Eurasian Roller (Coracias garrulus)
aka European Roller

Eurasian Rollers are medium sized, 12" (31cm) birds, with turquoise head, neck and underparts. The upper back is cinnamon-brown, while the lower back and rump are a blue-purple. The forehead and 'eyebrow' are off white. The short, square tail is a mix of blues and greens, looking black in certain light. It looks similar to the resident Lilac-breasted Roller, until one spots the all blue head, throat and breast. In October / November, when it arrives from Europe, the plumage appears pale - but having spent time in South Africa, it returns in March / April with brighter plumage.

The Eurasian Roller is normally alone, often perched on top of a bush, keeping a lookout for both terrestrial food and airborne predators. During migration, it joins flocks of other Rollers, making its way south, or north, depending on the time of year. These birds have weak legs and feet, thus their preference in perching, then flying to catch food. They are excellent fliers and, as their name implies, they dive and roll about in the air with ease.

Eurasian Rollers eat insects and small invertebrates from the ground, swooping down from the tops of bushes. Occasionally, they hawk flying insects in the air.

Eurasian Rollers are resident in Kenya during October / November and again in March / April, some birds staying between these times. They are seen all over Kenya, except in the north-west, where there is dry, open woodland and bush, below 1,500 metres.

Extra Eurasian Roller Facts
Eurasian Rollers are quiet birds, unless during the breeding season, when they become quite voluble, with a choked growl "grr ~ grr ~ grr" or "aaagh".

Photographed in Kenya's Olare Orok Conservancy and Meru National Park.

Categories & Keywords
Subcategory Detail:
Keywords:bird, eurasian roller, european roller, kenya, roller, wildlife

Eurasian Roller ~ Perched in Sunlight

Earasian (European) Roller, perched in sunlight.

Eurasian Roller ~ Full-size

Photograph of full-size Eurasain Roller, in high definition.  Perched on Acacia in perfect light.

Eurasian Roller ~ in Fresh Plumage

Eurasian Roller, perched on a branch, showing fresh plumage.

Eurasian Roller ~ Looking Over Shoulder

Eurasian (European) Roller, perched, looking over its shoulder and up into the sky, searching for predators.

Eurasian Roller ~ Hunting

Eurasian (European) Roller, perched, looking over its shoulder for airborne prey.