Sturnus vulgaris
(European starling)


Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Sturnidae
Family Description: Starlings

Physical Description:
Length 8.5". Adults in breeding plumageClick word for definition are IridescentClick word for definition blue-black, with a yellow bill. In fresh fall plumage they are black with spotted edges on the feathers, giving a speckled appearance, and black bill. Juveniles are brown with faint streaks on their breast. Tail appears short.

Similar species- Western Meadowlark in shape, and Purple Martin in flight.

Song:
Makes a chirping and click sound.

Distribution:
Common throughout Idaho with the exception of higher mountainous areas in central Idaho.

Habitat:
Open country, especially associated with human development. Often in huge flocks with blackbirds in the fall and winter around feed lots.

Diet:
Insects and other invertebrates, as well as Russian olives and other fruits. Probes into ground by spreading soil with bill, and mimics other species while feeding.

Ecology:
Introduced to New York City in 1890 and spread throughout the United States and southern Canada. Bold and aggressive, often taking nesting holes from other species.

Reproduction:
Secondary cavity nester. monogamousClick word for definition, but parasitizes (i.e. lays eggs in) other starling nests. Lays 3-5 eggs, incubated by both sexes for 12-16 days. Young remain in the nest for 18-21 days.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABPBT01010
Status: Nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S?
National Rank: NE5

Important State References:
No references are available at this time.


Original images provided by Jeff Spendelow,© 2000
Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.