Common Starling

This species is defined as a Review Species . Please submit your records of this species via our record submission page .

Scientific Name: Sturnus vulgaris

Malay Name: Perling Bintang

Chinese Name: 紫翅椋鸟

Range: Breeds across Eurasia from Europe eastwards to Mongolia and Northeast China. Non-breeding distribution extends southwards to North Africa and North Indian Subcontinent. Introduced in many countries. Vagrant to Southeast Asia.

Taxonomy: Polytypic. Subspecies are: caucasicus, vulgaris, faroensis, zetlandicus, granti, poltaratskyi, tauricus, purpurascens, oppenheimi, nobilior, porphyronotus, humii, minor.

Size: 20-23cm

Identification: Adults have a long bill, pointed wings and short tail both with buff margins. Breeding adults are overall dark with purple and green iridescence. Non-breeding adults are distinct in their speckly appearance due to pale feather tips. Sexes similar with adult females showing less glossy plumage. Bill is yellow in breeding adults with the base pale blue in males but pale pink in females. Juveniles are a uniform grey-brown with varying amounts of pale-tipped dark feathers depending on progress of moult into the adult plumage. Compared to Asian Glossy Starling in breeding plumage, lacks red eye and has yellow bill and reddish legs. Compared to Chinese Blackbird in breeding plumage, smaller, shorter-tailed, lacks yellow eyering and uniform upperparts.

Similar looking species: Asian Glossy Starling, Chinese Blackbird

Habitat: Wide range of open habitats e.g. fields, agricultural, seashore.

Behaviour/Ecology: Roosts in staggering numbers and forming murmurations. A very adaptable species, as seen from the sweeping colonisation of North America from a single introduction locality. Moults by wear; pale feather tips acquired in non-breeding plumage wears away in spring to produce the glossy blackish breeding plumage.

Local Status: Probable vagrant

Conservation Status: Least Concern (BirdLife International 2019)

Featured articles:

Past accepted records in our database:

Migrant bar chart (see more bar charts):


BirdLife International. (2019). Sturnus vulgaris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019. Accessed on 1 January 2023

Goodenough, A. E., Little, N., Carpenter, W. S., & Hart, A. G. (2017). Birds of a feather flock together: Insights into starling murmuration behaviour revealed using citizen science. PloS one, 12(6), e0179277.

Kessel, B. (1953). Distribution and migration of the European Starling in North America. The Condor, 55(2), 49-67.