Backyard Birds

Fischer’s Starlings

The Fischer’s Starlings, Spreo fischeri, is a bird that is an uncommon resident breeder from southern Ethiopia and Somalia to eastern Kenya and Tanzania.

It is found in dry open acacia thornbush.

The English and scientific names commemorate the German explorer Gustav Fischer.


The adult of this 18 cm long, 51 g weight starling has mainly dully ash-grey plumage except for a white lower chest, belly, and undertail. It has a white iris and dark bill. The sexes are alike, but the juvenile has browner plumage, a brown iris, and a dull yellow lower mandible. There are no subspecies.

This species has several calls, but the most familiar is a wheezing cree-wee-creewoo. There is also a loud whistle and a metallic song.


The Fischer’s Starling usually nests in thorn trees, typically 2.5 m above the ground. The roofed nest is made from grasses and lined with feathers. It has a ramp and opening on its side. Up to six red-spotted blue eggs make up the clutch and are laid in April to May and September to November.

Both parents feed the chicks, assisted by helpers, which are typically subadult or unmated birds.


Like other starlings, the Fischer’s Starling is an omnivore, and sometimes takes fruit and berries, but its diet is mainly insects, taken from the ground. It normally forages alone or in pairs, but will form mixed flocks with Wattled Starlings.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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