European starlings are stocky, short-tailed birds, distinguished from other black birds by their distinctive chunky shape. Adult upperparts appear black but are glossy greenish black. The yellow bill is sharp-pointed and long. In fall after molting, the wings and tail are edged in brown; the entire plumage is speckled with white spots. In winter, the bill is brownish yellow and darker; the white speckling wears off toward spring. Young birds are brownish gray with dull streaking below and a brown bill.
Habitat and Conservation
About 350 species of birds are likely to be seen in Missouri, though nearly 400 have been recorded within our borders. Most people know a bird when they see one — it has feathers, wings, and a bill. Birds are warm-blooded, and most species can fly. Many migrate hundreds or thousands of miles. Birds lay hard-shelled eggs (often in a nest), and the parents care for the young. Many communicate with songs and calls.