Socotra starling (Onychognathus frater)

A Socotra starling enjoying a mouthful of dragon blood tree (Dracaena cinnabari) fruit.

Firhmin Forest is a forest of dragon blood trees, and within it a reliable source of fruits. From the ground it’s hard to see any fruits in the canopy, but from a bird’s perspective there are several clusters of fruits. Just in this frame there are four fruit clusters.

The Socotra starling looks identical to the male Somali starling (Onychognathus blythii), and as both sexes look like the male Somali starling, it seems hard to tell them apart. Yet there is one reliable and distinct feature of the Socotra starling, and that is the square ended tail. The Somali starling has pointed ends, while the Socotra starling has flat ends, giving it the distinct flat-ended tail. If you zoom in you will see this clearly in these images.

The Socotra starling also has a distinct vocalization similar to the Eurasian bullfinch – a mellow one-note sound.

Socotra starling (Onychognathus frater)

Socotra starling (Onychognathus frater)

Socotra starling (Onychognathus frater)

Related Photos