Friday, 3 August 2012

Cuckoo roller

Leptosomus discolor

Photo by Alberto Rios (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
cuckoo roller (en); rolieiro-courol (pt); courol vouroudriou (fr); carraca curol (es); kurol (de)


Taxonomy:
Order Coraciiformes
Family Leptosomidae


Range:
This species is only found in Madagascar and the Comoros islands.


Size:
These birds are 38-50 cm long and weigh 190-270 g.


Habitat:
The cuckoo roller is mostly found in moist forests and woodlands, but also in dry forests, grasslands and scrublands, as well as plantations. They are found from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.


Diet:
They are mostly insectivorous, eating locusts, grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars and walking sticks, but are also known to eat small reptiles such as geckos and chameleons.


Breeding:
Cuckoo rollers nest in natural tree cavities, 4-6 m above the ground. The female lays 1-4 white eggs, which she incubates alone for 20 days while receiving food from the male. The chicks fledge 30 days after hatching.


Conservation:
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is reported to be widespread in suitable habitat and elsewhere patchily distributed and uncommon. The populationis suspected to be in decline locally owing to ongoing destruction of natural forest habitat, but the cuckoo roller has proven to be resistant to habitat change and is not targeted by hunting.

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