STARLINGs of Africa and their Allies

Order Passeriformes   Family Sturnidae

The family Sturnidae includes the starlings and mynas. Family members are collectively know as the starlings. The family also used to include the oxpeckers, but they now are thought to be rather distant relatives. Some starling species are good mimics, and the family is related to the mimidae family of mockingbirds. Starlings are small to medium sized. They are usually dark colored, often with a metallic sheen, but some have bright colors. Many species have very bright eyes. The starlings eat insects and fruit. They favor open spaces.


Genus Cinnyricinclus
These African starlings are found in wooded habitats of sub-Saharan Africa

Starling, Abbott's   Cinnyricinclus femoralis  also  Pholia femoralis  Found: Kenya, Tanzania
image by: mpgoodey - Tanzania
1) Male


Starling, Sharpe's   Cinnyricinclus sharpii  also  Pholia sharpii  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans  2) Kristian Svensson - Uganda
1) Pair  2) Male



Starling, Violet-backed  also Amethyst Starling   Cinnyricinclus leucogaster  Found: Africa
The male Violet-backed Starling has glossy violet upperparts, head, upper-breast; white lower-breast, belly. Female has brown upperparts, head; white underparts with brown streaks.
Image by: 1) Doug Jansob  2, 3) Dick Daniels - North Carolina Zoo 4) Carol Foil - Rift Valley, Kenya 5) Trisha Shears - Cincinnati Zoo
1) Female  2 - 5) Male




Genus Creatophora - 1 species

Starling, Wattled Creatophora cinerea   Found: Africa
The Wattled Starling has mainly pail gray plumage with black flight feathers; yellow wattle around eye.
Image by: 1) Carol Foil  - Rift Valley, Kenya   2, 3) Dick Daniels - Tazania  4) Dick - San Diego Zoo
2) Identified by Charlie Westerinen



Genus Lamprotornis
Lamprotornis is a large genus of glossy-starlings all of which occur in Africa south of the Sahara. They have glossy blue or green upperparts, which is due to hollow melanin granules arranged in a single layer near the feather barbule’s surface. The underparts of these species lacks iridescence and may be blue, purple, yellow or brown. Most Lamprotornis starlings have striking yellow or red irides and some have long tails. They are found in a variety of habitats from forests to open woodland and gardens. They nest in tree holes. Most species are gregarious outside the breeding season.

Starling, Black-bellied Glossy-  Lamprotornis corruscus also  Notopholia corruscus  Found: Africa
The Black-bellied Glossy-starling has glossy bluish-black upperparts; glossy black underparts; reddish-orange eyes.
Image by Sandy Cole  - Birds of Eden, South Africa  2) Arthur Chapman - Birds of Eden  3) Francesco Veronesi


Starling, Bronze-tailed Glossy-  Lamprotornis chalcurus  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Ron Knight - Cameroon


Starling, Burchell's Glossy- Lamprotornis australis Found: Africa
The Burchell's Glossy-Starling has a large dark ear patch; dark eyes.
Image by:  1) Werner Witte - South Africa  2) Jerry Oldenettel - Namibia  3) Alastair Rae 


Starling, Cape Glossy- also Brahminy Myna  also Red-shouldered Glossy-starling  Lamprotornis nitens  Found: southern Africa
The Cape Glossy Starling has mainly greenish-blue plumage; dark eye-patch; yellow eyes.
Similar to: Greater Blue-eared Glossy-Starling. In South Africa, Great Blue-eared Glossy-Starling is only in the extreme northeast. If the bird is found elsewhere in South Africa then it is Cape Glossy Starling.
Similar to: Lesser Blue-eared Glossy-Starling. Lesser Blue-eared Glossy-Starling not found in South Africa. If the bird is found in South Africa then it is Cape Glossy Starling.
Image by: 1, 2) Arno Meintjes - South Africa  3) Dick Daniels near Kruger National Park, South Africa   4, 5, 6) Dick - Johannesburg, South Africa     7) Cristiano Crolle - Etosha Nat.Park, Namibia



Starling, Copper-tailed Glossy-  Lamprotornis cupreocauda  Found: Africa
The Copper-tailed Glossy-Starling has mainly blue plumage; dark purple upper-breast; copper-colored tail; yellow eye; faint black eye-line.
Image by: Emily Damstra


Starling, Golden-breasted  Lamprotornis regius  Found: Africa
The Golden-breasted Starling has greenish-blue iridescent upperparts, upper-breast; golden lower-beast, belly; white eyes.
Image by:   1, 2) Dick Daniels - Birds of Eden, South Africa  3) Dick - San Diego Zoo
    4, 5) Dick - National Aviary  6) Sandy Cole - National Aviary



Starling, Greater Blue-eared Glossy  Lamprotornis chalybaeus  Found: Africa
The Greater Blue-eared Glossy-Starling has glossy blue-green upperparts; purple-blue underparts; yellow or orange eyes.
Similar to: Lesser Blue-eared Glossy-Starling. Greater Blue-eared Glossy-Starling is larger than Lesser Blue-eared Glossy-Starling and has bluer upper-belly and breast.
Similar to: Cape Glossy-Starling. In South Africa, Great Blue-eared Glossy-Starling is only in the extreme northeast. If the bird is found elsewhere in South Africa then it is Cape Glossy Starling.
Image by:  1) Carol Foil - Kenya  2, 3) Dick Daniels - South Africa   3, 4) Dick - Kenya  6) Shankar S - Kenya  7) Joseph Mochoge - Gilgil, Kenya



Starling, Hilderbrandt's  Lamprotornis hildebrandti Found: Kenya and Tanzania
The Hilderbrandt's has mainly blue upperparts; bronze-green wings with blue primaries; purple throat, upper-breast; blue-green tail; orange-buff lower-breast; belly; red eyes.
Similar to: Shelley's Starling. Hilderbrandt's Starling has whitish eyes. Shelley's Starling has orange eyes.
Similar to: Superb Starling. Superb Starling has white breast-band; Hilderbrandt's does not. Superb Starling has whitish eyes; Hilderbrandt's has red eyes.
Image by: 1, 2, 3) Dick Daniels - Tanzania    4, 5, 6, 7, 8) Dick - Kenya



Starling, Iris Glossy-  also  Emerald Starling   Lamprotornis iris  also  Coccycolius iris  Found: west Africa
The Emerald Starling has metalic green upperparts, crown, wings, tail; metalic purple ear coverts, underparts.
Image by:   1, 2) Dick Daniels - North Carolina Zoo   3) Sandy Cole -North Carolina Zoo  4) Dick - San Diego Zoo


Starling, Lesser Blue-eared Glossy-  Lamprotornis chloropterus  Found: Africa
The Lesser Blue-eared Glossy-Starling has glossy blue-green upperparts; purple-blue lower-belly; blue-green upper-belly breast; yellow or orange eyes.
Similar to: Greater Blue-eared Glossy-Starling. Greater Blue-eared Glossy-Starling is larger than Lesser Blue-eared Glossy-Starling and has bluer upper-belly and breast.
Similar to: Cape Glossy-Starling. Lesser Blue-eared Glossy-Starling not found in South Africa. If the bird is found in South Africa then it is Cape Glossy Starling
Image by: 1) Sue Robinson   2) Rennett Stowe


Starling, Long-tailed Glossy-  Lamprotornis chalybaeus  also Lamprotornis Notopholia  Found: tropical Africa
The Long-tailed Glossy-Starling has a very long tail; pale yellow eyes.
Image by: 1, 2) Thomas Hashlam - Senegal  3) JV Verde - Gambia


Starling, Meves's Glossy-  also  Meve's Starling  Lamprotornis mevesii  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Derek Keats - South Africa  2) Nanosanchez -Botswana


Starling, Purple Glossy- Lamprotornis purpureus  Found: Africa
The Purple Glossy-Starling has mainly purple plumage; green wings; yellow eyes.
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - Birds of Eden, South Africa  2) Gerard van Drunen


Starling, Purple-headed Glossy-  Lamprotornis purpureiceps  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Swaysland and Wiener  2) Thejana de Zoysa  3) okirakubirder


Starling, Ruppell's Longtail also Ruppell's Glossy-Starling Lamprotornis purpuroptera  Found: Africa
The Ruppell's Glossy-Starling has mainly dark blue plumage; purple tail; black head; whitish eyes.
Image by: 1) Yoky - Tanzania  2, 3, 4) Dick Daniels - Tanzania  


Starling, Sharp-tailed Glossy-  Lamprotornis acuticaudus  Found: Africa
The Sharp-tailed Glossy-Starling has greenish-blue plumage; black-ear patch; red (male) or orange (female) eyes; narrow wedge-shaped tail.
Image by: 1) Phil Bergan


Starling, Shelley's  Lamprotornis shelleyi  Found: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, and Tanzania.
Shelley's Starling has blue upperparts, upper-breast; chestnut lower-breast; belly, orrange eyes.
Similar to: Hilderbrandt's Starling. Hilderbrandt's Starling has whitish eyes. Shelley's Starling has orange eyes.
Image by: 1) Kenneth Gerlach - Tanzania


Starling, Splendid Glossy-  Lamprotornis splendidus  Found: Africa
The Splendid Glossy-Startling  has mainly purplish-blue plumage with green wings; bronze patch on side of neck; black ear-patch, forehead; pale eyes.
Image by: 1) Paul


Starling, Superb Lamprotornis superbus   Found: Africa
The Superb Starling has greenish-blue upperparts, breast, wings, tail; black head; white waist-band; red-orange belly; whitish eyes.
Similar to: Hilderbrandt's Starling. Superb Starling has white breast-band; Hilderbrandt's does not. Superb Starling has whitish eyes; Hilderbrandt's has red eyes.
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - Birds of Eden, South Africa  2, 3) Dick - Tanzania   4, 5, 6) Dick - San Diego Zoo   7) Sandy Cole - San Diego Zoo  8) Dick -Kenya



Genus Onychognathus
These are African starlings. They are quite similar, and characterised by rufous primary wing feathers, very obvious in flight. The males are typically mainly glossy black, and the females dull dark grey.

Starling, Bristle-crowned  Onychognathus salvadorii  Found: Africa
Image by: 1, 2, 3) Carol Foil - Buffalo Spring Reserve, Samburu District, Kenya


Starling, Chestnut-winged  Onychognathus fulgidus  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Arthur Grosset  2) Aaron Maizlish - Ghana
1) Female  2) Male


Starling, Pale-winged  Onychognathus nabouroup  Found: Africa
The Pale-winged Starling has mainly glossy black plumage; orange eyes; white flight feathers.
Image by: 1) Hans Hillewaert - Namibia  2) Cristiano Crolle - Namib Naukluft, Namibia


Starling, Red-winged  Onychognathus morio  Found: Africa
The male Red-winged Starling has mainly irredescent black plumage; red flight feathers; dark eyes. The female has a gray head and upper-breast, but otherwise resembles the male.
Image by:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9) Dick Daniels - South Africa 7) Sandy Cole - South Africa 
1, 2, 3, 4) Female  5 - 9) Male




Starling, Socotran  Onychognathus frater  Found: Yemen
The male Socotran Starling has mainly irredescent black plumage; red flight feathers; dark eyes. The female has a gray head and upper-breast, but otherwise resembles the male.
Image by: 1) Rod Waddington  2) Toxostoma
1) Female  2) Male


Starling, Slender-billed  Onychognathus tenuirostris  Found: Africa
Image by: Dick Daniels - Nairobi National Park, Kenya


Starling, SomalOnychognathus blythii  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Henrik Gronvold   2, 3) Cesare Dolzani
1) Pair  2) Female  3) Male


Starling, Tristram's  Onychognathus tristramii  Found: northern Africa
The male Tristram's Starling has glossy iridescent glossy black plumage; orange patch on outer wing; black bill, legs. Females and juveniles are similar but duller and with a graish head, breast.
Image by: 1) Shanthanu Bhardwaj - Israel  2) Sergey Yeliseev - Egypt  3)   Oraaaass - Masada


Starling, Waller's  Onychognathus walleri  Found: Africa
The male Waller's Starling has glossy black plumage with red primaries. Female has gray-black plumage. Both have red eyes.
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans  2, 3, 4) Dick Daniels - Keekorok Lodge in the Masai Mara, Kenya
2 - 4) Three photos of the same bird.


Starling, White-billed  Onychognathus albirostris  Found: Eritrea, Ethiopia
Image by: 1) Stephen Davis



Genus  Saroglossa

Starling, Madagascar  Saroglossa aurata  Found: Madagascar
Image by: 1) Found  2) Lee Hunter  3) Jack Haskell



Genus Scissirostrum - 1 species

Starling, Grosbeak  Scissirostrum dubium  Found: Sulawesi, Indonesia
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - San Diego Zoo  2) Dick - National Aviary



Genus Spreo
Sometimes included in genus Lamprotornis. However, Lamprotomis starlings are glossy, these are not.

Starling, Ashy Spreo unicolor   Found: Africa
The Ashy Starling has gray-brown plumage; long tail; yellow eyes.
Image by: 1) Yoky - Tanzania  2) Dick Daniels - Tanzania 3) Yathin Krishnappa


Starling, Fischer's  Spreo fischeri  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Peter Steward - Kenya   2) Franceso Veronesi - Kenya   3) Donald Macauley - Kenya


Starling, Pied  also African Pied StarlingSpreo bicolor  Found: Africa
Image by: 1, 2) Brian Ralphs - Addo National Park in the Eastern Province of South Africa    3, 4) Dick Daniels - Oudtshoorn, South Africa


Starling, White-crowned  Spreo albicapillus  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Kris Maes - Ethiopia



Genus Sturnus

Starling, European also Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris   Native: Europe, Asia Introduced: North America, Africa, Australasia.
European Starling is glossy back to iridescent green depending on lighting conditons. Underparts have white speckles. In summer females have yellow bill, males have yellow bill with blue-gray base. In winter the bill is black.
Similar to: Spotless Starling. European Startling has speckles; Spotless Starling is spotless except for some faint spots in winter plumage.
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - Scotland  2) Dick - California  3) Sandy Cole - National Aviary 4) Dick - Cody, Wyoming   5, 6) Dick Daniels- North Carolina   7) Dick - Capetown, South Africa  8) Dick - Australia
1) Adults and juvenile 2) Juvenile


Starling, Spotless  Sturnus unicolor  Found: Europe, Africa
The Spotless Starling has glossy black plumage; pink legs; yellow bill in summer with bluish (male) or pinkish (female); bill duller in winter.
Similar to: European Starling. European Startling has speckles; Spotless Starling is spotless except for some faint spots in winter plumage.
Image by: 1) Luis Egido  2) Luis Garcia   3) Michael Rosenberg - Spain




MYNAs


Genus Acridotheres

Myna, Common Acridotheres tristis   Native to Asia.  Also found: North America, Africa, Australasia
Image by: 1) Dick Daniels - Nepal  2) Dick - Hawaii   3)  Dick - Johannesburg, South Africa  4, 5, 6) Dick - Australia  7, 8) Dick - Madagascar






OXPECKERs

Order Passeriformes   Family Buphagidae - 1 genus

The ocpeckers were previously considered part of the starling family.


Genus Buphagus

Oxpecker, Red-billed Buphagus erythrorhynchus   Found: Africa
Image by:  1, 7) Joseph Mochoge - Eburu Kenya  2, 5, 6) Dick Daniels - Kenya 3) Dick - Hluhluwe- South Africa  
1) Impala hair visible in upper left of image - used by bird to cushion fragile eggs
2) Thumbnail shows juvenile; main photo has adult and juvenile.



Oxpecker, Yellow-billed Buphagus africanus   Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Arno Meintjes  2) Dick Daniels - Tanzania




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