Starlings
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Violet-backed Starling L: 17 cm (6·5") A small starling with dramatically differentlooking sexes, although both have a distinctive lemon-yellow eye and a dark bill . The male is stunningly iridescent, varying from brilliant violet to reddish-purple depending on the light, except for the pure white belly and vent; it may look almost black-and-white in harsh light . The female has a brown-streaked white belly and darker, brown-streaked upperparts . A female could be confused for a thrush or a chat, but is usually accompanied by the unmistakable male, and has a long-winged, sharp-billed, square-tailed shape and flies farther and higher . This intra-African migrant is a common spring and summer (October– April) breeder in Kruger, where it inhabits lush savannah and riverine forests . It feeds opportunistically on berries and insects, particularly favouring winged termites . It nests in tree holes and other cavities where it may become a victim of brood parasites such as Lesser Honeyguide (page 110) . Starlings male female 138 Red-winged Starling L: 31 cm (12") A large, long-tailed, dark starling with striking chestnut windows in the wings, especially in flight . The male has glossy blackish plumage, whereas the female has a streaked dark grey head and breast . This species is a widespread and common resident around rocky cliffs and escarpments, and has also adapted to breeding on buildings in some camps, such as Olifants . It feeds on insects, fruits and nectar . The calls are a loud, liquid, oriole-like “wher-teooo”, although it also sings other musical notes . BIRDS OF BROADLEAVED WOODLAND AND CAMPS red-winged starling male female 139 ...