Species group: Starlings and Mynahs
Other common names: Royal Starling, Regal Starling
Scientific name: Cosmopsarus regius
The Golden-breasted or Royal Starling is an eye-catching choice for aviaries that can meet this stunning and highly social bird's need for a spacious setting and a strongly insectivorous diet.
The Royal Starling is a common resident of drier areas of eastern Africa including northern and eastern Kenya and northeastern Tanzania. Some references may place it in the genus Lamprotornis. Although the species is thought to be secure in the wild, illegal collecting may occur. Know your source.
Adults are truly splendid birds with golden breasts and a metallic sheen on their blue upper parts, green head, and reddish-violet bib. The tail is more than half the bird's length in the male. The female's tail is shorter.
34 - 35.5 centimeters (13.5 - 14 in.)
15 - 24 years
Behavior / temperament:
Their bold and confiding personality, and the way the bird seems to look you directly in the eye, can make this species very attractive to the collector. Be aware that they are social birds and need to be part of a flock.
Because of their confident nature, they can be trained to fly to you for mealworms or other treats.
This beautiful Starling is often considered a choice for very large, planted mixed-species aviaries because it is known to be social and to engage in cooperative breeding efforts, rather than becoming aggressive and territorial. Nonetheless, you should always monitor the situation when the birds are breeding, in case an individual or pair behaves out of character and challenges others in the aviary.
Although the Golden-breasted Starling is a bird of the dry tropics, it should always have sufficient cover to be able to get out of direct sunlight on very hot days. It will need a source of heat or a dedicated winter shelter.
They are not suitable for life as individual pet birds in small cages.
The Golden-breasted Starling has a strongly insectivorous diet with a focus on termites. While there is no getting away from the need to supply this species with protein sources like live insects, the Toronto Zoo has reported that their zoo diet also includes such items as Mazuri softbill pellets, boiled egg, and chopped fruit and greens. With any softbill species, it is imperative to network with other experts for the latest information on how to provide a healthy diet.
Written by Elaine Radford