About 21 centimetres long, the starling has a long, yellow, pointed bill, yellowish-white spots in its plumage, and a metallic green and violet sheen on its feathers during the breeding season. Out of the breeding season the bill is dark and the feathers are sprinkled all over with yellowish-white spots. The young bird is a dull, dirty brown all over. From a distance, it can be confused with the blackbird, although the starling has a shorter tail and walks with jerky, energetic movements.
Northern populations are migratory. Starlings commonly live in farmland, woodland, parks and gardens, as well as in towns and villages. They can be found throughout Europe, with the exception of the Iberian Peninsula.
Starlings spend the winter period in flocks that are sometimes enormous. They nest in hollow trees or nesting boxes, feeding on insects, earthworms and seeds.