The landscaped parks and woodland of the Clowance Property, located between Falmouth and St Ives in Cornwall performed host to an uncommon customer yesterday when a European Curler made a fleeting go to.
The European curler is a brightly colored fowl and the one member of the curler household to breed in Europe. It’s a stocky, crow-like fowl related in form to a jackdaw however with a big, broad head, longer invoice, thinner tail, and really brief legs.
When perched it will possibly look relatively drab, however in flight its good colors turn into apparent. The grownup fowl has reddish-brown upperparts with purple shoulders and rump, and vivid sky-blue wings with purple and black flight feathers. The underparts are sky-blue, and the tail is darkish purple with a broad, white tip. On the sky-blue head, there’s a white space across the eye with a black stripe that runs by the attention, and buff across the base of the darkish gray invoice. The eyes are darkish brown or black, and the legs and ft are yellow.
Female and male European rollers are related, whereas juveniles resemble the adults, however they’re paler and have faint streaks on the breast.
European rollers breed in northwest Africa, southwest, central, and japanese Europe, and central Asia. The European vary was a lot broader, however there was a current decline within the inhabitants within the north and west and it has lately turn into extinct as a breeding fowl in Sweden and Germany.
It’s present in quite a lot of habitats in dry, open nation, together with oak and pine woodlands, lowlands, but in addition farms, orchards, and different areas with blended vegetation.
It’s a long-distance migrate flying over 10,000 km to spend the winters in sub-Saharan Africa on bushy plains, and dry, wooded savannas. Monitoring know-how has discovered that completely different breeding populations migrate to distinct however overlapping areas within the winter. Nevertheless, there’s a correlation between the longitude of the breeding and non-breeding websites, suggesting that the completely different populations of birds migrate collectively.
The household of rollers sits throughout two genera – Coracias and Eurystomus. There are 9 species in Coracias and 4 species in Eurystomus.
Eurystomus have proportionally bigger wings and shorter legs than Coracias which suggests the 2 genera forage in a different way. Eurystomus rollers are quicker and extra agile and catch prey on the wing whereas Coracias rollers seek for prey from a set perch and take it by diving down onto it on the bottom. And it’s only Coracias rollers that carry out the “rolling’ acrobatic courtship or territorial show that provides the household its title.
The European curler is a member of the Coracias journey together with the equally colored Indian curler, and the racket-tailed curler, present in southern Africa and named for its elongated outer tail feathers with paddle-shaped streamers. The Oriental dollarbird is one instance from the Eurystomus genera, named for the pale blue or white coin-shaped spots on its wings.
It breeds on riverbanks, cliffs, and in timber, laying 3-6 white eggs that are incubated by each mother and father for 17-19 days. Solely a single brood is produced per season, however a alternative clutch might be laid if the primary is misplaced.
It has a assorted food regimen, primarily consuming bugs and invertebrates with laborious shells together with beetles, crickets, centipedes, and scorpions, however it’s going to additionally take small rodents, lizards, and amphibians.
European rollers are uncommon vagrants to the UK from southern Europe. In 2021 one turned up in Lackford, close to Bury St Edmonds in Suffolk, however they often solely go to as soon as each few years and it was final recorded in Cornwall in 1994.
The present sighting at Clowance Property, a set of luxurious self-catering vacation lodges, located within the grounds of an 18th century manor home close to the village of Praze-an-Beeble, is uncommon in that the customer has stayed longer than a few days. To date, it has been for per week attracting flocks of fowl watchers, though it has lately moved to an inaccessible location.
Though in 2015 its conservation standing was modified from ‘close to threatened’ to ‘least concern’ between 1990 and 2000 its inhabitants in Europe declined by 25%, and simply 30 pairs stay within the Baltic States and Poland the place it’s on the verge of extinction.
It faces quite a few threats together with unlawful taking pictures alongside its migration roots, and seize for pet trafficking.
Nevertheless, intensive agriculture is the primary purpose for the decline in its numbers as a result of lack of appropriate nesting websites, and pesticides which have decimated the insect inhabitants on which it depends for meals. It shares related ecological must different species corresponding to little owls, hoopoes, and shrikes that are additionally threatened by present farming practices.
BirdLife Hungary has lately put ahead a Species Motion Plan which hopes to cease the decline by 2030 by selling beneficial situations for the European curler. The plan contains banning pesticides and herbicides that negatively impression the European curler, legally shield breeding areas, and stop previous timber from being felled by forestry operations.