Starling on a tree branch (c) Ian Mitchell


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

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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.


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


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

BBC News about Starling

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