We left the lodge in high spirits hoping to see something amazing today. Sure enough, about 600m into our drive, in the middle of the road, we saw a lilac-breasted roller fighting a scorpion. The roller was trying its utmost to get a firm grip of the scorpion, however the threat of its venomous sting seemed to force the roller to let go.

These two unique creatures were duelling it out for about a minute. The roller eventually managed to get hold of the scorpion and flew off with it while the scorpion desperately tried to find a weak spot where his sting could enter the roller’s beautiful feathers.

Very excited we followed its flight path and saw the roller land on a rock with the scorpion still firmly clutched in its beak. The roller then proceeded to knock the scorpion’s sting off by bashing it continuously on the rock.

It only took a few quick knocks and it was all over. Absolutely amazed by this sighting, we were however not prepared for what would follow.

The roller took to flight almost immediately after bashing the life out of this ancient arthropod species. This time it flew directly towards us! The roller literally flew over the vehicle and landed on our left, only two metres from the road. A few seconds later the roller entered a natural cavity in a tree about a metre up from the ground.

Suddenly we could hear the unmistakeable chirping and squeaking of roller chicks coming from the tree and we realised what was happening – the roller caught the scorpion to feed her new-born babies and we were right there to witness it all…

Please enjoy the video of the new-born chicks undisturbed in the nest, awaiting their mother to return with their next bushveld delicacy!

Fritz Breytenbach

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