Long-tailed Glossy Starling

Lamprotornis caudatus

At the Zoo

Our long-tailed glossy starlings can be found in the African Aviary.

Fascinating Fact

  • They use their long tails for balance and their feet are very good at gripping.
  • There are 30 starling species, of which, many are known to mimic human speech.

Physical Characteristics

True to their common name, the long-tailed glossy starling has an exceptionally long tail. Their total body length is typically around 21 inches, with 13 inches of that being the tail. They are mostly an iridescent blue-green on their upper body and have a violet breast. The tail is vibrant purple. Plumage on either side of the head is black with bright yellow eyes. Juveniles are more brownish in color and duller overall.

Lifespan is about 17 years under human care.


Long-tailed glossy starlings are native to sub-Saharan Africa, from Senegal east to Sudan. Their habitat includes open savanna, tropical shrubland and cultivated land.

Like many birds, they are omnivorous and primarily feed on a variety of fruit and insects.

Social Behavior

These birds are thought to be social in the wild.

Similar to other starling species, they make their nests inside a tree cavity. The nest itself is typically created from twigs, leaves and dried grasses. Females incubate 2-4 eggs without assistance from their mate.

Status In The Wild

The Long-tailed Glossy Starling is classified as least concern. They are considered common and their populations are stable.

Animals & Exhibits