Dollarbird, Eurystomus orientalis Click to enlarge image
Scanned in 2005 for the Birds in the Backyard website Image: S.G. Lane
© S.G. Lane

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    orientalis
    Genus
    Eurystomus
    Family
    Coraciidae
    Order
    Coraciiformes
    Class
    Aves
  • Size Range
    Up to 31cm

Dark brown body, blue-green wings and back, short orange red bill.

Identification

Mostly dark brown upperparts, washed heavily with blue-green on the back and wings. The breast is brown, the belly is lighter and the throat and undertail are a glossy bright blue. The flight feathers of the wing and tail are dark blue. The short thick-set bill is orange-red, tipped with black. In flight, the clearly visible pale-blue coin-shaped patches towards the tips of its wings, give the bird its name.

Habitat

Open wooded areas, normally with mature, hollow-bearing trees suitable for nesting.

Distribution

Northern and eastern Australia.



Seasonality

A migratory bird arriving during September from New Guinea and adjacent islands to breed. In March or April the birds return north for the winter.

Feeding and diet

Feeds almost exclusively on flying insects. They search for food from a conspicuous perch and then capture it in skillful aerial pursuits, before returning to the same perch. Occasionally seen feeding on grasshoppers on the ground, although this practice is uncommon.

Communication

The distinctive, harsh 'kak-kak-kak' call is repeated several times, and is often given in flight. During the breeding season, pairs are often seen flying in characteristic rolling flights. These flights are more common in the evening, and are accompanied by cackling calls.