Sturnus vulgaris, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 290 (1766) ; Naum. ii. p. 187, Taf. 62 ; Hewitson, i. p. 216, pl. lv. fig. 1 ; Gould, B. of E. iii. p. 210 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. iii. pls. 53, 54 ; Newton, ii. p. 228 ; Dresser, iv. p. 405, pls. 246, 247 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xiii. p. 27 ; Saunders, p. 227 ; Lilford, ii. p. 63, pis. 28, 29 ; S. foeroensis, Feilden, B. of Faroe Isl. p. 47 (1872) ; S. nitens, Brehm, Isis, 1828, p. 1282 ; S. indicus, Hodgs, in Gray's Zool. Misc. p. 84 (1844) ; S. minor, Hume, Stray F. 1873, p. 207 ; S. humei, Brooks, Ibis, 1876, p. 500 : S. menzbieri, Sharpe, Ibis, 1888, p. 438, pl. 1.
Etoarneau vulgaire, French ; Estornino, Span. ; Storm, Ital, ; Gemeiner Staar, Gorman ; Spreeuw, Dutch ; Stoer, Dan. and Norw. ; Stare, Swed. ; Musta-Kottarainen, Finn. ; Skvoretz, Russ. ; Sarsour, Arab. ; Telia-maina, Hindu. ; Tilgiri, Kashin.
Male ad. (England). Glossy black, with purple, green and steel-blue reflections, and slightly spotted with buffy white or pale brownish buff ; the head and neck glossed, with purple or greenish purple, the wing-coverts with steel-green or steel-blue, the under parts with steel-purple or steel green ; beak yellowish ; legs light reddish brown ; iris hazel. Cul¬men 1.1, wing 5.0, tail 2.75, tarsus 1.2 inch. In winter it is duller in colour, and profusely spotted with buffy white. The female is duller than the male, and has the beak blackish brown. The young bird is sooty brown, the under parts marked with white, and the quills margined with dull rufous. Specimens from the Faroes frequently have a larger and broader bill, and those from India are as a rule smaller, and have fewer spots.
Hab. Europe, from the Faroes and Northern Norway to the Mediterranean ; Maderia, the Canary Isles, and Azores ; North Africa ; Asia from Siberia down to India ; has once occurred in Greenland.
Throughout its range the Starling is partly resident and partly migratory, breeding as a rule in the northern and central portions, and wintering in the south of Europe and in North Africa ; in Asia it breeds as far south as Sind. In its habits it is essentially gregarious even during the breeding season, and in winter collects in large flocks. It frequents arable and pasture land and feeds on worms and insects of various kinds, and occasionally in severe winter on grain and berries, and in the autumn it also feeds to some extent on fruit, especially mulberries. Its note is a somewhat harsh chatter, and a melodious whistle, the latter constituting its song in which it introduces bits of the songs of other birds, or their call-notes. Its nest is a somewhat bulky structure of grass or roots, lined with feathers and hair, and is placed In the hollow of a tree, in the hole of a wall, under the eaves of a roof, in a chimney, in a fissure of the rocks or in a hole in the ground, and the eggs 4 to 7 in number are deposited from April to June, according to locality, and are delicate pale blue with a greenish tinge, and in size average about 1.17 by 0.84. Occasionally, but very rarely, an open nest is built.
567. Sturnus vulgaris