Backyard Birds

Lamprotornis or Glossy-starlings

The members of the bird genus Lamprotornis are large, glossy starlings which occur naturally in Africa south of the Sahara.

They inhabit a variety of habitats – from forests to open woodland and gardens. All, except the Shelley’s Starlings – are resident (non-migratory), except for some seasonal or local movement.

Most species are sociable, typically seen with other birds outside the breeding season.


The plumage above is glossy blue or green.

The under parts may be blue, purple, yellow or brown.

Most have yellow or red irises. Some have long tails

Species in taxonomic order

Nesting / Breeding

These starlings typically nest in tree cavities, sometimes natural holes or abandoned woodpecker or barbet nests. Some may take advantage of man-made structures.

Diet / Feeding

Lamprotornis glossy-starlings are opportunistic feeders that will feed on fruits and other plant matter, or take insects from large mammals or pick up those stirred up by them. They usually feed on the ground or may take fruits from trees.


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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