Spreo Starling


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  • Common Name : Spreo Starling also known as Superb Starling

  • Origin / Distribution: Northeast Africa: Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania and the Sudan.
  • Status In Wild:  Common.  Often seen in gardens of Homes, Hotels and Safari Lodges in E. Africa
    looking for scraps
  • Age To Sexual Maturity: ?
  • Sexing:   Similar
  • Colour mutations: None
  • Temperament: Can be a bit noisy but can also become tame enough to take tidbits from your hand!



  • They are approx 8" (20cm) with a black head, glossy blue-green chest and upper parts, rust-coloured chest with white vent area.  They show a brilliant iridescence when the sun shines on them.

ADVANTAGES to KEEPING the Spreo Starling

  • Probably one of the easiest Soft-billed birds to maintain and breed in your Garden Aviary.

  • The name "Softbill" refers to their diet not their beak. 
  • Softbills feed on soft foods such as insects and plant materials and rely less on hard seeds.
  • They eat foods like fruit, insects and nectars.
  • If a variety of Softbills are housed in one aviary, care must be taken to satisfy the needs of
    each type of Softbill. 
  • Separate feed stations should be provided.
  • They can become fairly tame with their Keepers
    • - they MAY if you take the time to be quiet and gentle with them - take tidbits out of your hand!



  • Can be a bit noisy and poss upset close neighbours!



  • You will occasionally see them advertised either in C&A birds + other magazines and on our
    Web site - see our Birds for Sale & Wanted Page. 

  • Expect to pay approx 150 per pair (2007)



  • Those interesting in starting with soft-billed birds.

  • They are good for a first-timer

  • As they are fairly straightforward and hardy to look after.



  • They are omnivorous by nature (ie. they will eat a wide variety of foods.)

  • They thrive on a diet of coarse-grade softbill food, chopped fruit and some live-food such as
    mealworms and crickets

    • - the "Live-foods" being essential for a good source of protein during the breeding and
      chick-rearing season.

  • Calcium and a good Vit/min supplement is also required on a regular basis.



  • They are best kept on their own.

  • A spacious Aviary planted with safe vegetation

  • Expect some damage to the vegetation, which will need replacing as and when necessary.

  • They must have a weatherproof Shelter/Shed area, for the colder months

  • If your birds prefer to roost outside, make sure you provide some winter protection in the form
    of perspex sheeting to the outside of the Aviary mesh.

  • No bird can tolerated being in a draft - so makes sure the wind can't "Whistle" thru the Aviary

  • Make sure your birds always have something wooden or plastic they can get in or behind to shelter.

  • They love to bathe, esp. in the Spring, so provide a suitable plastic dish (a dog's bowl would be good.)



  • Mainly a long warbling song with some chattering and occasional whining Alarm Calls!

  • This is what MAY annoy close neighbours?!



  • Provide a medium-sized parakeet-style NESTBOX in a protected, sheltered position.

  • They need plenty of assorted Nesting Material as they make a rather bulky nest in the N.Box.

EGGS:  2 - 4
INCUBATION: Approx. 13 days
FLEDGING:      Approx. 3 weeks

  • It's best to clean the nest out between broods, if possible.

  • Once the First Round of Chicks are independent probably best to remove to another Aviary.



  • They need regular WORMING and good hygiene standards because of their messy droppings due
    to their soft-bill diet.

  • Click on link above for in depth details on Worming and Wormers

  • Uneaten fruit, esp. in warm weather can cause a build-up of fungal spores and can lead to  digestive upsets or potentially fatal infections.

  • Perches must also be kept clean to prevent foot infections (see Bumble Foot)

  • Use an absorbent Floor covering such as "Easibed".



  • They may live for approx. 10 years in captivity.


  • The Spreo Starling will often mimic other birds and sounds

  • the same as our native starlings are capable of.



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