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Long-tailed Glossy Starling - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Scottishdude
The Gambia, March 2010

Alternative name: Supple-tailed Glossy-Starling

Lamprotornis caudatus


40 - 50cm (including tail of up to 33cm). A large glossy starling with a very long tail.

  • Blue-green crown, side of head and chin with bronze sheen
  • Blue-green gloss on nape, mantle and back
  • Blue-violet rump with purple gloss
  • Blue-green wing with prominent black spots near tips of scapulars and wing-coverts
  • Purple tail with dark barring, very long, strongly graduated and rectrices paired in step-like fashion
  • Blue-violet underparts with central bronzy patch
  • Creamy-white eye
  • Black bill and legs

Sexes similar. Juveniles have no gloss and a dark iris.


Occurs in a narrow band from extreme southern Mauritania to northern Guinea east to southern Sudan and northwestern South Sudan.
Common in most parts of its range.


This is a monotypic species.
Forms a superspecie with Rueppell's Glossy-Starling and Meves's Glossy-Starling.


Open woodland and cultivation.


Feeds on fruit and insects. Forages mainly on the ground, hopping and walking.
Often leader of mixed-species flocks with Northern Red-billed Hornbill, Eurasian Hoopoe, Senegal Coucal and Yellow-billed Shrike.
Breeds monogamous but in a group. The nest is placed in a tree hole. Lays 3 - 4 eggs.
A resident species with some local movements.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. 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

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