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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 © Terry Fountain
Penerine - South Uist - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
19th May, 2007


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)



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