Violet-Backed Starling | Facts, Diet, Habitat & Pictures

Violet-Backed Starling

Violet-backed Starling Overview


The Violet-backed Starling is a striking bird with distinctive plumage. It has glossy, iridescent violet-blue feathers on its back and wings, which contrast with its black head, neck, and tail. Its underparts are a rich chestnut-brown, and it has bright yellow eyes.

The beak of the Violet-backed Starling is sharp and pointed, adapted for an insect-based diet. This starling is known for its eye-catching colors and striking appearance.

Origins And Evolution

The origins and evolution of the Violet-backed Starling, scientifically known as Cinnyricinclus leucogaster, are deeply intertwined with the avian evolutionary history. These starlings belong to the family Sturnidae, which includes a wide range of species. Fossil evidence suggests that starlings, as a group, have an ancient lineage dating back millions of years.

The Violet-backed Starling, specifically, has adapted to its sub-Saharan African habitat over time, with its distinctive plumage and iridescent colors evolving for both functional and aesthetic purposes.

Its vibrant feathers serve various ecological functions, including mate attraction and species recognition. The evolutionary journey of the Violet-backed Starling showcases nature's intricate process of adaptation, shaping these birds into the beautiful and unique creatures they are today.

Behavior and Lifestyle

The Violet-backed Starling, a resident of sub-Saharan Africa, is a highly social and gregarious bird species. They are often seen in flocks, foraging together for insects and fruits. These starlings are known for their acrobatic flight, which they use to catch insects in mid-air. They are cavity-nesters, utilizing tree hollows for breeding.

During the breeding season, males display their striking plumage to attract mates, engaging in courtship rituals that involve vocalizations and elaborate displays. Their communal behavior and striking appearance make them a captivating species in their native habitats.

Violet-backed Starling Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Sturnidae
  • Genus: Cinnyricinclus
  • Species: Cinnyricinclus leucogaster

Violet-backed Starling Locations

  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • South Africa
  • Tanzania
  • Zambia

Fast Facts

  • Name: Violet Starling
  • Scientific Name: Cinnyricinclus leucogaster
  • Habitat: Wooded savannahs
  • Diet: Fruits, insects
  • Physical Features: Iridescent plumage
  • Nocturnal: Diurnal forager
  • Solitary: Group roosts
  • Unique Order: Passeriformes order
  • Lifespan: 5-10 years
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Fun Facts: Exceptional mimicry

Physical Characteristics

  • Color: Vibrant feathers
  • Skin Type: Feathered covering
  • Top Speed: Agile flier
  • Lifespan: 5-10 years
  • Weight: Lightweight bird
  • Length: Medium-sized
  • Age of Sexual Maturity: Varies
  • Age of Weaning: Parental care


What is the significance of the violet color on their backs?

The vibrant violet coloration is primarily for mate attraction and is a key feature in courtship displays.

Do they migrate seasonally?

These starlings are mainly sedentary, but some populations may undertake local movements in response to food availability.

What is their preferred nesting habitat?

They often nest in tree hollows or cavities, making use of natural or old woodpecker holes.

Are Violet-backed Starlings known for any unique behaviors?

They are skilled at catching insects in mid-air during acrobatic flights.

Do they feed on nectar?

Yes, in addition to insects and fruits, they are known to feed on nectar from flowers.

How do they communicate with each other?

They use a range of melodious vocalizations, including chirps, whistles, and clicks.

What is their role in the ecosystem?

They aid in seed dispersal through their consumption of fruits, contributing to plant propagation.

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