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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.

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References and further reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Everyone's Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 80

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newman's Garden Birds - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 100

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 - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Year Published: 1949 - Page: 316

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

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

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 - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 368

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

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

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

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

List of South African Birds

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