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Greater Blue-eared Starling

From Opus

Subspecies nordmanniPhoto © by max1Satara, Kruger National Park, South Africa, September 2018
Subspecies nordmanni
Photo © by max1
Satara, Kruger National Park, South Africa, September 2018

Alternative name: Greater Blue-eared Glossy Starling

Lamprotornis chalybaeus


[edit] Identification

JuvenilePhoto © by nkgrayLower Sabie Camp, Kruger National Park, South Africa, February 2011
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.

[edit] 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.

[edit] Distribution

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.

[edit] Taxonomy

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

[edit] Subspecies

Lamprotornis chalybaeus has four subspecies:1

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

[edit] Habitat

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

[edit] Behaviour

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

[edit] Diet

Eats fruit, nectar and insects.

[edit] Breeding

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.

[edit] Vocalisation

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

[edit] References

  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
  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

[edit] External Links


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