Starling, the common name for a family of birds native to the Old World. Starlings range from 7 to 17 inches (18 to 43 cm) in length. Many have mostly black plumage, often with iridescent highlights. They eat both fruit and insects and generally nest in hollows in trees or in crevices on the exterior of buildings. The starling family, which is made up of about 110 species, includes the common starling and the mynas.
The common starling is about 8 1/2 inches (22 cm) long. In the autumn, its glossy black plumage is tipped with buff-colored, starlike spots, which disappear during the winter. The bill, which also changes color, is brownish in autumn and winter, turning yellowish in the spring. The female normally lays four or five blue eggs in a flat nest made of sticks and straw. The eggs are incubated, for 12 to 14 days, by both parents. Starlings are often seen in large flocks in cities and residential areas. They are generally noisy, making whistling, wheezing, and rattling sounds.
The common starling was introduced into the United States shortly before 1900 to destroy insect pests. This bird has since established itself throughout much of North America and has in turn become a pest, driving away other birds and consuming crops of grain and small fruit.
Starlings make up the family Sturnidae. The common starling is Sturnus vulgaris.