WHITE BILLED STARLING (Onychognathus albirostris) Wing 151 – 165 mm

  The White Billed Starling is frequent to locally abundant in the western and southeastern highlands, being most common in the north. Widely distributed in the country, it usually lives in association with cliffs and gorges near waterfalls. It also inhabits moorlands with giant lobelia, alchemilla, tussock grass and giant heath and highland grasslands: it rarely travels below 1800 meters (6000 feet). Its square tail and white bill distinguish the White Billed Starling from other Red Wing or Chestnut Wing Starlings. It feeds on the fruits of juniper and fig trees often in groups of five to 40 non breeding birds. It nests in June in crannies high up on sheer cliffs, sometimes in association with the White Collared Pigeon.   These starlings also inhabit buildings where they occasionally nest: for example, one pair was seen nesting is October under the eaves of a church at Ankober. Details of the nest and the eggs of this species have not been described, however. Its call is “loud and monotonous”. Other details of its life history are unknown. Mack worth Praed and Grant authors of several books on birds of Africa have compared this starling’s habits with those of the Bristle Crowned Starling.

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