The Starling is a medium-sized bird (20cm) which is very dark, appearing black at a distance. Has a short tail, sharp pointed bill and a flat head. Close up, the seeming black appearance is actually much more colourful, with a glossy sheen characterised by green and purple flecks. In flight, wings are triangular in shape. Often seen in groups, both on the ground and in flight.

Scientific name

Sturnus vulgaris

Did you know..

In autumn and winter, starlings can gather in huge flocks, sometimes containing as many as 100,000 individuals. IN the evening, just before dusk, starling flocks can perform a spectacular aerial display called a ‘murmuration’, where thousands of birds swoop and sway in formation. It is not entirely understood why Starlings perform this visual display but it is thought that it probably deters aerial predators such as Peregine Falcons, as the flock masses together before roosting.

Similar species

The Starling might at first glance be mistaken for a blackbird, due to its overall dark appearance. However, it is smaller than a Blackbird (Blackbirds are between 24-29cm) and is very different in shape, with a stockier body and short tail, making it look much stumpier than a Blackbird. The starling also has pink legs and when viewed at close-quarters a distinctive glossy and colourful sheen.

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