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Red-winged Starling | Onychognathus morio

The Red-winged Starling is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Sturnidae bird family group which includes birds such as Starlings, Mynans, Oxpeckers.

The description for the Red-winged Starling (Latin name Onychognathus morio) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Onychognathus morio can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 769 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 961. You will find a picture of the Red-winged Starling on page 976.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Red-winged Starling between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Red-winged Starling is known in Afrikaans as Rooivlerkspreeu.

The Red-winged Starling has a height of 30 cms and weighs around 140 gms. The head is coloured blue, black while the bill is coloured black. The Onychognathus morio has a blue, black coloured throat, black legs and a blue, black coloured back. The eyes are brown.

The male Onychognathus morio has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is blue, black

Eyes are brown

Bill is black

Legs are black

Throat is blue, black

Back is blue, black

Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Red-winged Starling strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom.

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Red-winged Starling is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 to 5 eggs and they are coloured blue.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foligae.

The Red-winged Starling is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The bird is mainly found in the Savanna grasslands where it breeds and feeds.

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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