Primary School Science Conservation 2020 Award

Date posted: 18-Dec-2020

Dylan Lewis Y7 from Mahurangi College, Warkworth, being presented with the ..

Supporters of Tiritiri Inc and Fullers 360 Science Conservation 2020 Award

Date posted: 18-Dec-2020

The NIWA Auckland City Science and Technology Fair winner of the Supporters of Tiritiri ..

2020 Conservation Week

Date posted: 12-Aug-2020

Meet the Takahē on Tiritiri Matangi Island When: 1:30 pm, ..

AGM 2020

Date posted: 25-Jul-2020

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE TO WEDNESDAY 21ST OCTOBER 2020 due to Covid restrictions at t..

Ferry Resuming July 4th!

Date posted: 01-Jun-2020

Great News!!! We have confirmation Fuller360 ferry service to Tiritiri Matangi wi..

The 2020 Photo Competition Winners

Date posted: 22-May-2020

Here are the winning and commended photos from this year's competition. Congratulations to the photo..

Celebrate the Takahe Art Competition

Date posted: 08-Apr-2020

Hi Tiri Kids, It’s TakahÄ“ Awareness Month! Everyone loves our takah..

COVID-19 Important Information

Date posted: 25-Mar-2020

The government has announced that New Zealand is now at alert level 2 for COVID-19. Th..

2019 Winner Primary School Supporters of Tiritiri and Fullers 360 Science Award is Ethan Raymond

Date posted: 11-Mar-2020

Ethan has helped the Enviro-Warriors in many ways such as planning, gard..

2019 Winner Y8-Y13 NIWA Supporters of Tiritiri and Fullers 360 Science Award is Abby Haezelwood

Date posted: 11-Mar-2020

Abby Haezelwood with her winning Science Exhibit on Plastic Beaches at the NIWA Taihoro Nuk..


Scientific name:

 Sturnus vulgaris



Conservation status:

 Introduced and naturalised

Mainland status:

 Locally abundant


 21cm, 85g 


 14+ years possibly


 October - January


 Invertebrates, fruit and nectar

Starling - photographer: Max McRaeIntroduced into New Zealand between 1862 and 1883 and now abundant throughout the mainland and suitable offshore islands in farmland, orchards, gardens, forest edges and beaches.

The breeding plumage is glossy black with a purple sheen on the head and breast, and a dark green sheen and buff spangling on the wings and abdomen.  The bill is pointed and, in the breeding season, is yellowish with a bluish base in the male and a pinkish base in the female. When not breeding the head and body is spotted buff and white and the bill is dark. The call is a descending whistle: ‘cheeoo’, and the song is a rambling collection of clicks, rattles, warbles and gargles interspersed with musical whistles.  They are good mimics.

Starlings feed and roost in large flocks, and are well-known for their spectacular pre-roosting flights in huge flocks, which twist and turn and often resemble smoke against the sky. On teh ground, their waddling, jerky walk is rather distinctive and the birds feed by jabbing their bills into the soil. Their diet is a mix of invertebrates such as grass grubs, caterpillars, moths, worms, snails and spiders, and fruit and nectar from flax and pohutukawa flowers.

Breeding takes place between October and January. The nest is a cup of dry grass, twigs and leaves built in tree holes, crevices in cliffs and in buildings and garden nest boxes. Clutches of 3–5 clear pale blue eggs are incubated by both parents for 11 days. Both parents feed the chicks until they fledge at 18–20 days and often continue to feed them for 1–2 weeks after they leave the nest.

Starlings breed and roost on Tiritiri Matangi; flocks of several hundred often arrive from the mainland around dusk.

Learn more about the starling at New Zealand Birds Online.

Photography by:  Max McRae ©

References: Heather, B.D.; Robertson, H.A. 2000 The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand. Auckland, Viking.
Moon, G The Reed Field Guide to New Zealand Birds.