THEY put on a dazzling performance for the people of Brighton and Hove each year.

But birdwatchers will be disappointed to hear that starlings could be slowly vanishing.

UK populations of the British bird have seen their numbers drop by 84% since 1979, according to the latest figures from the voluntary RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch survey.

In the South East numbers of the beloved bird have plummeted by 58% from 1995 to 2010, a figure that continues to fall.

A spokesperson from the South East RSPB said although there is no clear explanation for the fall in numbers, the increasing lack of foraging areas means they are less likely to breed.

In recent years changes in farmland practice, development cutting the amount of grassland and draining of permanent pastures have attributed to the destruction of potential foraging areas for the starling.

Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director, says: “Many garden birds rely on us humans for help.

“During winter, birds need extra food and water, and at other times of the year, as well as sustenance, a safe place to shelter and make their home can really give them a boost.”

Currently on the Red List on the RSPB conservation priority criteria, the British garden bird is a globally threatened breed and in turn making it one of the most endangered species in the UK.