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

The Sandton Field Guide - Author: Sandton Nature Conservation Society - Published: 1982 - Page: 62

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 176

Wildlife of the Cape Peninsula - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2001 - Page: 66

The Birds of South Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Published: 1949 - Page: 316

The Birds of South Africa - Author: Hazel Stokes - Published: 1979 - Page: 42

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 122

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Published: 1989 - Page: 99

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

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

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Published: 1993 - Page: 368

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

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1981 - Page: 530

Roberts Birds of South Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Published: 1975 - Page: 518

Readers Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southe - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Published: 1991 - Page: 413

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 2000 - Page: 382

Newmans Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1984 - Page: 382

Newmans Garden Birds - Author: Ken Newman - Published: 1991 - Page: 100

Meeting with Birds - Author: Tom Spence - Published: 1986 - Page: 101

Know your Garden Birds - Author: - Published: 0 - Page: 32

Ian Sinclairs Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Published: 1988 - Page: 288

Garden Birds in South Africa - Author: Duncan Butchart - Published: 2017 - Page: 122

Geoff Lockwoods Garden Birds of Southern Africa - Author: Geoff Lockwood - Published: 0 - Page: 35

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

Everyones Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Published: 1987 - Page: 80

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

Common Birds of the North Coast - Author: Bing Comrie - Published: 2005 - Page: 66

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

Birds of the Transkei - Author: C.D. Quickelberge - Published: 1989 - Page: 111

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Published: 1987 - Page: 242

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Published: 0 - Page: 203

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

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

Bird Atlas of Natal - Author: Digby Cyrus and Nigel Robson - Published: 1980 - Page: 258

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Published: 1985 - Page: 200

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

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Published: 1959 - Page: 43

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Published: 1983 - Page: 278


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