Starling

Irish Name: Druid
Scientific name: Sturnus vulgaris
Bird Family: Starling
amber
Conservation status

Status

Common resident throughout Ireland. One of Ireland's top 20 most widespread garden birds.

Identification

At a distance can look like a small thrush, but has a short tail and pointed wings. Adults are dark, juveniles are greyish brown. The legs are dull pink at all times. Adults in summer plumage have a glossy all dark plumage with a green and purple sheen and the bill is yellow. In the winter, adults are heavily spotted in yellowish white and the bill is dark. Juveniles are brown, as mentioned above; first winter birds retain the brown juvenile feathering on the head whilst the rest of the plumage is similar to adult winter.

Voice

A great variety of calls, commonly a buzzing call on take off and in flight. Will imitate other bird calls, including curlew and crow, and other sounds including car alarms and chainsaws!

Diet

Can be seen foraging in a wide variety of situations, usually on grassland in parks, gardens and farmland, but will also feed in trees. Will also feed on scrapes in the streets, on refuse tips and on the strandline. Feeds on both plant and animal material. Foods include invertebrates, fruits, cereals and seeds.

Breeding

A widespread bird, found both in the countryside, in woodland and in farmland, and in towns and cities. Breeds throughout Ireland, but rare or absent on mountain and on moor land. Breeds in holes or crevices in buildings and in trees. Often breeds in loose colonies. Males will pair with several females at once.

Wintering

Widespread in the winter. Breeding birds are largely resident and are joined by huge numbers of birds from the continent in the winter. Will form huge flocks in the winter, estimates of half a million birds have been claimed; huge roosts are a spectacular sight in the winter, when at dusk massive swirling flocks form prior to settling down for the night. Roosts in urban situation such as old buildings and piers and in the countryside in reed beds, woodland and on the coast.

Monitored by

Countryside Bird Survey & Garden Bird Survey.