Birds of Cyprus : Coracias garrulus ( European Roller - Χαλκοκουρούνα - Κράγκα )

Bird: Coracias garrulus (European Roller - Χαλκοκουρούνα - Κράγκα)



The European roller (Coracias garrulus) is the only member of the roller family of birds to breed in Europe. Its overall range extends into the Middle East and Central Asia and Morocco.

The European roller is a long-distance migrant, wintering in southern Africa in two distinct regions, from Senegal east to Cameroon and from Ethiopia west to Congo and south to South Africa.

It is a bird of warm, dry, open country with scattered trees, preferring lowland open countryside with patches of oak Quercus forest, mature pine Pinus woodland with heathery clearings, orchards, mixed farmland, river valleys, and plains with scattered thorny or leafy trees. It winters primarily in dry wooded savanna and bushy plains, where it typically nests in tree holes.

Description

The European roller is a stocky bird, the size of a jackdaw at 29–32 cm in length with a 52–58 cm wingspan; it is mainly blue with an orange-brown back. Rollers often perch prominently on trees, posts or overhead wires, like giant shrikes, whilst watching for the large insects, small reptiles, rodents and frogs that they eat.

This species is striking in its strong direct flight, with the brilliant blue contrasting with black flight feathers. Sexes are similar, but the juvenile is a drabber version of the adult.

The display of this bird is a lapwing-like display, with the twists and turns that give this species its English name. It nests in an unlined tree or cliff hole, and lays up to six eggs. The call is a harsh crow-like sound. It gives a raucous series of calls when nervous. Some populations migrate to Africa through India. A collision with an aircraft over the Arabian Sea has been recorded. Wikipedia