Violet-backed Starlings occur throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa, migrating to South Africa to breed from October to April and they can then be found in Kwazulu Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng and North West Province. They inhabit savannas, various kinds of woodland habitats, and gardens, feeding on fruit and insects.
The Violet-backed Starling is one of the smaller members of its family, growing to about 18cm in length and weighing around 45g. The males and females are so dimorphic that they may easily be confused for two different species.
Usually seen in monogamous pairs, or small flocks (fewer than 20 birds) at the end of the breeding season before starting their migration back northwards, Violet-backed Starlings breed in holes in trees or fence posts. The female is singly responsible for the incubation of the clutch of 2-4 eggs over a 2 week period, though the male takes an active role in feeding the chicks until they fledge about 3 weeks after hatching.
The IUCN lists the Violet-backed Starling as being of least concern, though it does note that their populations may be declining due to habitat degradation.