Starlings are a non-native species and are not related to our native blackbirds. They are iridescent black with speckles. Their beaks are dark in winter (shown here) and yellow in summer. Grackles, who are black with a purple-blue sheen to their heads, are our most common blackbirds.
Nonbreeding male Rusty Blackbirds are mottled brown and black unlike the intricate iridescent pattern of European Starlings. They also have a yellow eye whereas starlings have a dark eye.
When a Northern Flicker takes flight, a bold patch of white feathers flashes on its rump, in contrast to its brown body. This white rump likely evolved as an anti-predator adaptation. A hawk flying in pursuit of a flicker may focus on the white spot rather than the darker image of the whole bird.
Starlings are symbolic of communication, of your relationship with your fellow members, and your standing in society. They also symbolize unity; often seen flocking together, these birds have learned that we are always stronger together than alone. Have you been dreaming of starlings frequently these days?
Common Grackles are blackbirds that look like they’ve been slightly stretched. They’re taller and longer tailed than a typical blackbird, with a longer, more tapered bill and glossy-iridescent bodies. Grackles walk around lawns and fields on their long legs or gather in noisy groups high in trees, typically evergreens.
Common Grackles are larger than Brewer’s Blackbirds with a longer tail and a heavier bill. Male Common Grackles have a bluish sheen on the head, whereas Brewer’s have a purplish sheen.
The most obvious differences between grackles and starlings are that starlings have dark eyes, pinkish legs and a short, slender yellow bill (breeding birds), whereas the common grackle has dark legs, dark bill and yellow eyes. Grackles are also generally larger than starlings and also have longer tails.
Females, however, are actually dark brown, with lighter brown streaks on the breast. Juveniles look similar to the fully-grown female but have copper streaks. Males have a bright yellow bill and distinctive yellow eye ring. Females have a duller, yellow-brown beak.
The blackbirds congregate for food and protection. While some birds migrate alone, blackbirds find strength in numbers. They cooperate to find food — whether in a field, backyard or parking lot — and keep an eye out for predators.
Crows have a subtle iridescent sheen to their feathers, whereas most grackle species have iridescence that borders on dazzling blue. Female grackles aren’t quite as flashy as the males. In most species, female grackles sport dull brown plumage. Conversely, both male and female crows have the same black-colored plumage.
Crows, ravens, and blackbirds are all members of the same order, but crows and ravens are in a different family than are blackbirds. To make things more confusing, not all blackbirds are black.
If you’re in the West, look for the reddish band around the neck, the white spots on the wings and the overall black upperparts to distinguish the grosbeaks from robins. The shape and color of the beak is a good indicator, too.
Male Spotted Towhees have jet-black upperparts and throat; their wings and back are spotted bright white. The flanks are warm rufous and the belly is white. Females have the same pattern but are grayish brown where males are black. In flight, look for white corners to the black tail.
|colspan=“2”>Transformed into a bird|
Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds in the family Sturnidae. The name “Sturnidae” comes from the Latin word for starling, sturnus. Many Asian species, particularly the larger ones, are called mynas, and many African species are known as glossy starlings because of their iridescent plumage.
European Starling Facts
The European starling gets its name not from the starry markings but from the way the short, tapered wings make the bird look like a four-pointed star in flight.
Brown-headed Cowbirds are smallish blackbirds, with a shorter tail and thicker head than most other blackbirds. The bill has a distinctive shape: it’s much shorter and thicker-based than other blackbirds’, almost finch-like at first glance. In flight, look for the shorter tail.
Starlings are chunky and blackbird-sized, but with short tails and long, slender beaks. In flight their wings are short and pointed, making them look rather like small, four-pointed stars (and giving them their name).
Measurements. Males are glossy black all over with a staring yellow eye and a blue sheen on the head grading to greenish iridescence on the body. Females are plainer brown, darkest on the wings and tail, with a dark eye. Immature birds look like washed out, lighter-brown versions of the females.
Grackle teaches you how to communicate with clarity and confidence, all while showing you how to elevate your awareness for a clearer perspective! Delve deeply in Grackle symbolism and meaning to find out how this Animal Spirit Guide can illuminate, inspire, and guide you!
Grackles are ground foragers that eat anything from seeds and fruit to invertebrates and fish. Grackles may be attracted to your garden, lawn area or song bird feeders as a food source. Remove feeders to limit this attraction. Remove leftover food on the floor and tables of open-air eateries.
Grackles are aggressive birds who will colonize in large flocks. These birds are very noisy, and their gregarious nature is very apparent when observing their roosting and nesting sites.
Brown-headed Cowbirds are smaller with a shorter tail than Common Grackles. Adult males have a brown head whereas Common Grackles have a blueish head.