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Greater Blue-eared Starling | Lamprotornis chalybaeus

The Greater Blue-eared Starling is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Sturnidae bird family group which includes birds such as Starlings, Mynans, Oxpeckers.

The description for the Greater Blue-eared Starling (Latin name Lamprotornis chalybaeus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Lamprotornis chalybaeus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 765 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 964. You will find a picture of the Greater Blue-eared Starling on page 976.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

Neither the Latin nor the Engish name for this bird has been affected by recent nomenclature modifications ? these changes have been incorporated into Robert's 7th Edition where appropriate.

The Greater Blue-eared Starling is known in Afrikaans as Groot-blouoorglansspreeu.

The Greater Blue-eared Starling has a height of 22 cms and weighs around 90 gms. The head is coloured blue while the bill is coloured black. The Lamprotornis chalybaeus has a blue coloured throat, black legs and a blue, green coloured back. The eyes are grey.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is blue

Eyes are grey

Bill is black

Legs are black

Throat is blue

Back is blue, green

Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground

The Lamprotornis chalybaeus attacks its prey aerially and feeds on wing or takes the prey to a secluded venue where it is killed, torn into small pieces and eaten

This bird eats insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. These invertebrates are usually hawked aerially, killed and then eaten .

The Lamprotornis chalybaeus forages mainly on the ground or at the base of trees, and low down in the shrubs eating mostly fruits and seeds.

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Greater Blue-eared Starling is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 2 to 5 eggs and they are coloured purple.

The bird builds its nest within a tree cavity just a few meters above the ground. The hole in the tree is normally reused in the next nesting season.

The Greater Blue-eared Starling is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

The bird is found in the African bushveld

The bird is at home in riverine forests and close to water bodies such as lakes, dams and streams

The bird is an urban dweller as well, being at home in parks, gardens and in old vacated buildings

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The Greater Blue-eared Starling is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.

It is also seen in flocks

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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