European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

Starlings were introduced to North America from Europe in 1890. They occasionally visited Bermuda as vagrants, until they established a breeding population in the early 1950s. The death of the cedar forests at that time, lead to more open space being created which favours ground feeding birds like starlings. Today large flocks of starlings can be seen flying over the island. This bird is common in parks and gardens, as well as road sides and Hamilton sidewalks.

Starlings eat insects and grubs. They can be seen on lawns and ploughed fields digging into the ground with their sharp bills. The starling competes directly for food with the native Bluebird which also collects worms and insects from lawns. Starlings also take advantage of discarded human food, garbage and animal feed. They also eat the fruit of invasive plants like Brazil Pepper and Surinam Cherry and spread the seeds of these plants island-wide in their droppings.

Starlings nest from March to July. They build nests in coastal cliff holes and hollow trees, as well as in chimneys, under roof eaves and in drainage pipes in walls. Four or five pale blue eggs are laid at a time.

Starlings are black birds with speckles of white and brown. Their feathers can be shiny and teal green especially in breeding season. They grow to 22cm (8.5 inches).

Starlings are considered one of the world's 100 worst invasive species.

Learn More:

How to reduce nesting Starlings and Sparrows - an attempt to help Bermuda's Bluebirds, by Dr. David Wingate written for the Bermuda Audubon Society (external link).