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 was formerly known as Spreo superbus.[2]

Distribution[edit]

This species has a very large range and can commonly be found in East Africa, including Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, and Tanzania.[2]

Habitat[edit]

These starlings live in savanna, in thornbush and acacia arid areas, open woodland, lakeshore woodlands, gardens and cultivated fields, at an elevation of 0–2,650 metres (0–8,694 ft) above sea level.[2][3]

Description[edit]

The striking colors of an adult Lamprotornis superbus

This species is 18 to 19 cm (7.1 to 7.5 in) long.[3] These small short-tailed starlings have a long narrow bill, robust bodies, strong feet and a distinctive plumage pattern.[2] 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.[2] 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." [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 pale creamy-white eyes, as opposed to red eyes in the Hildebrandt's. Moreover only adult Superb starlings have a white breast band.[2]

Biology[edit]

Lamprotornis superbus feeds primarily on the ground, often below, or in the vicinity of acacia trees. These birds mainly feeds on insects (grasshoppers, beetles, termites, ants and flies) and worms, but also on grains, fruits and small berries. They ares gregarious and are generally rather tame and unafraid of people. The breeding season lasts from October to February in Ethiopia, from March to June in Somalia.[3] Spherical nests of grasses and twigs are built in bushes, in trees of medium height and also in rock crevices. Females lay 3-4 eggs which are incubated for twelve days. Both the male and the female take care of the offspring.[4]

Gallery[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  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. ^ a b c d e f Living the scientific life Archived November 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ a b c d Hand Book of the Birds of the World
  4. ^ Williams, J. (1980). Birds of East Africa. London: William Collins. p. 392. ISBN 0 00 219179 2. 

External links[edit]