Superb starling

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Superb starling
Superb Starling Portrait.jpg
Individual at Lake Naivasha, Kenya
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 eyes are brown at first, later grayish white.

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 cream-colored eyes, as opposed to 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] Archived November 12, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Williams, J. (1980). Birds of East Africa. London: William Collins. p. 392. ISBN 0 00 219179 2. 

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