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threatened and/or endangered

European Starling Sturnus vulgaris


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European Starling, summer
credit: Dick Daniels/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Sturnidae, Starlings and Mynas view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE SUMMER Has mostly dark plumage with green and violet iridescence. Legs are reddish orange and bill is yellow with bluish base to lower mandible. ADULT FEMALE SUMMER Similar, but has a few pale spots on underparts; base of lower mandible is pale yellow. WINTER ADULT (both sexes) Has numerous white spots adorning dark plumage. Bill is dark. JUVENILE Gray-brown, palest on throat, and with dark bill. First-winter, similar to adult, but often retains gray-brown head and neck into fall.

Dimensions Length: 7 1/2-8 1/2" (19-22 cm)

Habitat Abundant; all birds are descendants of 100 individuals released in Central Park, NYC, in 1890s. Found in a wide range of habitats; northern populations move south in winter.

Observation Tips Hard to miss.

Range Florida, Alaska, Plains, Eastern Canada, Rocky Mountains, Great Lakes, Southwest, Mid-Atlantic, New England, Western Canada, Southeast, Texas, California, Northwest

Voice Highly vocal and an accomplished mimic. Song includes repertoire of clicks, whistles, and elements of mimicking other birds and manmade sounds, such as car alarms; calls include chatters and drawn-out whistles.

Discussion Introduced, but now familiar bird of urban and rural areas. Forms sizeable flocks outside breeding season. Walks with a characteristic swagger. Flight is rather undulating and wings look pointed and triangular in outline. Sexes are separable with care in summer.