Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Least Concern

Chestnut-bellied Starling (Lamprotornis pulcher)


French: Choucador à ventre roux German: Rotbauch-Glanzstar Spanish: Estornino ventrirrufo

Turdus pulcher

Statius Müller

, 1776,



Formerly sometimes placed in genus Spreo, but genetic data#R show that to be embedded in present genus. Proposed race rufiventris (described from N Ethiopia) considered indistinguishable from individuals in rest of species’ range. Monotypic.


Throughout Sahel region, from S Mauritania, Senegal and Gambia, S Mali, and N Ghana E to SC Sudan, N Eritrea and NW Ethiopia.

Descriptive notes

20 cm; 59–76 g. Small, short-tailed, rather dull starling with rufous below. Crown and ear-coverts are charcoal-grey with faint gloss, lores darker, nape and upperparts... read more


Song consists of soft, liquid notes. Call in flocks "whirri whirri"; alarm and mobbing... read more


Dry thornbush savanna and steppe, also cultivated areas and villages; occurs in dry scrubby areas... read more

Food and feeding

Diet mainly insects, including ants (Formicidae), bugs (Hemiptera), flies (Diptera), beetles (Coleoptera), termites (Isoptera) and... read more


Season extended, and often two distinct periods; recorded in all months in Senegal, Apr–Jul in Gambia, Apr–Nov in Mali, Jun... read more


Presumed resident; local movements likely in arid habitat with unpredictable conditions. Ranges... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Locally common to uncommon; abundant in some areas, e.g. Sudan. Rare in N Ghana and N Togo. Wide range in thinly populated regions.

Recommended citation

Craig, A. & Feare, C. (2020). Chestnut-bellied Starling (Lamprotornis pulcher). 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 25 February 2020).