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Violet-backed Starling, Cinnyricinclus leucogaste

British Columbia, Canada, Bruce Museum Collection 2006.37.10 Gift of the Boston Children’s Museum

An omnivorous bird common throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the violet-backed starling shows pronounced dimorphism. Males have brilliant violet plumage, whereas females have a plain brown and white color pattern. Violet-backed starlings provide a striking example of iridescence. Tiny stacks of hollow melanosomes inside their feathers refract light to generate their brilliant color.

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