Spotless Starling Sturnus unicolor


Taxonomic note

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S. and Perrins, C.M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A., Fishpool, L.D.C., Boesman, P. and Kirwan, G.M. 2016. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 2: Passerines. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2016 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 2,780,000
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 87000000-110999999 poor estimated 2012
Population trend Increasing suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 4.2 - - -

Population justification: In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 23,900,000-30,600,000 pairs, which equates to 47,800,000-61,300,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.55% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 87,000,000-111,000,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

Trend justification: The population is suspected to be increasing due to an expansion of the species's range in Iberia (Feare and Craig 1998). In Europe, trends between 1998 and 2013 show that populations have undergone a moderate increase (EBCC 2015).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Algeria N Extant Yes
Denmark V Extant Yes
France N Extant Yes
Gibraltar (to UK) N Extant Yes
Greece V Extant Yes
Italy N Extant Yes
Libya V Extant Yes
Malta V Extant Yes
Morocco N Extant Yes
Portugal N Extant Yes
Spain N Extant Yes
Tunisia N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Spain Llobregat delta
Spain Mountains of Barcelona
Spain Montagut and Montmell mountains
Spain Cardó, Tivissa and Llabería mountains
Spain Alto Lozoya-La Pedriza
Spain El Pardo-Viñuelas
Spain Guadalentín saltmarshes
Spain La Almenara mountain range-Cape Cope
Spain Muela mountain range and Cape Tiñoso
Spain Quipar reservoir, Molino mountain range and Cagitán plains
Spain Moratalla mountain range
Spain Fausilla mountains
Spain Burete, Cambrón and Espuña mountain ranges
Spain El Valle, Altaona and Escalona mountains
Spain Ricote and Nevela mountain ranges
Spain Torrecilla and Gigante mountain ranges
Spain Pila mountain range
Spain Alhamilla mountain range-Campo de Níjar plain
Spain Tabernas desert
Spain Gádor mountain range
Spain Mountain ranges south of Jaén
Spain Hoya de Baza
Spain Hoya de Guadix
Spain Ubrique and Grazalema mountain ranges
Spain Sierra Morena de Sevilla
Spain Cabras, Aljibe and Montecoche mountain range
Spain Bajo Alcanadre-Serreta de Tramaced
Spain Monegrillo-Pina steppe area-Pina
Spain Los Monegros (South)
Spain River Jalón canyon
Spain Pela mountain range-Orellana reservoir-Zorita
Spain Lower course of the river Matarraña-Ribarroja
Spain Rivers Cabriel and Júcar canyons
Spain La Safor and North Alicante mountain ranges
Spain Monfragüe
Spain Sierra Morena de Córdoba
France Vallée du Régino
France Basses Corbières
Italy Campo d'Ozieri
Italy Orosei Gulf, Supramonte and Gennargentu
Italy Mount Cofano, Cape San Vito and Mount Sparagio
Italy Nebrodi
Italy Madonie
Italy Anapo gorges
Gibraltar (to UK) Rock of Gibraltar
Morocco Parc Naturel de Talassemtane
Morocco Canton Forestier de Sidi Bou Ghaba
Morocco Parc National de Tazekka
Morocco Jbel Zerhoun
Morocco Dwiyate
Morocco Parc Naturel d'Ifrane
Morocco Aguelmane de Sidi Ali Ta'nzoult
Morocco Sidi Moussa - Oualidia
Morocco Oued Matil: Ksob
Morocco Tamri and Imsouane
Morocco Tarhazoute
Morocco Parc National de Souss-Massa and Aglou
Tunisia Ichkeul
Tunisia Jbel el Haouaria
Tunisia Plaines de Kairouan
Tunisia Sebkhet Kelbia
Tunisia Metbassta
Tunisia Barrage El Houareb
Tunisia Sebkhet Sidi El Hani
Tunisia Chaâmbi
Tunisia Îles Kerkennah
Tunisia Bouhedma
Tunisia Steppe de Gafsa
Tunisia Sebkhet Ennoual
Tunisia Îles Kneiss
Tunisia Sebkhet Sidi Mansour
Tunisia Sebkhet Dreiaâ
Tunisia Chott Djerid
Tunisia Côte de Zerkine et El Grine
Tunisia Golfe de Boughrara
Tunisia Jbil
Tunisia Sidi Toui
Tunisia El Feidja
Portugal Malcata mountains
Tunisia Aqueduc de Zaghouan

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Arable Land suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Rural Gardens suitable resident
Artificial/Terrestrial Urban Areas suitable resident
Grassland Temperate suitable resident
Shrubland Mediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation suitable resident
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Sturnus unicolor. Downloaded from on 21/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/03/2023.