Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
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Starlings love insects, worms, snails, berries and fruit and you will often see flocks of Starlings fighting over food at bird tables in gardens. Once they are old enough juvenile Starlings can be seen running after the parent bird on the ground, chasing at its ‘heels’ whilst they forage for food. Quite a few people dislike Starlings as they descend on food in large numbers and eat everything in a few minutes leaving nothing for the other hungry birds.
Starlings are familiar, scruffy looking birds, and although adult Starlings look black their plumage is actually iridescent. In winter, male Starlings are heavily spotted white and this spotting wears away as the feathers become worn towards spring. The female Starling is identifiable being less glossy and oily looking than the male, with broader spots some of which they keep all year round. You can also tell the sexes apart by the colour of the base of their bills (if you can get close enough!) – Blue for males and pink for females. Juvenile Starlings look like a totally different species with a mouse-brown plumage.
Male Starlings sometimes have several families and Starlings form large roosts that sometimes involve thousands of birds. They like parks, gardens, holes in walls and trees, and will take to nest boxes too, making an untidy home with stalks and leaves. They produce 1-2 broods a year consisting of 4-7 pale blue-green eggs which they incubate for 12-14 days. Female Starlings sometimes dump their eggs in another Starlings nest!