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Lamprotornis mevesii (Meves's starling, Long-tailed starling) 

Langstertglansspreeu [Afrikaans]; Ndjundju (generic term for starling) [Kwangali]; Mwazea [Shona]; Meves-glansspreeuw [Dutch]; Choucador de Meves [French]; Meves-glanzstar [German]; Estorninho-rabilongo [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Passeriformes > Family: Sturnidae > Genus: Lamprotornis

Lamprotornis mevesii (Meves's starling, Long-tailed starling) Lamprotornis mevesii (Meves's starling, Long-tailed starling) 
Lamprotornis mevesii (Meves's starling, Long-tailed starling)

Meve's starling, Kunene River Lodge, Namibia. [photo Trevor Hardaker ]

Top right: Meve's starling. [photo Neil Gray ]

Bottom right: Meve's starling, Kruger National Park, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ]

Distribution and habitat

Occurs from Angola, Zambia and Malawi to southern Africa, where it is locally common  in northern Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique, Zimbabwe and north-eastern South Africa. It generally prefers open, seasonally flooded habitats with scattered trees such as Mopane (Colosphermum mopane), Baobab (Adansonia digitata), Ana-tree (Faidherbia albida), Fever-tree Acacia (Acacia xanthophloea), Umbrella thorn (Acacia tortillis) and Leadwood (Combretum imberbe).

Distribution of Meve's starling in southern Africa, based on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project ( Animal Demography unit, University of Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common). See here for the latest distribution from the SABAP2.  

Brood parasites

It has been recorded as host of the Greater honeyguide and Great spotted cuckoo.


It mainly eats insects supplemented with fruit and flowers, doing most of its foraging on the ground, often catching prey disturbed by large mammals such as African elephant (Loxodonta africana). The following food items have been recorded in its diet:


  • The nest is built by both sexes, consisting of a cup built of dead plant material typically placed in a tree cavity about 1-4 metres above ground. It may also fence posts and ventilation pipes, often reusing the same nest over multiple breeding seasons.
  • Egg-laying season is from November-April.
  • It lays 3-5 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female in about 18 days (recorded in captivity).
  • The chicks are fed by both parents, leaving the nest after about 23 days (also recorded in captivity).


Not threatened, although destruction of trees caused by African elephants (Loxodonta africana) is cause for concern, as they are used as nest sites.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.