Starlings are small to medium-sized birds that are in the family Sturnidae. The name Sturnidae comes from the latin word for starling or sturnus. The family of Sturnidae has 120 species of birds in it and these birds all have self-confident and agressive personalities. Starlings live worldwide.
A European Starling during the winter months sitting on a cable. It is in its winter feathers because it has white spots all over it.
European Starling sitting on a cable in Harpers Ferry. It is wearing its winter feathers.
© Bill Telfair

European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

• European Starlings are not native to North America. They were brought over to America by those who wanted all the birds that Shakespeare ever mentioned in his writings.
• Starlings are really good at mimicking other bird call and can learn the calls of up to 20 different bird species.
• Starlings are speedy fliers can fly up to speeds of 48 miles per hour.
• Male starlings attract mates by singing near a nest site that they have claimed and then flapping their wings in circles while they sing. After finding a mate, the males follow their mates everywhere and chase off other males.

Identification Information

• Size: Robin sized (Medium)
• Color: During the summer, starlings look black but are actually purplish/green iridescence with yellow beaks and orange feet. In winter they are brown all over and are covered in white spots.
All of the above information is an abbreviated version of information gathered from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Please visit their website for more in-depth bird information.

Last updated: September 16, 2019

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Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
National Park Service
PO Box 65

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


304 535-6029

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