starling, any of a group of originally Old World birds that have become distributed worldwide. Starlings were released in New York City in 1890; since then the common, or European, starling ( Sturnus vulgaris ) has spread throughout North America. They often collect in loud, noisy flocks. Starlings destroy some insects, but they are generally considered a nuisance and an agricultural pest because they drive away smaller, desirable birds and damage fruit trees and other crops. They have iridescent, blackish plumage and a long bill which is yellow in spring and summer. They mimic bird songs and other sounds. Starlings are classified in the phylum Chordata , subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Sturnidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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