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Sep 15, 2012

Rollers are the size of crows

Photo by Paul Goldstein/Exodus/Rex Features
I stumbled across these two photos of Lilac-breasted Rollers, a bird I was not-at-all familiar with, and was struck by the impossible contrast of the birds' colours and the zebras' black and white stripes.   Moreover, I was quite surprised to learn these brilliantly-hued birds are the size of crows!   Rollers are native to warmer parts of the Old World, particularly Africa, but are also found in parts of Europe.   Fossil records from the Eocene period show Rollers once existed in North America.   They are primarily insect-eaters and as for that name Roller, well they are aerial acrobats and ward off intruders in their nesting territories with intimidating rolling dives.   They use the save moves during mating season also.   Wikipedia states there are 11 species of Rollers in the world, but my Monroe & Sibley World Checklist Of Birds lists 17 species.   Ah then...taxonomy is becoming such a chore in this modern age.
Photo by Greg McMullin on Flickr
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