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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Red-winged Starling

Afrikaans name: Rooivlerkspreeu

Red-winged Starling

Above - Female Red-winged Starling

Photo © Steven Herbert

Onychognathus morio

The Red-winged Starling is quite large for a starling. They have a length approaching 30 cm with both sexes being a similar size.

Both male and female have the brownish-red wings which are only easily visible in flight. The male is a glossy black colour while the female is greyish on her head and neck.

These birds favour rocky mountains and hills but are also becoming more and more common in our cities and towns. High-rise buildings seem to provide a good enough habitat to make these birds feel at home.

Red-wing Starlings eat a variety of food including fruit, small reptiles and insects.

Outside of the breeding season the Red-winged Starlings may be found in flocks numbering a few hundred birds, although smaller flocks are encountered more regularly. During the breeding season they tend to be seen in pairs.

Despite favouring rocky areas they don’t always make their nests amongst rocks. They may also build their nests amongst vegetation or roots. Up to 4 eggs are laid and these are incubated by the female. The male assists with feeding the chicks.


References and further reading

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 43

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 108

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 104

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Year Published: - Page: 203

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 74

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 196

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Year Published: 2004 - Page: 187

Geoff Lockwood's Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Geoff Lockwood - Year Published: - Page: 35

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 413

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 677

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 675

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 402

List of South African Birds

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