Ash caught it as a Starly in Two Degrees of Separation while searching for Pikachu, who was missing due to the antics of Team Rocket. Aipom was swinging through the trees and accidentally bumped into Starly, so the two Pokémon battled. Weakened by Aipom, Starly was captured and immediately used in the search for Pikachu.
Staravia was the only of Ash's Pokémon who didn't participate in Ash's first Sinnoh Gym battle against Roark; however, Staravia helped out in Ash's second Sinnoh Gym battle, defeating Gardenia's Cherubi. After seeing Reggie's Staraptor use the powerful Brave Bird attack, Ash was inspired to teach it to Staravia. In the third Sinnoh Gym battle, Staravia defeated Maylene's Machoke and Meditite, as well as successfully mastering Brave Bird.
Unlike Pidgeot or Noctowl, Staravia is closer in use to Swellow in that, while Pidgeot and Noctowl were mainly used for scouting purposes, Staravia is occasionally used in battles and is one of Ash's most reliable team members.
In DP118, a PokéRinger competition was held in Wind Town. Ash entered and won with Staravia, who evolved into a Staraptor in the process and earned Ash his first victory over Paul.
Despite the fact Ash's Staraptor and other members of his evolution family know Gust, it is impossible for Starly, Staravia, or Staraptor to learn it in the games. This error was also present in the Japanese version. The dub changed it to Whirlwind in Starly's initial appearance, but left it as Gust until One Big Happiny Family, when it was dubbed as Whirlwind again, and has been since.
Judging by the pattern on Staraptor's head, it can be assumed that this Pokémon is male. However, the pattern does change shape occasionally in some scenes, therefore it cannot be properly determined.
However, in DP103, it falls in love with a Staravia doll that was designed to appear female, showing that Staraptor is male. It is noteworthy that Staravia's "dot" is noticeably larger than that of the doll's.
In the Czech dub, Staraptor is constantly referred as a female Pokémon.
In the Latin American dub, Staraptor is referred to as a male Pokémon.
Staraptor is the only Pokémon Ash has on hand that he caught in a valid location in the games; Chimchar and Turtwig are unavailable in normal gameplay unless chosen as a starter, Ash himself didn't capture Buizel, and Gligar doesn't appear on the route Ash captured it unless the dongle method is used.
Upon it's final evolution, Staraptor became the 50th Pokémon that Ash has obtained, including evolutions and counting Seaking, Beedrill, Haunter and Raticate, even though Haunter was not officially his, Beedrill was given away nearly immediately, and Seaking was released as part of contest rules.