Hildebrandt's Starling (Lamprotornis hildebrandti
Hildebrandt's Starling are small, 7.5" (19cm) birds that are very similar to the Superb Starling
. Hildebrandt's Starling have red eyes (Superb are off-white) and no white breast band.
It has iridescent violet-blue upperparts, face and upper breast. The underparts and wing linings are rufous. The hindneck and wings have a hint of green. The top of the wings have small black spots. The bill and legs are black. Sexes are similar.
The juvenile bird is brown, with blue-green wings and brown eyes. The immature bird starts to show colour and the eyes are yellow. Habits
Hildebrandt's Starling are often seen feeding with the Superb Starling but are less confiding. They are seen in pairs or small groups.
Nests are made in old Woodpecker's
nests or other cavities and breeding occurs to coincide with the rainy season, although can be habitual. 3 - 4 eggs are laid, incubation is around 14 days and both parents attend to the young. Fledging occurs 3 weeks after hatching. Diet
Hildebrandt's Starling are omnivourous, eating both insects and fruit, either from the ground or trees. Resident
Hildebrandt's Starling are found in Kenya in a triangle along Tanzanian border, from Mara GR, down to Tsavo and up to Samburu. They are commonly seen in drier bushed and woodland areas from 700 - 1,700 metres. Extra Hildebrandt's Starling Facts
Hildebrandt's Starling was named after Johann Maria Hildebrandt (1847 - 1881), a German explorer, who made several expeditions to Kenya, in particular the Great Rift Valley lakes. The other notable bird named after him is the Hildebrandt's Francolin
Photographed at Kenya's Olare Orok Conservancy.