European Starling

Sturnus vulgaris

Animal Ambassadors


European Starlings, also known as Common Starlings, or just Starlings in parts of Europe, are one of the most numerous and successful birds in the world. They have long, sharp beaks, triangular wings, and glossy green-black feathers. They are highly adaptive, which has allowed them to live in and colonize areas very quickly.

European Starlings were first introduced to North America in New York’s Central Park, by a group of Shakespeare enthusiasts. They released 100 birds into the park in the late 1800’s, and it took approximately 40 years for the birds to reach the west coast in California. It is believed that the majority of the European Starlings in North America today (around 200 million from Alaska to Mexico) descended from that original group of 100.

European Starlings are considered an invasive species in the U.S. because of the threat they present to native bird species. They compete with native species for resources including nest space. European Starlings have been known to build their nest directly on top of other birds’ nests, bury other birds’ eggs or even their hatchlings, and take over pre-built nests. Females will sometimes even act as brood parasites, meaning they will lay their eggs in another bird’s nest.

Seeds, fruits, berries, insects
Europe, Asia, northern Africa
10 years / 20 years
open grasslands, areas with low tree and brush cover, urban and suburban areas
Length / Wingspan:
12-16 inches
2-4 ounces