Lamprotornis elisabeth (Miombo Blue-eared starling, Lesser blue-eared starling) 

[= Lamprotornis chloropterus

Klein-blouoorglansspreeu [Afrikaans]; Ndjundju (generic term for starling) [Kwangali]; Hwirigwiri (generic name for glossy starling) [Shona]; Blauwoor-glansspreeuw [Dutch]; Choucador élisabeth [French]; Messingglanzstar [German]; Estorninho-pequeno-d'orelha-azul [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 elisabeth (Miombo Blue-eared starling, Lesser blue-eared starling)   

Miombo Blue-eared starling, Kenya. [photo Tom Horton ©]


Distribution and habitat

Occurs in patches from southern Kenya and Tanzania through Zambia and Malawi to southern Africa. Here it is locally common in Zimbabwe and north-central Mozambique, marginally extending into the Caprivi Strip, Namibia. It generally prefers miombo (Brachystegia) woodland in the breeding season, however in it may move into savanna woodland at other times in the year.

Distribution of Miombo blue-eared 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).


It mainly forages on the ground, eating fruit, nectar and insects, especially grasshoppers (Orthoptera), beetles (Coleoptera) and termites.


  • The nest is a shallow cup set into a pad of leaves or feathers, typically placed in a tree cavity, either natural or or excavated by woodpeckers or barbets.
  • Egg-laying season peaks from September-March.
  • It lays 2-5 pale blue-green eggs, speckled with rusty red and grey.
  • Very little is known about the chicks, other than that they are fed by both parents.


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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