European Starling

Sturnus vulgaris

Invasive Species 3

European starlings are widespread throughout Canada. It currently occurs in the Yukon in low numbers, and although they displace cavity nesters, their population has been stable for 20 years. It is not currently known to Carmacks but if you see this bird please take a photo on your iNaturalist app. You could also take a photo with a camera, noting where you are, and send it straight to the Conservation Data Centre (CDC) via email: yukoncdc@gov.yk.ca. You can also visit the Yukon Invasive Species Council for more information and report a sighting by filling out a form and sending it to info@yukoninvasives.com.

Summary 4

A medium-sized (7 ½ -8 ½ inches) songbird, the European Starling in summer is most easily identified by its glossy iridescent body, long yellow bill, and short tail. In winter, this species becomes duller overall with white-spotted plumage and a dark bill. Immature birds are dull brownish-gray, but are shaped similarly to adults. Male and female European Starlings are similar to one another in all seasons.

The European Starling is native to Europe and West Asia, wintering to North Africa and the Middle East. In recent times, this species has been introduced elsewhere in the world, including in temperate North America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Some introduced populations of European Starlings migrate short distances in spring and fall, but many such populations in warmer climates are wholly non-migratory. European Starlings inhabit a wide variety of open habitats, including grasslands, meadows, and agricultural fields, across their wide range. This species has also been incredibly successful at utilizing man-made habitats, and may be found in the heart of major urban areas.

European Starlings eat a variety of foods, including seeds, grains, insects, and (in some areas) human refuse. In temperate and subtropical parts of the world, the European Starling is often one of the most visible bird species, particularly in urban areas. Individuals may be observed foraging for food in fields, yards, parks, and even on bare sidewalk. This species is a cavity nester, and birds in introduced populations are frequently reviled for aggressively displacing native birds from nest sites. European Starlings are primarily active during the day.

Threat Status: Least concern

Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Arthur Chapman, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA), http://www.flickr.com/photos/32005048@N06/6164665952
  2. (c) David A. Hofmann, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA), http://www.flickr.com/photos/23326361@N04/6245562539/
  3. (c) carmacks_bioblitz, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)
  4. Adapted by carmacks_bioblitz from a work by (c) Unknown, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA), http://eol.org/data_objects/22710209

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