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The Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

This is a beautiful rainbow-hued bird that is common in the British Isles. They are overall beneficial to agriculture due to their ability to consume pests that cause harm to crops. But what more can we learn about this bird and why it was introduced throughout the world?

Physical Description and Behavior

The Common Starling is about 9 inches long, with a wingspan up to 17 inches wide. Their plumage is black but iridescent, allowing for a combination of purples and greens to shine through. They also are speckled with white spots, making them look like the living version of a nebula surrounded by stars.

Fun Fact: These birds can form massive flocks around city centers and woodlands. These flocks can be over 1.5 million birds large, forming a sphere-like bundle when in flight. The droppings of these birds can become a foot thick if unchecked, which kills many trees due to their toxicity in large amounts. But small amounts of these droppings can be beneficial for fertilizer.

These birds are mainly insectivorous, consuming spiders, earwigs, mayflies, grasshoppers, beetles, flies, bees, and more. They have also been seen eating worms, lizards, grains, seeds, and fruit, albeit in smaller amounts.

Habitat and Location

This species is native to Eurasia and is found across Europe, India, North Africa, Nepal, China, Iran, and Israel, among some others. They have grown to prefer urbanized areas and farmland due to the amount of grassland for feeding and trees for nesting.

They have also been introduced to other parts of the world, either on purpose or by accident. They are now found in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and North America. When done on purpose, it is often due to their ability to control crop pests while being unlikely to consume the crops themselves.

It is considered to be of Least Concern according to the IUCN Red List

Watch the video below to see massive flocks on this bird in action. The way they move reminds me of the Aurora Borealis... Aurora Birdealis.

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