Roller (Coraciidae)

Appearance
There are 5 species of Roller found in Kenya.
Vigorous and highly colourful small birds with large heads and strong bills, that perch in an upright manner. Colours include blues, lilacs and rufous. They have short legs and a reversible outer toe. Sexes are similarly coloured and patterned.

Habits
Rollers can be aggressive little birds, harrassing raptors that come within their feeding or nesting territory. They use fast, exuberant diving and rolling tactics, when flying, after which they were named. Their legs and feet are weak, preferring to fly, rather than walk. Some Rollers are residents, others palearctic or inter-African migrants.

Diet
Rollers perch out in the open, looking for prey. They drop down to collect small insects and vertebrates from the ground, or fly after aerial insects, hawking them in the air. Rollers also gather in numbers if a grass fire starts, picking off insects as they try to escape.

Resident
Rollers are seen all over Kenya, either solitary or in pairs. Most favour bushed and wooded grasslands.

Extra Roller Facts
Rollers nostrils are covered by fine frontal feathers. Their reversible outer toe is joined to the middle toe.

Photographs
Photographed at Kenya's Masai Mara, Meru NP, Nairobi NP and Olare Orok Conservancy.

Eurasian Roller

Eurasian Roller

Lilac-breasted Roller

Lilac-breasted Roller