The European Roller – Near Threatened

I’m still catching up on some photos I took during my break. On my last day out I went to Alarcos, across the old bridge and down to the left. It was the first time I have seen rollers in Spain and there were four of them. They were quite skittish and only on the power lines which I believe they like to use. Their colours are amazing, however I’m afraid my shots didn’t do them much justice, and are even more stunning when in flight.

Since they are listed as Near Threatened I was thoroughly excited to see them, even more so for the first time. Hopefully I can locate them again when I get off the boat in three weeks.

The reason for it’s listing as Near Threatened according to Wikipedia is that “threats include persecution on migration in some Mediterranean countries and hundreds, perhaps thousands, are shot for food in Oman every spring. Use of pesticides reduces food availability, and the species is sensitive to changing farming and forestry practices.” Numbers have decreased dramatically over the past 15 years, with some Baltic countries having had their populations reduced from 100 pairs in Estonia to none, and several 1000 breeding pairs in Latvia and Lithuania to less than 30 since the 70’s. Is it any wonder that I’ve only seen my first ones here this year when they really are so noticeable on wires and trees like huge shrikes the size of a jackdaw?

See European Rollers in La Mancha with Oretani Wildlife.

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