Pink coloured birds are ruffling feathers as they arrive in the UK

Becca Smith

Wednesday 6 July 2022

The RSPB have been receiving reports of a rare visitor to UK gardens, with gorgeous rosy starlings flocking to feeders in Aberdeenshire, Carmarthen, Llandudno, Rathlin, Dorset and Scarborough, to name but a few locations.

A relative of the well-loved technicolour common starling, these pink tinted birds are very similar to starlings in their size and shape, and even gather in the same huge flocks.

The crucial difference is, as their name would suggest, their gorgeous pink ‘vest’ on their front and back and matching pink beak. The males also have a shaggy crest on their head which is often at full alert during the breeding season from May to July.

They spend most of the year in Eastern Europe and Asia, only occasionally making a visit to Western Europe and the UK. Why, it’s not known for certain, though a popular theory is that warmer springs allow their preferred food source, insects, to travel further west.

Katie Nethercoat, RSPB Wildlife Adviser, said: “It’s always so wonderful to hear that rosy starlings are visiting the UK! We’ve had pictures and reports sent in from our wonderful supporters and members already and we’re likely to receive more from across the UK in the coming weeks.

Rosy starlings often hang around with other starlings and turn up in gardens, so be sure to keep your feeders filled and your eyes peeled (they are special fans of suet and fat balls). It’s also a good idea to put out some fresh water, especially when it’s particularly hot – they’ll relish the chance to have a bath and a drink after the long flight!”

The news of the rosy starlings’ arrival comes just weeks after the UK welcomed 7 bee-eaters to a quarry in Norfolk. These similarly bright coloured birds are also rare visitors to our shores from southern Europe and northern Africa and are thought to be in with a chance of nesting at the site.

Katie continues: “This time of year is wonderfully busy with breeding season seeing a whole host of birds and their young to-ing and fro-ing in our gardens and greenspaces. Couple this with the arrival of overseas visitors on migration, especially rarer birds like these rosy starlings, and it’s definitely an exciting time of year to be watching out for our feathered friends.

Not only this, but we can all do our bit to help birds and other wildlife in our gardens and greenspaces - from providing food and water to erecting bug hotels, nest boxes and hedgehog highways.  Together, we can help and enjoy more of the nature on our doorsteps using the simple tips, tricks and activities found at:

Image with thanks to Martin Creasser

Last Updated: Wednesday 6 July 2022

Tagged with: Topic: Birds Topic: Wildlife Topic: Summer Topic: Spring Topic: Birds and wildlife Topic: Garden birds