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History and biology

What does the Starling call sound like?

Click here for Common Starling.mp3 file (Mp3 1.4 MB)

Or via the Birds in Backyards website (click link below)

When were Starlings introduced to Australia?

image source, P West
Starlings, also called Common Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) are native to Eurasia and northern Africa. were first introduced to Australia by acclimatisation societies in the late 1850s. Wild populations are now common throughout suburban areas and cleared agricultural land across most of south-eastern Australia. They also occur in open woodlands, irrigated pasture, feedlots, mulga, mallee, reed-beds around wetlands, coastal plains, and occasionally alpine areas. They generally avoid dense woodlands and forests. The first recorded Starling in Western Australia was 1936, but they have only been successful in colonising a few small areas of south-eastern Western Australia where they are regularly controlled. Starlings are now a nationally widespread species. They inhabit Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, ACT, and small areas of south-eastern Western Australia.

What we know about Starling biology

Starlings will often forage among grazing animals to collect insects and insect larvae, photo T Bentz

Starlings are one of the Worlds 100 most invasive species, and have established wild populations in many countries outside is natural range of Europe and Asia. Once introduced, Starlings are able to colonise areas quickly, including islands. Starlings are usually sedentary in Australia, avoiding large-scale migration behaviour seen in the northern hemisphere. They are ominvorous and eat a wide range of food types, ranging from insects, seeds, invertebrates, plants and fruits.  Invertebrates usually make up about half of the starling's diet. They prefer to forage in short grassy areas, often in very large flocks, taking insects distrubed by grazing animals, invertebrate larvae and herbage. Starlings will often form feeding flocks of up to 20 000 birds. Breeding usually occurs between August and December. Nesting sites are usually tree-hollows that are re-used each season. Females lay as many as three clutches of eggs in a season - usually between 4-6 blue-green coloured eggs. Incubation takes about 15 days before eggs hatch. Juveniles will remain in nests for 21-23 days before fledging. Once fledged, juveniles will often follow parents around for an extended period, forming a small family group. 
For more infromation about Starlings, see Online resources

For more information

Recent Records


Use weed matting in your gardens and around fruit trees to prevent Starlings from digging through mulch and making a mess. Rodney (Tasmania).   
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