Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Least Concern

Greater Blue-eared Starling (Lamprotornis chalybaeus)


French: Choucador à oreillons bleus German: Grünschwanz-Glanzstar Spanish: Estornino orejiazul

Lamprotornis chalybaeus

Hemprich and Ehrenberg

, 1828,

Ambukol, Dongla district, Sudan


Race nordmanni sometimes treated as a synonym of sycobius. Proposed race hartlaubi (described from Senegal), formerly used for N populations (E to Sudan), is regarded as synonymous with nominate. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. c. chalybaeus Hemprich & Ehrenberg, 1828 – S Mauritania, Senegambia, S Mali, Burkina Faso, S Niger and N Nigeria E to S Sudan and N South Sudan; dry-season visitor to N Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and Benin.
  • L. c. cyaniventris Blyth, 1855 – Eritrea, Ethiopia, NW Somalia, N Uganda, E DRCongo and N Kenya, probably also adjacent SE South Sudan.
  • L. c. sycobius (Hartlaub, 1859) – SW Uganda, S Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, SE DRCongo, N & E Zambia, Malawi and W Mozambique.
  • L. c. nordmanni (E. J. O. Hartert & Neumann, 1914) – S Angola and N Namibia E to N & E Botswana, S Zambia, Zimbabwe, NE South Africa and S Mozambique.
  • Descriptive notes

    21–24 cm; 79–106 g. Fairly large starling with proportionately short tail. Nominate race has forehead, crown, nape and upperparts blue-green, blue sheen on... read more


    Song, often in chorus from trees, a rambling jumble of notes with whining tone. Flight call a... read more


    Inhabits dry savanna woodland, in W Africa extending into desert zone. In E & S parts of range... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet primarily fruit and insects. Fruit of Ficus, Salvadora persica, Trichilia emetica, Carissa edulis... read more


    Season mainly Jun–Aug in W Africa; Apr–Jun in Sudan, and May–Sept in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia; Mar–Jun in... read more


    Presumed resident in most areas. At Nakuru, in Kenya, marked exodus and few birds present Nov... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to locally not uncommon; widespread. Population in Kruger National Park, in South Africa, estimated at more than 32,000 individuals; in S... read more

    Recommended citation

    Craig, A. & Feare, C. (2020). Greater Blue-eared Starling (Lamprotornis chalybaeus). 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).