The Violet-backed Starling (Cinnyricinclusleucogaster) fits the family of birds categorized as Sturnidae. This species, also known as the Plum-coloured Starling or Amethyst Starling, is the tiniest of the Southern African starlings, about 18cm in length. It is a popular breeder and is thankfully not listed as a threatened species.
What will I learn?
The scientific name of this Violet-backed starling is Cinnyricinclus leucogaster. An additional name is a plum-coloured starling. There is much more to know about this bird. Following are some interesting points about Violet-backed starling.
7 Interesting Facts About Violet-Backed Starling
This amethyst starling seems very captivating and innocent. Following are some facts about general and specific characteristics, behaviour, habitat, and nesting.
1. General Features:
The weight of plum-coloured starling is 45 g. They have a black bill and legs, and a yellow outer ring around a brown centre of the eyes. The genders are two in feathers. The male’s upper body is shiny purple, involving the chin, throat, and wings. The lower body parts are pure white. The colour pattern varies from dark to rosy dependent on the light.
The female does not have any of the colourful plumage. The forehead to the neck and the sides of the head is brown with a dark central mark on the quills.
The cloak, buttocks, quills, and tail of the female are dark brown with softer margins. The primary barbs have reddish-brown inner grids. Her bottoms are white with dark central streaks which are widest on the breast.
2. Violet-Backed Starling – Gender:
The genders are strongly sexually dimorphic, implying that there is a definite difference in the physical appearance of the male and female birds. The reproducing male is brightly coloured, with feathers a lustrous shining plum violet colour along the length of is back, feathers, face, and oesophagus, differing with bright white on the rest of the body.
Females and the young ones have a striped brown and polish colour and can easily be confused with thrush.
3. Family Life:
In contrast to other shiny starlings, the plum-coloured or Violet-backed starling spends little time on the field. Usually, they are living in small flocks, occasionally engage in sexual segregation. They usually live in couples or family when breeding.
These starlings do no make too much noise than others, these starlings are monogamous species, and will be married unless its mate dies.
Under those conditions, it will search for a new mate to start a family again. These starlings are usually spotted in tiny flocks in summer, shortly before the breeding period when they will break away into pairs to nest.
4. Violet-Backed Starling – Nesting:
Violet-backed starlings will nest in spaces such as tree holes high above the ground, holes in river shorelines, even in old cavity fence posts, covering the nests with dung, leaves and other plant stuff.
In consecutive breeding seasons, they reuse their nests. They lay oval-shaped eggs having blue spots on them. These eggs take incubation time for almost 2 weeks. It is thought that only the female nurtures the eggs, but both adults nourish the offspring.
5. Violet-Coloured Starling Breeding:
Experts call these plum-coloured starlings as solitary and monogamous breeders. Their reproduction period is from October to February in Botswana and October to January in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The nests of these Violet-backed starlings seem typically built up in a tree hole, 2 to 6 meter above the ground and in empty posts. Both genders take in green leaves and other stuff to construct the nest.
The base of their nest is ding. They normally lay two to four eggs. Their eggs have a pale blue colour with a spotted reddish-brown colouration on the heavier end of the oval shape. The female member of the family incubates the eggs for 12 to 14 days or two weeks approximately.
6. Distribution & Habitat:
Takes Place across a lot of sub-Saharan Africa, excluding Somalia and central DRC, from Senegal to Ethiopia south to southern Africa. Here it is the seasonal commonplace to plentiful from northern Namibia and Botswana to Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and north-eastern South Africa, usually choosing along the river forest and savanna woodland.
These magnificent Violet-backed starling birds belong, intra-African refugees, have discovered in much of sub-Saharan Africa – normally in woodland, grassland, or riverine areas.
However, they are highly anticipated, common summer visitors and rangers and guests at Sabi Sabi welcome and greet their brightly coloured arrival. These birds move towards the north in winter, left us all wishing for its bright flashes of violet colour to appear once more.
7. Violet-Backed Staring – Food & Care:
Such as all starlings, these are omnivores and eat both fruit (mulberries and figs) and insects (bees, wasps, butterflies, and locusts). They are skilled at capturing prey both on the wing or off tree branches.
When insects swarm, the Violet-backed starlings start moving out in plenty, eating these insects, taking their prey back to an isolated area like a nest to rip and eat it.
This bird eats insects and fruit, collecting food from leaves and branches of trees and sometimes hawking prey in the air. Their favourite food items include in its diet like insects, termite alates, fruits, Celtis, cats-whiskers, shepherds-tree, mulberry, and mistletoes.
Moreover, purple starlings consume a wide range of food, containing moths, snails, katydids, spiders. Other food sources are tree frogs, invertebrates, carrion, lizards, and various types of buds. fruits, and many sprouts. As well as most Violet-backed starlings, they are not above looting the nests of other birds by taking the nestlings and chickens.
In conclusion, we have discussed the whole guide about the violet-backed starling. You will get to know the origin, distribution, habitats and family life of this plum coloured bird. This beautiful bird has its way of nesting and breeding. What to feed these starlings mentioned above with detail.
Hence, we have also defined the key features to separate the male and female plum coloured starlings. Hence, read this article to know all about the violet-backed starling.