Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Least Concern

Pale-winged Starling (Onychognathus nabouroup)


French: Rufipenne nabouroup German: Fahlflügelstar Spanish: Estornino naburup

Sturnus nabouroup


, 1800,

Kamies Mountains, Namaqualand, South Africa


Proposed race benguellensis described (from Benguela, in W Angola) on basis of shorter wing, but differences from birds in rest of species’ range considered trivial. Treated as monotypic.


SW Angola, Namibia (except E) and W interior of South Africa (E to S Free State and W Eastern Cape).

Descriptive notes

c. 27 cm; 94–122 g. Plumage is uniformly glossy black, except for narrow pale rufous panel visible on folded wing, some whitish of central primaries often visible; all... read more


Song of male a varied warbling, reminiscent of that of Lamprotornis nitens. Both sexes... read more


Arid country, from semi-desert to desert conditions, also entering towns to forage; from sea-level... read more

Food and feeding

Diet fruit and arthropods; also nectar from Aloe ferox. Fruit of Phoenix reclinata, Diospyros lycioides, ... read more


Season Nov–Apr in Namibia and Oct–Mar in South Africa; may be double-brooded. Monogamous; partners appear to remain together... read more


Presumed resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to abundant over wide range in sparsely populated regions.

Recommended citation

Craig, A. & Feare, C. (2020). Pale-winged Starling (Onychognathus nabouroup). 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).