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Markus Lagerqvist | profile | all galleries >> Birds of the World >> Non Passerines >> Rollers tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

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Rollers

The Rollers (Coraciidae) are an Old World family, comprising 12 species. The group gets its name from the aerial acrobatics some of these birds perform during courtship or territorial flights. Rollers resemble crows in size and build, and share the colourful appearance of kingfishers and bee-eaters, blues and pinkish or cinnamon browns predominating. The family gets its scientific name from Latin coracium, meaning "like a raven".

Coracias rollers are watch-and wait hunters. they sit in a tree or on a post before descending on their prey and carrying it back to a perch in the beak before dismembering it. They take a wide range of terrestrial invertebrates, and small vertebrates such as frogs, lizards rodents and young birds. They will take items avoided by many other birds, such as hairy caterpillars, insects with warning colouration and snakes.

Eurystomus rollers hunt on the wings, swooping on flying beetles, crickets and other insects which are crushed by their broad deep beaks and eaten on the wing. The Azure Roller and Dollarbird will hunt huge swarms of termites and flying ants which appear after thunderstorms. Tens or hundreds of these rollers may be attracted to large swarms.
Broad-billed Roller (Eurystomus glaucurus)
Broad-billed Roller (Eurystomus glaucurus)
Common Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis)
Common Dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis)
Black-billed Roller (Coracias affinis)
Black-billed Roller (Coracias affinis)
Racket-tailed Roller (Coracias spatulatus)
Racket-tailed Roller (Coracias spatulatus)
Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus)
Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus)
Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)
Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)
Broad-billed Roller (Eurystomus g. glaucurus)
Broad-billed Roller (Eurystomus g. glaucurus)
Azure Dollarbird (Eurystomus azureus)
Azure Dollarbird (Eurystomus azureus)
Purple-winged Roller (Coracias temminckii)
Purple-winged Roller (Coracias temminckii)
Abyssinian Roller (Coracias abyssinicus)
Abyssinian Roller (Coracias abyssinicus)
Abyssinian Roller (Coracias abyssinicus)
Abyssinian Roller (Coracias abyssinicus)