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Starling

Length: 21.5cm

Wingspan: 37-42cm

Conservation Status: Red

Description: Starlings are scruffy looking birds, and although adult starlings look black their plumage is actually iridescent. In winter, male starlings are heavily spotted white which wears away as the feathers become worn towards spring. The female starling is less glossy and more oily looking than the male, with broader spots some of which they keep all year round. You can also tell the sexes apart by the colour of the base of their bills - blue for males and pink for females. Juvenile starlings look like a different species with a mouse-brown plumage.

Nesting: Male starlings sometimes have several families and large roosts sometimes involve thousands of birds. Starlings like parks, gardens, holes in walls and trees, and will take to nest boxes too, making an untidy nest with stalks and leaves. Starlings produce 1-2 broods a year consisting of 4-7 pale blue-green eggs which they incubate for 12-14 days. Female starlings sometimes dump their eggs in another starlings nest.

Feeding: Starlings like to eat insects, worms, snails, berries and fruit and you will often see flocks of starlings fighting over food at bird tables in gardens. Once they are old enough juvenile starlings can be seen running after the parent bird on the ground, chasing at its heels whilst they forage for food. Quite a few people dislike starlings as they descend on food in large numbers and eat everything in a few minutes leaving nothing for the other hungry birds.



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