Help us save the European roller!

par A Rocha France

Faire un don

Help us save the European roller!

par A Rocha France

Faire un don
Help us save the European roller! - A Rocha France

Contribute to study and protect the rollers and give a name to a roller wearing a satellite tag!

Help us save the European roller!

One of the most magnificent European birds

Le Rollier d'Europe

The European roller is one of the most charismatic birds of Europe with its stunning blue plumage. This migratory bird crosses the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean sea every year from southern Africa in order to breed and raise chicks in Europe, a flyway of over 6000 km! Rollers set up in early May in the warmest European territories: Mediterranean regions as well as eastern and central Europe.

A threatened species

Rollers used to be very abundant in Europe but are now dramatically threatened. The roller disapeared from Scandinavia, Germany, Czech Republic and Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, and is closed to extinction in the baltic countries as well as Belarus and Poland. Only a handful of countries still have healthy populations. Rollers are threatened mostly because of the destruction of their breeding and foraging habitats, but also beacause of climate change and hunting in stopover sites during migration.  

How can we help the European roller? 

As rollers need already existing cavities to breed, setting up nestboxes is the main conservation action that has been led so far. Thousands of artificial nests have thus been installed in Europe, but almost no study has looked at the real impact of nestboxes on rollers, and especially whether they can effectively substitute for natural cavities. However, other threats such as the hunting of rollers during migration and destruction of migration wintering and stopover habitats could also contribute greatly to the depletion of the population. Therefore, our research and conservation program aims at:

1- Better evaluating the efficiency of nestboxes programs and disceminate best practice recommendations 

We want to compare artificial and natural nests parameters such as nest characteristics, microclimate and spatial location, and compare the breeding success of rollers between nest types. This will help us to develop best practice recommendations for local and international organizations.

2- Better identifying stopover and wintering areas of European rollers in order to assess vulnerability to climate change, land use change and hunting

We want to follow the migration of breeding rollers in order to identify migration flyways, stopover and wintering sites, and migration calendars. We will use this information to evaluate roller migration sensitivity to climate change and land use change. In 2018, we already equiped 5 rollers with satellite tags that we follow "live" on the Movebank website:

We want to expand the study by deploying more tags in the future, in order to get enough individual routes to be able to extrapolate and publish our results.

Who will be involved in the operations? 

A Rocha France has been working on European roller conservation for over 15 years. In 2002 we set up a network of 50 nest boxes in the Vallée des Baux, Provence. In addition to nest box monitoring and maintenance, we planted more hedges and cavity trees and helped farmers to turn to more nature-friendly practices. Since then, the local population of rollers has been increasing. 

Timothée Schwartz, our scientific director, has been passionate about the roller for 10 years. He is an acknowledged expert of the species in Europe and has been developing various conservation and research programs on the species. This includes a massive ringing program of adult rollers and chicks with over 200 individuals ringed each year. Timothée is working on his PhD at the moment, in partnership with Tour du Valat, PSL University* and the CEFE laboratory** in Montpellier.

*PSL University has been ranked as the best French university in 2018 by the Times

**The CEFE laboratory and Montpellier University have been ranked as the best university in the world  in the field of Ecology by the Shangaï ranking in 2018

How can you help?

We need more satellite tags in order to expand our research on roller migration in 2019. One satellite tag costs around 3500€ and data collection costs around 700€ per tag per year.

Name a roller with a tag!

As we plan to expand our migration study in 2019, we seek support to get more tags and get enough data to publish our results! Scientific research needs replicates in order to be published in international journals. This is by far the most effective way to spread our results and convince the scientific community and politicians to act for roller conservation. Therefore we need to deploy at least 10 more satellite tags in 2019, but at the moment we have funding for only 7.

By giving to help us get an extra satellite logger, you will get the chance to choose the name for the roller that we will equip with this tag!

Thank you very much for your support!

If you want to know more...

A Rocha France website:

Contact directly Timothée:

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