Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Eurystomus orientalis (Linnaeus, 1766)

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum/Division:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Coraciiformes
Family:Coraciidae
Genus:Eurystomus
Species:E. orientalis
Common Names:Dollarbird, Broad-billed Roller
Status:Common resident

Description

The Dollarbird is so-called because of the prominent white patch exposed on its long wings during flight that resembles a dollar coin used in the past.

Size 27–31 cm

Read more about the Coraciiformes order.
Read more about the Coraciidae family.

Localities

Found throughout Singapore and its offshore islands.

Locality Map

General Biology

Dollarbirds prefer open country with tall trees, often perching on dead branches. They are also found in clearings at the edge of heavy jungle, scrub, mangrove, plantations, and gardens. They are normally rather retiring, perching at the top of a dead tree, occasionally uttering a scratchy call. They nest in tree cavities, especially coconut palms and even the exposed top of Nibong (Oncosperma sp.) stakes where an adult was photographed feeding a nestling - also HERE.

An adult's call has been recorded HERE

Dollarbirds nest in tree cavities and there is always a demand for them as many birds are unable to excavate their own like in the case of woodpeckers. An exciting encounter between a pair of Dollarbirds and Jungle Mynas (Acridotheres fuscus) with lots of squabbling, direct confrontation, dive bombing and loud noises, ended in victory for the former is described HERE, illustrated with images.

Dollarbird nests are often raided, as in the case when the Asian Glossy Starlings (Aplonis panayensis) successfully removed a well developed embyro from the former's nest. A more exciting incident was when a Long-tailed Parakeet (Psittacula longicauda) entered the Dollarbird's nest. The latter retaliated by entering the nest and physically dragging the intruder out. After expelling the parakeet, one of the Dollarbirds remained in the nest for more than an hour, its body blocking the entrance and one of its legs firmly placed on the rim, ready to launch off should there be another attack.

Diet

Dollarbirds capture insects during flight and may gorge themselves during a termite hatch. These include alate termites, beetles, mantises, grasshoppers, cicadas and moths. It has been observed feeding its young with shield-bug (Cantau ocellatus) as well as an empty snail (Dyakia striata).

References

Wang, L. K. 2011. Dollarbird. Pp. 294. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors). Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development. Editions Didier Millet, Singapore. 552 pp.

Wang, L.K. & Hails, C.J. 2007. An annotated checklist of birds of Singapore. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 15: 1–179, Singapore.

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