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Common Starling

Common Starling

Common Starling
Common Starling 

Common Starling  or  "Sturnus vulgaris" or  "European starling"  It is about 20 cm  long and has a bright black plumage with a metallic luster that is stained with white at certain times of the year. The legs are pink and the bill is black in winter and yellow in summer; Young birds have browner plumage than adults. It is a noisy bird, especially in collective hangers and other gregarious situations, with a small but varied musical song .
The Common starling has about a dozen subspecies that breed in open habitats in its original range in temperate Europe and western Asia, and have been modified in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, in the United States, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, the Falkland Islands. , Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, South Africa and Fiji. It is the home of southern and western Europe and southwestern Asia, while northeastern populations migrate south and west in winter to the breeding range and south to Iberia and North Africa . The starling is built in a disordered nest in a natural or artificial cavity in which it lays four or five pale blue, shiny eggs. They take two weeks to hatch and the young remain in the nest for three weeks . Typically, this bird mate only twice three times a year. This species is omnivorous, it consumes a wide range of invertebrates, as well as seeds and fruits. It is hunted by several mammals and birds of prey and is home to a variety of external and internal parasites .
Large herds typical of this species is also useful to agriculture by dominant harmful invertebrates ; but , starlings may also be harmful after they prey on fruits and growth crops .
 Starlings may also be a nuisance by the noise and disorder caused by their large urban hangers. Introduced populations, in particular, have been subjected to a series of controls, including slaughter, but their success has been limited, with the exception of the prevention of colonization in Western Australia .  The species has declined in ranges in elements of northern and western Europe since the Eighties thanks to the reduced number of parcel invertebrates out there for feeding growing chicks. Despite this, it's not thought that its large world population can decrease considerably, therefore the International Union for the Conservation of Nature classifies the ecu oscine bird because the worrying the smallest amount worrying .

Taxonomie et systématique

L'étoile commune a été décrite pour la première fois par Carl botanist dans son Systema Naturae nut 1758, sous son nom binomial actuel, Sturnus et vulgaris sont respectivement dérivés du latin "starling" et "commun". L'ancien, and tard anglais staer, et lupus latin Sturnus sont dérivés d'une racine indo-européenne inconnue datant du deuxième millénaire avant notre ère. "Starling" a été répertorié pour la première fois au XIe siècle, quand il faisait référence au juvénile American state l'espèce, mais au XVIe siècle, il avait déjà largement supplanté lupus "look" pour désigner les oiseaux American state tous les âges. lupus nom précédent Eastern Standard Time mentionné dans lupus poème American state William manservant playwright "Le nid American state regards par ma fenêtre". lupus nom vernaculaire anglais préféré du Congrès international d'ornithologie Eastern Standard Time l'étourneau des étourneaux.
La famille des étourneaux, les bird family, Eastern Standard Time world organisation groupe complètement ancien, hormis les introductions ailleurs, avec lupus and grand nombre d’espèces nut Asie du Sud-Est et nut Afrique subsaharienne. lupus genre Sturnus Eastern Standard Time polyphylétique et les relations entre ses membres ne sont pas complètement résolues. lupus rapport lupus and proche American state l'étourneau sansonnet Eastern Standard Time l'impeccable étourneau. L'étourneau sansonnet immaculé peut American statescendre d'une population de S. vulgaris ancestrale qui a survécu dans world organisation refuge ibérique lors d'une retraite glaciaire, et American states études Sur les gènes mitochondriaux suggèrent qu'il pourrait être considéré comme une sous-espèce de l'étourneau étoilé. Il y a and American state variation génétique entre les populations d'étourneaux sansonnet que entre l'étourneau sansonnet nommé et l'étourneau sansonnet. Bien que l'on connaisse des restes d'étourneaux du epoch moyen, lupus règlement American states relations entre les bird family fait partie du problème de la rareté des archives fossiles pour toute la famille. 


There are several subspecies of starling, whose size varies clinically and the color of the plumage of the adult. Gradual changes in geographic range and extensive intergradation mean that acceptance of different subspecies varies from one authority to another . 
The birds of truthful island, St Kilda and therefore the archipelago have AN intermediate size between S. v. Zetlandicus and therefore the kind appointive , further because the location of its race, vary per the authorities. the everyday dark juveniles of those insular forms area unit generally found on the Scottish dry land et al, indicating an exact flow of genes faroensis or zetlandicus, a race antecedently thought-about isolated . Several alternative race are named, however area unit typically not thought-about valid. Most area unit intergrades that occur within the ranges of many race.
Young : A young teenager perched on a table in London. Its plumage is mainly gray-brown.
The starling is 19 to 23 cm (7.5 to 9.1 in.) Long with a wingspan of 31 to 44 cm (12 to 17 in.) And weighs 58 to 101 g (2.0 to 3 cm. 6 oz). Among the standard measures, the wing cable measures 11.8 to 13.8 cm (4.6 to 5.4 inches), the tail measures from 5.8 to 6.8 cm (2.3 to 2.7 inches), the culmen is 2.5 to 3.2 cm (0.98 to 1.26 inches) and the tarsal is 2.7 to 3.2 cm (1.1 to 1.3 inches). The plumage is iridescent black, lustrous violet or green and dotted with white, especially in winter. The lower parts of common adult starlings are less spotted than those of adult females at any given time of the year. The feathers of the males' throats are long and loose and are exposed, while those of the females are smaller and pointed. The legs are thick and pinkish red or greyish. The bill is slender and conic with a tapered tip; in winter, it's brownish-black, however in summer, females have lemon-yellow peaks, whereas males have a yellow beak with a bluish-gray base. The change occurs once a year, at the end of the summer, after the breeding season. Fresh feathers are white with prominent (breast feathers) or yellow (wings and back feathers), giving the bird a marbled appearance. The reduction of the spots during the breeding season is obtained thanks to the tip of the white feathers which carry a lot. Juveniles are greyish brown and, in their first winter, resemble adults, although they often retain juvenile brown feathers, especially on the head. They can usually be sexed by iris color, intense brown in males, brown mice or gray in females. The estimate of the contrast between an iris and the always-dark central pupil is 97% accurate for determining sex and increases to 98% if the length of the feathers of the throat is also taken into account. The starling is medium in size, both for stallion and passerine standard. It is easily distinguished from other medium-sized passerines, such as lily of the valley, jaundice or small corvids, by its relatively short tail, pointed bill, blade-shaped shape, round belly and robust, broad legs ( and red). In flight, its very sharp wings and dark color are distinctive, while its strange and somewhat wobbly walk is also characteristic of the ground. Staining and construction generally distinguish this bird from other starlings, although the closely related European starling may be physically distinguished by the lack of iridescent dots in adult reproductive plumage.

Youth Movement

An immature in California. He moved partly to his first winter plumage; however, juvenile brown plumage is prominent in the head and neck
Like most starling starlings, common starlings move by walking or running, instead of jumping. His flight is quite strong and direct; its triangular wings beat very fast and, periodically, the birds slide on a short path without losing much height before resuming the motorized flight. When in a flock, the birds take off almost simultaneously, roll and turn in unison, form a compact mass or crawl in a weak current, regroup again and land in a coordinated manner. The small migrating starling can fly at 60-80 km / h and cover up to 1,000-1,500 km (620-930 mi).
Many starlings, including those of the genus Sturnus, have adaptations of the skull and muscles that facilitate feeding by sounding. This adaptation develops more strongly in the starling (with the starling white-cheek starling), where the carrier muscles responsible for opening the jaw widen and where the skull is narrow, which allows the eye to advance. Lower the length of the bill This technique involves inserting the note into the ground and opening it to search for hidden food. Starlings have the physical characteristics that allow them to use this feeding technique, which has undoubtedly contributed to the spread of the species around the world.
In Iberia, in the western Mediterranean and northwestern Africa, the starling can be confused with the closely related European starling, whose plumage, as the name suggests, has a color more uniform. Over a short distance, you can see that the latter has longer feathers on the throat, which is particularly remarkable when singing .


The song of a starling Adult male singing

The starling is a noisy bird. His song includes a wide variety of melodic and mechanical sounds as part of a sequence of ritual sounds. The man is the lead singer and participates in episodes of songs lasting one minute or more. Each of these usually includes four types of songs, which take place in a regular order without pause. The fight begins with a series of whistles of pure sounds followed by the main part of the song, a series of variable sequences often incorporating fragments of songs imitated from other bird species and various natural or artificial sounds. The structure and simplicity of the sound imitated are more important than the frequency with which it occurs. In some cases, it has been observed that a European starling mimics a sound that has only been heard once. Each sound sample is repeated several times before the bird moves on to the next. After this variable section, a series of repeated click types is followed by a final explosion of high frequency songs, again of several types. Each bird has its own repertoire with more skillful birds that have a range of up to 35 types of variable songs and up to 14 types of clicks.

Males constantly sing at the approach of the breeding season and act less frequently once the partners have joined. In the presence of a female, a male sometimes flies to his nest and sings from the entrance, apparently trying to attract the female. Older birds tend to have a wider repertoire than younger birds. Men who participate in longer singing episodes and have a wider repertoire have attracted their partners before and have better reproductive success than others. Women seem to prefer couples with more complex songs, perhaps because it indicates greater experience or greater longevity. Having a complex song is also useful for defending a territory and deterring less experienced men from invading.

The song also takes place outside the breeding season and takes place all year round, outside the moulting period. Singers are usually men, although women also sing sometimes. The function of this song out of season is little known. Eleven other types of calls were described, including a group call, a threat call, an attack call, a grumpy call and a copula call. The alarm is a hard scream, and as they feed together, starlings fight without end. They argue while they rest and bathe, making a lot of noise that can irritate people who live nearby. When a group of frequent starlings fly together, the synchronized movements of the bird's wings produce a distinctive whistle that can be heard hundreds of meters away.

Behavior and ecology.

The starling is a very gregarious species, especially in autumn and winter. Although the size of the herd is very variable, large noisy herds may form, murmuring, near the hangers. These dense concentrations of birds are thought to be a defense against raptor attacks such as peregrine falcons or Eurasian hawks.

Herds kind a slender sphere-shaped formation on the wing, often developing, getting and ever-changing form, apparently while not a pacesetter.

Each common star changes course and speed due to the movement of its closest neighbors.

Very large hangers, capable of reaching exceptionally 1.5 million birds, can form in town centers, forests or reeds, causing faeces problems. These can accumulate up to 30 cm (12 inches) deep and kill trees because of their concentration of chemicals. In small quantities, manure acts as a fertilizer and, as a result, forest managers may attempt to move shelters from one area to another to benefit from improved soils and avoid large toxic deposits.

Huge herds of more than one million starlings can be seen just before sunset in the spring in southwest Jutland, Denmark, above marshlands to the sea of   the municipalities of Tonder and Esbjerg between Tonder and Ribe. They meet in March until birds from northern Scandinavia leave their breeding grounds to reach mid-April. Their swarming behavior creates complex shapes carved in the sky, a phenomenon known locally as "ground sol" ("black sun"). Flocks of five to fifty thousand starlings are forming in parts of the United Kingdom just before sunset in the middle of winter. These herds are commonly called murmurs.


The starling is largely insectivorous and feeds on pests and other arthropods . This bird feeds on the collection of insects covered by its beak such as: spider, mites, flies, dragonflies, locusts, beetles, flies, beetles, bees, wasps and ants. And so on of the insects that settle in his homeland . Dams are consumed at both the adult and larval stages, and starlings also feed on earthworms, snails, small amphibians and lizards. Although invertebrate consumption is necessary for successful reproduction, starlings are omnivorous and can also eat cereals, seeds, fruits, nectar and food waste if the opportunity arises. Sturnidae differ from most birds in that they can not easily metabolize foods containing high concentrations of sucrose, although they can withstand other fruits such as grapes and cherries. The subspecies of the Azores isolated from the starling eat the eggs of the endangered pink swallow. Measures are being put in place to reduce common populations of starlings by sacrificing them before swallows return to their breeding colonies in the spring .
 There are several methods that allow common starlings to feed themselves, but most of the time, they feed near the ground, taking insects to the surface or just below. In general, frequent starlings prefer feeding on short-crop pastures and are often found among grazing or back-sitting animals, where they also feed on external mammalian parasites. Large groups can participate in a practice called "roller feeding," in which the birds at the back of the group continually fly forward, where the feeding possibilities are better. The larger the flock, the more individuals meet while feeding. Herds often feed in the same place for a period of time and return to previous sites that had been successfully fed.

There are three types of foraging behavior observed in the starling. Polling implies that the bird immerses its beak within the ground during a exceedingly in a very  random and repetitive manner till an insect is found, Associate in Nursingd is commonly in the course of an open beak wherever the bird opens its beak within the ground for enlarge a hole. This behavior, represented for the primary time by Konrad Lorenz and given the German term zirkeln , is additionally accustomed produce and expand holes in plastic garbage baggage. Young starlings need time to perfect this technique and , as a result, the diet of young birds often contains fewer insects. Hawking  is that the capture of flying insects directly within the air, and "tossing" is that the least common technique of hit forward to lure a moving invertebrate on the bottom . Earthworms area unit treed by pull on the bottom.  Starlings that have their menses without access to food or whose light hours available for food are reduced compensate by increasing their body mass through a fat deposit.

Unpaired males realize an appropriate cavity and start to make nests to draw in single females, usually by decorating them with ornaments like flowers and contemporary inexperienced material, that the feminine then disassembles and accepts as a partner.  This is not important, as long as something is present, but the presence of herbs in the decorative material seems to be important to attract a couple. The aroma of plants such as yarrow acts as an olfactory attractant for women.

Males sing during most of the construction and even more so when a female approaches her nest. After intercourse, the male and female continue to build the nest. Nests can be in any type of hole. The most common places are hollow trees, buildings, stumps and artificial nests. S. v. Zetlandicus usually breeds in cracks and holes in cliffs, a habitat seldom used in the nominated form. Nests usually consist of straw, dry grass and twigs with an inner lining of feathers, wool and soft leaves. The construction usually takes four to five days and can continue during incubation.

Starlings are monogamous and polygamous; Although offspring are usually raised by a man and a woman, the couple may sometimes have an extra assistant. Couples may be part of a colony, in which case other nests may occupy the same trees or neighboring trees. Males can mate with a second female while the first is still in the nest. The reproductive success of the bird is lower in the second nest than in the main nest and is best when the male remains monogamous.
Reproduction takes place in spring and summer. After intercourse, the female lays eggs daily for several days. If an egg is lost during this time, she will put another one to replace it. Normally, there are four or five eggs ovoid and pale blue or sometimes white, and usually have a shiny appearance. Egg color seems to have changed due to the relatively good visibility of blue at low levels of light. The size of the egg is 26.5 to 34.5 mm long and its maximum diameter is 20.0 to 22.5 mm (0.79 to 0.89 in). The incubation lasts thirteen days, but the last egg laid can take 24 hours more than the first to hatch. Both parents share the responsibility for raising eggs, but the female spends more time incubating them than the male and is the only father to do so at night when the male returns to the community hen house. Young people are born blind and naked. They grow lighter and fluffy within seven days of hatching and can see within nine days. Once chicks can regulate their body temperature, about six days after hatching, adults stop removing the droppings from the nest. Prior to this, fouling was expected to reduce both the plumage of the chicks and nest material, which would reduce their effectiveness as an insulator and increase the risk of offspring cooling. The pigeons stay in the nest for three weeks, where both parents feed them permanently. Young people continue to be fed by their parents for a week or two. A couple can rear up to three young per year, often re-using and reviving the same nest, although two young are typical or only one north of 48 ° N. After two months, most juveniles will have moved and obtained their first basic plumage. They acquire their adult plumage the following year. As with other passerines, the nest is kept clean and adults remove the stool from the chicks.
Intraspecific reproductive parasites are common in starling nests. Floating females (unpaired females during the breeding season) present in the colonies often lay eggs in the nest of another pair. It has also been reported that offspring invade their own nest or neighbors and expel new offspring. Starling nests have an incubation rate of 48% to 79%, although only 20% of chicks survive to the age of childbearing; The adult survival rate is close to 60%. The average life span is 2 to 3 years, with a record longevity of 22 years and 11 m.

Predators and parasites

Most predators are birds. The typical reaction of starling groups is to take flight, with a common vision: to gather flocks of starlings that fly high in fast and agile patterns. His flight skills are rarely matched by raptors. Adult starlings are hunted by hawks such as northern azor (Accipiter gentilis) and Eurasian falcons (Accipiter nisus), as well as hawks, including the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), the Eurasian hobby (Falco subbuteo) and the common kestrel. . (Falco tinnunculus). Slower raptors, such as black and red kites (Milvus migrans and milvus), eastern imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca), common vulture (Buteo buteo) and white eagle (Circus approximans) tend to capture novices or juveniles Easy to catch Although they occur in nocturnal groups, they may be vulnerable to owls, including the owl (Athene noctua), the owl (Asio otus), the owl (Asio). flammeus), the little owl (Tyto alba), the owl (Strix aluco) and the owl (Bubo bubo).

More than 20 species of hawks, owls and hawks are known to have preceded wild starlings in North America, but it is likely that the most common adult predators are hawks or pilgrims living in the city (Falco columbarius) . Common mynas (Acridotheres tristis) sometimes evacuate common adult eggs, pigeons and starlings from their nests, and the child's guide, a cultivated parasite, uses the starling as a host. However, starlings are more often the culprits than the victims of nest eviction, especially with respect to other starlings and woodpeckers. Nests can be attacked by climbing mammals such as ermine (Mustela erminea), raccoons (Procyon lotor) and squirrels (Sciurus spp.). And cats can catch the disturbing.

Starlings are hosts of a wide range of pests. A survey of three hundred starlings from six US states. UU. UU. He discovered that everyone had at least one type of parasite; 99% had external fleas, mites or ticks, and 95% had internal parasites, mainly several types of worms. The blood-sucking species leave their host when they die, but other external parasites remain in the body. A deformed bill bird was infested with Mallophaga lice, probably because of its inability to kill vermin.

The chicken flea (Ceratophyllus gallinae) is the most common flea in their nests. The small, pale flea of   the common sparrow C. fringillae is also occasionally encountered and probably comes from the habit of its main host to seize nests of other species. This flea does not occur in the United States, even among house sparrows. Head lice include Menacanthus eurystemus, Brueelia nebulosa and Stumidoecus sturni. Other arthropod pests include Ixodes ticks and mites, such as Analgopsis passerinus, Boydaia stumi, Dermanyssus gallinae, Ornithonyssus bursa, O. sylviarum, Proctophyllodes, Pteronyssoides truncatus and Trouessartia rosteri. The chicken mite D. gallinae is predated by the predatory mite Androlaelaps casalis. The presence of this control in the number of parasitic species may explain why birds are ready to reuse old nests.

Flying insects that parasitize starlings include the Omithomya nigricornis louse fly and the saprophagous Camus hemapterus fly. The last species breaks the feathers of its host and eliminates the fats produced by the growing plumage. The larvae of Hofmannophila pseudospretella wet the nests, which feed on animal material such as excrement or dead pigeons. Blood parasites of protozoa of the genus Haemoproteus have been found in starlings, but the scarlet nematode Syngamus trachea is a more well known pest. This worm moves from the lungs to the trachea and can cause choking of its host. In Great Britain, the tower and the starling are the most infested wild birds. Other internal parasites recorded include Prosthorhynchus transverse spiny headworm.

Starling can become infected with avian tuberculosis, avian malaria and retrovirus-induced lymphomas. Starlings in captivity often accumulate excess iron in the liver, a condition that can be prevented by adding black tea leaves to food.

Distribution and habitat

The world population of starling was estimated at 310 million in 2004, occupying a total area of   8,870,000 km2 (3,420,000 square miles). Extending within the hemisphere, the bird is native to continent and is found throughout Europe, geographical area (from Morocco to Egypt), Bharat (mainly to the north, however frequently extends more south and extends to Maldives) Kingdom of Nepal, Middle East, together with Syrian Arab Republic, Asian country and Al-Iraq and northwestern China. Common starlings in southern and western Europe and southern 40 ° N are mainly residents, although other populations migrate from areas with heavy winter, frozen ground and shortages. food. A large number of birds from northern Europe, Russia and Ukraine migrate to the southwest or southeast. In the fall, when Eastern European immigrants arrive, many of the starlings in Great Britain travel to Iberia and North Africa. Other groups of birds cross the country and the paths of these different streams of birds can intersect. Of the 15,000 birds banded as pigeons in Merseyside, England, individuals were found at various times of the year in countries as far away as Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Ukraine, Poland , Germany and the Netherlands. Small numbers of European starlings have been observed sporadically in Japan and Hong Kong, but the origin of these birds is unclear. In North America, northern populations have developed a pattern of migration, leaving much of Canada in winter. Birds in the east of the country move south and those in winter further west to the southwestern United States.

Common starlings prefer urban or suburban areas where artificial structures and trees provide adequate nesting and resting sites. Reeds are also preferred for resting and birds generally feed on green spaces such as farmland, pastures, playgrounds, golf courses and aerodromes where short grass facilitates feeding. They sometimes live in open forests and forests and sometimes in shrub areas such as Australian heather. Starlings rarely inhabit dense, moist forests (tropical rainforests or wet sclerophylls), but are found in coastal areas where they nest and perch on cliffs and feed on algae. Their ability to adapt to a wide variety of habitats has allowed them to disperse and settle in various locations around the world, creating a range of habitats ranging from coastal wetlands to alpine forests, from cliffs to mountains of 1,200 m. feet above sea level.

Populations introduced

The oscine has been introduced and with success established in New Sjaelland, Australia, African country, North America, land and several other Caribbean islands. As a result, he has additionally been ready to transmigrate to Asian country, geographic area and island.

South America

Five people transported by boat from England landed near Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela in November 1949, but then disappeared. In 1987, a small population of starlings was found nesting in gardens in the city of Buenos Aires. Since then, despite some initial attempts at eradication, the bird has expanded its breeding range at an average rate of 7.5 km (4.7 miles) per year, remaining within 30 km (19 miles) of the Atlantic coast. In Argentina, the species uses various natural and artificial nesting sites, including peak holes.


The starling was introduced to Australia to consume insect pests in agricultural crops. The first settlers were waiting for their arrival, convinced that the starling was also important for the pollination of flax, an important agricultural product. Nest boxes for newly released birds have been placed on neighboring farms and crops. The starling was introduced in Melbourne in 1857 and in Sydney two decades later. In the 1880s, settled populations were present in the south-east of the country thanks to the work of the acclimation committees. In the 1920s, starlings were widespread in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, but were considered pests. Although starlings were first observed in Albany, Western Australia in 1917, they were largely prevented from spreading in that state. The vast and arid plain of Nullarbor is a natural barrier and control measures have been taken that killed 55,000 birds for three decades. The starling also colonized Kangaroo, Lord Howe, Norfolk and Tasmania.

New Zealand

The first New Zealand settlers cleared the bush and discovered that their newly planted crops were being invaded by hordes of caterpillars and other insects without their previous food sources. As native birds are not used to living near humans, the European starling was introduced from Europe at the same time as the house sparrow to control pests. It was introduced for the first time in 1862 by the Nelson Acclimatization Society and other presentations followed. The birds soon settled and are now present throughout the country, including the subtropical islands of Kermadec in the north and Macquarie Island, also far to the south.

North America

After two unsuccessful attempts, Eugene Schieffelin threw sixty starling birds in 1890 in Central Park, New York. He was president of the American Acclimatization Society, which allegedly attempted to introduce all the bird species mentioned in William Shakespeare's work in North America, although this was discussed. Around the same date, the Portland Song Bird Club launched 35 pairs of starlings in Portland, Oregon. These birds settled but disappeared around 1902. The starling re-emerged in the northwestern Pacific in the mid-1940s. These birds were probably the offspring of the introduction of the 1890 Central Park. number of 60 birds has increased. numbering 150 million, occupying an area stretching from southern Canada and Alaska to Central America.


The starling appears to have arrived in Fiji in 1925 on the islands of Ono-i-lau and Vatoa. It may have colonized New Zealand via Raoul in the Kermadec Islands, where it is abundant, this group being roughly equidistant from New Zealand and Fiji. Its spread in Fiji has been limited and doubts remain about the viability of the population. Tonga was colonized around the same date and birds slowly spread north through the group.

West Indies

In 1901, the people of St. Kitts asked the Colonial Secretary for a "government grant of starlings to exterminate" an outbreak of grasshoppers that caused enormous damage to their crops. The starling was introduced to Jamaica in 1903, and the Bahamas and Cuba were naturally colonized from the United States. This bird is fairly common but local in Jamaica, Grand Bahama and Bimini, and is rare in the rest of the Bahamas, eastern Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Puerto Rico and St. Lawrence.

South Africa

In South Africa, the starling was introduced in 1897 by Cecil Rhodes. It spread slowly and in 1954 reached Clanwilliam and Port Elizabeth. It is now common in the southern region of Cape Town, decreasing northward to the Johannesburg area. It is present in the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape, and the Free State of South Africa and Lesotho Lowland Provinces, with occasional sightings in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and around the city. Oranjemund in Namibia. In southern Africa, populations appear to be resident and the bird is strongly associated with human and anthropogenic habitats. It favors irrigated land and is absent in areas where the soil is so dry that it can not detect insects. It may compete with native birds for cracking nesting sites, but native species are likely to be more disadvantaged by the destruction of their natural habitat than by interspecific competition. It breeds from September to December and, outside of the breeding season, it can congregate in large flocks, often resting in reeds.It is the foremost common bird species in urban and agricultural areas .


It is estimated that the world population of starlings is over 310 million and its numbers are not expected to decrease significantly. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature thus classifies birds as causes of minor concern. He had shown a noticeable increase in the number of people throughout nineteenth-century Europe around the years 1950-1960. Around 1830, S. v. Vulgaris extended its range in the British Isles, extending to Ireland and areas of Scotland where it was previously absent, although S. v. Zetlandicus was already present in the Shetland and Outer Hebrides. The starling has been bred in northern Sweden since 1850 and in Iceland since 1935. Its breeding range extends from southern France to northeastern Spain. There have been other extensions, notably in Italy, Austria and Finland. It began to breed on the Iberian Peninsula in 1960, while the range of flawless starlings had expanded northward since the 1950s. The low rate of progression, of about 4.7 km per year for two species, this is due to the suboptimal mountain and the wooded terrain. Since then, expansion has slowed further due to direct competition between the two similar, overlapping species in southwestern France and northwestern Spain.

Relationship with the man

Benefits and problems

Since starlings frequent pests, such as worms, they are considered beneficial in northern Eurasia, which was one of the reasons that birds were introduced elsewhere. About 25 million nests for this species have been erected in the former Soviet Union, and starlings have proved effective in controlling Costelytra zelandica worm in New Zealand. The original introduction to Australia has been facilitated by the provision of nesting boxes to help this predominantly insectivorous bird to successfully breed. Even in the United States, where it is a kind of pest, the Department of Agriculture recognizes that starlings frequent Many insects.

Starlings introduced to areas such as Australia or North America, where other members of the genus are absent, may affect native species through competition for their nests. In North America, coal miners, nuthatches, woodpeckers, swallows and other swallows may be affected. In Australia, competitors for nesting sites include purple and eastern rosellas. Because of its role in the decline of local native species and damage to agriculture, the starling has been included in the IUCN list of the 100 most invasive species in the world.
Starlings can eat and damage fruit in orchards such as grapes, peaches, olives, currants and tomatoes, or dig up freshly sown cereals and germinating crops. They can also eat feed and distribute seeds through their excrement. In eastern Australia, herbs such as bridal vines, blackberries and bone seeds are thought to have been propagated by starlings. Agricultural damages in the United States are estimated. UU. It costs about $ 800 million a year. This bird is not considered to be harmful to agriculture in South Africa as in the United States.

The large size of the herds can also cause problems. Jet aircraft engines can absorb starlings. One of the most serious cases was an incident in Boston in 1960, when sixty-two people died after passing a turboprop passenger plane. He collapsed at sea in the port of Winthrop.

Starlings may contain the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum, which causes histoplasmosis in humans. On resting sites, this fungus can thrive in accumulated faeces. A number of other infectious diseases can potentially be transmitted by humans to starlings, although the potential for spread of infection in birds may have been exaggerated.


Because of the damage they cause, attempts have been made to control the number of native and introduced starling populations. In the field of natural reproduction, this can be affected by legislation. For example, in Spain, it is a species that is hunted commercially as food and whose season is closed, while in France, it is classified as harmful and the season during which it can be killed covers the major part of the year. . In Great Britain, starlings are protected by the 1981 Wildlife and Field Act, which "kills, injures or intentionally kills a starling, or takes, damages or destroys an active nest or its contents". The Wildlife Order in Northern Ireland authorizes, with a general license, "a person authorized to control starlings in order to avoid serious damage to agriculture or to preserve public health and safety". This species is migratory, so birds involved in control measures may come from a large area and breeding populations are not greatly affected. In Europe, variable legislation and mobile populations mean that attempts to control can have limited long-term results. Non-lethal techniques such as scaring with visual or auditory devices are only temporary in all cases.
Huge urban hangers in cities can create problems because of the noise and disorder that occur and the smell of excrement. In 1949, so many birds landed on the hands of the Big Ben clock in London that it stopped, which failed, which led to unsuccessful attempts to stop the shelters with nets, repellent chemicals on the shelves and conventional alarm call transmissions. A full episode of The Goon Show in 1954 was a travesty of useless efforts to disrupt the big perch of central London.
Where it is introduced, the starling is not protected by legislation and extensive control plans can be put in place. Starlings may use nest boxes, making sure the access holes are smaller than the 1.5 "(38 mm) diameter they need, and removing hangers discourages them from feeding them.
Western Australia banned the importation of starlings in 1895. New herds from the east are systematically slaughtered, while less cautious juveniles are trapped and entangled. New methods are being developed, such as tagging a bird and tracking it to determine where other members of the herd are. Another technique is to analyze the DNA of common starling populations in Australia to determine where East-West Australia migrates, so that better preventive strategies can be used. In 2009, there were only 300 common starlings left in Western Australia, and the state committed another $ 400,000 this year to continue the eradication program.
In the United States, starlings are exempt from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which prohibits the capture or death of migratory birds. No authorization is required to remove nests and eggs or to kill juveniles or adults. The survey was conducted in 1966 to identify an appropriate avicide that would kill the two starlings and be easily consumed by them. It must also be low-toxic to mammals and not cause the deaths of pets that ate dead birds. The chemical that best fits these criteria is DRC-1339, now marketed as Starlicide. In 2008, the United States government poisoned, killed or caught 1.7 million birds, the largest number of boring species to be destroyed. In 2005, the population of the United States was estimated at 140 million birds, about 45% of the global total of 310 million.

In science and culture

The starling can be kept as a pet or as a laboratory animal. In his book, the Austrian ethologist Konrad Lorenz wrote: "The dog of the poor" and "something to love", because the chicks are easy to obtain in nature and easy to maintain after their manual breeding. . They adapt well to captivity and feed on a standard diet for birds and mealworms. Many birds can be kept in the same cage and their curiosity makes them easy to train or study. The only disadvantages are their disorderly and indiscriminate defecation habits and the need to take precautions against diseases that can be transmitted to humans. As a laboratory bird, the starling is the second most common after the domestic pigeon.

The common gift of starlings for mimicry has long been recognized. within the medieval Welsh Mabinogion, Branwen tamed a oscine bird, "taught him the word" and sent him across Irish ocean with a message to his brothers, Bran and Manawydan, WHO later left the country. Wales to travel to eire. Pliny the Elder declared that it had been doable to show these birds to pronounce complete sentences in Latin and Greek, and to Bolingbroke,
William Shakespeare had declared in Hotspur: "The king forbade Pine Tree State to talk to Mortimer, however i will realize him once he is asleep, and in his ear i will shout 'Mortimer!' No, can|i will be able to|i'll} have a oscine bird WHO will learn to talk solely Mortimer, and that i can provides it to him to stay his anger still moving. "
Mozart had an easy oscine bird that might sing a part of his piano classical music in G major (KV 453). He had bought it from a store when hearing him sing a sentence from a piece he had written six weeks earlier, however that had not been tired public nonetheless. He became terribly hooked up to the bird and arranged a ceremonial ready for him once he died 3 years later. it's been advised that his "musical joke" (K. 522) might be written within the comic vogue and while not consequence of the vocalization of oscine bird. people WHO have had common starlings declare however smart they're at learning phrases and expressions. The words haven't any which means for oscine bird, in order that they square measure typically mixed or employed in reprimand humans square measure inappropriate occasions in their songs. His ability to imitate is therefore nice that strangers have searched vainly for the person they assume they need detected.
Starlings square measure treed for food in some Mediterranean countries. The meat is hard and of poor quality, so it is cooked or becomes pie. A recipe says it should be cooked "until it is soft, no matter how long it is". Even properly prepared, it can still be considered an acquired taste.
The introduction of European Starlings in the United States in 1890 by the New York pharmaceutical manufacturer Eugene Schieffelin appears in the plot of Netflix's original series, Ozark in Season 1, Episode 7, "Nest Box".