Cinnyricinclus leucogaster (Violet-backed starling, Plum-coloured starling) 

Witborsspreeu [Afrikaans]; Incuphabulongo [Swazi]; Xinwavulombe [Tsonga]; amethistspreeuw [Dutch]; Spréo améthyste [French]; Amethystglanzstar [German]; Estorinho-de-dorso-violeta [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Sturnidae

Cinnyricinclus leucogaster (Violet-backed starling, Plum-coloured starling)  Cinnyricinclus leucogaster (Violet-backed starling, Plum-coloured starling) 
Violet-backed starling male. [photo Callie de Wet ©] Violet-backed starling female, Kruger National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]
Cinnyricinclus leucogaster (Violet-backed starling, Plum-coloured starling)  Cinnyricinclus leucogaster (Violet-backed starling, Plum-coloured starling) 
Violet-backed starling male, Erongo Mountains, Namibia. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ©] Violet-backed starling female, Erongo Mountains, Namibia. [photo Johann Grobbelaar ©]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs across much of sub-Saharan Africa, excluding Somalia and central DRC, from Senegal to Ethiopia south to southern Africa. Here it is seasonally common to abundant from northern Namibia and Botswana to Zimbabwe, Mozambique and north-eastern South Africa, generally preferring riverine forest and savanna woodland.

Distribution of Violet-backed starling in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project (© Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Predators and parasites

It has been recorded as prey of Falco peregrinus (Peregrine falcon).

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Lesser honeyguide.

Movements and migrations

Intra-African migrant, living in tropical Africa before heading south to southern Africa to breed, mainly arriving in September. It often moves locally in response to tree's fruiting cycles, eventually leaving around May.

Food 

It eats insects and fruit, gleaning food from leaves and branches and occasionally hawking prey aerially. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • Insects
  • Fruit
    • Celtis (stinkwood)
    • Rotheca myricoides (Cats-whiskers)
    • Boscia albitrunca (Shepherds-tree)
    • mistletoes
      • Tapinanthus oleifolius
      • Tapinanthus leendertziae
    • Morus alba (Mulberry)

Breeding

  • The nest is a structure built of coarse plant material and leaves, typically placed in a tree cavity or hollow fence post.
  • Egg-laying season is from October-March.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 12-14 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents on a diet of mainly insects, leaving the nest after about 17-21 days.

Threats

Not threatened.

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

 

 

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