Starlings (Sturnidae)

Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) - HBW 14, p. 723

French: Étourneau sansonnet German: Star Spanish: Estornino Pinto
Other common names: European/Eurasian/Northern Starling, Purple-winged Starling

Taxonomy: Sturnus vulgaris Linnaeus, 1758, Sweden.
Forms a superspecies with S. unicolor; formerly considered conspecific, and genetic differentiation only slight, some hybridization occurring in area of breeding overlap in SW Europe. On basis of recent molecular data, coupled with behaviour, may be only distantly related to some of the other species often assigned to present genus. Thirteen subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • vulgaris Linnaeus, 1758 - breeds from Iceland E to Ural Mts, S to N & NE Spain, S Italy, SE Europe and N Ukraine, also on Canary Is; non-breeding also S throughout Iberia and to N Africa.
  • faroensis Feilden, 1872 - Faroe Is.
  • zetlandicus E. J. O. Hartert, 1918 - Shetland Is.

     See all 13 subspecies
  • vulgaris Linnaeus, 1758 - breeds from Iceland E to Ural Mts, S to N & NE Spain, S Italy, SE Europe and N Ukraine, also on Canary Is; non-breeding also S throughout Iberia and to N Africa.
  • faroensis Feilden, 1872 - Faroe Is.
  • zetlandicus E. J. O. Hartert, 1918 - Shetland Is.
  • granti E. J. O. Hartert, 1903 - Azores.
  • poltaratskyi Finsch, 1878 - breeds E Ural Mts E to L Baikal, S to N & E Kazakhstan, N Kirghiz Steppes and through N Dzungaria to W Mongolia.
  • tauricus Buturlin, 1904 - S & E Ukraine and Crimea E to S Russia (Stavropol), and Asia Minor (except E); non-breeding also Middle East.
  • caucasicus T. Lorenz, 1887 - Volga Delta, N Caucasus and E Transcaucasia, Azerbaijan, S Caspian Sea region and W & S Iraq.
  • purpurascens Gould, 1868 - W Transcaucasia, E Turkey, Georgia and Armenia; non-breeding also Egypt.
  • oppenheimi Neumann, 1915 - SE Turkey and N Iraq.
  • porphyronotus Sharpe, 1888 - breeds E Kazakhstan and extreme NW China (W Xinjiang) S to E Uzbekistan and Tajikistan; non-breeding N Indian Subcontinent.
  • nobilior Hume, 1879 - breeds NE Iran, S Turkmenistan and N Afghanistan; non-breeding NW Indian Subcontinent.
  • humii W. E. Brooks, 1876 - breeds W Himalayas (from Kashmir E to Garhwal).
  • minor Hume, 1873 - Pakistan (Indus valley).