Oriental Dollarbird

Oriental Dollarbird
Oriental Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis, juvenile, Lesser Yangshan Island, Zhejiang, China, September. (Craig Brelsford)

Oriental Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis ranges India to Russian Far East and eastern Australia. In China, cyanocollis widespread breeder southeast of diagonal line stretching from Tibet in southwest to Russian border in northeast. Resident extreme southeast. Accidental Taiwan. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Forest edge, open country; to 1500 m (4,920 ft.). Often stands sentinel on branches of dead trees, waiting for beetles and other large insects to fly by. Flies floppily, heavily. Requires cavity for nest, often using abandoned woodpecker holes. ID Unmistakable. Adult has thick, red, hooked bill, dark plumage, and broad white patches on long, outstretched wings, the white patches resembling old dollar coins and lending the bird its English name. Large-headed, short-necked, short-tailed. Blackish head, dark bluish-green on mantle, wings, and rump. Underparts also bluish-green. Throat bright blue. Juvenile darker, with black bill; dollars less obvious. BARE PARTS Feet red in adult, paler in juvenile. VOICE Raspy, nervous laughter. — Craig Brelsford


shanghaibirding.com has research on all three species of roller in China. Click any link:

Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
European Roller C. garrulus
Oriental Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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