Dollarbird Fact File
Credit: Dominic Sherony, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
The dollarbird is a migratory bird which can be found across parts of Asia and Australia. They will undergo two yearly movements on either side of the breeding season.
These birds are carnivores which feed almost exclusively on insects. They will sit on a perch and then dive down when they spot food.
They will deposit their eggs in to an unlined tree hollow where both parents care for them.
These birds are considered common but their populations are declining.
Read on to learn more about these beautiful birds.
What does the dollarbird look like?
An adult dollarbird has a blackish head and a turquoise belly and lower back. Their is an area of blue-violet on the throat. The tail has a dark tip. Their flight feathers are colored violet-blue.
Under the wing are two spots which are colored pale blue. From a distance these will appear white.
Their beak contrasts against the head and is bright red. Their feet are colored red or a dull orange.
Adults will measure 31cm (12in) long with a weight of 123g (4.3oz).
Males and females have a similar appearance but females tend to be duller. Immature birds are also duller in color.
What does the dollarbird eat?
Dollarbirds are carnivores which will feed on invertebrates.
These birds will perch on a tree or man-made structure such as a powerline. Here they will watch for insects which they can fly out and capture they prey item. They are able to capture food while on the wing and occasionally take food from the ground.
Credit: Mike Prince from Bangalore, India, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Where can you find the dollarbird?
These birds are found across parts of Asia and Australia. Here they can be found in the following countries – Australia; Bangladesh; Bhutan; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; Hong Kong; India; Indonesia; Japan; Democratic People's Republic of Korea; Republic of Korea; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Macao; Malaysia; Myanmar; Nepal; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Russia; Singapore; Solomon Islands; Sri Lanka; Timor-Leste; Thailand and Viet Nam.
The species is an occasional vagrant to Christmas Island and New Zealand.
They are the only member of the roller family which is found in Australia.
What kind of environment does the dollarbird live in?
These animals will make their home in forest and shrubland.
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How does the dollarbird produce its young?
These birds will begin breeding during September. Males will court their mate by feeding her.
The nest is built inside a tree hollow which is not lined. A pair may return to the same nest several years in a row. In to this nest the female will deposit two white eggs. These are incubated by both parents.
Both parents provide care to the young by feeding them.
What does the dollarbird do with its day?
Their vocalization is a harsh, scraping noise.
Across their range these birds undergo a yearly migration. Birds move to Australia where they will breed arriving around September. They return North during March or April.
Outside of the breeding season the dollarbird is considered solitary. During migration flocks of up to 50 individuals may form.
Credit: T R Shankar Raman, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Predators and Threats
What is impacting the survival of the dollarbird?
While considered common across its range this species is believed to be declining due to ongoing habitat destruction.
This bird is also known as the dark roller, broad-billed roller, oriental dollarbird or dollar roller.
Their name comes from the resemblance of the spots on the underside of the wing to the silver dollar coins which were in used in the state of N.S.W at the time of their naming.
The 'eurustomos' portion of their scientific name is taken from an Ancient Greek word for 'wide-mouthed.'
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The Australian Museum. 2021. Dollarbird. [online] Available at: <https://australian.museum/learn/animals/birds/dollarbird/> [Accessed 15 November 2021].
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