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The Lilac  Breasted Roller

The lilac-breasted roller is an amazing  African bird . From a photographers point of view it is a wonderful bird to capture  as there are so many wonderful vibrant colors to it.  It prefers open woodland and savanna, and generally it is for the most part absent from treeless places. Usually found alone or in pairs,perched on high vantage points from where it can spot insects, lizards, scorpions, snails, small birds and rodents moving about on the ground.You will find it on the ground if it has found an inset on the ground. They are best viewed of the ground as you can get some awesome images when they are in the trees with the right light on them.

Nesting takes place in a natural hole in a tree where a clutch of 2–4 eggs are laid.  Both parents are extremely aggressive while defending  of their nest, taking on raptors and other birds. For there small size they show so much courage and will not be scared off while defending their young.

During the breeding season the male will rise to a fair height (69 to 144 metres), descending in swoops and dives,while uttering harsh, discordant cries.

When on Safari in Africa it is always a joy when you spot this bird as there colors are just so striking.

The diet of the lilac-breasted roller consists of arthropods and small vertebrates, including ground-dwelling insects, spiders, scorpions, centipedes and millipedes, snails, and a variety of small vertebrates, including small birds.

The key in getting a good picture of these most striking birds is to have the light on the right side of the bird and if you are fortunate enough to get the catch light in the eyes of the bird. For those new to photography, catch light is the sunlight in the eyes of the animal or bird and when you capture this , it makes all the difference to the picture that you take.

That’s the advantage for doing an Africa Safari with Africa Running Wild Safaris  where we put you on the right side of the animal for most of the time. Even if you are not a photographer and we get non photographers doing our tours, the big advantage for you is that you will have the right light on the animal or bird. That is half the battle in getting a good picture.

Often we are asked,how do we get images like this with these birds as this is a small bird and we are quite close to the bird. The key is to have a good company that is photography based where they will always wait for a while. More importantly, if we see something that all will benefit from, we will make a stop and capture what  ever the situation is.It is that simple. You won’t come home with images like this if you are on a run and gun safari. Africa Running Wild Safaris will always have time as we know  time is the key ingredient.

The the moments that you have enjoyed in your life are generally the  moments that come from having time.

Vicki and I never get tired of photographing this bird. Every time we see the bird it is always different. There is one shot that we are still to capture.That image that still alludes us is a good shot of this bird in flight. We do have pictures of it in flight but not pictures that we are happy with. This bird in flight has the most vivid blues under its wing. Just stunning and when you see it fly, you just can’t take your eyes of it.

Some say that the bird has 8 colors, others state 12 colors. Either way the colors are awesome and there are many.This bird gets its name due  to their mating display, which consists of a lot of dives and swoops accompanied by loud and harsh cries.It’s a light bird only weighing just over a 100 grams but packs a punch in flight. There life span is roughly 10 years in the wild. These birds usually mate for life.

The bird is common in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana, northeastern South Africa, and much of Namibia although not found in the   the Namibian Desert.Although the bird is common it is far from being common at all. Just a stunning bird and in Kenya it shares the the national bird with the rooster .As mentioned in the past, the gear that Vicki and I  shoot for our wildlife photography is Canon’s 7D mark2 .All of these images were shot on the 100mm-400mm 5.6 mark 2 lens. This is an amazing lens  and is super sharp and crispy clear. There are many options out there for the photographer but for us this is the happy comprise. You can pay a lot more for your wildlife set up but for us, this is so versatile, much more economical and it delivers super sharp images.

This combination of camera body and lens gives us the super sharp shallow depth of field photography for the birds when we are shooting them close up. Join us in Africa and experience the same joy that we do and we are Africa Running Wild Safaris will look after you and give you a photographic tour of Africa that will leave you in awe.

Pete Dobré

Author Pete Dobré

Pete's photography is self taught. As a young child photography was an interest. His passion for the varying landscapes of Oz comes from frequent visits as a youngster, to his Gandparent's sheep farm in Barmera, a small country town in South Australia. Pete Dobré is a Freelance Photographer who blazes the trail for 6 months each year, capturing awe-inspiring images. Pete's work expresses his creative flair, emotions and love for the natural scapes of Australia. He remembers the hot day when he was 8, leaving town for the farm. His parents had an old car. Within about 2 kilometres of reaching the farm gate, they were bogged on a small red sand dune. The flies were buzzing continuously and the heat was beating down. Sticks, leaves and branches were wedged under the back tyres, to get the car moving. His mum was in a panic but Pete thought that it was exciting. From that moment he knew that he loved being out in creation, with the sense of adventure in the wild. This is where Pete's passion began. Photography for Pete is an expressive means for visual communication. He says, 'There is never a boring moment in my work. There is always something to photograph and I love being creative. The only limit to creativity is a lack of creativity.' Pete's aim as a photographer is to present images that provoke and stimulate the mind, to capture God's awesome creation and to share this with others. If Pete can do a little justice to God's creativity, then he is quietly satisfied. As a photographer Pete's inspiration and passion for his work comes from knowing God who created everything in the beginning. Knowing God, the Creator gives more substance and meaning to what he captures on film. Pete sees his role as freezing a moment in time and history which will never be repeated exactly the same again. The light, clouds and seasons will always be different. Pete's love for natural conditions at different times of the day, displaying varying moods and cloud formations makes his work very special and eye catching.

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