Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Least Concern

Narrow-tailed Starling (Poeoptera lugubris)


French: Choucador à queue étroite German: Spitzschwanzstar Spanish: Estornino rabilargo

Poeoptera lugubris


, 1854,

no locality = Gabon




N & E Sierra Leone, N & E Liberia and S Ivory Coast; S Ghana, SW Togo, Nigeria and Cameroon S, including Bioko, to Gabon, Congo and NW Angola (Cabinda S to Cuanza Norte); and SW Central African Republic, SW, SC & NE DRCongo and W Uganda.

Descriptive notes

18 cm; 35–43 g. Small, slim, dark starling with very long, narrow, graduated tail. Male is uniformly dark glossy blue except for remiges and tail, which are black with... read more


Flight call a shrill, cheeping in chorus; also melodious whistling calls, which are possibly... read more


Lowland forest, ranging out into forest patches; also coffee plantations, regenerating patches of... read more

Food and feeding

Diet primarily fruit, also insects. Fruits including Musanga, Rauwolfia, Macaranga; also arils of Pycnanthus... read more


Season Dec–Jan in Liberia, Jan in Nigeria and Cameroon, Dec–Mar in Gabon and Feb–Mar in Angola; in DRCongo, Dec in NE (... read more


Presumed resident; movements related to fruiting patterns of forest trees likely.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Not uncommon to scarce and local; locally common in Angola. Few records in Ghana and Togo, and uncommon in Nigeria. Recorded in SW Central African... read more

Recommended citation

Craig, A. & Feare, C. (2020). Narrow-tailed Starling (Poeoptera lugubris). 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 25 February 2020).