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Purple-headed Starling

From Opus

Alternative name: Purple-headed Glossy Starling; Velvet-headed Glossy Starling

Hylopsar purpureiceps

Lamprotornis purpureiceps


[edit] Identification

18cm. A small, short-tailed and dark starling.

  • Deep glossy purple crown, chin, throat and chest, sharply demarcated from rest of plumage
  • Glossy greenish-blue nape, mantle, back and rump
  • Iridiscent blue wings, shading to violet on outer margins of primaries
  • Black tail with faint purple gloss
  • Glossy greenish-blue belly and flanks
  • Black undertail-coverts
  • Dark brown eye
  • Black bill and legs

Sexes similar, juveniles are matt charcoal-grey with some gloss on the wings.

[edit] Distribution

Found in Africa from southern Nigeria east to southern Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, western and northern DRC, Uganda and western Kenya. Also south to northern Angola (Cabinda).
Records from Guinea and Ivory Coast need confirmation due possible confusion with very similar Copper-tailed Glossy Starling.
Locally common in much of its range.

[edit] Taxonomy

This is a monotypic species.
Formerly placed in genus Lamprotornis.

[edit] Habitat

Evergreen lowland forest. Occurs up to 1500m, up to 1800 in eastern parts of range.

[edit] Behaviour

Usually seen in pairs or small flocks. Sometimes in bigger groups of up to 100 birds.

[edit] Diet

Feeds mainly on fruits, takes also some animal food.

[edit] Breeding

Breeding season differs through range. A monogamous species. The nest is placed in a tree hole up to 26m above the ground. One reported nest contained 3 eggs.

[edit] Movements

Presumably a resident species with some local movements related to fruit availability.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from
  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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