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Meet the Species: European Starlings

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Brimming with undertones of royalty – the majestic starling adds vivid tones to any landscape it graces.  Seen across most of Europe and North Africa. Starlings have slowly abandoned their original habitat of deciduous woodlands where trees with broad leaves such as oak, beech and elm dominate.

Instead they now frequent the stony, ridged landscapes of towns, villages and cities. During the the winter, they can be seen perched on hedges and walls. Dressed in a plumper appearance with white speckles. Yet as the summer sun warms the hard concrete pavement and hedgerows. This quirky bird slowly begins to lose his snowy guise.

Instead taking on their famous colouration which has made them public favourites for generations.

With this change they also tend to become nosier. While they can often be hard to distinguish from their call alone because of their varied sequence of notes which often mimic other birds but a harsh descending “TCHEER” is starlings own. Males use this call to summon a partner to begin their mating practices.

When reproducing, it is the females of this species that builds nests. Often utilising rootlets and dried grasses.

The pairs then shares the duty of incubation for a period of two weeks at which point the young will begin to hatch and the parents will both dedicate their time to feeding them a variety of invertebrates.

At three weeks old, the young will leave the nest for the first time. The first step in eventually vacating for good. Once fledged, the young then assemble in flocks to visit cherry orchids and vineyards during the autumn, making use of their own kin for protection; there is after all, safety in numbers.

Visit the RSPB page on Starlings for a full profile


Alexander S. Howson

Alexander S. Howson is a naturalist and nature writer.

Along with a heavy interest in Aquatics, birds and ecology. Alexander now directs a large deal of energy attempting to re-educate the public about aquatics and promoting the conservation of a range of wildlife species.

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