Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Least Concern

Slender-billed Starling (Onychognathus tenuirostris)


French: Rufipenne à bec fin German: Zimtflügelstar Spanish: Estornino picofino

Lamprotornis tenuirostris


, 1836,



Proposed race theresae (described from N Aberdares, in Kenya) considered largely inseparable from birds in rest of species’ range. Treated as monotypic.


SC Eritrea S to C & S Ethiopia; E DRCongo, SW Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi; Mt Elgon (Uganda–Kenya border) and W & C Kenya; NE, C & S Tanzania (Eastern Arc Mts); and NE Zambia and N Malawi (Nyika Plateau).

Descriptive notes

25–30 cm; 127–142 g. Dark starling with rufous in wing, long sharply graduated tail. Male has crown, nape and chin black with greenish gloss, upperparts and... read more


Song, often in chorus, consists of whistles and harsher notes. Flight call a high-pitched "pleek";... read more


Inhabits montane forest from 1500 m to 3000 m, ranging up into alpine moorland zone as high as 5000... read more

Food and feeding

Diet primarily fruit; also nectar, and some invertebrates. Fruits taken include those of Trema, Alongium, Sapium... read more


Season Dec–Jan in Ethiopia, Dec in Rwenzori region of SW Uganda, Jan–Mar and Aug–Dec in Kenya and Tanzania, and Sept... read more


Presumed mostly resident; extensive altitudinal movements and some local wandering.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common to very common; uncommon to scarce in Eritrea (Senafe and Guna Guna region).

Recommended citation

Craig, A. & Feare, C. (2020). Slender-billed Starling (Onychognathus tenuirostris). 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).