National Treasure

National Treasure

Spotted this Beauty during one of our game drives in Kenya. I was the only photographer in the safari vehicle who seriously wanted to photograph birds as well as Africa’s “Big Five”, so I had to call out to the driver when I saw the bird perched atop a roadside shrub. The driver stopped the rig, I got the shot : )

The lilac-breasted roller is Kenya’s national bird because of the wide array of colors on its feather coat. The colors represent the many different tribes that make up Kenya’s community.

The lilac-breasted roller is an African bird of the roller family, Coraciidae. It is widely distributed in Southern and Eastern Africa. It prefers open woodland and savanna, and it is for the most part absent from treeless places. Usually found alone or in pairs, it perches at the tops of trees, poles or other high vantage points from where it can spot insects, amphibians and small birds moving about on the ground.

Rollers, in general, owe their common name to their mating display, which consists of a lot of dives and swoops accompanied by loud and harsh cries.

During a mating flight, a lilac-breasted roller will fly upwards for about ten meters (33 feet) and then swoop down with wings closed.

In another aerial stunt, the lilac-breasted roller will roll from side to side while flying very fast. If the aerial courtship is successful, the two birds will mate in the air.

Nesting takes place in a natural hole in a tree where a clutch of 2 to 4 eggs are laid, and incubated by both parents, who are extremely aggressive in defense of their nest, taking on raptors and other birds.

Lilac-breasted rollers have an average life expectancy of around ten years in the wild, and captive birds can live somewhat longer. They are ready to breed when they are around two years old.

(Nikon, 100-400/5.6, 1/1600 @ f/5.6, ISO 360, processed to taste)

Posted by Don’s PhotoStream

Tagged: , Africa , Don’s PhotoStream , Bird

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