Family Starlings (Sturnidae)

Least Concern

Superb Starling (Lamprotornis superbus)


French: Choucador superbe German: Dreifarben-Glanzstar Spanish: Estornino soberbio

Lamprocolius superbus


, 1845,

Shoa, Ethiopia


Proposed race excelsior (from N Tanzania), supposedly with longer wing and tail, is inseparable from birds in rest of species’ range. Monotypic.


SE South Sudan, NE Uganda, S, C & E Ethiopia, Somalia (except NE) and Kenya S to C Tanzania.

Descriptive notes

18 cm; 52–77 g. Small, short-tailed starling with distinctive plumage pattern. Crown and ear-coverts are bronzy black, nape, mantle, back and rump glossy blue-green,... read more


Song, often given for extended periods from shady trees during hottest hours of day, a long and... read more


Open woodland, including very arid country; also lakeshore woodlands, cultivated areas and gardens... read more

Food and feeding

Diet chiefly insects, such as beetles (Coleoptera), ants (Formicidae), flies (Diptera), termites (Isoptera), grasshoppers (Orthoptera),... read more


Oct–Feb in Ethiopia and Mar–Jun in Somalia; recorded in all months, with peaks Mar–Apr and Nov–Dec; in E Africa, on... read more


Presumed resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Widespread and abundant within its range. Common in many national parks and other protected areas.

Recommended citation

Craig, A. & Feare, C. (2020). Superb Starling (Lamprotornis superbus). 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 20 February 2020).