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Stuckie is the common Scots name for the starling. Dictionaries of the Scots Language (DSL) records a colourful example from Peter Mason’s C’mon Geeze yer Patter (1987):


“Glesca’s pure hoachin wi stuckies”.



There are more poetical examples too, as in the following from Raymond Vettese’s The Richt Noise (1988):


“And there’s birds: the mavis, the spug, the corbie, the stuckie, the greenlintie, the bullie, e’en a gow”.


And in another citation from 1997 in Duncan Glen’s Seventeen Poems:


“And the speugies and stookies and craws - and blackies e'en. And waws to sclim to fields for shootin foxes - ae fox - and maukins and rats”



In a recollection from childhood, a writer in the Herald of June 2020 wrote:


“He [father] also used the Scots language names for birds, which caused me some confusion when I started reading my Observer Book of British Birds and learned that the received name for a blue dykie was actually a dunnock. Other Scots names I used for birds when I was growing up included whaup (curlew), peeweep (lapwing), kittieneedle (common sandpiper), stuckie (starling), shelffie (chaffinch), hoolet (tawny owl)”.



Stuckies make a cheeky appearance in Gregor Steele’s 2021 poem Fykie Fleein Things:


“Sam the Stuckie has a freen, Whase name is Shug the Spug, They hae their bath in a big ridd bowl, Aye scunnerin the dug.”



One of my earliest memories of Edinburgh was seeing starlings swirling around making amazing patterns in the sky above the North Bridge, in what I now know was a murmuration.


This Scots Word of the Week was written by Pauline Cairns Speitel. Visit DSL Online at