1024. Coracias garrula.
The European Roller.
Coracias garrula, L. Syst. Nat. i, p. 159 (1766); Blyth, Cat. p. 51 ; Horsf. & M. Cat. p. 570; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 218; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. 2, p. 19; Brooks, J. A. S. B. xli, pt. 2, p. 73 ; Jerdon, Ibis, 1872, p. 3; G. F. L. Marsh, ibid. p. 205 ; Blyth, Ibis, 1873, p. 80; Hume & Henders. Lah. to Yark. p. 177 ; Hume, S. F. i, p. 168 ; Blanford, East. Pers. ii, p. 125 ; St. John, S. F. v, p. 502 ; Butler, S. F. vii, p. 181 ; Hume, Cat. no. 125; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 48; Scully, ibid. p. 429 ; C. Swinh. Ibis, 1882, p. 102 ; Davidson, S. F. x, p. 296 ; id. Jour. Bomb. N. H. Soc. i, p. 176; Littledale, ibid. p. 197 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 98; St. John, Ibis, 1889, p. 157; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 56 ; Sharpe, P. Z. S. 1890, p. 549; id. Cat. B. M. xvii, p. 15.
Nila Kras, Kashmir.
Coloration. Narrow forehead and chin hoary white ; head, neck, and lower parts, including the wing-lining, pale blue with a greenish tinge ; head above and nape brighter, throat with bright longitudinal streaks ; back, scapulars, and tertiaries light brownish rufous ; 'wing-coverts pale blue, smaller coverts along the forearm deep blue, greater primary-coverts very pale blue, tipped dusky ; quills black, some of the primaries with a greenish gloss on the outer web outside, inner webs of all deep blue on the under surface ; rump deep purplish blue, more or less mixed with light blue and passing into light greenish blue on the upper tail-coverts ; middle pair of tail-feathers dull bronze-green, brighter along the shafts, about the basal two-thirds of outer webs of other tail-feathers dull green, of inner webs black, terminal portion of both webs, broader on the outer feathers, pale blue, extreme tips of outer pair blackish.
Young birds are duller and browner.
Bill black ; iris dark brown ; feet yellowish brown.
Length about 12; tail 5; wing 7.8; tarsus .9; bill from gape 1.6.
Distribution. A migratory bird, wintering in Africa, passing the summer and breeding in Europe and Central Asia (Persia, Turkestan). It also breeds commonly in Kashmir and the Peshawur Valley, and is found during migration in Sind and throughout the Punjab. Specimens have been collected as far east as Dhulia in Khandesh, Ahmedabad, the Satpura hills, Ajmere, Mussooree, and Garhwal.
Habits, &c. Very similar to those of G. indica, but the present species is more often seen away from trees. It has the same peculiar flight, the same habit of tumbling about in the air (whence the name of Roller), and a similar harsh voice, and it lives on insects in the same way. It nidificates sometimes in holes or hollows in trees, often in cliffs or sandy banks, or mud walls, occasionally in ruins, and lays from May to July 4 or 5 or rarely 6 white, glossy, long oval eggs, measuring on an average 1.52 by 1.1.
Mr. Blyth states that he saw a skin from Kashmir showing intermixture of this species with C. indica.