Golden breasted starling Golden breasted starling
Golden-Breasted Starling

Scientific Classification

Common Name
golden-breasted starling, royal starling
Genus Species
Lamprotornis regius

Fast Facts

The golden-breasted starling is a small bird with a bright, blue tail and back. These birds have a green head, white eyes, and blue-violet wings. The breast and belly are yellow.
30 to 37.5 cm (12 to 15 in.); wingspan 11.5 to 13 cm (4.6 to 5.6 in.)
These birds feed primarily on insects with termites being a favorite. They catch the termites by opening their ground tunnels with rapid flicks of their bill.
11 to 14 days
Clutch Size
3 to 5 eggs
Fledging Duration
Approximately 3 weeks
Life Span
12 to 14 years
This species has a very large range and can be found in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Tanzania.
The total population is unknown but scientists believe that there are at least 10,000 mature individuals. The population is stable and not severely fragmented. The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as locally common.

IUCN: Least Concern
CITES: Not listed
USFWS: Not listed

Fun Facts

In some regions, starlings are also referred to as grackles.

These birds live in small family groups of 3 to 12 members and are very noisy.

Golden-breasted starlings exhibit cooperative breeding, where group members assist with nest-building and feeding the young. In this sort of arrangement, breeding females often solicit food from other members of the group to feed to the young. She crouches and quivers while gaping and vocalizing. The group either ignores her and feeds the young themselves, or gives her part of the food to feed the young, or gives her all the food.

This species will nest in tree cavities often constructed and abandoned by woodpeckers.

Ecology and Conservation

Starlings have been intentionally introduced to North America, Hawaii, and Australia to aid in insect control.

The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats


Austin, G. Birds of the World. Golden Press, Inc., New York. 1961.

Gotch, A.F. Birds - Their Latin Names Explained. Poole, Dorst: Blandford Press, 1981.

Perrins, C. Birds: Their Life, Their Ways, Their World. New York: The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. 1979.

Perrins, C. M. and A. L.A. Middleton, eds. The Encyclopedia of Birds. New York: Facts on File Pub. 1985.

Perrins, C. M. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Birds: The Definitive Reference to Birds of the World. New York: Prentice Hall Press. 1990.

BirdLife International 2016. Lamprotornis regius . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22710817A94262230. Downloaded on 12 March 2020.

Photo Credit: Golden-breasted_starling_(Cosmopsarus_regius).jpg. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Image by: ErgoSum88. Year Created: 2 March 2008. Website: License: CC by SA 3.0.