What field guides should know:
Perhaps one of the most fascinating things you will learn on our FGASA nature guide courses is how colouration in birds works and in particular the iridescence of birds like these starlings.
In low light these birds appear to be almost black, but in the right light they radiate the most spectacular array of blues, greens and magenta. However, there are no pigments in the feathers that give rise to these colours. It is simply a trick of the light. The outer layer of the cells of the feather are translucent and light that passes in through this layer is reflected back by a deeper cells and passes back out the feather on a different wave-length and it is the wave-length and not the pigment that gives rise to the colour.
Similar to the greater blue-eared starling but the iridescence is slightly duller and more navy blue. It lacks the prominent ear patch of the blue-eared starlings. They almost always call when taking off and this can be very useful for nature guides to be able distinguish these calls.