Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Least Concern

Wattled Starling (Creatophora cinerea)


French: Étourneau caronculé German: Lappenstar Spanish: Estornino carunculado

Rallus cinereus


, 1787,

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa




Eritrea, Ethiopia and NW & S Somalia S to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania, also from W & S Angola and SE DRCongo S to Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland and throughout South Africa. Highly nomadic, annual during non-breeding in N Cameroon#R.

Descriptive notes

21 cm; 64–85 g. Medium-sized, greyish starling with white rump in all plumages. Male in non-breeding condition has light grey body plumage, with white rump, and off-... read more


Song long wheezy phrases of more than 20 seconds, given during courtship approach to female, also... read more


Lightly wooded dry savanna, also open and cultivated lands, usually with short grass; often in arid... read more

Food and feeding

Diet primarily insects; also plant matter, including nectar. Insects taken include locusts (Acrididae), beetles (Coleoptera), termites (... read more


Often apparently opportunistic, related to abundant insect food; Jul in Eritrea, May–Aug in Ethiopia, May in Somalia, Apr–May,... read more


Highly nomadic; although breeding mainly seasonal, location of colonies dependent on abundance of... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Very widespread and locally common. Population in Kruger National Park, in South Africa, estimated at more than 130,000 individuals, and in Kgalagadi... read more

Recommended citation

Craig, A. & Feare, C. (2020). Wattled Starling (Creatophora cinerea). 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).