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Lilac-breastet roller - at the lunch table

Serengeti National Reservat, Tanzania03.04.2016, 11:59 am

The lilac-breastet roller is a bird species found in southern and eastern Africa. It is about as large as a blackbird, and has an extraordinarily richly colored plumage. The chest is violet, the belly light blue. Head and neck are green, around the beak and over the eyes pulls a white strip, which represents the eyebrows of the bird. The face itself has a reddish brown color. The wings are brownish at the top and the wings are bright blue at the bottom.

Actually, this bird is always present in every park. It is impossible to miss it, but if you want to capture the bird not only with the eye, but also with the camera, this it’s a little bit difficult. Most of the time, his favors end up showing - approaching a branch, sitting around with a beak in the plumage poking, flying away - just a few seconds and then it goes on to the next branch, or somewhere else, where one of the annoying photo- tourists do not disturb and where the possibility is to get a bite.

The small rainy season in the southern Serengeti often has it in itself and demands a lot of animals, humans and machines. The day starts mostly in a beautiful, bright morning light, as one imagines Africa and then changes however usually very fast from a gray to black overprinted sky. This empties in no time at all, as if not enough water could flow from the clouds at once.

The animals are then usually as rooted in the savannah, or looking for a way to let the rain somewhere under acacia to get past. In this time, it is only a matter of time to think about shooting or filming, because by the massive rain and wind, everything dry becomes wet and if you film from the inside of the car outwards, the lens is mostly covered by water droplets or through the water enormous humidity.

Here is patience announced, wait is the motto.
Do nothing further, just enjoy being in the dry.

In the „small“ rainy season, the rains only last briefly and clean everything around. Afterwards, the sky is bluer than before, the shrubs and the bushes next to the road are cleaned of dust and everything feels new and fresh.

Today we are witnessing such a day. An advance with our jeep is very difficult despite four-wheel drive and if, then only on the main route in the southern Serengeti. Actually, we wanted to go to the Leopard-Rock and then to the Hippo-Pool, but that will not be tricky today.

Now, however, the moment has come for the lilac-breastet roller with all its bright colors to come to the fore. Directly in front of us one of this birds has a place taken on a thorny bush.

Now it's up to us!
The super photographers are in line - only the best is always the case.
Uff, already gone again and not even brought the camera in position.
This can not be true, please bird, please come back.
Let yourself be photographed at the arrival and departure and show us everything you have.
But please do it slowly, we are not so fast.

Yup ! Today is our lucky day!
We find a very co-operative lilac-breastet roller fife meter far away from us.
The bird sits at the branch in front of us, and calmly cleans the wings, flies away, but returns as quickly to the same branch.

Now we have tu hurry up to position the camera.
Autofocus, set the exposure time ... .. and wait.
Now the exercise should succeed.
The finger is trembling on the half-pressed release.
The lilac-breastet roller come back.
Now the pictures just fly out.
Juhu it is done, finally the bird is caught in the sensor.

On this day, that was not all we wanted to show the lilac-breastet roller.
We have luck on our side today.
No question, we have to stay here and shoot a few more photos.
Simply overwhelming how this bird presents itself to us.

Once again, the lilac-breastet roller are flying away.
Tense, almost frozen above the camera, we wait for the bird to return.
Suddenly we hear the words of our driver Yahaya "She is hunting".
Whoop, and now fly back to us, that would be the big hammer.
A dream we can hardly believe, the bird comes back.
The lilac-breastet roller has a grasshopper in his beak.
But hello, she does not have a dwarf-grasshopper in his beak, it's a really big specimen.
Now our photo equipments have to prove what’s possible.
The lilac-breastet roller show us everything.
11 photos / sec and 159 photos for a single series.
14.5 seconds and the grasshopper had disappeared in the belly of the bird.

A protein-rich food for one, probably the most beautifully colored birds in Africa.


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Robert Gstaltmaier lives in Bischofshofen, near Salzburg, Austria. As a nature lover and hobby photographer, he has been interested in the African continent for many years. Again and again fascinated form the land, animal world and people, he is now traveling the African continent at regular intervals. In the meantime, there are many thousand pictures and videos of animals in the wild, the impressive landscape of Africa and the people living there.

From a hobby became a passion - from a passion became a heart affair and from a heart affair Wildlife Moments was created.

Here you can find further information on the project "Wildlife Moments“.