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White-starred Robin - BirdForum Opus

Pogonocichla stellata
Photo by Charlie M
Location: Nairobi, Kenya


Length 15-16 cm, mass 18-26 g.

Adult: Head and throat slate-grey with white spots (usually concealed) on the lower throat and forehead. Back olive-green and breast and belly orange-yellow. Yellow windows in the tail are obvious in flight.


Forests of eastern Africa: Extreme southern Sudan to southern South Africa.


Pogonocichla stellata has ten subspecies:[1]

  • P. s. ruwenzorii
  • P. s. guttifer
  • P. s. elgonensis
  • P. s. pallidiflava
  • P. s. macarthuri
  • P. s. helleri
  • P. s. orientalis
  • P. s. transvaalensis
  • P. s. stellata
  • P. s. intensa


Breeds in the understorey of Afromontane forest. An altitudinal migrant; when not breeding, uses a wider variety of well-wooded habitats (including gardens and riverine forest).


Usually solitary. Forages in understory and canopy, mainly for invertebrates (mainly beetles); also eats small fruit and small invertebrates (such as small frogs).


  1. Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist.
  2. Hockey, PAR, WRJ Dean, and PG Ryan, eds. 2005. Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa. 7th ed. Cape Town: John Voelcker Bird Book Fund. ISBN 978-0620340533
  3. Sinclair, I and P Ryan. 2003. Birds of Africa South of the Sahara. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0691118154

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