Common Name
EUROPEAN STARLING

Scientific Name
STURNUS VULGARIS

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Photo by Ray Kirkland
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is a bird native to Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. In the early 1890s, about 100 birds were released in New York City. In less than 100 years, the descendants of this original flock had invaded almost all of the United States and Canada. This bird is often associated with urban areas, farmlands, and other disturbed or non-native habitats. Its diet is extremely diverse, including insects, seeds, fruits, and scavenged garbage.

Starlings nest in cavities, usually using available nesting holes to the exclusion of native cavity nesters such as woodpeckers, flycatchers, and even wood ducks. Starlings are known to forcibly evict other nesting birds from occupied cavities. Males choose nesting holes and begin constructing loose nests of sticks, leaves, and other plant material. Females visit territories, choose mates by their songs, and finish building the nests. Typically five to seven eggs are laid. During completion of the nest and egg laying, the male may attract a second female at a nearby nest site. Eggs are incubated by both sexes for twelve to fifteen days. Young are able to fly after twenty days but are dependent on the parents for five days after they leave the nest. Usually a second brood is produced. The timing of both broods is highly synchronized within a population.

Sources:

  • Cabe, P. R. 1993. European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). Birds of North America 48: 1-24.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.

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