Lamprotornis australis (Burchell's Starling)

Grootglansspreeu [Afrikaans]; Ndjundju (generic term for starling) [Kwangali]; Kwezu leri kulu [Tsonga]; LegŰdilÍ [Tswana]; Grote glansspreeuw [Dutch]; Choucador de Burchell [French]; Riesenglanzstar, Glanzelstar [German]; Estorninho de Burchell [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 > Genus: Lamprotornis

Lamprotornis australis (Burchell's Starling) Lamprotornis australis (Burchell's Starling)

Burchell's starling, Waterberg, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Burchell's starling, South Africa. [photo Arno Meintjes ©].

Distribution and habitat

Occurs from southern Angola and western Zambia to southern Africa, where it is locally common in Namibia, Botswana and northern South Africa. It generally prefers open woodland and savanna, especially with Camel thorn (Acacia erioloba) and Knob thorn (Acacia nigrescens) trees.

Distribution of Burchell's 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 Aquila wahlbergi (Wahlberg's eagle).

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Great spotted cuckoo.


It mainly eats arthropods, supplemented with small vertebrates and fruit, doing most of its foraging on the ground. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • The nest (see image below) is usually a tree cavity, either natural or an abandoned woodpecker or barbet nest. It may also use a crevice in a cliff, hole in a building or a nest box, lining the egg chamber with grass, green leaves and feathers and sometimes cloth, paper, string and snake skin. 
Lamprotornis australis (Burchell's Starling)  

Burchell's starling at its nest hollow, Sericea farm, South Africa. [photo Warwick Tarboton ©]

  • Egg-laying season is from October-April.
  • It lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 14 days.
  • The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 20-24 days.


Not threatened.


  • 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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