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Lamprotornis corruscus (Black-bellied starling) 

Swartpensglansspreeu [Afrikaans]; Intenenengu, Isithenenengu [Xhosa]; iKhwezi, iKhwinsi (generic terms for glossy starlings) [Zulu]; Zwartbuik-glansspreeuw [Dutch]; Choucador ventre noir [French]; Schwarzbauch-glanzstar [German]; Estorninho-de-barriga-preta [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 corruscus (Black-bellied starling)   

Black-bellied starling, Eastern Cape. [photo Johan van Rensburg ]


Distribution and habitat

Occurs along coastal lowlands from southern Somalia down the eastern edge of Kenya and Tanzania to southern Africa. Here it is locally common from central and south-eastern Mozambique to South Africa's eastern and southern coastline, generally preferring coastal plains, forest and bush with dense vegetation and heavy rainfall.

Distribution of Black-bellied 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.  

Movements and migrations

Mainly resident, although in Summer in Mozambique it moves further inland up to the Zimbabwean border.


It mainly eats fruit, supplemented with insects and small vertebrates, doing its foraging on the ground and in the trees but occasionally hawking prey from a perch. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Plants
    • fruit
      • Rotheca myricoides (Cats-whiskers)
      • Melia azedarach (Persian lilac)
      • Olea capensis (Ironwood)
      • Osyris lanceolata (Rock tannin-bush)
      • Acacia cyclops (Rooikrans)
      • Rapanea melanophloeos (Cape beech)
      • Morus alba (Mulberry)
      • Harpephyllum caffrum (Wild plum)
      • Phoenix reclinata (Wild date palm)
      • Akonthera oppositifolia (Common poison-bush)
      • Ficus (figs)
      • Trichilia emetica (Natal mahogany)
      • Dovyalis longispina (Coastal kei-apple)
      • Euclea natalensis (Hairy guarri)
      • Trema orientalis (Pigeonwood)
      • Halleria lucida (Tree-fuchsia)
      • Ekebergia capensis (Cape-ash)
      • Apodytes dimidiata (White-pear)
      • Mimusops caffra (Coastal red-milkwood)
      • Sideroxylon inerme (White-milkwood)
      • Bridelia micrantha (Mitzeerie)
    • nectar of Aloe marlothii (Mountain aloe)
  • Animals
    • termites
    • ants
    • snails
    • lizards
    • reed frogs (Hyperolius)



  • It nests in tree cavities, either natural or abandoned woodpecker or barbet holes, lining the interior with grass, dry leaves, hair and feathers. It often has to compete with other birds for nest sites, in fact they are sometimes displaced by Common starlings and Green wood-hoopoes.
  • Egg-laying season is from October-January.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female.
  • Little is known about the chicks, other than that they are fed by both parents.


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.