European Starling

Sturnus vulgaris
European Starling specimens on display in the exhibit "Birds of D.C."

Common starlings are very good at imitating. Sirens, car alarms, croaking frogs; just name it, they are likely to imitate it. However, that is not the only way they try to impress. Starlings seduce each other with long throat feathers. The males also decorate their nesting holes with flowers, leaves and buds to lure females. You find starlings everywhere. They forage on particularly on pastures and fields, where they pick all kinds of creatures out of the ground. During migration season, you can see enormous groups foraging for food. Fruit trees are also a favorite...

DC Information

Introduced. Common permanent resident, very abundant in winter. Found throughout this area in most habitats, particularly in or near developed areas. Breeds early February to late July. Adults in fresh plumage (late summer) have whitish tips on many of the feathers, giving them a speckled appearance. Spring birds are uniformly dark. The young are brownish.

Specimen Information

In the exhibit, the two dark speckled birds are adults; the one that is lighter speckled and the one that is lighter without speckles are juveniles.  This image shows one juvenile on the left and an adult on the right.

Distribution Map

distribution map for this species

Bird Vocalizations

Sound from xeno-canto. XC53831 Sturnus vulgaris (Common Starling)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC27153 Sturnus vulgaris (Common Starling)

Sound from xeno-canto. XC27154 Sturnus vulgaris (Common Starling)