April 19, 2021

Purple Glossy-Starling Is A Natural Attention Grabber With Its Liquid Metal Look

Burchell’s glossy starlings (scientific name: Lamprotornis purpureus) draw a lot of attention to themselves with their looks and their voices. Standing with their heads flung back and their wings slightly dropped, they belt out a throaty, musical call. Roosting in acacia trees or reed beds, flocks of up to 50 birds might assemble in non-breeding seasons.

This starling species is considered a ‘glossy starlings’, referring to the beautiful sheen of the feathers. It’s as common in parts of its range as robins are in the United States.

© James Kennerley

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

©Eric francois Roualet

Purple Glossy Starling pairs engage in courtship behavior that includes jumping on the ground with wings trailing and singing to one another. Preferred nesting sites include thorn bushes, low bushes, and cliff hollows. Purple Glossy Starlings prefer to nest in holes found in old trees, which they line with feathers and plant material. Males and females share responsibility for nest construction.

Hatchlings are cared for not only by the parents, but also by related and non-related younger birds, especially during years of unpredictable rainfall.

© James Kennerley

They are “passerine” birds, meaning they perch in trees. Starlings have large feet, well made for walking. They waddle rather than hop when on the ground.

As you can see from the photos, this species of bird has some very strong, beautiful colors and features. The plumage above is glossy blue or green. The under parts may be blue, purple, yellow or brown. Most have yellow or red irises. Some have long tails

The purple in its name comes from its face and chest, which are a rich, shiny violet.

© James Kennerley

Here are some visuals showing how vivid these birds are:

© Josep del Hoyo