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Starling: Greater Blue-eared

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa
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JenB
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Starling: Greater Blue-eared

Unread postby JenB » Sun Mar 29, 2009 1:10 pm

Greater Blue-eared Starling
Lamprotornis chalybaeus

Afrikaans: Groot-blouoorglansspreeu

Identification:
Size medium, very similar to Glossy Starling, more satiny lustrous all over. Dark blue ear coverts contrast strongly with green head colouring (much less contrast in Glossy Starling). Entirely shiny blue-green, belly glossed royal blue (magenta in Lesser Blue-eared- and blue-green in Glossy Starling). Ear coverts deep purple, wrist purplish copper. 2 rows of black spots on wing coverts (as in Glossy- only one row in Lesser Blue-eared Starling). Eye bright orange. Immature: Dull brownish black with only a slight gloss, eye grey.

Distribution:
Africa South of Sahara, in Southern Africa confined to NE from Zululand, Transvaal lowveld and Mozambique to Limpopo valley, Zimbabwe, N Botswana and N Namibia.

Status:
Common resident, nomadic at edges of range.

Habitat:
Open woodland, savanna, riverine forest, bushveld, usually with fairly tall dense ground cover.

Habits:
In pairs when breeding otherwise gregarious in large flocks. Forages mostly by running around on the ground. Tame in game reserves, taking scraps from tables. Flocks sing in chorus from perches in trees. Flight fast and directed with loud swishing wingbeats. Roosts communally in trees or reedbeds.

Food
Fruit, insects, seeds.

Breeding
Season: August to November in Transvaal, August to January (mainly Sept - Nov) in Zimbabwe.
Nest:
Pad of grass, feathers and snakeskin in natural hole in tree or hollow fence pole.
Clutch:
2-5 eggs
Eggs:
Pale greenish blue, plain or spotted with red-brown and greyish mainly at thick end.
(Source: Roberts)

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Ludwig
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby Ludwig » Wed May 12, 2010 3:01 pm

Hello birders,

working on my most recent pictures from Krugerpark I have to recognise:
The more I try the less I can!

I am still not able to identify some birds. Are you willing to help me?

Best regards,

Ludwig


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#12

Image
#13

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#14
Last edited by Ludwig on Fri May 14, 2010 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Niall
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby Niall » Thu May 13, 2010 11:49 am

Hi Ludwig

The Starlings are never easy, as the amount of blue and green iridescence varies widely in different light.

Cape Glossy Starling normally shows a more green tinge, with greenish belly. Greater Blue eared shows a bluer tinge, with a blue belly. From what I can make out on your pics, where the colours are even more stark from the flash, I would say 12-14 look like Greater Blue eared. It is not easy to say for sure from photos though.

Cheers

Niall.

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Re: Starling: Greater Blue-eared

Unread postby Leeukos » Sun Sep 26, 2010 7:17 pm

I took the following pictures of a Starling at Pretorius Kop in September this year. I always see these birds at picnic spots throughout the Kruger, but had to spend some time to identify them. There were 2 other species that were similar, and I hope I have identified them correctly. :?

Image 1
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Image 2
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Image 3
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby mvtm » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:33 pm

I dont know a thing about birds, but please i'll like to identify these. Kruger in December
Sorry if images are large. So you can appreciate the best.

Image
Image
Image

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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby mattib » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:37 pm

your bird is a Glossy starling, it can easily be mistaken for the Greater blue eared starling but the eye colour and shape is the difference :thumbs_up:
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Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby mvtm » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:39 pm

Thank You!!
Which one is rarer? Are they exotic or.. hahaha.
Beautiful birds.

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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby mattib » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:41 pm

They are both found all over SA
does this answer :huh: :thumbs_up:
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby mvtm » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:53 pm

Yup,ty. Let me see if i find other ... birds are a bit small in photo thumbnails, so i am actually trying to find the other one.

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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:29 am

The starling is actually a greater blue-eared starling. The differences between it and a Cape glossy is often difficult to notice but can be seen quite clearly in these pix:
1. GBE has a royal blue belly and flanks; CGS is uniformly coloured glossy green over its whole body
2. GBE has two distinct rows of wingspots, CGS's wingspots are much less prominent
3. GBE's ear-patch is supposed to be more distinct, but that is one feature which confuses more than it helps in the field.

For me #1 is always the clincher and your pictures show that (the blue flanks and belly) remarkably well.

GBE starling is one that new birders take a while to add to their lists because their are far less common than the Cape Glossy Starling, only found in the far nothern parts of Limpopo and Northwest. So, you have had a bonus bird here! If you haven't yet, now is the time to start a list of the birds you see.

I wrote a note on the differences between the two species some time ago and wanted to post a link here, but that post seems to have been swept into the ether rubbish bin... :(

mvtm, you are obviously new to the forum, so welcome from my side. It appears that you do not own a fieldguide (book to help with bird IDs). :lol: I say that because the crested barbet and kori bustard are birds that a complete newby could find without any trouble as they are so unique.

There are many fieldguides to choose from and it really does not matter with which book you start... If the birdwatching bug bites, you will eventually land up with most of them in your library. As a start, one of either Roberts, Newman's or SASOL is recommended.

:lol: I hope you have a birthday soon, because Xmas is quite some ways off... :twisted:

BTW, nice pix!
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby Jungle Junkie » Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:31 am

@JvR - Thanks Johan :clap: I will print out the ID tips and keep in my bird book - I also have not added a BGE or CGS to my list because of this - Now I know what to look for and will also check my photos :clap:
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby richardharris » Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:45 pm

Johan

Hate to take issue with you but some of your comments don't agree with my understanding of the two starlings.

Firstly both seem very common in the Park (just have breakfast at Tshokwane!).

And your blue / green comments seem back to front - assuming Roberts and Newman are correct!

Sorry for this

Richard

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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:13 pm

Tshokwane is a "famous" venue for blue-eared starlings because they are near tame and allow people to get some nice close-up looks at them. Tshokwane is at about the southern limit of the GBE's range. I promise you, they are less common than Cape glossy starlings. CGS can be found throughout most of SA (excluding western Cape). Just as a bit of an exercise: after having left Tshokwane, see how long before you spot your next GBES.

Regarding the blue/green comments... go read my comments again and then check up what the fieldguides say... there is no confusion, we say the same thing: blue belly and flanks for GBE and green for Glossy.

Breakfast at Tshokwane, hey... :mrgreen:
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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby richardharris » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:31 pm

Thanks Johan

I am covering north to south in early February (can't wait!) and will keep notes! It's always dangerous crossing swords with a local expert. I have imperfect colour vision and the easiest way I have to tell them apart (accepting spots and eye patch sometimes confusing) is the glossy sheen on their backs and heads - greeny for GBES and bluer for CGS - thus my confusion with your comments.

Thanks again
Richard

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Re: Identification Help - General Birds

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:58 pm

You sound like a real warrior... all the reference to "crossing swords" and "taking issue" is quite intimidating! :twisted:

Covering north to south in early February... Wow! Then we must make some plan to meet. I am spending 2 - 9 Feb up in the northern parts (Punda and Pafuri), so it shouldn't be too difficult to arrange...

And good luck on making a distinction between GBES and CGS if you have a colour vision affliction.
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