Oriental dollarbird

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Oriental dollarbird
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Coraciiformes
Family: Coraciidae
Genus: Eurystomus
E. orientalis
Binomial name
Eurystomus orientalis
(Linnaeus, 1766)
Distribution of the oriental dollarbird

Coracias orientalis Linnaeus, 1766

The Oriental dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis) is a bird of the roller family, so named because of the distinctive pale blue or white, coin-shaped spots on its wings. It can be found from Australia to Korea, Japan and India.


The Oriental dollarbird was formally described by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus in 1766 in the twelfth edition of his Systema Naturae under the binomial name Coracias orientalis.[2] Linnaeus based his description on "Le Rollier des Indes" that had been described and illustrated by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760.[3] The type locality is the island of Java in Indonesia.[4] The Oriental dollarbird is now placed in the genus Eurystomus that was introduced in 1816 by the French ornithologist Louis Pierre Vieillot.[5][6]

A molecular phylogenetic study published in 2018 found that the azure dollarbird (Eurystomus azureus) was nested in a clade containing subspecies of the Oriental dollarbird.[7] Formerly, some authorities have also considered the broad-billed roller and the azure dollarbird to have been subspecies of the oriental dollarbird. The generic name derives from Ancient Greek eurustomos 'wide-mouthed' and the specific epithet is Latin orientalis 'eastern'.[8] Alternate names for the oriental dollarbird include the Asian dollarbird, dark roller, dollar roller, dollarbird, eastern broad-billed roller and oriental broad-billed roller.

Ten subspecies are recognized:[6]


The oriental dollarbird has a length of up to 30 cm. It is dark brown but this is heavily washed with a bluish-green sheen on the back and wing coverts. Its belly and undertail coverts are light coloured, and it has glossy bright blue colouring on its throat and undertail. Its flight feathers are a darker blue. Its bill is short and wide and in mature animals is coloured orange-red with a black tip. It has very light blue patches on the outer parts of its wings which are highly visible in flight and for which it is named. The females are slightly duller than the males but overall the two are very similar. Immature birds are much duller than the adults and do not have the blue colouring on their throats. They also have brown bills and feet instead of the red of the adults.[9]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The oriental dollarbird is found from Australia to Japan and India. It breeds in northern and eastern Australia between the months of September and April and winters in New Guinea and nearby islands. The birds prefer open wooded areas with hollow-bearing trees to build nests in.

Behaviour and ecology[edit]

The oriental dollarbird is most commonly seen singly with a distinctive upright silhouette on a bare branch high in a tree, from which it hawks for insects, returning to the same perch after a few seconds.



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Eurystomus orientalis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22682920A92968881. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22682920A92968881.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ Linnaeus, Carl (1766). Systema naturae : per regna tria natura, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis (in Latin). Vol. 1, Part 1 (12th ed.). Holmiae (Stockholm): Laurentii Salvii. p. 159.
  3. ^ Brisson, Mathurin Jacques (1760). Ornithologie, ou, Méthode Contenant la Division des Oiseaux en Ordres, Sections, Genres, Especes & leurs Variétés (in French and Latin). Vol. 2. Paris: Jean-Baptiste Bauche. pp. 75–77, Plate 7 fig. 1.
  4. ^ Peters, James Lee, ed. (1945). Check-List of Birds of the World. Vol. 5. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 246.
  5. ^ Vieillot, Louis Pierre (1816). Analyse d'une Nouvelle Ornithologie Élémentaire (in French). Paris: Deterville/self. p. 37.
  6. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (January 2021). "Rollers, ground rollers, kingfishers". IOC World Bird List Version 11.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  7. ^ Johansson, U.S.; Irestedt, M.; Qu, Y.; Ericson, P. G. P. (2018). "Phylogenetic relationships of rollers (Coraciidae) based on complete mitochondrial genomes and fifteen nuclear genes". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 126: 17–22. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2018.03.030. PMID 29631051. S2CID 5011292.
  8. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). "Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird-names".
  9. ^ Fry, C. Hilary; Fry, Kathie; Harris, Alan (1992). "Dollarbird". Kingfishers, Bee-eaters, and Rollers. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 305–308. ISBN 978-0-7136-8028-7.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]