Monday, June 9, 2014

Superb Starling

As we were walking down a path toward our room at the Sarova Shaba Lodge, located in Shaba Natonal Reserve in northern Kenya, one of the other members of our tour who had already checked in commented about the colorful birds we would see in the trees on our way.  We slowed down, started looking around, and saw some brilliantly colored birds in the trees and walking on the grass. 

The name, superb starling, gives you a hint about what the person who named them thought of them. The black bill and face, with pale yellow eyes, is ordinary enough. But then, from the front, you see a purple neck, a royal blue breast, then a white stripe followed by orange down the rest of the underside. 
Superb starling in Sarova NR, Kenya.
From the back, metallic looking iridescent blue, purple and green flow from the top of the head down the back and into the wings and tail feathers, like one of Andrew's modern art paintings. The orange underside and a white patch near the tail also flash out from beneath. 
Backside of superb starling.
I was surprised to learn these were starlings. Where I'm from starlings are trash birds. But these, well, they're superb. The superb starling is found in East Africa in Kenya and Tanzania, as well as Ethiopia, Somalia, and Uganda and is quite common.   
This superb starling was found in Serengeti NP. The legs and feet look much like our ordinary robin.


  1. He looks part parrot with all that colorful plumage. Superb indeed!

  2. He could be one of Andrew's shiny paintings.