31st of October 2014 – Species Spotlight Lilac Breasted Roller

Apologies for the lack of blog last week, very busy with penguin chicks, new humboldts, health and safety & new birds.  One of the new birds is the subject of this weeks blog

 

Lilac Breasted Roller

Coracias caudatus

Lilac Breasted Roller (6)

Rollers are a member of the Hornbill family, closely related to Bee-Eaters and Kingfishers.  There are 12 species which are split into 2 families, all of which are beautifully coloured and the Lilacs are no exception.

Lilac Breasted Rollers are found throughout much of Sub Saharan Africa and parts of the Arabian Peninsula.  They are the National bird of both Botswana & Kenya.  They tend to frequent areas of open woodland and Savanna and their numbers are doing OK, with them being listed as least concern.

They are predatory birds, taking a range of prey from rodents and reptiles to insects and scorpions.  They can often be seen perched high watching the surrounding area for food.

Males and females look alike with no discernable difference

Lilac Breasted Roller (15)

Pairs will nest in a tree cavity and are aggressive in their defence of their nest, eggs and chicks.  Between 2 and 4 eggs are laid an incubated by both parents for 22-24 days, with chicks fledging at 19 days of age.

 

Last week we took delivery of a young female from Avifauna, in the Netherlands.  She hatched earlier this year and will serve a period of quarantine.  We now have to track down a male for her and decide where in the park the pair will go.

Also arriving from Avifauna was a female Hammerkop, who will join our resident male.  Again, se is off show for now whilst we monitor her food intake and health

WP_20141023_003

 

The six new humboldts have gone into the main enclosure successfully.  The 5 females and single male have been accepted by our resident group with no problems.  They have been named Cora, Mary, Edith, Sybil, Rose & Carson

 

We are celebrating Halloween this week with the Myths and Legends trail around the park.  BBC Radio Gloucestershire came in last weekend to talk about some of our scarier residents, the Marabou featured prominently

 

Wildlife wise we are starting to see large roosts of Starlings along the river again.  Last year we had over 100 at one point so it will be interesting to see if we can beat that this year.

Hornets have been a regular sight this week, with a queen sat on my seat in the staff room – a near miss!

 

Hopefully we should have some more new arrivals to talk about next week

 

Thanks

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