HOME
The Info List - Indian Roller


--- Advertisement ---



The Indian roller
Indian roller
( Coracias
Coracias
benghalensis), is a member of the roller family of birds. They are found widely across tropical Asia from Iraq eastward across the Indian Subcontinent
Indian Subcontinent
to Indochina
Indochina
and are best known for the aerobatic displays of the male during the breeding season. They are very commonly seen perched along roadside trees and wires and are commonly seen in open grassland and scrub forest habitats. It is not migratory, but undertakes some seasonal movements. The largest populations of the species are within India, and several states in India
India
have chosen it as their state bird.

Contents

1 Taxonomy and systematics

1.1 Subspecies

2 Description 3 Distribution and habitat 4 Ecology and behaviour 5 In culture 6 References 7 Other sources 8 External links

Taxonomy and systematics[edit] The Indian roller
Indian roller
was originally described as belonging to the genus Corvus.[2] Alternate names for the Indian roller
Indian roller
include the Indian blue roller, northern roller and southern blue roller. Subspecies[edit] Three subspecies are recognized:[3]

C. b. benghalensis - (Linnaeus, 1758): Found from eastern Arabia
Arabia
to north-eastern India
India
and Bangladesh Southern roller (C. b. indicus) - Linnaeus, 1766: Originally described as a separate species. Found in central and southern India, Sri Lanka Burmese roller (C. b. affinis) - Horsfield, 1840: Originally described as a separate species. Also called the Indochinese roller. Found from north-eastern India
India
to south-central China, northern Malay Peninsula and Indochina

Description[edit]

A large hook-tipped bill, seen here in subspecies indicus

The Indian roller
Indian roller
is a stocky bird about 26–27 cm long and can only be confused within its range with the migratory European roller. The breast is brownish and not blue as in the European Roller. The crown and vent are blue. The primaries are deep purplish blue with a band of pale blue. The tail is sky blue with a terminal band of Prussian blue
Prussian blue
and the central feathers are dull green. The neck and throat are purplish lilac with white shaft streaks. The bare patch around the eye is ochre in colour. The three forward toes are united at the base.[4] Rollers have a long and compressed bill with a curved upper edge and a hooked tip. The nostril is long and exposed and there are long rictal bristles at the base of the bill.[5][6]

The three forward pointing toes appear to be joined at the base

Three subspecies are usually recognized. The nominate form is found from western Asia (Iraq, Arabia) east across the Indian Subcontinent, and within India
India
north of the Vindhyas
Vindhyas
mountain ranges. The subspecies indicus is found in peninsular India
India
and Sri Lanka. The southern form has a darker reddish collar on the hind neck which is missing in the nominate form. The race affinis of northeastern India
India
and Southeast Asia (Thailand, Myanmar, Indochina) is sometimes considered a full species, but within the Indian region, it is seen to intergrade with benghalensis. The form affinis is darker, larger and has a purplish brown and unstreaked face and breast.[4] It has underwing coverts in a deeper shade of blue.[5][7] Distribution and habitat[edit] The Indian roller
Indian roller
is distributed across Asia, from Iraq and United Arab Emirates in south-western Asia through the Indian Subcontinent, including Sri Lanka, Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep
islands and Maldive Islands
Maldive Islands
into Southeast Asia.[7] Its main habitat includes cultivated areas, thin forest and grassland.[4] Ecology and behaviour[edit]

Subspecies
Subspecies
affinis from Thailand

Indian rollers are often seen perched on prominent bare trees or wires. They descend to the ground to capture their prey which may include insects, arachnids, small reptiles, small snakes and amphibians.[8][9][10] Fires attract them[4] and they will also follow tractors for disturbed invertebrates. In agricultural habitats in southern India, they have been found at densities of about 50 birds per km2. They perch mainly on 3—10 metre high perches and feed mostly on ground insects. Nearly 50% of their prey are beetles and 25% made up by grasshoppers and crickets.[11][12][13] It has been suggest that the Indian roller
Indian roller
could play a role in controlling agricultural insect pests due to its feeding behaviour.[citation needed]

eating grasshopper

in flight

The feeding behaviour of this roller and habitat usage are very similar to that of the black drongo.[14] During summer, they may also feed late in the evening and make use of artificial lights and feed on insects attracted to them.[15] They are attracted to swarms of winged termites, and as many as 40 birds have been seen to perch on a 70-metre stretch of electric wires.[16] Its habit of feeding near roadsides sometimes results in collisions with traffic.[17][18] A decline in the numbers of these birds seen along roadsides in northern India
India
has been noted.[19] A study on roosting behaviour found that immediately after waking up, the birds spend a few minutes preening followed by flying around their roosting sites. Favoured perches include electric or telegraphic wires. They have also been observed perching in trees and shrubs. Rollers tend mostly at a heights of 3-9 m height from where they forage for ground insects. They may also use taller perches and obtain insects from the upper canopy of trees.[11]

An Indian Roller
Roller
during non-breeding season

The display of this bird is an aerobatic display, with the twists and turns that give this species its English name. The breeding season is March to June, slightly earlier in southern India. Displays when perched include bill-up displays, bowing, allopreening, wing drooping and tail fanning.[4] Holes created by woodpeckers or wood boring insects in palms are favoured for nesting in some areas.[12] Nest cavities may also be made by tearing open rotten tree trunks or in cavities in building.[5] The cavity is usually unlined and is made up mainly of debris from the wood. The normal clutch consists of about 3-5 eggs. The eggs are white and broad oval or nearly spherical.[6] Both sexes incubate the eggs for about 17 to 19 days.[7] The young fledge and leave the nest after about a month. Nearly 80% of the eggs hatch and fledge.[20] The call of the Indian roller
Indian roller
is a harsh crow-like chack sound. It also makes a variety of other sounds, including metallic boink calls. It is especially vociferous during the breeding season. The bird bathes in open water by plunge-diving into it, a behaviour often interpreted as fishing.[21][22][23] But it may occasionally attempt fishing from water.[7] Blood parasites Leucocytozoon of the family Plasmodiidae
Plasmodiidae
have been noted in the lung tissues.[24] Parasitic helminth worms Hadjelia truncata and Synhimantus spiralis were recorded as well.[25][26] In culture[edit] The Indian roller
Indian roller
is very common in the populated plains of India
India
and associated with Hindu
Hindu
legends. It is said to be sacred to Vishnu, and used to be caught and released during festivals such as Dussera
Dussera
or the last day of Durga Puja.[27] A local Hindi
Hindi
name is neelkanth,[28] meaning "blue throat", a name associated with the deity Shiva
Shiva
(who drank poison resulting in the blue throat).[29][30] Adding its chopped feathers to grass and feeding them to cows was believed to increase their milk yield.[31] The Indian roller
Indian roller
has been chosen as the state bird by the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Karnataka
Karnataka
and Telangana.[32][33] References[edit]

^ BirdLife International (2016). " Coracias
Coracias
benghalensis". The IUCN
IUCN
Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T22725914A94905872. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22725914A94905872.en. Retrieved 14 January 2018.  ^ " Coracias
Coracias
benghalensis - Avibase". avibase.bsc-eoc.org. Retrieved 2017-03-02.  ^ "IOC World Bird
Bird
List 7.1". IOC World Bird
Bird
List Datasets. doi:10.14344/ioc.ml.7.1.  ^ a b c d e Rasmussen PC; JC Anderton (2005). Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. 2. Smithsonian Institution & Lynx Edicions. p. 270.  ^ a b c Baker, ECS (1927). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Birds. Volume 4 (2nd ed.). Taylor & Francis, London. pp. 224–227.  ^ a b Whistler, Hugh (1949). Popular handbook of Indian birds (4th ed.). Gurney and Jackson, London. pp. 293–295.  ^ a b c d Ali, S; S D Ripley (1983). Handbook of the birds of India and Pakistan. 4 (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 116–120.  ^ Sharga, U.S. (1936). "Indian Roller
Roller
or Blue Jay (Coracias benghalensis Linn.) feeding on a scorpion". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 39 (1): 179.  ^ Evans, G.H. (1921). "The food of the Burmese Roller
Roller
(C. affinis) and of the Ashy Drongo (D. nigrescens)". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 27 (4): 955–956.  ^ Biddulph, C.H. (1937). "The Southern Indian Roller
Roller
or Blue Jay Coracias
Coracias
benghalensis indica (Linn.) killing a small snake". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 39 (4): 865.  ^ a b Sivakumaran, N.; Thiyagesan, K. (2003). "Population, diurnal activity patterns and feeding ecology of the Indian Roller
Roller
Coracias benghalensis (Linnaeus, 1758)" (PDF). Zoos' Print Journal. 18 (5): 1091−1095. doi:10.11609/jott.zpj.18.5.1091-5.  ^ a b Mathew, D.N.; Narendran, T.C.; Zacharias, V.J. (1978). "A comparative study of the feeding habits of certain species of Indian birds affecting agriculture". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 75 (4): 1178–1197.  ^ Burton, P. K. J. (1984). "Anatomy and evolution of the feeding apparatus in the avian orders Coraciiformes
Coraciiformes
and Piciformes". Bulletin of the British Museum. Zoology series. 47 (6): 331–443.  ^ Asokan, S.; A.M.S. Ali. "Foraging behavior of selected insectivorous birds in Cauvery Delta region of Nagapattinam District, Tamil Nadu, India" (PDF). Journal of Threatened Taxa. 2 (2): 690–694. doi:10.11609/jott.o2201.690-4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 July 2011.  ^ Bharos, A.M.K. (1992). "Feeding by Common Nightjar Caprimulgus asiaticus and Indian Roller
Roller
Coracias
Coracias
benghalensis in the light of mercury vapour lamps". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 89 (1): 124.  ^ Bharos, A.M.K. (1990). "Unusually large congregation and behaviour of Indian Rollers Coracias
Coracias
benghalensis". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 87 (2): 300.  ^ Goenka, D. (1986). "Lack of traffic sense amongst Indian Rollers". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 83 (3): 665.  ^ Sundar, K.S.G. (2004). "Mortality of herpetofauna, birds and mammals due to vehicular traffic in Etawah District, Uttar Pradesh, India". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 101 (3): 392–398.  ^ Saiduzzafar, H. (1984). "Some observations on the apparent decrease in numbers of the Northern Roller
Roller
or Blue Jay Coracias
Coracias
benghalensis". Newsletter for Birdwatchers. 24 (5&6): 4–5.  ^ Asokan S; AMS Ali; R Manikannan (2009). "Preliminary Investigations on Diet and Breeding Biology of the Indian Roller
Roller
Coracias benghalensis in a Portion of Cauvery Delta, Tamil Nadu, India" (PDF). World Journal of Zoology. 4 (4): 263–269.  ^ Tiwari, N.K. (1930). "Bathing habit of the Indian Roller
Roller
(Coracias benghalensis)". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 34 (2): 578–579.  ^ Dalgliesh, G. (1911). " Roller
Roller
catching its prey in the water". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 20 (3): 853.  ^ Radcliffe, H. D. (1910). " Roller
Roller
catching its prey in the water". Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 20 (1): 225–226.  ^ De Mello, I. F.; Emidio, A. (1935). "Blood parasites of Coracias
Coracias
b. benghalensis with special remarks on its two types of Leucocytozoon" (PDF). Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences (B). 2: 67–73.  ^ Junker, K.; Boomker, J. (2007). "A check list of the helminths of guineafowls (Numididae) and a host list of these parasites" (PDF). Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research. 74 (4): 315–337. doi:10.4102/ojvr.v74i4.118. PMID 18453241. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 June 2011.  ^ Bhatia, B.L. (1938). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Protozoa. Volume 1. London: Taylor and Francis. pp. 240–241.  ^ Kipling, J. L. (1904). Beast and man in India. London: Macmillan and Co. p. 33.  ^ Blanford, W. T. (1889). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Birds Volume 3. Taylor & Francis, London. pp. 103–105.  ^ Mitra, Sarat Chandra (1898). "Bengali and Behari Folk-lore about Birds. Part I". Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. 67 (2): 67–74.  ^ Anonymous (1998). "Vernacular Names of the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent". Buceros. 3 (1): 53–109.  ^ Thurston, E. (1912). Omens and superstitions of southern India. New York: McBride, Nast and Company. p. 88.  ^ "States and Union Territories Symbols". knowindia.gov.in. National Informatics Centre (NIC), DeitY, MoCIT, Government of India. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2016.  ^ "State Symbols". Telangana
Telangana
State Portal. Government of Telangana. Retrieved 26 June 2016. 

Other sources[edit]

Stonor, C.R. (1944) A note on the breeding habits of the Indian Roller, Coracias
Coracias
benghalensis (Linnaeus). Ibis 86(1), 94-97. Biswas,B (1961). "Proposal to designate a neotype for Corvus benghalensis Linnaeus, 1758 (Aves), under the plenary powers Z.N. (S) 1465". Bull. Zool. Nomen. 18 (3): 217–219.  Also Opinion 663 Lamba, B.S. (1963) The nidification of some common Indian birds. 5. The Indian Roller
Roller
or Blue Jay ( Coracias
Coracias
benghalensis Linn.). Res. Bull. Panjab Univ. 14(1-2):21-28.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Coracias
Coracias
benghalensis.

Wikispecies
Wikispecies
has information related to Coracias
Coracias
benghalensis

Indian roller
Indian roller
videos, photos & sounds on the Internet Bird Collection

Birds portal Mammals portal

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q477133 ADW: Coracias_benghalensis ARKive: coracias-benghalensis eBird: indrol1 EoL: 1050027 GBIF: 2475379 iNaturalist: 2275 ITIS: 554523 IUCN: 2272

.