The Common Starling is 19-23 cm (7.5-9.1 in) long, with a wingspan of 31-44 cm (12-17 in) and weighing 58-101 g. The plumage is iridescent black, glossed purple or green, and spangled with white, especially in winter. The underparts of adult male Common Starlings are less spotted than those of adult females.The throat feathers of males are long and loose and are used in display while those of females are smaller and pointed. The legs are stout and pinkish- or greyish-red. The bill is narrow and conical with a sharp tip; in the winter it is brownish-black but in summer, females have lemon yellow beaks while males have yellow bills with blue-grey bases.
Habitat and Distribution
The bird is native to Eurasia and is found throughout Europe, northern Africa (from Morocco to Egypt), India, Nepal, the Middle East including Syria, Iran, and Iraq and north-western China. Common Starlings prefer urban or suburban areas where artificial structures and trees provide adequate nesting and roosting sites. Reedbeds are also favoured. These birds feed in short grassy areas such as farm land, grazing pastures, playing fields, and airfields where foraging is easy. They occasionally inhabit open forests and woodlands.
It is largely insectivorous and feeds on both pest and arthropods. They eat spiders, crane flies,mayflies, moth, dragonflies, damsel flies, grasshoppers, earwigs, lacewings, caddisflies, beetles, sawflies, bees, wasps, ants and small vertebrates.
Breeding takes place during the spring and summer. Nests may be in any type of hole, common locations include inside hollowed trees, buildings, tree stumps and man-made nest-boxes. There are normally four or five eggs that are ovoid in shape and pale blue or occasionally white, and they commonly have a glossy appearance. Incubation lasts thirteen days, although the last egg laid may take 24 hours longer than the first to hatch. Both parents share the responsibility of brooding the eggs.
Calls and Songs
Its song consists of a wide variety of both melodic and mechanical-sounding noises as part of a ritual succession of sounds.