Starling, Or Stare, the common name of the conirostral birds of the family sturnidoe, and subfamily sturninoe, of which the genus stur-miH (Linn.) is the type; the family also includes the straight-billed birds like the grakles, ox-pecker, Baltimore bird, red-winged blackbird, and satin bower bird, separately described. In sturnus the bill is long, straight, and sharp, with flattened culmen and tip; wings long and pointed, first quill spurious and second and third nearly equal; tail short and nearly even; tarsi strong and broadly scaled; toes long, including the hind one, the outer united at the base; claws long, curved, and sharp. In habits the starlings resemble the smaller species of the crow family, and the food consists of worms, snails, insects, seeds, and fruits; they are docile in captivity, and may be taught to repeat a few words and to whistle short tunes. They are confined to the old world, migrating in large flocks, preferring swampy places; the flight is rapid and even, accompanied toward evening by singular circular evolutions; the note is a shrill whistle, with an occasional chatter or imitation of the cry of other birds and of animals; the nest is made of dried grass, in holes of trees or old buildings, and the eggs are four to six.

The best known species is the common starling (S. vulgaris, Linn.), about 8 in. long, black, with purple and greenish reflections, and spotted with buff; the female is much less brilliant, and the young males are brownish gray. This bird is found from N. Europe to S. Africa, and in E. Asia, occurring in as large flocks as the allied grakles (quisca-lus) in North America; in England it often migrates south in October, returning in March; it is frequently kept in cages; the eggs are pale blue. - The American starling (stumella magna, Swains.) has been described under Meadow Lark. In the genus pastor (Temm.) the bill is shorter and more curved; it contains about a dozen species in the old world.

Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris).

Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris).