Bourbon Crested Starlings aka Huppes, Crested Starlings

The Bourbon Crested Starlings (Fregilupus varius) – also commonly referred to as Huppe, Crested Starlings or Réunion Starlings – are extinct birds.

Their range was limited to the French island of Réunion located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar; where they were first described from 1669 onwards. They inhabited swamp forests and mountainous coastal forests.

The last surviving bird was shot in 1837, and this species was considered extinct between 1850 and 1860. Although according to rumors, this species might have survived until 1868.

Their extinction was attributed primarily to the introduction of rats, which preyed on them, their eggs and their chicks. However, other introduced species, such as the Common Myna and habitat destruction contributed to their declines; as well as hunting by the locals who ate them.


The Bourbon Crested Starling measured, on average, 30 cm in length. The wings measured about 14.7 cm and were grey-brown in color. The tail was about 11.4 cm long and had a rufous hue.

The head, neck and belly were white. It had a distinctive grey crest, long yellow legs, and curved nails.

The male could be identified by hits 4-cm long light-yellow colored bill which was slightly downcurved. The female’s bill was straight and smaller; and her crest curved backwards.

Diet / Feeding

Bourbon-crested Starlings mostly feed on insects, grain and fruits.

Photo of author

Team Beauty of Birds's team of experts includes veterinarians, biologists, environmentalists and active bird watchers. All put together, we have over half a century of experience in the birding space.

You can meet our team here.