Backyard BirdsUncategorized

Purple Glossy Starlings


Purple Glossy Starling (Lamprotornis purpureus)


Purple Glossy Starling (Lamprotornis purpureus)

The Purple Glossy Starlings (Lamprotornis purpureus) – also simply known as Purple Starlings – are fairly common in tropical Africa, where they are considered common to abundant within their natural range.

Alternate (Global) Names



The range of the Purple Starlings stretches from Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and northern Guinea east to southern Mali in the savanna belt to southern Chad, south to northern Central African Republic and southern Sudan, northern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and western Kenya.

They mostly inhabit open woodlands, Savannah woodlands (particularly with fruiting figs) and cultivations, typically below 5,000 feet (1,500 meters).

Purple Glossy Starling (Lamprotornis purpureus)


The expert opinions on this species’ taxonomy are divided. Some believe it is “monotypic” (one single species); while others (i.e., Clements Checklist of Birds of the World ) divide them into two races:

  • Lamprotornis purpureus purpureus (Statius Müller, PL, 1776) (Nominate Form)
    • Range: Northern Race – Senegal to Cameroon
  • Lamprotornis purpureus amethystinus (Heuglin, 1863)
    • Range: Southern Race – Cameroon east to western Kenya
    • ID: Plumage above bluer than that of the nominate form. Slightly longer tailed.



The Purple Glossy Starlings measure between 8.7 – 10.6 inches (22 – 27 cm) in length, including the short tail. The plumage is mostly metallic purple with glossy green wings. The eyes are yellow. The legs and the rather large bill are black.

Males and females look alike, but juveniles are much duller, with grey underparts and brown eyes.

Purple Glossy Starling, Lamprotornis purpureus


Nesting / Breeding

Most breeding activities are observed from February to May. The Purple Starlings make their nests in tree cavities. The average clutch consists of 2 – 3 eggs.



This noisy bird emits the typical starling squeaks and chattering.


Diet / Feeding

The Purple Glossy Starlings mostly feed on fruit and insects. They forage on the ground, or on bushes or trees.

Purple Glossy Starling

Alternate (Global) Names

Catalan: Estornell metàl·lic purpuri … Chinese: 紫辉椋鸟 … Czech: Leskoptev purpurová … Danish: Purpurglansstær … Dutch: Purperglansspreeuw … Finnish: Viikunakottarainen … French: Choucador pourpré, Étourneau métallique pourpré, Merle bronzé pourpre, Merle métallique pourpré … German: Purpurglanzstar, Purpur-Glanzstar … Hebrew: זרזיר בוהק/כחול לחיים … Italian: Storno splendente purpureo, Storno splendente viola, Storno splendido purpureo … Japanese: murasakiterimukudori … Norwegian: Purpurglansstær … Polish: blyszczak purpurowy, błyszczak purpurowy … Russian: Пурпурный блестящий скворец … Slovak: liskavec purpurový … Spanish: Estornino Brillante Morado, Estornino Purpúreo … Swahili: Kuzi Zambarau … Swedish: Purpurglansstare


Additional Resources

  • IUCN Red List

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson



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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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