Status and Conservation
Overall, the European Starling is listed by the IUCN as being a species of least concern. However, it has been adversely affected in northern Europe by intensive agriculture, and in several countries, it has been red-listed due to declines of more than 50%. In the United Kingdom, it declined by more than 80% between 1966 and 2004; although populations in some areas—such as Northern Ireland—are stable or even increasing, those in other areas—mainly in England—declined even more sharply. The overall decline has been attributed to a loss of food-rich permanent pasture, leading to the low survival rates of young birds. Major declines have also been observed from 1980 onward in Sweden, Finland, northern Russia (Karelia), and the Baltic States, and smaller declines in much of the rest of northern and central Europe. In contrast, there have been increases in southern Europe, particularly in Italy, southern France, and northeastern Spain where the species first began breeding in the 1960s.
Earlier, the European Starling had shown marked increases throughout Europe in the period 1800-1900. Before 1800, it had a disjunct range in the British Isles, absent from central and southern Scotland, with S. vulgaris zetlandicus in the far north and northwest (Shetland, Orkney, Caithness, Outer Hebrides), and S. vulgaris vulgaris south of the Scottish-English border; it was also rare or regionally absent in Ireland, western Wales and western and northernmost England. Between 1800 and 1900, S. vulgaris vulgaris colonised north and westward from England to Ireland and all of Scotland except for Shetland (where zetlandicus remains present); since 1935, this subspecies has also spread to Iceland, where it now breeds in the southeast and southwest. S. vulgaris vulgaris is also occasionally seen in the Faroes.
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