Friday, March 9, 2012

Lilac-breasted Roller

Coracias caudatus
Today's animal was recommended to me on the Suggestions page, and I'm so glad it was! What a beautiful bird! (Hint: I love getting suggestions!)

Lilac-breasted Rollers belong to the same genus as the Blue-bellied Rollers that we learned about last month. They also share a very similar range, spanning across sub-Saharan Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula. They inhabit open woodlands, grasslands, and acacia country, and are typically a sedentary species.

All Rollers are named for their stunning courtship flights, and the Lilac-breasted is no exception! The males quickly fly to a height of around 10m, and then dive with closed wings in a rocking, rolling motion. I hunted around for a video of this, but came up empty. Any leads?

At any rate, if the male is impressive enough he has found himself a mate. Lilac-breasted Rollers are monogamous and typically live in pairs, though small flocks are also seen. They lay 2-4 eggs at a time in nests build within pre-excavated tree holes (thanks Woodpeckers!) Juveniles are fully feathered after only 3 weeks, but they are a greyish brown color and won't receive their full colors till they are adults.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Africa
Size : Body Length around 14in (36cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Coraciiformes
Family : Coraciidae -- Genus : Coracias -- Species : C. caudatus

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