European Starling
(Sturnus vulgaris)


Picture of bird
© John Reaume
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

Introduced to North America in the late 1800s, the European Starling now ranges nearly throughout the continent. However, the Breeding Bird Survey indicates that the species has decreased significantly since about 1970. Reasons for the decreases are not well known but are likely related to human activities. National population goals have not been established for this and other introduced species.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Not applicable2015 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaLarge DecreaseHighNot Applicable

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada5,000,000 - 50,000,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Short-distance migrant

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaNot Applicable

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between early April and late May and ends in early July, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.

Conservation and management

As an introduced species often considered to bring harm to native cavity-nesting species (Cabe 1993), there is no conservation concern for the European Starling in Canada. The reasons for the recent decreases are not well known in North America. In Great Britain and parts of Europe, similar declines (Robinson et al. 2005) are thought to be linked to changing agricultural habitats, such as loss of pastureland (Freeman et al. 2002), which reduces the availability of invertebrate prey (Granbom and Smith 2006).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type


  • Cabe, P.R. 1993. European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole Ed.). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Cabe, P.R. 1993. European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole Ed.). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. (Link)
  • Freeman, S.N., R.A. Robinson, J.A. Clark, B.M. Griffin and S.Y. Adams. 2002. Population dynamics of Starling Sturnus vulgaris breeding in Britain: an integrated analysis. pp. 121–139 in: Investigation Into the Causes of the Decline of Starlings and House Sparrows in Great Britain. Crick, H.Q.P., R.A. Robinson, G.F. Appleton, N.A. Clark and A.D. Rickard, Eds. Research Report 290. BTO, Thetford, U.K.
  • Granbom, M. and H.G. Smith. 2006. Food limitation during breeding in a heterogeneous landscape. The Auk 123 (1): 97–107.
  • Robinson, R.A., G.M. Siriwardena and H.Q.P. Crick. 2005. Status and population trends of Starling Sturnus vulgaris in Great Britain. Bird Study 52:252–260.