Starling - Sturnus Vulgaris

Starling
(click to enlarge)
A widespread resident of this country, it's numbers are greatly added to in summer by visiting migrants. A noisy bird and greedy feeder, the starling is a regular visitor to the garden bird table. They often appear in gangs, driving off the other smaller birds. Starlings roost in huge numbers, in the thousands, normally in low bushes and also buildings in city centres.

Identification
Easily identified by it's long, pointed bill and plump body, it has a mainly black plumage with buff colour streaks on the wings. In the winter the adults develop a snow-like spotty appearance, which disappears again in the summer. The male and female can be differentiated by the different colours at the base of the bill, the male being blue and the female pink. Their usual song is a distinctive fast medley of whistles, chatters and clicks, but they are well known for mimicking other sounds.

Nesting
Starlings usually site their nests in a hole in a garden tree, or in the eaves of a building. The nest is constructed from grass by the male, then the female lines it with feathers and moss. The male then often decorates the nest with leaves and petals. Starlings lay up to six distinctive blue eggs.

Food
They are well known for their insatiable appetite, and will eat a wide variety of different things including insects, berries, worms, snails, fruit and scraps. They are very messy eaters, chucking the food about as they eat, and are regular visitors to bird tables, often feeding in large flocks.

Garden Tips
Will use an enclosed nest-box with a 2" hole.