Starlings swarming over the West Pier at sunset is one of Brighton's most iconic images.

Visitors and residents strolling past the pier can now get a close-up view of the birds thanks to a special viewing screen set up by the RSPB.

Each evening up to 40,000 starlings perform their aerial acrobatic show, known as murmuration, over the West Pier where they roost for the winter.

Chris Woolner, RSPB South East Project Officer said: "Brighton is famous for this amazing spectacle of nature and people come from miles to watch. It really is a mesmerising experience and when you stand on the pier as the flock sweeps towards and around you feel like you are part of it."

The charity's viewing screen will be on display each evening, weather and volunteers permitting, until December 20.

Kate Whitton, a senior events officer at the RSPB, said: “We've set up the stand to tell everyone who's walking past all about the starlings. They are registered birds now and used to be very very common.

"Their numbers have dropped and they've declined so much that we are trying to spread awareness about the fact that they are here.

"It's a very big roost site."

Henfield resident Hazel Haylock, 46, a part-time gardener, was in Brighton having her car fixed and thought she would spend the time watching the starlings.

She said: "I've had to come to Brighton for the day and I heard about the starlings on the radio a couple of times. It's a lovely evening so I thought I would take advantage of it."

Retired brewery worker Ken Dare, 67, is a keen amateur photographer and regularly comes to the West Pier to take pictures of the starlings.

He said: "The shapes in the sky are quite a sight."

Despite the large numbers seen in Brighton in winter, the UK starling population is in decline, with numbers plummeting by two thirds since the 1970s. The bird is now red listed as a Species of Conservation Concern.