• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Greater Blue-eared Starling - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies nordmanni
Photo © by max1
Satara, Kruger National Park, South Africa, September 2018

Alternative name: Greater Blue-eared Glossy Starling

Lamprotornis chalybaeus


Photo © by nkgray
Lower Sabie Camp, Kruger National Park, South Africa, February 2011

21-24 cm (8¼-9½ in). A rather large starling with a relatively short tail.

  • Blue-green forehead, crown, nape and upperparts
  • Blackish lores
  • Glossy-blue ear-coverts forming a distinctive patch
  • Blue-green wings
  • Glossy-blue green chin, throat, breast and undertail-coverts
  • Blue flanks, belly and tighs with violet sheen.
  • White to yellow to orange to red eye
  • Black bill and legs

Sexes similar. Juveniles much duller.

Similar species

Lesser Blue-eared Glossy-Starling is smaller with a narrower ear patch and magenta belly and flanks. Bronze-tailed Glossy-Starling has a shorter tail and a darker orange-yellow eye. Cape Glossy-Starling has green ear patches, belly and flanks.


Sub-Saharan Africa:
Western Africa: found in Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Mali, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Zaire
Eastern Africa: Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi
Southern Africa: Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal

Common in most of its range.


Photo © by MAC-Kenya
Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya, February 2010


Lamprotornis chalybaeus has four subspecies:1

  • L. c. chalybaeus
  • L. c. cyaniventris
  • L. c. sycobius
  • L. c. nordmanni


Dry savanna woodland, in some regions extending into desert.
Occurs largely above 500m.


Forages, often in flocks, on the ground and in trees.


Eats fruit, nectar and insects.


Monogamous. The nest is built in a cavity (often an old woodpecker or barbet nest) in a tree. Two to five eggs are incubated for 13-14 days by the female.

parasitised by the Great Spotted Cuckoo and Greater Honeyguide.


The song is rambling with a whining tone. The call is nasal squee-aar.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  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
  4. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507
  5. Avibase

Recommended Citation

External Links