Starling on a tree branch (c) Ian Mitchell

Starling

Although seen in their millions in the spectacular winter aerial displays, starlings have suffered a dramatic population crash in recent years. Once a common sight in both urban and rural areas of Britain, starling numbers have dropped by a staggering 92% in woodlands. These beautiful and comical birds emit a variety of chuckles and whistles along with numerous imitations of other birdsongs. From a distance they look a dull black but up close the myriad of colours in their feathers becomes visible.

Did you know?
Although commonly used to describe the aerial display, the 'murmuration' originally referred to the sound of wings rippling through the flock.

Scientific name: Sturnus vulgaris

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Common starling,
  • European starling

Watch video clips from past programmes (19 clips)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.

View all 19 video clips

Distribution

Map showing the distribution of the Starling taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Starling can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, China, Europe, Indian subcontinent, Mediterranean, North America, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.

Habitats

The following habitats are found across the Starling distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1

Classification

  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Birds
  5. Perching birds
  6. Sturnidae
  7. Sturnus
  8. Starling

BBC News about Starling

Video collections

Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.