Bluebellied roller

Coracias cyanogaster

TAXONOMY

Coracias cyanogaster Cuvier, 1817, Senegal. Monotypic. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Rollier a ventre bleu; German: Opalracke; Spanish: Carraca Blanquiazul.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

15 in (37 cm); 0.24-0.38 lb (110-190 g). Dark blue with black back and creamy head and breast.

DISTRIBUTION

Western Africa, from Senegal to southernmost Sudan. HABITAT

Favors Isoberlinia woodland, also forest clearings and plantations.

BEHAVIOR

Partial migrant. In small groups, roosting together and occupying favored haunts. Conspicuous when sitting on exposed hunting perch or in overhead flight, but noisy only in breeding season.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

From high-vantage perch flies down to take large invertebrates and small reptiles on ground below; some flying insects captured in flight. Prey repeatedly struck against ground or perch before swallowing; regurgitates undigested remains in pellets.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Poorly known. Monogamous or polygamous, males being more numerous. Defends nesting territory. Aerial chases and rolling flights in courtship. Breeding during wet season, mainly April-July; nest in tree hollow.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Common in west, less numerous in east.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS Admired as most colorful roller. ♦

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