Apr 11 2012

Pink And Blue

Published by at 7:30 am under Songbirds

In some bird species it's easy to identify males and females because they look so different. Northern cardinals are easy but adult European starlings are impossible to tell apart.

Or are they?

Did you know you can identify male and female starlings during the breeding season by the color at the base of their bills?  Males have blue or blue-gray at the base of their lower mandibles. Females have pink.

Just like the baby colors -- girls are pink, boys are blue. You can see it with binoculars.

I'm examining starlings more closely now.

Guess which sex this one is.

(photo by Chuck Tague)

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Pink And Blue”

  1. Marcy Con 11 Apr 2012 at 9:38 am

    Looks like a boy to me..bill looks blue at the base…really cool things to look for…thanks for the tip…now if only they would learn to stay in their own nest hole and not evict other birds, they wouldn’t be too bad…I would say this one is in transition from winter to breeding because of the speckles and the shiny color?

    No snow here yet, it’s cold, but probably more normal…hope it slowed down the season a little so May will have some color too…Juncos and White-throated sparrows are here eatting with fully bright yellow Goldfinches…it’s spring!!!

  2. Gintarason 11 Apr 2012 at 12:36 pm




  3. Athenaon 11 Apr 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Just wondering if you have any insight into how to keep starlings off my feeders. Like Marcy said, I wouldn’t mind them if they weren’t so aggressive toward other birds and their nests.

  4. Gintarason 11 Apr 2012 at 9:29 pm

    I don’t think that starlings are aggressive. I’ve seen much smaller in size sparrows snatching food off starlings – it was so funny to watch and starlings didn’t “complain” to sparrows – quicker gets food first…
    But, I would say starlings are very brave – I’ve seen a small flock of starlings – ~10 of them chasing off a hawk…

    Want to have fun with starlings? try to whistle towards them…maybe not in first try, but most likely they will whistle back to you….
    And if there are a lot of them, it might be that you’ll hear 4-5 whistles back to your one…

    I know “how to talk” to starlings….

  5. Brian Mon 19 Feb 2014 at 6:22 am

    I watched a pair of Starlings evict a Red-bellied Woodpecker from a nest hole. I don’t like starlings.

  6. Kate St. Johnon 19 Feb 2014 at 8:23 am

    Brian, I don’t like them either but they are worth a look.

  7. Art Schiavoon 19 Feb 2014 at 11:58 am

    Good one, Kate! Now I have a reason to observe starlings! 🙂

    Art from Hershey

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