The European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) is a small bird approximately 21.5cm, long and weighing around 70 to 100grms. Iridescent green glossed feathers cover the nape, breast and back of the bird, while the wings are black, sometimes with a green or purple veneer. During the winter white flecking may appear on the starling's breast. (Chow, 2000)
Eggs incubate in the nest for up to 15 days. The juvenile European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) will stay in the nest for 21 to 23 days and may continue to beg parents for food for a few days after leaving the nest. Banding studies have shown that European starlings can live up to 21 years in the wild. (Chow, 2000, CWBO, 2004)
European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) prefer lowland habitats to more mountainous terrain. They are secondary cavity nesters, using extant cracks, crevices, and cavities created by other species. During breeding season the European starling requires holes for nesting and vegetation fields for feeding. The rest of the year it will utilise a wider range of habitats from moorland to salt marshes. European starlings are highly adaptable when selecting nest hollows, e.g. fence posts, roof linings under guttering (there has been an observation of a starling nest in the wool of a live sheep) (John Tracey, pers.comm., 2004)
Reproduction is sexual; oviparous. Breeding season in the Northern Hemisphere generally begins late March and runs through to early July. The southern hemisphere breeding season runs between September and December. European starling clutches contain between 4-6 blue-green eggs. Females may lay as many as three clutches in a single breeding season. (Kern, 2003, Chow, 2000)
European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are omnivores and subsist mainly on seeds, insects, invertebrates, plants and fruit. (Chow, 2000)
Principal source: Long, J. L., 1981. Introduced Birds of the World. Reed, Sydney.
Weber, W. J., 1979. Health hazards from pigeons, starlings and English sparrows. Thomson Publications, California.
Compiler: Brandon Gehrke supervised by Dr. Deborah Rudnick University of Washington, Tacoma & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Updates with support from the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme (OTEP) project XOT603, a joint project with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment
Review: John Tracey, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Orange New South Wales, Australia
Publication date: 2010-10-04
Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2022) Species profile: Sturnus vulgaris. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=74 on 01-12-2022.