European Starling
(Common Starling)
(Sternus vulgaris)

Image required
Invasive Status
Invasive Population increasing
Natural Range
  • Europe
  • West and central Asia
  • Arabian Peninsula
Introduced Range
  • North America
  • Caribbean Sea
  • Argentina
  • South-west Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Botswana
  • South Africa

Aesthetic value

Biological control


Ingestion of and damage to crops

Carrying and spread of pathogens 

Outcompeting natives for food

Control Methods

Exclusion from food and nest sites

Noise scares

Bird repellants

The European starling (Sturnus vulgaris), also called the common starling, is a passerine native to west Eurasia.


Native RangeEdit

The European starling is native to Europe, though no further north than the latitude of Estonia. It's range extends east to Pakistan and west China, although it isn't as widespread around or south of Kazakhstan. It is also native to the Arabian Penunsila. [1]

Introduced RangeEdit

North AmericaEdit

The European starling can be found throughout the United States of Americia ([7]) (excluding Alaska), as well as southern Canada (although the birds migrate as far north as Lingava Bay and south-central Northwest Territory. It is also found in the extreme-north of Mexico. [2]

Off the mainland, the European Starling is also present in Bermuda. [3]

Central AmericaEdit

On the mainland, the European starling is found in Panama. [3]

Offshore, European starlings can be found in Cuba, Jamaica, the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Puerto Rico. the US Virgin Islands, the UK Virgin Islands and the netherlands Antilles. [3] The starlings may only visit some of these islands in the winter after migrating dfrom further north. [4]

South AmericaEdit

In South America, the European starling is only found in Argentina. [3]


The European starling is present in the south-west of Australia [5] and throughout New Zealand. [6]


In Africa, the European starling can be found in in Botswana. [3] It is also present in South Africa, throughout the Western Cape Province, Eastern Cape Province, as well as parts of Northern Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal. [8]

Pathways and IntroductionEdit

European starlings were first introduced to North America in 1890 as part of a project to introduce all birds mentioned in the works of Shakespeare into the US. [7] They have spread from their initial introduction point to much of North America.

The starlings were introduced to new Zealand in an attempt to control insect populations. [3]


European starlings eat many crops, especially fruit such as berries, grapes, apples and others. They also eat grains when sown and ripening or from harvested collections or cattle feeds. [5]

The birds may also carry diseases and pathogens such as SalmonellaCryptococci, Newcastle disease (which affects poultry) and transmissible gastroenteritis (which affects pigs). These can cause concerns for cattle farmers. They can also carry and spread bird lice. [5]

Additionally, the starlings can be noisy and leave a lot of droppings. [5]

Europeans starlings also compete with birds that have similar diets, feeding on fruit and insects. [8]

This species has an invasive status of NEMBA Category 3 in South Africa. [8]

Control and Removal MethodsEdit

Exclusion by surrounding food and nest sites with nets is used, though birds are also shot and scared away by gun shots. Other sound deterrance are ineffective, except bird distress calls, which may work. Trapping is used but is believed to be mostly uneffective. [5/9]

Bird repellents are also effective to deter European starlings from specific spots. [9]


1 BBC Nature

2 National Geographic

3 Invasive Species Compendium

4 The Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds


6 New Zealand Birds Online

7 United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Library

8 Invasive Species South Africa