Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Least Concern

Bristle-crowned Starling (Onychognathus salvadorii)


French: Rufipenne de Salvadori German: Helmstar Spanish: Estornino de Salvadori

Galeopsar salvadorii


, 1891,

Turquel, Suk country, northern Kenya




NW & S Somalia, C Ethiopia and N Kenya; possibly also E Uganda.

Descriptive notes

40 cm; 160 g. Very large, dark starling with very long, graduated tail, and small "cushion" of bristly feathers on forehead (covering nostrils); also bristly feathers under... read more


Song consists of musical whistles, similar to those of O. morio; male sings from perch... read more


Arid highlands, with cliffs and permanent water; may enter towns and gardens. Generally below 1300... read more

Food and feeding

Primarily frugivorous; fruit and seeds reported in stomach contents. Forages in Salvadora bushes. In pairs and small flocks.


Breeds Apr in Ethiopia, and May–Jun and Sept in Kenya; food-carrying adult in May in NW Somalia. Monogamous. Possibly in loose... read more


Presumed resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common in unpopulated montane regions; rather patchily distributed. Single record from Mt Moroto, in E Uganda.

Recommended citation

Craig, A. & Feare, C. (2020). Bristle-crowned Starling (Onychognathus salvadorii). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 February 2020).