Sunday 19 May
Short-legged ground roller (Brachypteracias leptosomus)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Short-legged ground roller fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Short-legged ground roller description
This secretive, arboreal bird is the largest of the five species of rainforest ground rollers. It often appears almost immobile, perching motionless for long periods (up to an hour at a time), making it difficult to find (2) (3). With short legs, large head and puffy throat, it has a plump appearance (2). The upperparts are mid green-brown with a purple iridescent colour to the rear crown and nape, while the underparts are much paler in comparison (3). The cheeks and throat are maroon-brown, speckled with white spots and bordered by a wide, white, crescent-shaped breast band (2). The long tail has white tips on the outer feathers and there are fine white tips to the wing-coverts (3). The bill is strong, slightly hooked and dark brown (2) (3). The territorial call of the short-legged ground roller can be heard in early morning or evening, as a long series of single ‘bop’ notes repeated every one to two seconds for around four minutes (2) (3). In contrast, the contact call of this species is a much quieter ‘kroo-kroo’ or ‘poop’, heard during the day (2).
- Brachyptérolle leptosome.
Short-legged ground roller biology
The least terrestrial of the ground roller species, the short-legged ground roller spends the majority of its time perched on branches 2 to15 metres above ground searching for prey (3), 90 percent of which is invertebrates. The remaining ten percent is made up of small vertebrates, such as frogs, geckos, lizards and snakes (2).
Nesting in tree cavities and the root masses of epiphytes, the short-legged ground roller re-nests rapidly after natural nest failure. Pairs occupy neighbouring territories in suitable habitat, with the home range of one pair found to be 19 hectares (3). Observation of one pair of short-legged ground rollers found the nesting period to be around 30 days (5).Top
Short-legged ground roller range
The short-legged ground roller, like the other four ground roller species, is endemic to Madagascar (3). It has been recorded in eastern forested areas (4), from Daraina forest in the north to Andohahela in the south, and is the most localised of the rainforest ground rollers (3).Top
Short-legged ground roller habitat
Largely found in low to mid altitude, undisturbed primary forest, the short-legged ground roller prefers the darker, more humid areas of the rainforest. These areas tend to have moderate ground cover of herbaceous, mossy vegetation and deep leaf litter.Top
Short-legged ground roller status
Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1).Top
Short-legged ground roller threats
The biggest threat to the short-legged ground roller is the loss of its preferred habitat. Forest on the eastern plain of Madagascar has already been degraded, resulting in habitat which is unsuitable for this species of ground roller. One of the main causes of habitat degradation is slash-and-burn cultivation by subsistence farmers. The remaining suitable habitat is now under threat from further degradation, caused by the expanding human population and commercial logging. In particular, lower altitude sites of habitat, which are preferred by this bird, are thought to become increasingly threatened over the next decade (3). In addition, the short-legged ground roller is also threatened by hunting (2).Top
Short-legged ground roller conservation
The Birdlife International Madagascar Programme, founded in 1997, implemented project ZICOMA – Important Bird Areas in Madagascar (IBAs). This was a nationwide survey of key bird sites, and in response to ZICOMA, numerous site conservation projects were set up (6). The short-legged ground roller is now well protected under this programme, being recorded in 23 IBAs, nine National Parks, two Strict Reserves, three Special Reserves, and six Classified Forests (3). It is also hoped that a national bird conservation organisation will be set up to become the BirdLife partner in Madagascar (6). In the future, conservation measures will focus on preventing habitat loss, particularly via the use of fires by subsistence farmers (3).Top
Find out more
For further information on the short-legged ground roller see:
- BirdLife International:
AuthenticationThis information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgTop
- An animal which lives or spends a large amount of time in trees.
- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- Plants that use another plant, typically a tree, for their physical support, but which do not draw nourishment from it.
- Animals with no backbone.
- Primary forest
- Forest that has remained undisturbed for a long time and has reached a mature condition.
- The cutting and burning of forests or woodlands to create space for agriculture or livestock.
- Animals with a backbone.
- Small feathers concealing the bases of larger primary feathers on the wings.
- IUCN Red List (September, 2007)
- del Hoyo, J., Eliot, A. and Sargatal, J. (2001) Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 6: Mousebirds to Hornbills. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
- Birdlife International (January, 2008)
- African Bird Club (January, 2008)
- Thorstrom, R. and Lind, J. (1999) First nest description, breeding, ranging and foraging behaviour of the short-legged ground roller Brachypteracias leptosomus in Madagascar. Ibis, 141(4): 569 - 576.
- BirdLife International Madagascar (January, 2008)
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.