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Listen to Starling calls on EOL
Starlings are highly vocal, making a variety of distinct warbles, whistles, trills, and purrs. They are accomplished mimics, able to reproduce the calls of other birds and even frogs, goats, and machinery! Listen to them mimicking other birds, muttering quietly, and carrying on a “conversation.”
Sturnus vulgaris is a gregarious species, often gathering at dusk into huge flocks that roost together. They perform mesmerizing aerial displays of coordinated flight, captured on film here.
These adaptable birds will eat a variety of foods, using their pry-bar beaks to open foods in tough coverings, including insect larvae and snails. They are also happy to eat the food put out for songbirds as well as human garbage, a flexible diet that has allowed them to succeed in urban environments.
Starlings will nest in a variety of natural or man-made openings, from an old woodpecker’s nest to the axil of a palm tree. They compete for nest sites with native birds such as the Gila Woodpecker, Great Crested Flycatcher, bluebirds, and other cavity nesters.
Do you have audio or video recordings of starlings murmuring or flocking near where you live? Upload them to the EOL species page here.
Want to learn more about starlings and 15 other urban birds species? You can observe 16 common North American species and submit your data to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Celebrate Urban Birds citizen-science project. Learn how and get a starter kit here.