Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Scaly ground-roller

Brachypteracias squamiger

Photo by Dubi Shapiro (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
scaly ground-roller (en); rolieiro-da-terra-escamoso (pt); brachyptérolle écaillé (fr); carraca-terrestre escamosa (es); schuppenerdracke (de)

Order Coraciiformes
Family Brachypteraciidae

This species is endemic to Madagascar, being found on the eastern slopes of the island, from Marojejy to Andohahela.

These birds are 27-31 cm long and weigh 130-165 g.

Scaly ground-rollers are mostly found in lowland rainforests, up to an altitude of 1.000 m, but have also been recorded in second growth areas and forest clearings.

They forage on the ground, among the forest leaf litter, mostly taking earthworms and centipedes, but also spiders, snails, beetles, butterflies, ants, millipedes, and even small vertebrates such as frogs, lizards ans shrews.

Scaly ground-rollers breed in October-January. They excavate a long tunnel on the ground, at the end of which is placed the nest. There the female lays a single whitish egg, which she incubates alone for 18 days. The chick is fed by both parents and fledges 24 days after hatching, but continues to receive food from parents for another month.

IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a small breeding range and the global population is estimated at just 2.500-10.000 individuals. The population is estimated to be declining at a moderate to rapid rate, mostly because of habitat destruction through slash-and-burn cultivation by subsistence farmers. Commercial logging, hunting and predation by village dogs are may also pose a problem for this species.

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