It is a delight to watch an Indian Roller in flight, with their distinctive blue feathers and aerobatic flight ‘rolls’ of males during the breeding season in the summer, from where it gets its name.
They are well distributed throughout the subcontinent and can be found perched on wires and trees in agricultural lands, looking for ground insects such as crickets and grasshoppers.
Holes created on palm trees or rotting branches by woodpeckers and insects are often the favoured nesting places. The call of an Indian Roller is similar to the ‘chack’ of a crow or a metallic ‘boink’, and they can be quite noisy during the breeding season.
The Indian Roller has been chosen as the state bird of Karnataka, Odisha and Telangana, and is associated with Hindu legends and sacred to the gods Vishnu and Shiva.
The next time you are driving along an agricultural area, keep a lookout for them on wires and trees. You will invariably see a few of them, and do wait for them to fly to appreciate their gorgeous blue wings.