Fun Wattled Starling Facts For Kids

Abhijeet Modi
Jan 31, 2023 By Abhijeet Modi
Originally Published on Aug 17, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Check out these spectacular wattled starling facts.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.9 Min

The lush lands of Africa are known to be the home to many beautiful species of wildlife and fauna. The wattled starling is one among them. This bird is a nomadic resident of the grasslands and woodlands of Africa. This bird of the Sturnidae family gets its name from the presence of a wattle around the throat. This wattle is present only on breeding male birds and cannot be noticed on the juveniles, females, or non-breeding males.

This bird is the sole member of the Creatophora genus. The body of this bird is entirely gray, but it has a short tail with black feathers. This species of Africa is an extremely social species.

For more relatable content, check out these lark sparrow facts and European starling facts for kids.

Wattled Starling Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a wattled starling?

The wattled starling (Creatophora cinerea) is a type of starling from Africa.

What class of animal does a wattled starling belong to?

Wattled starlings of the Sturnidae family belong to the class Aves.

How many wattled starlings are there in the world?

Unfortunately, we do not have the total count of the specimens of this species.

Where does a wattled starling live?

The wattled starling (Creatophora cinerea) is an endemic resident of the beautiful lands of eastern and southern Africa. Certain populations have also been sighted in West Africa.

What is a wattled starling's habitat?

The wattled starling habitat is mainly spread across open woodlands, grassland areas, and even cultivation fields. They prefer living below 6562 ft (2000 m) altitude.

Who do wattled starlings live with?

These starling birds of the Sturnidae family live in small flocks.

How long does a wattled starling live?

We are not aware of the lifespan of the Creatophora cinerea.

How do they reproduce?

The wattled starling (Creatophora cinerea) is one of the known colonial breeder birds. They may share their colonies with other birds such as the cape weaver. Hundreds to thousands of birds build nests together. These birds form monogamous relationships and these breeding pairs usually last for life, unless one of them dies. If a breeding mate dies, the bird finds another mate.

The nests of these birds are always built in bushes or trees at altitudes of about 3.28-32.8 ft (1-10 m) from the ground. They prefer eucalyptus or acacia trees for nesting. The starling nest is built using twigs and the insides are lined with feathers and grass. The clutch size varies somewhere between two to five eggs. These eggs are tinted pale blue and have tiny brown speckles. Breeding male and female birds together contribute to building the nest, incubating the eggs, and even feeding the little hatchlings.

After about 11 days of laying, the eggs hatch open. Within two weeks, they begin to set leave the nest. At this stage, they cannot fly and fall prey to different predators.

Breeding activities are linked with the abundance of the insect community. Locust swarms are one of the main preferences for breeding communities. If locust swarms are destroyed, these colonies are also abandoned.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the wattled starling (Creatophora cinerea) is Least Concern according to the IUCN.

Wattled Starling Fun Facts

What do wattled starlings look like?

The wattled starling is a small bird and slightly bigger than a sparrow. This small body has a short tail and small pointed wings. The anatomy is puffed with a gray plumage which ends with a white rump. The starling has black flight feathers and a short black tail. Breeding and non-breeding birds show slight differences.

The non-breeding male starling has a round feathered head. This is seen around the head except for a yellow patch around the eye. Non-breeding males do not have wattles, however, they display a black stripe around the mustache area. There is a small white patch near the shoulder. Juvenile and female plumage resembles that of non-breeding male birds. However, they have brown tails and flight feathers.

Breeding male birds have a much more distinct white shoulder patch. They have black foreheads and unfeathered yellow-hued skin around the head. There are also large black wattles at the throats. This bird has black-brown eyes. The bill begins with a slight black shade, but continues to a grayer hue towards the tip. The legs are also yellowish in color.

Only breeding male wattled starlings show the presence of the wattles.

How cute are they?

We do love how beautiful and adorable the Creatophora cinerea species look.

How do they communicate?

The wattled starling call includes loud grating or wheezing sounds. They make loud ‘sreeeo’ sounds while flying.

How big is a wattled starling?

The body length of the Creatophora cinerea is about 8.26 in (21 cm) long. This bird is almost twice the size of Anna's hummingbird.

How fast can a wattled starling fly?

We are not aware of the speed at which birds of this species can fly.

How much does a wattled starling weigh?

The Creatophora cinerea weighs about 2.47 oz (70 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for male and female birds of this species.

What would you call a baby wattled starling?

A baby wattled starling has no specific name. In general, a baby bird is called fledgling, hatchling, or chick.

What do they eat?

This starling’s diet is mainly omnivorous and a good mixture of both plant matter and insects are eaten. Berries, seeds, small fruits, and invertebrates are a major part of their diet. These birds are also quite fond of locusts. They are also known to scavenge at garbage heaps. They perch on livestock at cultivation lands and feed on the insects on their body.

Other elements of its meal include snails, termites, spiders, and grasshoppers.

Are they dangerous?

Not at all, the birds of this species are not dangerous at all.

Would they make a good pet?

We love the idea of keeping the Creatophora cinerea as a pet. However, this is a wild bird and should be allowed to fly freely with its mate.

Did you know...

The fondness of these birds to locusts gives them an alternate name, the locust bird.

This bird is the only African starling species that has a good social bonding with the Asian starling species.

How many types of wattled starlings are there?

There is only one type of wattled starling, the Creatophora cinerea. This species of the Creatophora genus is highly nomadic, choosing its breeding grounds close to locust swarms.

What are the differences between a wattled starling vs golden-breasted starling?

There are a few differences between the wattled starling (Creatophora cinerea) and the golden-breasted starling (Lamprotornis regius). They both belong to a different genus as the wattled starling belongs to the Creatophora genus, while the golden-breasted starling belongs to the Lamprotornis genus. Also, the Lamprotornis regius has two subspecies under it compared to the wattled starling which has no subspecies.

They also can be told apart by their physical appearances. In terms of body size, the golden-breasted starling species has medium bodies, whereas wattled starlings have small bodies. The distinctive wattles are different as the Creatophora cinerea has a black wattle near the throat, whereas the golden-breasted starling does not have a wattle at all. A wattled starling has an overall gray plumage with yellow skin near the eyes and black tinted flight feathers. The Lamprotornis regius has a metallic green back and head, a golden yellow belly and breast, and dark legs and bill. The golden-breasted starling has white irises, whereas the wattled starling has black irises.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from these metallic starling facts and violet-backed starling facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable wattled starling coloring pages.


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Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

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Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

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