Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Least Concern

Tristram's Starling (Onychognathus tristramii)


French: Rufipenne de Tristram German: Tristramstar Spanish: Estornino de Tristram

Amydrus Tristramii

P. L. Sclater

, 1858,

Mar Saaba, Hebron Valley, Israel




E & S Israel, Palestine and W Jordan S to extreme NE Egypt (Sinai) and W Arabian Peninsula (S to Yemen and E to SW Oman).

Descriptive notes

25 cm; 115–131 g. Fairly large, dark starling with medium-length tail, rounded at corners. Male plumage is uniformly glossy black, except for reddish-brown primaries... read more


Contact calls are musical whistles, e.g. "wuuwííwuu"; harsh alarm call... read more


Desolate rocky areas in deserts (apparently physiologically adapted to such conditions); also urban... read more

Food and feeding

Diet mostly fruit and insects, occasionally small snails (Gastropoda), also household scraps. Fruits include those of Ficus nitida... read more


Breeds Mar–Jun in Israel; second broods common. Monogamous. Sometimes in loose colonies. During courtship male fed female with... read more


Resident; also partly nomadic. Suggested that birds moved from low, hot summer breeding areas to... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common to locally abundant. Estimated population in Israel c. 1000–2000 pairs in 1980s. Widespread in unpopulated regions, and now increasingly... read more

Recommended citation

Craig, A. & Feare, C. (2020). Tristram's Starling (Onychognathus tristramii). 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).