The Indian Roller (earlier known as the ‘Blue Jay’) is a bird so unique that it has the honour of being the state bird of four large states in India – Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa.

This small passerine acquires its name from the brilliant rolls, dives and aerobatic manoeuvres it displays during the act of courtship. These stunning actions coupled with a display of its bright blue wings is a sight to behold.

The Indian Roller!

The Indian Roller!

 

This blue wonder has other unique traits even in its daily routines. Its bathing ritual for instance, is a long flight to a good height, and then a sudden steep dive head first into the water. For a long time, this was believed to be a fishing act, but was later proved to be a bathing ritual.

Another unique trait of this bird is its choice of nesting places, of which tree holes, cracks in buildings and tree trunks are prime locations.

A great friend of the farmer, it feeds on several agricultural pests that are known to destroy crops.

The Cackling Coracias benghalensis

The Cackling ‘Coracias Benghalensis’

 

An intelligent creature, it is often observed following tractors on the field, for, these large machines tend to throw up a lot of insects – an important source of food for the Indian Roller.

These birds are all over Orange County, Kabini, and their hoarse cackling calls reverberate through the endless fields in the mornings.