Birds of Uganda – Superb Starling

Given it’s equatorial location & abundant fresh water, the sheer density of wildlife in Uganda can make your head spin. There are (way) over 1000 confirmed bird species found in the country alone. And what birds, some of them look like runway models! We have already looked at the Violet-backs, Red-wings & Wattled Starlings, so today lets meet another member of the starling family, the Superb Starling (or Lamprotornis superbus).
Perched blue and chestnut bird

Image of Superb Starling from Sumeet Moghe under CC 3.0

Birds of Fashion

The Superb Starling may be small, but makes up for it’s stature in sheer brilliance. Their distinct plumage is full of metallic blues, greens & chestnuts with bright white accents. Immature birds are darker in both eye & plumage color. This is one of those lucky starlings that has no major physical differences between the males & females. They are all pretty!

Bird in a tree with raised wings

Superb Starling

Family Ties

The Superb Starlings prefer their nests anywhere from 5-20 feet above the ground & they often select Acacia trees for their homes. These social birds live in large ‘family’ groups & are cooperative breeders. Chicks are raised not only by both parents, but outside helpers (generally male offspring from previous broods) also collect material for the nest & help to feed the young. In fact, Superb Starlings have one of the most complicated social systems known of any bird.

Bird in a tree with raised wings

Superb Starling

Superb Lifestyle

Like most starlings, the Superb Starling is an omnivorous bird, meaning they eat fruit, berries, nectar & a variety of insects. Their habitat is mainly savanna grasslands (often in the vicinity of thorn bush or Acacia trees), woodlands, near lakes, in gardens or cultivated fields. These merry groups of birds prefer living in Acacia trees, also favored by the most aggressive species of ants. This could just be a coincidence, but seems likely that the ants indirectly protect the nests when defending their own homes.

Bird in a tree with raised wings

Superb Starling

More Birdwatching

We are excited to embark on this fun new series of posts & can’t wait to share more about the amazing bird species that make up the diverse wildlife of Uganda. Stay tuned for more to come & in the meantime, perhaps you should come visit Uganda & meet some of them for yourself!

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