific name: Sturnus vulgaris

Size: 20 to 22 cm

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