|Cape starling, Lamprotornis nitens|
About 20, see text
Lamprotornis is a large genus of glossy-starlings all of which occur in Africa south of the Sahara. They have glossy blue or green upper parts, which is due to hollow melanin granules arranged in a single layer near the feather barbule's surface. This unique arrangement led to some glossy starlings formerly placed in the genus Spreo being transferred to Lamprotornis, since they shared this feature (but see also below).
The under parts of these species lack iridescence. They may be blue, purple, yellow or brown. Most Lamprotornis starlings have striking yellow or red irides and some have long tails.
These glossy starlings are found in a variety of habitats from forests to open woodland and gardens. They nest in tree holes, either natural, or made by woodpeckers or barbets, and some will use man-made structures. Most species are resident apart from seasonal or local movement, but Shelley's starling is migratory. Most species are gregarious outside the breeding season.
Lamprotornis glossy-starlings are omnivorous and mostly feed on the ground, although they will take fruit from trees. Some will feed on or near large mammals to find insects.
Species in taxonomic order
- Cape starling, Lamprotornis nitens
- Greater blue-eared starling, Lamprotornis chalybaeus
- Lesser blue-eared starling, Lamprotornis chloropterus
- Miombo blue-eared starling, Lamprotornis elisabeth
- Bronze-tailed starling, Lamprotornis chalcurus
- Splendid starling, Lamprotornis splendidus
- Principe starling, Lamprotornis ornatus
- Emerald starling, Lamprotornis iris
- Purple starling, Lamprotornis purpureus
- Rüppell's starling, Lamprotornis purpuroptera
- Long-tailed glossy starling, Lamprotornis caudatus
- Golden-breasted starling, Lamprotornis regius
- Meves's starling, Lamprotornis mevesii
- Burchell's starling, Lamprotornis australis
- Sharp-tailed starling, Lamprotornis acuticaudus
- Superb starling, Lamprotornis superbus
- Hildebrandt's starling, Lamprotornis hildebrandti
- Shelley's starling, Lamprotornis shelleyi
- Chestnut-bellied starling, Lamprotornis pulcher
- Ashy starling, Lamprotornis unicolor
- Purple-headed starling, Lamprotornis purpureiceps
- Copper-tailed starling, Lamprotornis cupreocauda
The limits of this genus require revision. For example, the black-bellied starling is sometimes placed in a separate genus Notopholia, and it (and possibly others) appears to be indeed well distinct. On the other hand, genera such as Coccycolius, Spreo and Compsarus are sometimes included in Lamprotornis.(Zuccon et al. 2006)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lamprotornis.|
- Feare, Chris & Craig, Adrian (1999): Starlings and Mynas. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-7136-3961-X
- Zuccon, Dario; Cibois, Anne; Pasquet, Eric & Ericson, Per G.P. (2006): Nuclear and mitochondrial sequence data reveal the major lineages of starlings, mynas and related taxa. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 41(2): 333-344. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.05.007 PMID 16806992 (HTML abstract)