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Starlings in Ireland


The starling is one of Ireland's most common birds. At first glance starlings look somewhat dull and drab however on closer inspection they can have bright cream speckles (in winter) plus a wonderfully iridescent plumage. They often congregate in large numbers and can be quite noisy and raucous.

A starling's long bill is yellow and the base is pink in females and blue in males.

When flying starlings have pointed, triangular wings and fly fast and direct. When they come in to land they look a little like jump-jet aircraft with slightly drooped triangular wings.

Irish Name for Starling

The Irish word for starling is Druid.

Starling Feeding

A starling's diet is very varied. They feed in a wide variety of environments including grassland in parks, gardens and farmland, but will also feed in woodland.

They will also feed on household scraps, scraps in the streets, and on refuse tips. Starlings feed on a wide variety of both plant and animal material. Natural food sources include fruits, cereals, seeds and invertebrates. They are particularly partial to crane-fly larvae.

Starlings Nesting

Starling eggs

Starlings breed throughout Ireland in loose colonies in trees but are just at home nesting in holes, cervices and attics in houses. Their nests are made of plant material, lined with feathers, moss and wool if available. Males often pair with a number of females at the same time.

Starlings lay four or five eggs per brood and occasionally produce a second brood in the season. Following an incubation period of approximately two weeks the chicks fledge after about three weeks. Adult starlings feed their young on insects and, particularly on insect larvae.

Starling Murmurations

A flock of starlings is called a murmuration and in winter these gatherings can number in excess of one million individuals. These murmurations provide an amazing spectacle as huge numbers of starlings career and wheel in an apparent co-ordinated manner suggesting that they are operating with a single consciousness. Starlings murmurations are one of nature’s most extraordinary sights.

Below is a YouTube video of a starling murmuration filmed on the Shannon river. It has been viewed almost four million times.



Scientific Name: Sturnus vulgaris



Irish Status:

Length: 22cm Wingspan: 40cm Weight: M/F: 78g

Call: : Excellent mimics. But typically issues a series of clicks, whistles & squeaks.

Habitat: Forest, farmland, woodland, urban

Diet: Insects, especially crane fly larvae, also fruit and seeds.

Breeding Age:
From 2 years
Number of Eggs:
No. of Clutches:
1 or 2
Incubation (days):
Fledging (days):
5 years. Oldest recorded at 17 years 8 months

Conservation Status in Ireland: AMBER


Starling Range in Ireland

The starling is a permanent resident and is widespread and common throughout Ireland.

Map of the range of Starlings in Ireland.

Arctic Terns in Ireland - Blue Tits in Ireland - Coal Tits in Ireland - Goldfinches in Ireland - Great Tits in Ireland - Grey Herons in Ireland - Jackdaws in Ireland - Longtailed Tits in Ireland - Magpies in Ireland - Mallards in Ireland - Mistle Thrushes in Ireland - Mute Swans in Ireland - Pheasants in Ireland - Puffins in Ireland - Robins in Ireland - Rooks in Ireland - Song Thrushes in Ireland - Starlings in Ireland - Swallows in Ireland - Swans in Tallaght - Swans Oil-Damaged - Waxwings in Ireland - Woodpigeons in Ireland - Wrens in Ireland

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