Fun Glossy Starling Facts For Kids

Hannah Bowyer
Jan 14, 2023 By Hannah Bowyer
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Oluwapelumi Iwayemi
There are lots of cool facts about glossy starlings which include this beautiful iridescent Cape starling
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.1 Min

Glossy Starlings are iridescent exotic birds found in Southern Africa. Part of the Sturnidae family, glossy starlings (also known as Lamprotornis) are colorful birds with distinctly blue-green plumage, with underparts often colored blue, purple, yellow, or brown. The Lamprotornis genus contains 23 species, including the Cape starling, greater blue-eared starling, purple glossy starling, and miombo blue-eared starling.

If you like this article article, check out the European starling and the prairie warbler.

Glossy Starling Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Glossy Starling?

The glossy starling, also known as Lamprotornis, is a large genus of colorful starling birds found in sub-Saharan Africa.

What class of animal does a Glossy Starling belong to?

Glossy starlings belong to the class Aves.

How many Glossy Starlings are there in the world?

Due to the fact that the large genus of glossy starlings contains over 23 species endemic to different countries and neighboring islands in Southern Africa, the exact number of glossy starlings is unknown.  

Where does a Glossy Starling live?

The glossy starling species can be found in open woodlands, gardens, and forests. Aside from one species, they are non-migratory so they remain in stable and common populations in regions throughout Southern Africa.

What is a Glossy Starling's habitat?

Generally, this species can be found in forests, open woodlands, and gardens. Although, different species prefer specific combinations of these habitats.

Who do Glossy Starlings live with?

Glossy starlings are highly gregarious birds, so they can be found with other birds in their species as well as birds from other families during non-breeding seasons.

How long does a Glossy Starling live?

The average life span of a glossy starling is 17 years whilst in human care, their lifespan in the wild is unknown.

How do they reproduce?

Glossy starlings are monogamous and cooperative breeders. Their seasonal breeding patterns differ from species to species, but it is generally from August to February, in the summer months in the Southern Hemisphere.

Collectively, all starlings will create nests in tree holes or man-made structures like post boxes and lay an average of between two and six eggs, incubated solely by the female. Generally, the young chicks are fed by both parents, however uniquely the Cape starling's young are fed by additional helpers.

For example, a Cape starling will lay up to six eggs from September to February.

The female starling will incubate the eggs, and once born the parents and several starlings will assist in the feeding of the young. After around 20 days, these chicks will leave the nest and will remain with their group for at least a week.

What is their conservation status?

With a common and stable population throughout Southern Africa, glossy starlings are considered of Least Concern by the IUCN.

Glossy Starling Fun Facts

What do Glossy Starlings look like?

Glossy Starlings are iridescent exotic birds

Glossy starlings are blue-green birds found in Southern Africa. They range in size from small to medium and are distinguishable by their iridescent and colorful plumage. Across the different species, they have different color underparts, which may be blue, purple, yellow, or brown, and irises that are usually yellow or red.

How cute are they?

Glossy starlings are particularly beautiful creatures. Their colorful plumage of blue and green feathers appears almost iridescent, similar to that of a peacock.  

How do they communicate?

Glossy starlings communicate through sounds and song. Whistles, soft rattles, and the ability to mimic sounds and other bird calls make them unique from other exotic birds.

How big is a Glossy Starling?

The exact size of glossy starlings varies from bird to bird in this species. For example, an adult Cape glossy starling is 10 inches long, a long-tailed glossy starling averages 21 inches, and a Hildebrandt's starling measures 7 inches.

How fast can a Glossy Starling fly?

Glossy starlings have a very strong and direct flight. They are a gregarious bird, that moves in large flocks during the non-breeding season. They are known to form significantly large, majestic, and breathtaking flight paths and formations. When breeding they will typically separate into pairs.

How much does a Glossy Starling weigh?

The weight of glossy starlings birds also varies from species to species. For example, an adult Cape glossy starling weighs around 3.5 ounces, a long-tailed glossy starling weighs 4.2 ounces, and a Hildebrandt's starling weighs up to 2.4 ounces.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female glossy starlings are simply called male and female glossy starlings.

What would you call a baby Glossy Starling?

Baby glossy starlings are called chicks.

What do they eat?

Most starlings are fairly omnivorous, they consume a variety of fruits, insects, and plant matter. Although they mainly feed on the ground, they will forage trees for fruit and may feed on ectoparasites found on other animals.

For example, the greater blue-eared starlings' diet includes insects such as grasshoppers, beetles, termites, as well as frogs, small lizards, and baby mice.

Glossy Starlings are known to be prey to other birds including the Peregrine falcon and Wahlberg's eagle.

Are they dangerous?

Glossy starlings are not dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

 No, as It would be beneficial to leave these exotic creatures in the wild.

Did you know...

The genus Lamprotornis (the glossy starling) was introduced in 1820 by the Dutch zoologist Coenraad Jacob Temminck.

Glossy starlings are known to use the same nest over several breeding seasons. It has been recorded that one breeding pair of Cape starlings used the same nest for 20 years.

Unique to glossy starlings is their 'glossy' iridescent blue and green upper parts which are caused by hollow melanin granules arrangement near the feather's surface. This makes them unique to other starlings in the Sturnidae family.

There are many other starling species, including the Asian glossy starling found in Bangladesh, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. Another very common starling is the European Starling (also known as common starling) native to Europe but has since been introduced to other countries including Australia, South Africa, and Mexico.

Different types of Glossy Starling

There are 23 species of glossy starlings found throughout Africa.

Costs and benefits of starling birds

A more common starling is the European starling, also known as common starling, which is an Asian bird species that are common in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia as well as the Pacific Islands. Although this starling is considered an invasive species, there are some environmental benefits.

Their diet of insects ensures that large volumes of obnoxious insect-like gypsy moths, caterpillars, and flies are being consumed regularly.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including hooded warbler facts, or common raven facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable starling coloring pages.

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Written by Hannah Bowyer

Bachelor of Communication specializing in Media Arts Production, Communication, and Media Studies

Hannah Bowyer picture

Hannah BowyerBachelor of Communication specializing in Media Arts Production, Communication, and Media Studies

A fitness enthusiast with a passion for helping people find their best selves, Hannah is a qualified personal trainer who is currently training to be a yoga instructor. She is also knowledgeable about mindfulness and meditation. Hannah has lived and worked in many different countries across Asia and the Americas over the last four years, and loves to write about her travels. Her dynamic nature is reflected in her love for running, whether it's towards a plane or a personal best.

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Fact-checked by Oluwapelumi Iwayemi

Bachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering

Oluwapelumi Iwayemi picture

Oluwapelumi IwayemiBachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering

Iwayemi is a creative content writer and editor studying for a Bachelor of Science specializing in Systems Engineering from the University of Lagos. He is skilled in research and has experience writing and editing content for different organizations.

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