Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Least Concern

Somali Starling (Onychognathus blythii)


French: Rufipenne de Blyth German: Somalistar Spanish: Estornino somalí

Amydrus blythii


, 1859,



Socotra I birds possibly a geographical race, creaghi; further details needed#R. Monotypic.


Eritrea, Djibouti, N Ethiopia and N Somalia; also Socotra I.

Descriptive notes

28 cm; 100 g. Rather large, dark starling with long, graduated tail. Male plumage is mostly uniformly purple-black with some gloss; primaries reddish-brown with narrow black... read more


Flight call high-pitched, musical "tleep"; harsh "scraich" alarm call;... read more


Primarily high mountains in arid regions, also rocky cliffs at lower altitudes. Breeds mostly above... read more

Food and feeding

Diet mostly fruit and insects. Fruit of Ficus, Juniperus, Olea and Dracaena cinnabari; insects include... read more


Season Apr in Eritrea, Apr–May and Sept in Ethiopia, and May in Somalia; Nov–Apr on Socotra on basis of presence of juveniles.... read more


Resident, with some altitudinal movement. Seasonal visitor May–Jun to Bale Mts, in SC... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common to locally abundant. Population on Socotra estimated at 33,000 individuals. Lives mainly in arid mountainous areas, where few direct threats.... read more

Recommended citation

Craig, A. & Feare, C. (2020). Somali Starling (Onychognathus blythii). 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 17 February 2020).