Ground rollers are a group of birds found only in Madagascar. Some experts place them in their own family, Brachypteraciidae, although other experts place them as a subfamily of the rollers (family Coraciidae) (3). There are five known species of ground roller in three genera. The long-tailed ground roller is the only species belonging to the genusUratelornis. It is a spectacular bird, and unique in appearance, looking like a combination of a roadrunner, a pitta and a roller (4), a characteristic that earns this bird the specific name chimaera, which refers to the Chimaera of Greek mythology, which was a composite of a lion, a goat and a snake. As the common name suggests, this species has a magnificent long tail, which is brown with dark barring and blue edges. The upperparts are greyish in colour, but streaked with brown, and the wings have a blue streak towards the outermost edge. The breast is white and features a dark breast-band that joins a brown ‘moustache’ stripe (2).
- Brachyptérolle à longue queue.
- Length: 47cm (2)