Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Least Concern

Lesser Blue-eared Starling (Lamprotornis chloropterus)


French: Choucador de Swainson German: Messingglanzstar Spanish: Estornino de Swainson

Lamprotornis chloropterus


, 1838,

Western Africa


Races sometimes treated as two distinct species, based mainly on notably more rufous underparts of juveniles (adults almost indistinguishable, and their call notes likewise#R). Proposed race cyanogenys (described from Sennar, in Sudan) is regarded as a synonym of nominate. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. c. chloropterus Swainson, 1838 – Lesser Blue-eared Starling – Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, extreme S Mauritania#R, N Sierra Leone, S Mali and N Ivory Coast E to E & S Chad, Central African Republic, S Sudan, South Sudan, NW DRCongo, W Ethiopia, Eritrea, N & C Uganda and NW Kenya (Kongelai Escarpment).
  • L. c. elisabeth (Stresemann, 1924) – Miombo Blue-eared Starling – C & S Tanzania, SE DRCongo, Zambia and Malawi S to extreme NE Namibia (E Caprivi Strip), W Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
  • Descriptive notes

    18 cm; 63–86 g. Small glossy starling with relatively short tail. Nominate race has forehead, crown, nape and upperparts glossy blue-green, some dark spots near tips of... read more


    Song a simple phrase of 6–12 notes, rendered as e.g. "chip chirrew kwip kreeup kwip krip... read more


    Woodland of various types. Mainly in savanna woodland, farmland and bushland in W & N parts of... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet fruit, nectar and insects. Fruit of Sterculia quinqueloba, Ficus natalensis, and exotics Azadirachta and... read more


    Season Feb–Apr in Nigeria (probably also in Ghana); in DRCongo, Mar in N (Uele region) but Sept–Oct in SE (Shaba region); Jun... read more


    Presumed resident in most areas, with only very local movements. In Nigeria seasonal shifts linked... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common in many areas within its wide range; true status difficult to assess, as often confused with similar species.... read more

    Recommended citation

    Craig, A., Feare, C. & de Juana, E. (2020). Lesser Blue-eared Starling (Lamprotornis chloropterus). 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).