About the Author

Bruce Arnott

Field Guide

Bruce grew up on a plot of farmland in the midlands of KwaZulu-Natal. He always had a passion for the bush and the outdoors, having been camping and fishing since he was a young boy. He attended school in the Natal midlands after ...

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29 Comments

on A Flash of Colour

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Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

Lovely blog Bruce. I have always wondered why the Lilacbreasted Rolleris called a “troupant” in Afrikaans. I know it means a wedding ring, but didn’t know that it is the Zulu and Venda people who has put a symbolic meaning to it and use the feathers in wedding ceremonies. It is the most photographed bird. We saw photographers sitting for hours at a nest in the Kgalagadi. Great capture of the locust kill.

Dina Petridis
Senior Digital Ranger

great pictures !!

Kate Doyle
Explorer

These birds are so beautiful. I’d never even heard of one until I visited Londolozi. Once Shawn told me what it was, I spent the rest of the trip pointing out every single one. They are now my absolute favorite bird!

Judith Slocum
Digital Ranger

Beautifully written and a wonderful glimpse into different African wedding culture. Thank you!

Vanessa Dean
Explorer

Great pictures!!

What a wonderful story. It shows how things that are commonly seen can be so beautiful. People often ignore things that are commonly seen, but they are so worth to be noticed.

Doug Hammerich
Senior Digital Ranger

Spectacular photos! Thank you.

Leonie De Young
Senior Digital Ranger

Nice blog Bruce. Most people on safaris are looking at the big picture, i.e. the big five. You have so many beautiful birds there and the lilac breasted roller is one of them. Fantastic catch of the bird’s catch and good pics of the bird as well. Thanks for sharing with us. I am a bird lover and derive a lot of pleasure watching them at my feeders.

Michael Kalm
Guest contributor

Great story and GREAT pictures!

Bob & Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

Bruce, whilst not a birder, this is our favorite avian to photograph … bar none!

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Fabulous photos of this little, colorful bird- my favorite! Your inclusion of the African wedding customs was fascinating. Who knew a feather could represent a wedding ring or determine whether a couple was meant to be together?! Super blog 👏📷

Wendy Macnicol
Senior Digital Ranger

Dear Bruce. This so reminds me of a very similar experience I had while being driven along in a Landrover on a hot afternoon until with a flash of jewel like colours, a little Lilac Breasted Roller alighted on the road in front of us and killed a Scorpion right in front of us! I asked the Ranger if he could actually eat a Scorpion? He said Rollers do. They just remove the sting. It was a fascinating little sighting which has stayed with me for years and years. The Big Five are great, but I very much enjoy little creatures / birds as well. The Bush is just a magical place, no matter what you see. Wendy M

Jutta Mielke Nestle
Guest contributor

what a great series of pictures from this beautiful coulored bird, perfect in action

Joan Schmiidt
Digital Tracker

Bruce, I love the Lilac Breasted Roller, and have gotten him flight – with his beautiful wing out stretched. It was so amazing that you got him in action killing a locust

Chelsea Allard
Senior Digital Ranger

I spent some time with one when we were there last year. I absolutely adore them. Due to the size of the locust, do they feed in small “bites” like raptors, or do they toss the whole thing down whole?

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Hi Chelsea! Thanks for your comment. The roller will try to beat the insect (and larger prey items) into a shape that it can swallow whole! But not managing this I’m sure it will try to break it into smaller pieces using its claws and whatever else is available. They lack the ‘tearing’ bill of a raptor so will struggle to piece it apart! I hope that answers your question.

Joanne Wadsworth Kelley
Master Tracker

Great to learn the African traditional ties to the lilac breasted roller. What a gorgeous bird! Pretty handy with insects as well! Nice blog.

Suzanne Gibson
Guest contributor

I love these birds and feel I’ve missed out if I don’t see them. However they never stay still for long enough for me to get a decent photo!

Just absolutely stunning bird! Nice article, thank you for sharing.

Vin Beni
Digital Tracker

Great job Bruce with an informative perspective.
We just completed out 4th journey to Landolozi and had fantastic roller sightings with Sean!

Stuart Manford
Explorer

Great Blog Bruce, I was always so quick to characterize them with the likes of impala, “yup, another LBR”. Never appreciating them for the impressive splashes of colour that they are.
Shame on me!
Being based in Australia now, I so wish I could see another LBR!

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Hi Stuart! Haha, I’m glad you’ve come to that realization, that’s great! I hope you get to see one again.

Diana Devaul
Digital Ranger

These pictures are phenomenal. I loved learning more about my favorite bird. Thank you for sharing!

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Hi Diana! Thank you very much! I’m glad you learnt something new. Hoping you are both well!

Susan Strauss
Senior Digital Ranger

Amazing Bruce

Victoria Auchincloss
Senior Digital Ranger

I remember the first time I saw a roller, it was in the air and just as Jess said it was the roller it started to roll and got its prey. They are truly gorgeous birds, but to see one up close and see clearly all its wonderful colors is super. Great photo Bruce. How are you and Robert? Victoria

Bruce Arnott
Field Guide

Hi Victoria! We are so well thank you. I hope you’re doing well too!

Mary Beth Wheeler
Guest contributor

Awesome photos, Bruce! These little birds have been my favorites since my first trip to Africa and I remain fascinated! Your images are spectacular!

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

The most popular bird of the African bushveld!!

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