British wildlife recordings
Sturnus vulgaris : Common Starling - Sturnidae
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Edgeworth, Gloucershire: OS Grid Reference(394500,206500)
Williams, Aubrey John
Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
Calls made by a starling recorded at Edgeworth, Gloucestershire. The starling is a very sociable and still familiar bird, despite having suffered very large declines over the last decade. Smaller than the blackbird, the starling is quite stocky with a pointed bill that is dark in winter and yellow in the summer, and blackish feathers that are tinted with a blue-green sheen. On the ground the starling has a strange jerky walk, and a very distinctive straight flight. The starling is a British resident, nesting in trees or buildings of town or countryside during the summer months, and forming huge roosts in the winter. The mating system of the starling is quite complex since pairs may change mates between broods and some males are polygamous. Although both sexes sing, the vocal male has a distinct 'tcheer' call and the song is a rich medley of whistles, clicks, and gurgling noises. The starling is also an excellent mimic and will incorporate the calls of other birds such as curlew, chickens, and even car alarms into its song! In the early 1990s there were 1,100,000 territories in Britain but this number has declined drastically by over 50%. The reasons are thought to be loss of permanent pasture and changes in farming practices.