This Roul Roul, that goes by the ridiculous scientific name of Rollulus Roulroul, was one of the interesting creatures used to populate the rainforest biome at the Eden Project. The Roul Roul is a type of pheasant native to South Asian and Oceanic rainforests, such as Malaysia and Thailand. They are about 20cm long, with males reaching up to 25cm. The males are distinctive by the bright red crest on their head, as pictured above, which they grow shortly after they are born. They also have a black head and underbelly, where the females have an olive green body and a dark grey head. The Roul Roul will travel in packs of 30 – 50 at the very largest, searching the forest floor for fruit, seeds and small invertebrates that they scratch out with their claws. They have been known to follow herds of wild pigs, such as the Barbirusa native to Indonesia, as they move through the forests in order to eat the leftover fruit.
Roul Roul are ground nesting birds, and build their nests like domes out of leaf litter, created so that it is impossible to see the female from the outside. This gives the birds a serious advantage against predators in the rainforest, such as civets. Once a pair of birds mate and make a nest, they are paired for life, and while the female incubates the eggs, the male will go out hunting and gathering for both of them. The features of young Roul Roul are identical to those of the adults, although their feathers do not yet have the same glossy sheen. These birds young are fairly precocious, but unlike other birds that mature young, Roul Roul will be fed by their parents and live in the nest for a while before joining the group.
These funny little birds really brought the Eden Project’s rainforest area to life, giving the interesting plant life little rustles of movement that kept the wild atmosphere. They are unusual, exceptions to how birds of this kind normally behave, and I feel that there is more to be learnt about them.