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14

Indian Roller

(Coracias benghalensis)
Size: 26-27 cm

Similar species

Description     Classification     Distribution     Sightings     Photos     Breeding     Nest     Eggs     Behaviour     Food     Call/s

Physical description

Click here for a physical description

Taxonomy, classification

See Indian Roller at Wikipedia .

Range, habitat

Click here for information on habitat and range

Sightings

Click here for sighting information

Photos

Race "benghalensis"

ADULT

Close-up view of an Indian Roller in soft evening light, with a clear view of the spiny feathers covering the ear coverts, neck and chin
[Batinah region, May 2012]

Indian Roller with its bill open
[Batinah region, May 2012]

Near-frontal view of an Indian Roller on the ground
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, September 2009]

Indian Roller in a palm tree
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, December 2009]

Indian Roller cooling on a humid day with temperatures in excess of 40 C
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, September 2009]

Breeding information

Breeding season: Mar - Jun Eggs: 3 - 5 Incubation period: 17 - 19 days Fledging age: 28 - 32 days

In southern India the breeding season can begin earlier than stated in the table above.

Nest building: Male & female Incubation: Female & male Dependent care: Female & male

Nest

Type: Hollow/cavity Material: Tree trunk, crevice, pipe Height above ground: ?

It is not 100% clear whether the nest shown below is in fact the Indian Roller's. We observed the bird sitting at the entrance and then that there is a nest inside, but it was not in use at the time.

Indian Roller sitting at the entrance of a roof water drain pipe
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, December 2009]

View into the drain pipe, showing a nest that may at one point have been a Common Myna nest; the pipe looks closed at the back, so it should remain dry
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, December 2009]

Eggs

Size: ? Colour: White Shape: Oval (near-spherical)

Behaviour

Indian Rollers are territorial birds; they are one of the species that do not hesitate to swoop humans to defend their territories and/or nests.

The fact that a House Crow bothers to hustle a smaller bird such as an Indian Roller (see photo below) indicates that Rollers are probably nest robbers.

House Crow seen literally swooping an Indian Roller off its perch
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, April 2010]

Indian Rollers usually sit on relatively low perches, often in trees, on major branches just off the trunk. Also found on road signs, lamps or similarly convenient perches.

Pair of Indian Rollers on a very typical perch
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, September 2009]

Food, Diet

Like all other members of the roller family, Indian Rollers feed on large insects that they catch in flight or take from the ground and on small reptiles that they take from the ground.

Crafty Indian Roller coming out of a storm drain pipe where it had been observed on several previous occasions
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, December 2009]

Here one can see what the Indian Roller was after - a gecko
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, December 2009]

Hold it up high...!
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, December 2009]

Indian Roller drinking from a pond
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, September 2009]

Here, again, an Indian Roller drinking from a pond, but now in late evening light - note the pronounced difference in colours compared to the photo above, which was taken in harsh, midday light on a very hot day
[Campus of Sultan Qaboos University, near Muscat, September 2009]

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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