Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Superb Starling

Lamprotornis superbus

The Superb Starling is a small bird with metallic green and blue feathers on it’s chest, back, and wings, as well as a duller black on the top of it’s head. Additionally, the superb starling has white under the wing and tail base, with yellow eyes. The superb starling feeds in groups on the ground, often near towns and fields.

Range & Habitat

The Superb Starling is found in the regions of Northeast Africa, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, and the Sudan. It is often found living in the woodland, thorny bush, and acacia country. Additionally, it can often be found near humans, even sometimes living within cities.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

The Superb Starling was listed as Least Concern in 2016 on the IUCN. The superb starling is abundant and widespread in its native habitat and is therefore in no immediate danger.

Diet

In the wild: Insects, berries, fruit, and seeds
At the zoo: Pellet-based diet with insects and chopped fruits and vegetables

Life Span

Both in the wild and in captivity, the superb starling can live up to 15 years. The superb starling lays 2 to 5 eggs at a time, which hatch after 13 -15 days of incubation.

Fun Facts about the Superb Starling

  • Newborn chicks receive alloparental care, meaning they are cared for by both parents and unrelated members of the group, called “helpers”.
  • Superb starlings are cooperative breeders, meaning there are other ranks of pairs, such as nonbreeding and non-helping individuals, who are ranked at different levels.
  • Males and females look alike, with similar bright colors, because both the male and female must compete to breed, instead of just the male.
  • Superb starling can sometimes be aggressive around other pairs, often taking over the nesting sites of other birds.

Sources

Guffey, W. (2018, September 25). Species fact sheets [PDF]. http://aviansag.org/Fact_Sheets/PACCT/superb_starling.pdf

Superb starling [Fact sheet]. (n.d.). Conservation Society of California. Retrieved April 1, 2021, from https://www.oaklandzoo.org/animals/superb-starling

Superb starling [Fact sheet]. (n.d.). Utah's Hogle Zoo. Retrieved April 1, 2021, from https://www.hoglezoo.org/meet_our_animals/animal_finder/superb_starling/

Updated August 19, 2021
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