Feeding ecology and diet

Courols are arboreal foragers, searching amid tree or shrub branches for large insects and small reptiles, especially chameleons. Captured prey is struck repeatedly against a stout limb before being swallowed. Ground-rollers are almost exclusively ground-foraging insectivores, capturing prey by searching amid leaf litter or probing with the bill into soft soil. They take small vertebrates such as frogs or lizards. The more arboreal short-legged ground-roller (Brachypteracias lep-tosomus) prefers to forage from perches in low-to-mid levels of the forest.

Vantage perches are of the utmost importance to true rollers, for it is from these that birds pounce to capture prey on the ground or sally forth to catch flying insects. Coracias species take mainly large arthropods, almost always from the ground; Eurystomus rollers are almost exclusively aerial feeders, taking flying insects after sallying forth from a high, exposed perch. The latter method is considered to be the more advanced technique. Small, soft-bodied prey are swallowed whole; larger prey are brought back and struck repeatedly against the perch before being swallowed.

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