Black Starling referring to the adult plumage, European Starling, Common Starling, English Starling.
Habitat: Found in a range of habitats, prefers open countryside for feeding but will also frequent parks , gardens, rubbish tips and man-made structures.
Distribution: Worldwide: Throughout Europe. Birds from the north migrate south to Spain and Africa. It has been introduced as an alien species into North America.
UK: Throughout except for for central, northern Scotland.
Numbers: Worldwide: European; 21 – 46 million pairs
U.K. : 1.8 million Pairs (Summer) from BTO numbers in Sept 2013.
Food: Insects (esp crane-fly larvae), fruit and seeds, mostly from ground, often near cattle most likely feeding from the cowpacs flies and larvae. Will stripe any meat from a chicken carcase, and likes mealworms.
Breeding: 5 – 7 pale blue eggs in a lined hole in a tree or building. They hatch at about 12 days and fledge after being feed by both parents for about three weeks and will rely on their parents for another two weeks before being independent.
Bill: Large pointed beak
Length: 21 – 22 cm.
Most people will have seen this most incandescent coloured bird with hues of purple and bluegreen in bright sunlight
but appears almost black in poor light that has white spots after it has moulted which wear away over time and on a
dull day makes the plumage look almost black. It is possible to see this bird without any coloured pigments making
it a white bird.
Our T.V. wildlife programmes tend to highlight the Murmurations of Starlings as their large flocks of thousands collect to settle for the night, twisting and twirling in the air before settling down to roost, most often shown dropping into reed beds but can just as easily be trees or a city building.
The Starling is one of the U.K’s best mimicking birds, and household sounds such as alarm clocks, cars and whistles are often copied, their repertoire extends to other bird songs, so that Robin or Blackbird could be mimic just as easily by your garden Starling.
The Starling has in the past been uncommon in the U.K. but reached a peak in the 1980’s, and the BTO has seen a 66 percent decline in numbers since the 1970’s which now puts it on the Red list because of this contraction of numbers.
The starling was a favorite novice’s softbill cage bird due to its ability to eat most items being omnivorous and it easy to becoming hand tame along with its mimicking skills. It may still be breed and kept, as long as legally kept captive birds are used for breeding and the young are closed ringed, check the “wildlife and countryside act 1981, schedule 3 part 1” for any changes. Anyone considering keeping Starlings in captivity them please first make sure you have the skills to look after them, without harm to them i.e you can breed more readily available cage birds and secondly try to breed them to allow others to carry on with this skill, which the conservationist are now trying to learn.
Word association; Starling law is about the flow of blood in the human heart.
|Starling Adult||Starling in Urban setting||Young Starling||Juv Starling calling for food|
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|Mike Woodcock painting of “Extreordinary” a Starling|| Photographed
by Paul Cumberland
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