Sunday, 14 April 2013

Lilac-breasted Roller - National Bird of Botswana and Kenya

The Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus) is a member of the roller family of birds. And, is a heavy billed, beautifully coloured bird with a green head, lilac throat and breast, a blue belly and even brighter blue wing feathers. Both sexes have the same colouration.

Interesting & Amazing facts about Lilac-breasted Roller are:
  1. It is the national bird of Botswana and Kenya.
  2. The species is found throughout Eastern and Southern Africa.
  3. The birds live in open woodland and savannah country, bushy game lands, and areas with well-spaced trees.
  4. All rollers, including the lilac breasted rollers, are highly territorial. They are also thought to be monogamous.
  5. The species makes their nests in tree holes, as well as in termite mounds.
  6. They may also make use of unoccupied or abandoned woodpecker or kingfisher's nest holes.
  7. Both males and females incubate the 2 - 4 eggs which are laid.
  8. It has large green head, the short neck with short greenish yellow legs and small feet.
  9. They has whitish chin, shading to rich lilac of the breast and greenish blue underparts.
  10. They have black bill and brown eyes.
  11. It has large wings and strong flight.
  12. The Lilac Breasted Roller feeds on grasshoppers, beetles, occasionally lizards, crabs, and small amphibians. They take prey from the ground.
  13. Rollers get their name from their impressive courtship flight, a fast, shallow dive from considerable elevation with a rolling or fast rocking motion, accompanied by loud raucous calls.
  14. They actually breed 'on the wing'. They live in pairs or small groups, but are often seen alone.
  15. Their call is a loud harsh squawk, 'zaaak'.
  16. They are partly migratory, but in some areas they are sedentary.
  17. To feed they swoop down from an elevated perch next to their prey and eat it on the ground or return to a perch where they batter it before swallowing it whole.