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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16 Comments

on Roller vs. Starling

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Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

Birds are fascinating Bruce. We watched quite a few bird interactions in the Kalahari recently. The best one was three Cape Crows. Two of them were fighting with a third one. They actually had it pinned down on the sand and pecking it. The crow trued to hide in the hollow of the roots of a Camelthorn tree. Every time it came out of hiding, the others were onti it. We did not know if it was for territory or why they behaved like that. And the strange calls and noises they made. Amazing.

Vin Beni
Digital Tracker

Great sighting–loved the imaginative details!

Micki Scherer
Explorer

Bruce, Chuck and I were sitting at breakfast in California checking our emails when we saw your story about the confrontation between the starlings and the purple rollers. We were the lucky couple to be in your vehicle when this occurred……so it immediately brought back all our exciting memories from our recent visit to Londolozi. I think I have the photo you referred to as missing in your article. Is there a way for me to email it to you ?
I’d love to share it.
Best regards and we look forward to seeing more of your posts.

Joan Schmiidt
Digital Tracker

Bruce, I love watching birds, but unfornately who ever I am with does not like watching birds. I like watching birds – the interaction they have, they are so interesting! Great blog today – I have never seen a Purple Roller, I have seen Starlings before. It was very interesting the way the Starlings drove away the Purple Roller.

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Thank you Bruce for the fascinating commentary on these two pairs of birds. Your images helped to explain the posturing by both species, neither of which I’ve seen in the wild. Did all this occur over a few minutes?

Victoria Auchincloss
Senior Digital Ranger

Hi Bruce, it is always interesting watching birds. When I was growing up in DC, we had a bird feeder and
The Starlings were the bullies. They would clear the feeder in a minute. Also they were not shiny and black. So I was pleased that least the roller “fought” back. I suspect city birds do not have any “manners”. It is everyone for himself. Will have to pay more attention to the bird life at Londolozi! Victoria

Mary Beth Wheeler
Guest contributor

Very cool story, Bruce! Those starlings had a purpose! Thanks for sharing.

Andrew and Daniel Bolnick
Senior Digital Ranger

Birds are so underrated. They are one of the animal kingdom’s most amazing creatures. Nicely done Bruce

Joanne Wadsworth Kelley
Master Tracker

Most interesting confrontation! Because of the nest, (that’s what I was thinking), I’m glad the starlings won. Wonderful images!

Bob and Lucie Fjeldstad
Guest contributor

Nice storytelling Bruce with great pics!!!

Leonie De Young
Senior Digital Ranger

An interesting blog Bruce and a chance sighting of interaction between two species of birds. I also enjoy watching the birds in my yard and catching the odd dust-up so to speak between birds. A nice set of pictures also and both species have nice colouring. Thanks for sharing with us, I enjoyed reading it.

Wendy Macnicol
Senior Digital Ranger

Hi Bruce. A wonderful story set out in pictures. However – perhaps my eyes are giving up on me – but you mention the Purple Roller has a purple chest. I don’t see a purple chest at all on these ones. I see the purple tail and the purple on the wings, but not the chest. Am I missing something here? Also, have you had any rain in the last couple of weeks? We had 30 plus mms on Saturday I think it was. Just wondering how the Bush is looking now? The Wintry look or is there any green at all other that the trees which have such deep roots. Wendy M

So lovely to be able to take the time to watch bird behaviour in the bush and especially the less often seen Purple Roller. Does it chirp as loudly and raucously as it’s beautiful Lilac brothers and sisters?

Ian Hall
Digital Tracker

Wonderfully photographed. I must admit that when I wanted to go birding on Londolozi I paid the premium for a sole use Landrover ( and had a wonderful time at the Causeway photographing Kingfishers)

Gawie Jordaan
Senior Digital Ranger

Amazing!

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

Fascinating interaction!!

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