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Red-winged Starling

Red-winged Starling
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-10-12
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 15x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 100
Exposure: f/4, 1/500 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger NP 2009
Theme(s): Metallic wonders of nature 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-02-21 9:05
Viewed: 6854
Points: 82
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Red-winged Starling / Onychognathus morio

The Red-winged Starling is the 9th in the series of the birds of the Kruger National Park, which I am currently sharing. Enjoy!

I remember the day I took this photo as good as if it was yesterday. It was a very hot day and we decided to have a midday rest at the bungalow to avoid the terrible heat we where experiencing that day. I took a seat on the veranda of the bungalow at the Olifant's camp and was watching all the birds in the nearby vicinity. All the birds where sitting in the shade with their beaks wide open due to the unbearable heat. There were a few of these starlings which came and sat under the thatch of the bungalow to hide from the sun. This is one of them, which I captured just as it flew from under the thatch and came to sit close to me on the railing of the veranda. Later on I'll share some portraits of these birds I captured with their beaks open as I have just mentioned.

The Red-winged Starling belongs to the family of birds classified as Sturnidae. According to the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology it is also known by these other names: African Red-winged Starling or Crag Chestnut-winged Starling. It is neither endemic or near endemic to the Kruger National Park. It is however a common resident. The height of the bird is about 30cm and its weight is about 140 grams. The male Red-winged Starling's plumage and colours are different to that of the female. The male's head is black-blue. The bill is black, the throat and back is black-blue and the legs are black. The bright chestnut flight feathers with dark tips and dark (not orange) eyes differentiate this species from the Pale-winged Starling. The female has an ash-grey head and upper breast. The juvenile resembles the male.

Feeding Habits
This bird hunts for small reptiles such as lizards, geckos and bush snakes. The Red-winged Starling strikes poisonous snakes on the head with one fatal blow which kills the snake instantly. There have been cases were this bird has been killed by a snake while hunting. Some birds have been blinded by Cobra venom. This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten.

Breeding Habitat and Nesting Habits
It is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying it will seek out a new mate. The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foliage. The bird lays eggs which are blue in colour and number between 1 - 5. They are mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, grasslands where it breeds and feeds, and is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams. This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests and gradually it is infiltrating suburbia throughout the country. This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks.

Names of this avian species in other languages
Afrikaans ... Rooivlerkspreeu
Xhosa ... Isomi
Zulu ... iNsomi
German ... Rotschwingenstar
Portuguese ... Estorninho-d'asa-castanha
French ... Rufipenne morio
Dutch ... Roodvleugelspreeuw


I hope you enjoyed looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

horias, uleko, PeterZ, KOMSIS, matatur, goatman04, Mamagolo2, eng55, Heaven, saeedabbasi, anel, Pikkie, siggi, CeltickRanger, Noisette, anemone, xTauruSx, Hormon_Manyer, zulfu, rousettus, Adanac, yasemin, jusninasirun, tuslaw, Alex99, Luis52, Argus, maurydv has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2010-02-21 9:10]

Hi Anna
This capture is amazing!
Details and colors are great!

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-02-21 9:20]

Hello Anna,
Fantastic capture of this Red-winged Starling that reminds me of the Glossy Starling we saw in Gambia. It's so beautiful and I like its pose here against a light background. Excellent focus on the eye too and lovely colours and details of the plumage. I don't expect birds need as much food with you as they do here in the cold, but I'm sure they suffer when it's too hot.
Many thanks and best regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-02-21 9:22]

Hello Anna,
What a fantastic bird. I've seen them in your beautiful country for several times. The colours of this Roodvleugelspreeuw are fascinating. Sharpness and details are impressive. Good composition, POV and a nice catchlight in the eye.

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2010-02-21 9:29]

Hi Anna,
Biblo Bird seems ...
Black and dark blue colors are very nice.Sharp detail and excellent composition.
Best wishes,

A beautiful bird and a very fine capture Anna, I really would like to see this bird while flying, that red streak on the wing edges should be very nice to behold. Thank you indeed for sharing this superb image with us my friend.

Hello Anna,

An excellent close-up of this Red-winged Starling with beautiful and shiny colors, sharpness & details. Very nicely taken, composed & presented. TFS & all the best your way!


  • Great 
  • zetu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 26 N: 3888] (16941)
  • [2010-02-21 11:52]

Hello Anna
Wonderful colorful bird, capture with great details and nice composition

Hi Anna,
the glance of this bird is amazing.
The blue is so noble - royal blue ;-)
I know you had a theme - metallic - this one is also perfect for it, it looks metallic.
I'm so glad, also here in Germany the starlings are back.
They leave in the cold time and come back for spring.
But we still have snow, they are a little too early this year. But they give me new hope that winter will end soon ;-)
Sabine - wishnugaruda

  • Great 
  • Ishi Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 298 W: 21 N: 1943] (13387)
  • [2010-02-21 12:15]

Shalom Anna,

This a beautiful bird, expertly captured. I love the colors and details you are able to show.The flash help bring out the metallic quality of the plumage.

Well done!


hello Anna
he is so beautiful !!
great sharpness and super good deatils
the colours are very good
great shot Anna
greeting lou

Hi Anna,
Your photo is stunning and I like the shine in the feathers also the twinkle in the eye. This was a stunning capture. Good detail and composition. Very well done my friend and thanks for sharing.

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2010-02-21 13:25]

Hi Anna,
Magnificent capture of this Starling.Exposure is spot on,
details are crisp clear.I liked colors,sharpness and cross
framing also a lot.Excellent work!
Thanks for posting..

Hi Anna,

Beautiful bird and beautiful picture. You have captured it under difficult conditions of strong back light and dark subject. Nice notes as usuall, Africa is truly blessed with Birds and Animals.

  • Great 
  • Heaven Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 996 W: 123 N: 2341] (7912)
  • [2010-02-21 21:57]

Hi Anna!

Beside the fact that the portrait of this Starling is, in a general way, very beautiful, the viewer's attraction immediately is captured by the marvellous colours of its feathers. The background is a little bit vivid and there's a kind of brighter band around the bird - probably as a result of a post processing - but this is well compensated by the bird's beauty. Moreover, the viewer gets a good overall impression of it and, thanks to your well elaborated notes, learns much about that species.

Kind regards


Hi Anna,

You managed the light very well in this photo. It is very difficult to take a sharp and clean a dark colured object although lighten background. But we see you done it very well.
We call this lovely bird as "kirmizi kanatli sigircik" in Turkish. Perhaps you want to add in your list :)


Hi Anna ,
This a beautiful bird and very well captured.
Details and light are great too.

Thanks for sharing

Kind regards

Hi Anna

Quite a good shot of this glossy starling. Good sharpness.


  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2010-02-22 4:03]

Hello Anna,
This is really a most impressive and beautiful bird with its metallic-colored plumage. And you have taken it so well, despite the great heat you had this day. Simple and efficient composition and excellent sharpness. Nice to add the name of the bird in some other languages.
Take care!
Kind regards

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-02-22 6:20]

Hi Anna,
very special indeed. The metallic colours and the patterns on the neck is well shown in lovely details.
The red lines at the wings is indeed a special feature, though only a line of it.
the positioning is well thought too as it looking across the diagonal to give a good impact and render a good composition.
A beautiful bird and i get a beautiful view from your shot.


  • Great 
  • Pikkie (44)
  • [2010-02-22 10:35]

Hi Anna,
Great capture. Good detail and the color is amazingly beautiful.
Very well done and TFS.

Ciao Anna, great capture of splendid bird with fantastic metallic colors, superb sharpness and fine details, beautiful blurry BG, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-02-22 11:49]

Hello Anna,
Plumage colors and the eyes look lovely. I like the setting, colors and details. TFS
Best regards Siggi

hello Anna

Great close-up photo Red-winged Starling, i can see the
red-orange colour of his wing and its metallic blue plumage
colour is very beautiful, shot with fine POV, superb focus
sharpness and details, the catch-light render the phote more beautiful,



Hello Anna
another beautiful bird from the Kruger Park, his black/Blue plumage is amazing
the profil view shows very good all the details on his feathers
wonderful lighting and great composition
Have a good night

Hi Anna,
Very good! 1/500s, ISO 100 and flash! I must take note! because shooting a bird of this color, is really complicated! very good result! you drive very well your Sony bridge camera! congratulations!

Hi Anna. Lovely and precise shot of this metallic coloured pretty bird. Everyting are wonderful.
Thanks for sharing and best regards.

  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2010-02-23 2:32]

Merhaba Anna,
çok net ve güzel bir kompozisyon.
Kadraj düzenlemesi ve kompozisyon çok başarılı.
ben en çok kuşun üzerindeki parlayan mavilikleri sevdim.
Tebrik ederim,selamlar..

Hello Anna, beautiful and lovely shot of cute bird with nice point of view and composition.
TFS and regards,

Hi Anna,

While reading Your note I imagined myself on to that veranda to escape from the summer heat... In the last couple of summers we also had terrible heat for a few weeks, but now it's still winter in Europe... I hope not so long.

Breathtaking photo of this starling, sharp like a razorblade, and the metallic blue tone is incredible! Composition- and exposure-wise also a fascinating work. Bravo Madame.

Friendly regards and hugs, tfs, László

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2010-02-23 6:13]

Hello Anna, nice shot of this lovely bird with excellent composition, details and colours.
TFS and G's,

Hello Anna
another very beautiful Starling after your purple colored Starling. nice to see such a different and new species with your great posts. But its habitus (appearance) very different classic Sturnidae members. It looks very pretty with its shiny plumage. you greatly captured it with sharp focus and great exposure against blurred BG. colors and light on eyes very nice. thanks for sharing this beauty with good informative notes. best regards

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2010-02-23 14:47]

Hello Anna,
Your superb camera work and note make this an outstanding posting Anna. The iridescent black plumage and red wing are stunning together. The exposure allows us to see great details in his plumage as well. The catchlight in his eye is a bonus. Thank you for all your fine work.

Hi Anna.
Amazing catch with beautiful pose. I enjoyed looking at this picture, it has very attractive colors and nice eye contact..
Well done and thanks for share..Notes are greats and presentation perfect...
Best Wishes and regards.

Hi Anna.

I'll never get around to capturing bird in the wild this close. The touch of red at the tip of the wings is so contrasting against the metallic black feather.

Such a beautiful work with the lens in keeping the background silenced. Thanks for sharing and best regards.

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2010-02-25 22:41]

What beautiful plumage on this starling.
You did a great job catching the iridescence of those metallic blue feathers.
A great pose as though he is showing off his plumage to you.
Every detail is super sharp.
TFS. : )

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2010-03-02 19:49]

Hello Anna,
I have never heard of a Red-winged Starling before. This is such a beautiful bird with his iridescent plumage and pin striped under-wing. It surprises me that this bird is considered a type of starling, since it's body more closely resembles that of a grackle with it's sleek and slender shape.
A tac sharp image with excellent detail and gorgeous natural coloring. Great work!!

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2010-03-05 10:02]

Hi Anna.
I agree with you. It is very pleasant to watch this amazing shot and I can imagine how nice to shoot this beauty. I have never seen such fine bird. Its shapes are simply stunning as well as colouration. You have reproduced its features brilliantly. I also like wonderful BG and diagonal composition of the shot. My congratulations and TFS.

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2010-03-08 19:04]

Hola Anna.
It must be hard to live for this black birds in a such hight temperatures in Kruger Nat. park, Like the red featheres in his wing, but what I like most is the fact that they are monagamus until the mates die, just like the Scaled Quail that we have here in Mexico.
TFS this beauty Anna.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-03-09 6:51]

Hello Anna,
I missed this excellent portrait of a Red-winged Starling, well captured from a nice POV that shows its features with great sharpness and excellent lighting that shows the iridescence of its plumage. The contrasting OOF natural BG and composition contribute to a high quality image.
Thanks and kind regards,

Hello Anna,
what a splendid capture of the Red-winged Starling, superb sharpness and fine detail on the plumage, fantastic metallic colours, excellent POV, well composed.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • mohkum (24)
  • [2010-03-25 5:48]

Wonderful capture with all those magical colours! Excellent focus and that too with a beautiful catch spot on the bird's eye! Congrats. and TFS

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