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bird Starlings

Identify It >   Birds Section >   Starlings >

Scientific name:  Sturnus vulgaris

Size:  Approx 20cm

Distribution:  Found throughout the UK

Months seen:  All year round

Habitat:  Parks, gardens, towns, cities, farmland and reedbeds

Food:  Seeds, fruit and insects

Special features:  The starling's plumage is mostly black, speckled with white.  It has glossy feathers which reflect the light with a green and purple sheen.  In winter the white speckles are more pronounced.

In spring, the male starling has a blue patch at the base of his beak, while the female has a pink patch at the base of hers.  In winter the beak goes a dark brown colour.

Juvenile starlings are pale brown, gradually becoming darker and more speckled as they develop.  The beak is black, but after the first winter this becomes yellow.

Starlings nest in holes in buildings or in trees.  The male builds a rough nest, and leaves the female to add the finishing touches.  The female lays between four and seven pale blue eggs, and the pair take turns at incubating them.

In winter they gather together in large flocks to roost. Some of these starling roosts can have over a million birds.

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