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Lamprotornis chalybaeus (Greater Blue-eared Starling)

Groot-blouoorglansspreeu [Afrikaans]; Ndjundju (generic term for starling) [Kwangali]; Hwirigwiri (generic name for glossy starling) [Shona]; Kwezu leri tsongo (also applied to Cape glossy starling) [Tsonga]; Legôdi (also applied to Cape glossy starling), Leswêdi [Tswana]; Groenstaart-glansspreeuw [Dutch]; Choucador à oreillons bleus [French]; Grünschwanz-glanzstar [German]; Estorninho-grande-d'orelha-azul [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Sturnidae > Genus: Lamprotornis

Lamprotornis chalybaeus (Greater Blue-eared Starling) Lamprotornis chalybaeus (Greater Blue-eared Starling)

Greater blue-eared starling, South Africa. [photo Jeff Poklen ©]

Greater blue-eared starling, Kruger National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs in a band from Senegal to Ethiopia, south through Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia to southern Africa. Here it is locally common in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa, extending into northern Botswana and Namibia. It generally prefers open savanna woodland with dense undergrowth, such as Mopane (Colosphermum mopane) and Acacia.

Distribution of Greater blue-eared starling in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Predators and parasites

It has been recorded as prey of Falco peregrinus (Peregrine falcon) 

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Great spotted cuckoo.


It eats a variety of insects, fruit and small invertebrates, foraging in trees and on the ground. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a simple pad of dry grass and feathers placed in a tree cavity, either natural or an old woodpecker or barbet hole.
  • Egg-laying season is from August-January, peaking from October-November.
  • It lays 2-5 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 13-14 days.
  • The chicks fed by both parents on a diet of insects and at a later stage berries, leaving the nest after 23 days in one observation (recorded in captivity).


Not threatened.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.