Birds of Uganda – Violet-Backed Starling

As we have mentioned before, there is an absolutely enormous amount of diversity of life in Uganda. It’s equatorial location paired with plentiful natural waterways & lakes (even the Nile is born in Uganda) makes it the ideal place for a variety of wildlife so dense it almost makes your head spin. There are (well) over 1000 confirmed bird species alone. And what birds, some of them look like runway models!
Close up of a purple bird

Image of male Violet-backed Starling from Stark Photography under CC 4.0

Birds of Fashion

This series features some of the fabulous bird species of this amazing country. We’ll kick it off with a look at Violet-backed Starlings (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster). These handsome birds (we say that because only the boys really stand out) are also called Plum-coloured or Amethyst Starlings for very obvious reasons.

A purple bird sitting on some fruit

Image of male Violet-backed Starling from _paVan_ under CC 2.0

Partners for Life

While stunningly beautiful, Violet-backs are the smallest starling found in Southern Africa, growing only to about 18cm long. They also tend to be less ‘chatty’ (noisey) than other members of the starling family. There is a distinct & obvious physical difference between the genders (sorry ladies) the females aren’t nearly as showy as the males. However, they are a monogamous species, so once the plain Jane gets her flashy mate, he is hers for life.

A brown bird

Image of female Violet-backed Starling from Sharp Photography under CC 4.0

Amethyst Starling Lifestyle

All starlings are omnivorous birds, meaning they eat fruit (Violet-backs love figs) & a variety of insects (including bees, wasps & locust) of which Uganda has more than plenty! They can be found across most of sub-Saharan Africa, preferring woodlands, grasslands or riparian (riverside) areas. Luckily this little gem-colored bird seems to be a good breeder & their population numbers aren’t currently in danger.

Two purple birds in the branches of a tree

Image of male Violet-backed Starlings from Bernard DUPONT under CC 4.0

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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