Boys and their Toys…

A stroll with the new camera gave me a few opportunities to try out the new camera… This Purple Roller family really tested me… bot photos of the parents the focus is not quiet on the bird, but rather the surrounding twigs… the young though I seem to have got right… having a hell of a lot of fun working it all out….

Parent…

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Other parent…

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and the youngster…

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The Drongo and the Roller… a territorial battle.

The Fork tailed Drongo is an aggressive and fearless birds, given their small size, and will attack much larger species, including birds of prey if their nest or young are threatened.

Observations show that the Fork-tailed Drongo in Africa are capable of using deceptive mimicked alarm calls to steal food from birds like pied babblers and animals such as meerkats.

Fork-tailed Drongos spend a quarter of their time following other animals. Sometimes when a predator is approaching, drongos act as sentries and warn their neighbours with genuine alarm calls.

But drongos also earn quarter of their daily calories by acting like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” and sound a false alarm when the other animal finds food. When the meerkats and babblers flee from the non-existent predator, the drongo steals their food.

He will also attack and try to frighten other birds into leaving an area where it is feeding, specially birds that feed on similar foods to it. The Purple Roller is in direct competition for food with the Drongo, so they will try to get them to flee…. in this case unsuccessfully….

The Drongo……

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The fly passed…

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The Attack….

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and then the return to perch after an unsuccessful attempt…..

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Yes … more of the same… how boring….

“Is it the Purple Roller again?” I hear you say… and my answer is “Yes”.. why am I so absorbed by this bird? I have been photographing birds for seven odd years now (seriously that is) and this is the first time I’ve seen this bird. To have it in the same area 3 days in a row, tells me they have a nest there and today I found it. How? One of them flew out of a hole in a tree…. and when they spotted me they sat apart and made loud noises at me…

I tried a video clip so that you could hear them, but my health and shakes makes it unworthy of up loading… sorry…

I don’t blame you if you switch out now, but I just love this bird…

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Now this one is a test to see what it would look like as a pencil drawing… I wish I could do this by hand…

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To be or not to be… a bird with a cricket.

My morning stroll took me close to where I had photo’d the Purple Rollers. The calls told me they were still in the same area. Could they have a nest here?

This species seems to be an opportunist breeder, possibly linked to rains, as its breeding season varies from place to place. It nests in natural hollows in trees or uses old woodpecker holes, usually laying 3 white eggs. The young are fed and incubated by both parents.

I spotted the one being chased by the Forked Tailed Drongo, in fact by two of them. As they are both similar in feeding habits, it was not unusual to see the one being chased off. They both spend long periods perched at the top of thorn trees or poles, watching for food items such as insects, spiders, scorpions and small lizards on the ground.

The other had caught a meal and was sitting with it in its beak… could I get a shot of that? Yes………….

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and what was that in its mouth??? Acanthoplus discoidalis (armoured ground cricket, armoured bush cricket, corn cricket, setotojane or koringkrieke) is a species of katydid that is native to Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa Zimbabwe. They are wide-bodied, flightless and can grow to around 5 cm. Their thorax is covered in sharp spines and they have a pair of strong biting jaws. They are able to defend themselves against predators in an unusual manner by squirting haemolymph (insect blood) out of their bodies. Their populations peak in autumn and their bodies often litter roads during this time. When deprived of protein and salt they can become cannibalistic.

Here’s a photo of one, a horrible cricket to have crawl over you at night…..

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But this one was to be a meal for the bird, or was it? The Roller did not eat this catch yet sat calling its mate and I waited for at least ten minutes…. I think this was to be a meal for the young and it was not prepared to show me where the nest was… Well I got good photos again and that made it all worth the walk…

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All in the family… One more beautiful than the other

Lets keep it in the family!!!.. On more beautiful than the other, but actually both beautiful…

We have the Lilac-Breasted Roller and the Purple Roller that grace our continent and we have the European Roller that visits our shores. All are so colourful and unusually marked.

The Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus)…

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and the Purple Roller (Coracias naevius)….

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Still well coloured….

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