starling, any of a group of originally Old World birds that have become distributed worldwide. Starlings were brought to New York in 1890; since then the common starling ( Sturnus vulgaris ) has spread throughout North America. They often collect in loud, noisy flocks. Starlings destroy some insects, but they are generally considered a nuisance since they drive away smaller, desirable birds. They have iridescent, blackish plumage and a long bill which is yellow in spring and summer. They mimic bird songs and other sounds. Starlings are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, family Sturnidae.