Greater Blue-Eared Starling

  • SCIENTIFIC NAME: Lamprotornis chalybaeus

  • SWAHILI NAME: Kuzi Macho-njano

These brilliant blue birds with black masks compete fiercely with parrots and other starlings for preferred nesting sites in tree trunks.

Greater Blue-Eared Starling

Greater Blue-Eared Starling



Daily Rhythm





80-110 g


Length: 21-24 cm

Greater Blue-Eared Starling

Trivia Question

Why have starlings evolved to gather in such large flocks?


Flying in groups helps protect them from predators; large schools of fish use the same tactic.

Social Structure

All starlings are known for their gregarious nature, and greater blue-eared starlings are no exception: more than 400 individuals form large roosts in reed beds, bushes, or thorn trees, and these gatherings often contain other starling species.


A range of songs and calls are often issued in a chorus from a tree where a group has gathered.


These starlings forage for food by hopping on the ground. They also perch on the back of sheep, African buffalo, blue wildebeest, and Burchell’s zebra to search for invertebrate prey.


Least concern


Greater blue-eared starlings primarily consume fruit and insects, as well as agave nectar and cereal grain.


Monogamous pairs nest in holes in tree trunks excavated by other birds or created by natural causes; they sometimes line nests with grass, feathers, and other materials. Females incubate eggs, which hatch in about fourteen days, and both parents feed chicks.

Friends & Foes

Peregrine falcons may prey on these starlings, while great spotted cuckoos and greater honeyguides parasitize nests.

Population in Kenya

Greater blue-eared starlings are found more often on the west side of Kenya but can also be seen along the coastal belt.

Range & Habitat

These birds are found in an east-west band across sub-Saharan Africa as well as scattered throughout parts of southern Africa.

These starlings prefer dry savanna woodland as well as more humid woodlands and other cultivated areas and gardens.

Did you know?

Starlings have been known to imitate sounds in human environments, such as phones and cars.