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meves's starling

Birds of Namibia

Introduction: Meves's starling (Lamprotornis mevesii) are also known as long-tailed starlings. They were named after Friederich Wilhelm Meves (1814-1891), the Curator of the Royal Museum in Stockholm, Sweden. Seasonally flooded, open areas with tall trees such as mopane, baobab, ana-tree, umbrella thorn and leadwood are favoured. Often found in groups of up to 10, they spend much of their time on the ground.

Distribution: In either far north-western region from Epupa Falls, south-east to Opuwo or the far north-eastern range of the Kavango River through the Zambezi Region (formerly the Caprivi Strip). Also common in the Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve.

Diet: Catches insects disturbed by African elephants. Eats termites, scarab beetles and flowers and fruits of ana and jackalberry trees.

Description: Purple lower back and tail coverts, rump with bronze sheen. Blue-green wings, chin to breast area blue-green with a purple gloss. The graduated long tail is blue-violet with dark cross-barring.

Breeding: Both male and females build a cup from dead vegetable matter in a suitable tree hole. From 3 to 5 eggs are laid December to March and incubated by the female only for up to 18 days.

Size: 30cm. Weight: 75g.

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