Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Hildebrandt's Starling

As I was going through my pictures after our trip to Africa, I noticed some differences in my pictures of what I thought were superb starlings. Some had pale yellow eyes and some had orange eyes. Some had a white stripe on the chest and others didn't. It turns out we were seeing two different species of starling. The superb starling has the pale yellow eyes and white chest stripe. Hildebrand't starling has the orange eyes and no white stripe.  
Superb starling with pale yellow eye and white stripe on chest.
Hildebrandt's starling with orange eye and no white chest stripe.
On closer inspection, the Hildebrandt's starling colors seem a little less differentiated. The black and the blue on the throat blend together more and the orange on the underside does not seem quite as bright and it goes from light to darker down near the legs, although much of that could be the light we were viewing them in. 
Hildebrand't starling in Ngorongoro Crater.
Hildebrandt's starling is not distributed as widely as the superb starling, it is only found in Kenya and Tanzania, and it is less common. It is named after Johannes Hildebrant, a German, the first European collector of the specimen. I photographed this Hildebrandt's starling in the Lerai Forest in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. 

1 comment: