Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Least Concern

African Pied Starling (Lamprotornis bicolor)


French: Spréo bicolore German: Zweifarb-Glanzstar Spanish: Estornino bicolor

Turdus bicolor

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa


Formerly, this species, L. albicapillus and L. fischeri were usually placed in genus Spreo, but genetic data#R indicate that latter is embedded in present genus. Monotypic.


South Africa (except NW, N & E), Lesotho and extreme W Swaziland.

Descriptive notes

25 cm; 93–113 g. Medium-sized dark starling with pale eye. Crown, nape and upperparts are blackish-brown with some greenish sheen; wing and tail blackish with oily... read more


Song a rambling combination of musical warbling and harsh notes; male may sing for several minutes... read more


Open areas dominated by grassland, and long associated with agricultural regions and open ground... read more

Food and feeding

Omnivorous. Animal food includes carrion, such as toads (Amphibia) squashed on roads; also small lizards, ticks (Acarina), solifugids (... read more


Aug–Nov in SW (winter-rainfall region); elsewhere Sept–Jan and with second minor peak in Apr–May; some breeding records... read more


Mainly sedentary; large nomadic flocks in some regions.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common to abundant; uncommon and more local at extremities of range; rare in arid NW and largely absent from E coastal lowlands. Generally widespread... read more

Recommended citation

Craig, A. & Feare, C. (2020). African Pied Starling (Lamprotornis bicolor). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 28 February 2020).