The common starling (Sturnus vulgaris), also known as the European starling, or in the British Isles just the starling, is a medium-sized passerine bird in the starling family, Sturnidae. It is about 20 cm (8 in) long and has glossy black plumage with a metallic sheen, which is speckled with white at some times of year. The legs are pink and the bill is black in winter and yellow in summer; young birds have browner plumage than the adults. It is a noisy bird, especially in communal roosts and other gregarious situations, with an unmusical but varied song. Its gift for mimicry has been noted in literature including the Mabinogion and the works of Pliny the Elder and William Shakespeare.

The common starling has about a dozen subspecies breeding in open habitats across its native range in temperate Europe and western Asia, and it has been introduced to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, the Falkland Islands, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, South Africa and Fiji. This bird is resident in southern and western Europe and southwestern Asia, while northeastern populations migrate south and west in winter within the breeding range and also further south to Iberia and North Africa. The common starling builds an untidy nest in a natural or artificial cavity in which four or five glossy, pale blue eggs are laid. These take two weeks to hatch and the young remain in the nest for another three weeks. There are normally one or two breeding attempts each year. This species is omnivorous, taking a wide range of invertebrates, as well as seeds and fruit. It is hunted by various mammals and birds of prey, and is host to a range of external and internal parasites.

Large flocks typical of this species can be beneficial to agriculture by controlling invertebrate pests; however, starlings can also be pests themselves when they feed on fruit and sprouting crops. Common starlings may also be a nuisance through the noise and mess caused by their large urban roosts. Introduced populations in particular have been subjected to a range of controls, including culling, but these have had limited success except in preventing the colonisation of Western Australia. The species has declined in numbers in parts of northern and western Europe since the 1980s due to fewer grassland invertebrates being available as food for growing chicks. Despite this, its huge global population is not thought to be declining significantly, so the common starling is classified as being of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
European Starling
Date Location Count
2020-01-26 10:31Ashburn Lake15
2020-01-25 07:30Bles Park25
2020-01-20 10:17Broadlands Wetlands Nature Preserve1
2020-01-20 09:02C&O Canal--Sycamore Landing1
2020-01-14 15:09Claude Moore Park40
2020-01-14 14:08Hughes Hollow - McKee Beshers WMA1
2020-01-26 08:51National Recreation and Park Association77
2020-01-25 09:15Hughes Rd. polo fields25
2020-01-26 13:30Dulles Airport--Pond200
2020-01-25 17:11Creighton Road Pond22
2020-01-17 16:19Algonkian Regional Park1
2020-01-26 09:00Olde Izaak Walton Park11
2020-01-23 11:30C&O Canal--Riley's Lock40
2020-01-20 09:40Homestead Farm (restricted access)40
2020-01-21 11:49Morven Park10
2020-01-21 17:01Reston Town Center (Peregrine Falcon spot)12
2020-01-26 07:05C&O Canal--Violette's Lock1
2020-01-25 07:20Blockhouse Point Conservation Park12
2020-01-23 14:30The Turner Farm/Observatory Park45
2020-01-13 15:50Lake Fairfax Park
2020-01-20 11:08South Germantown Recreational Park3
2020-01-16 16:44Ox Hill Battlefield Park9
2020-01-21 12:05Black Hill RP--Little Seneca Lake, Rte.1212
2020-01-25 12:30Glenstone Museum (restricted access)20
2020-01-25 08:57Greenfield Road50
2020-01-23 09:34Black Hill Regional Park4
2020-01-21 15:11Black Hill RP--Boat Ramp area1
2020-01-13 15:50Nottoway Park30