Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Least Concern

Waller's Starling (Onychognathus walleri)


French: Rufipenne de Waller German: Wallerstar Spanish: Estornino de Waller

Amydrus walleri


, 1880,

Usambara Mountains, Tanzania


Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. w. preussi Reichenow, 1892 – SE Nigeria (Obudu Plateau), W Cameroon and Bioko.
  • O. w. elgonensis (Sharpe, 1891) – S South Sudan, E DRCongo, SW Uganda, W Rwanda, W Burun­di, and Mt Elgon (Uganda–Kenya border) and W Kenya (W of Rift Valley).
  • O. w. walleri (Shelley, 1880) – Kenyan highlands E of Rift Valley, S through Tanzanian Eastern Arc to N Malawi.
  • Descriptive notes

    20 cm; 73–92 g. Relatively small, dark starling with shortish round-ended tail and red eyes. Male nominate race has crown dull blue-black, nape and ear-coverts glossy... read more


    Song a series of clear whistled notes, also some chipping and scratchy elements. Sings in groups... read more


    Montane forest, including isolated patches, as well as forest edge and areas of shifting... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet fruit and animal items. Fruit includes that of Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Juniperus, Symphonia, Ekebergia... read more


    Season Nov–Dec in Cameroon; Nov and possibly Mar–Apr in E DRCongo, May in Uganda, Aug–Sept in Kenya and Aug–Nov in... read more


    Presumed resident; local wandering, perhaps involving primarily flocks of non-breeders. Possible... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common in many areas of range. Estimated 12 pairs in 160 ha of forest on Nyika Plateau, in Malawi, in 1980–1981. Able to utilize isolated... read more

    Recommended citation

    Craig, A. & Feare, C. (2020). Waller's Starling (Onychognathus walleri). 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).