Animal Facts

Superb Starling

Scientific Name: Lamprotornis superbus

Fast Fact:

This bird's blue color isn’t really a color at all! It is caused by the structure of the feathers. Microscopic particles in the feathers are smaller than the wave length of red light, so red light passes through the feather while the shorter wave blue light is reflected.

Superb Starling

Superb starlings have a long, loud song of trills and chatters. At midday, it sings a softer song of repeated phrases. At the beginning of the breeding season, pairs display by jumping on the ground with their wings outstretched and their heads low to the ground.

STATUS: The superb starling is listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

HABITAT: The superb starling is found in Northeast Africa from southern Sudan, east through Ethiopia to Somalia, and south to Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. This bird is found in woodlands and thorn bush, as well as agricultural fields. It is often seen near human settlements and frequents urban parks.

DIET: Starlings are omnivores, usually feeding on the ground on insects and other invertebrates (some of which are crop pests), along with seeds and fruit. They have been known to eat grain and sometimes become crop pests themselves.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: The bodies of superb starlings are about seven inches long. They are brilliantly colored birds, with black heads and iridescent blue backs; their breasts and bellies are reddish brown, with white under the wings and tail. Both sexes are similar; juveniles are marked the same as adults, but the colors are duller.

Home Sweet Home

The nest is a bulky affair built of grass, leaves, and twigs. It is usually built in a thorn bush, but some birds nest in holes in cliffs. Typical clutch size is between two to five blue-green eggs, and they are incubated by both parents, the pair of whom is reported to be monogamous. The eggs hatch in about 13-15 days, and the youngsters fledge about three weeks after hatching. Groups of up to six pairs nest near each other, and juveniles help feed the young.

Rocket Fuel