Indian Roller by Jineesh Mallishery
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The Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis), also called the Blue Jay in former times is a member of the roller family of birds. They are found widely across tropical Asia stretching from Iraq eastward across the Indian Subcontinent to Indochina and are best known for the aerobatic displays of the male during the breeding season. They are very commonly seen perched along roadside trees and wires and are commonly seen in open grassland and scrub forest habitats. It is not migratory, but undertakes some seasonal movements. The largest populations of the species are within India, and Several states in India have chosen it as their state bird. The main habitat is cultivation, thin forest and grassland. They are often seen perched on roadside electric wires. They descend to the ground to capture their prey which may include insects, arachnids, small reptiles (including Calotes versicolor and small snakes and amphibians). Fires attract them and they will also follow tractors for disturbed invertebrates. The display of this bird is an aerobatic display, with the twists and turns that give this species its English name. The Indian Roller has been chosen as the state bird by the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka and Odisha.