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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Rose-coloured Starling

Hebrides bird sightings -  Rose-coloured starling

Rose-coloured Starling

(Rosy Starling, Rosy Pastor)

Sturnus roseus


Photography © Martin Scott
Siadar - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
July, 2008

"Rosy pastor at Siadar, Isle of Lewis. Presumably the bird that has been around Barvas, though it has now lost its common cousins and is a lone ranger"


Our Rose-coloured Starling photographs

Rose-coloured Starling
Rose-coloured Starling


  • Rose-coloured Starling
  • Sturnus roseus
  • UK: Rare but regular migrant in small numbers in Spring & Autumn. (Usually less than 20 UK records annually)
  • Breeds: Colonial breeder, using holes in buildings near open grassland. Eastern Europe to temperate Central & Southern Asia
  • WI: Rare visitor (30 or less records) TBC
  • Winters: India, tropical Southern Asia
  • Habitat: Steppe, open agricultural land
  • Diet: Omnivorous, Grasshoppers, other insects, some fruit
  • Adult pink body, pale orange legs & bill. Glossy black head, wings & tail.
    Males: fluffy, wispy crest (longer in breeding season than winter) plumage dull black areas with paler edges in winter, glossy black in breeding.
    Females: short crest. Generally duller plumage with less defined colours.
    Juveniles: similar to Common Starling juveniles, but short yellow bill & paler plumage in Autumn. Moulting to similar to adults but no crests (Juveniles are birds most likely to turnup in UK in Autumn - our Starling juveniles have moulted to adult plumage by then so a brown Starling is probably rose-coloured juvenile)
  • Similar to (and with a song like) a Common Starling


In years when grasshoppers and other insects are abundant, the Rose-coloured Starlings will irrupt beyond their normal range, with much larger numbers than usual reaching UK.

A breeding colony of about 3000 Rose-coloured Starlings can eat nearly 3 tons of grasshoppers, locusts or other insects a day, which makes them very welcome during a locust plague, to the point where locals will call them by magic and prayer.

Compare that to 1 million Common Starlings killed in a single eradication operation in the USA involving shootings, trapping, dynamite and poison (see Birds Britannica ISBN 0-701-16907-9).


Rose-coloured Starling records in the Western Isles

Rare visitor (30 or less records) TBC

The chart below shows how abundant the Rose-coloured Starling is during a month or when you are more likely to see it.













(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)


Other local bird photographs

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