Superb starling

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Superb starling
Superb Starling Portrait.jpg
Individual at Lake Naivasha, Kenya
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Sturnidae
Genus: Lamprotornis
Species: L. superbus
Binomial name
Lamprotornis superbus
(Rüppell, 1845)

The superb starling (Lamprotornis superbus) is a member of the starling family of birds. It can commonly be found in East Africa, including Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. It was formerly known as Spreo superbus.[2]


This species is 18 to 19 cm (7.1 to 7.5 in) long. Adults have black heads and iridescent blue-to-green back, upper breast, wings, and tail. The belly is red-orange, separated from the blue breast by a white bar. The undertail coverts and the wing linings are white. Juveniles have duller plumage with no more than a suggestion of the white breast band. Their irises are brown, later grayish white, eventually the adult's purple.

The superb starling has a long and loud song consisting of trills and chatters. At midday it gives a softer song of repeated phrases. There are several harsh calls, the most complex of which is described as "a shrill, screeching skerrrreeee-cherrrroo-tcherreeeeeet."

This species feeds primarily on the ground, often below, or in the vicinity of, acacia trees. It is gregarious and is generally rather tame and unafraid of people.[3]

The appearance of the superb starling is very similar to Hildebrandt's starling, also found in East Africa. The superb starling is distinguished by having white eyes, as opposed to the red eyes in the Hildebrandt's.



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Lamprotornis superbus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Williams, J. (1980). Birds of East Africa. London: William Collins. p. 392. ISBN 0 00 219179 2. 

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