Creation: Lilac-breasted Roller

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Coracias caudatus


The rollers are an Old World family, Coraciidae, of near passerine birds. The group gets its name from the aerial acrobatics some of these birds perform during courtship or territorial flights. Rollers resemble crows in size and build, and share the colorful appearance of kingfishers and bee-eaters, blues and pinkish or cinnamon browns predominating. The two inner front toes are connected, but not the outer one.
They are mainly insect eaters, taking their prey on the wing or diving from a perch to catch food items from on the ground.
Although living rollers are birds of warm climates in the Old World, fossil records show that rollers were present in North America during the Eocene.They are monogamous and nest in an unlined hole in a tree or in masonry, and lay 2–4 eggs in the tropics, 3–6 at higher latitudes. The eggs, which are white, hatch after 17–20 days, and the young remain in the nest for approximately another 30 days.


Of all the rollers the lilac-breasted roller has the most varied plumage. The bird has a large washed green head, strong beak, brown back and scapular, and violet shoulder of the wing, outer webs of flight feathers and rump. The bases of the primaries and their coverts are pale greenish blue and the outer tail feathers are elongated and blackish. The chin is whitish, shading to lilac at the throat and breast. The underparts are greenish blue. Almost a complete rainbow.


Open woodland and savanna. Loves to perch, which makes the bird easy to spot. Widely distributed in sub-Saharan Africa and the southern Arabian Peninsula; common. The rollers in these photos were in the Masai Mara — a national game reserve in south-western Kenya, which is effectively the northern continuation of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.
H/t Project Noah

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0 responses to “Creation: Lilac-breasted Roller

  1. Pretty bird!

  2. hahaha…I was beginning to wonder why I hadn’t seen this
    pleasant little fellow when I got to the Habitat 🙂
    at least you mentioned Lilac …where yesterday my memory froze
    and all I could remember was lavender.
    I wonder if they have a song ?

  3. So pretty! I’ve never seen a bird with the aqua and lilac shades together…I’m trying to remind myself daily to enjoy Nature; it’s still there for us in spite of the colossal mess brought on by homo sapiens.

  4. Where can I get a dozen mature ones to release here? I’m sure they’ll do fine, and won’t pose any threat to the environment, such as it is now that humans have had their way with it! And they’re WAY better looking than 80% of the people I see everyday!

  5. Actually, I’m quite serious. If I can get an ornithologist at the U of Vic to OK their release here, I’d gladly pay to bring this living jewel of the Creation to our island. I’ll let you know how my quest goes on this!

  6. Thank you Project Noah and Dr. Eowyn for this wonderful post! What an absolutely gorgeous bird, another work of art of God!


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