The family of rollers hold a very special place in the hearts of visitors to Africa. It is also not uncommon to find locals frequently gasping at their resplendent colours. Their hues are best displayed throughout the aerobatics (hence the name ‘rollers’) of courtship and territorial flights. Africa has the most colourful endemic rollers. It is also commonplace to see large telephoto lenses trained on rollers in Mpumalanga and Limpopo, very typically the ubiquitous and relaxed lilac-breasted roller, in the hope of capturing them in flight with their wings open. A less easy task than it sounds to anyone who has ever tried.
A particularly difficult roller to encounter in South Africa is the racket-tailed roller. The distinctive spatulate tips at the end of their tail-shafts give them their name. Their distribution starts at the very edge of north-east Limpopo and runs into central Africa. In South Africa, they are reclusive and uncommon. This magnificent specimen was snapped at 1/2500 sec, f6.3 and using a 28-300 mm lens in Tanzania.
Guest blog by Daniel Polakow
Polakow Photography www.polakow.co.za