Lilac-breasted Roller

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Coracias caudatus

Lilac-breasted Roller

The Lilac-breasted Roller is a robust, large-headed bird, often perched alone on a tree in a grassy clearing, and is almost unmistakable with its colorful plumage tones.

Its length ranges from 14.17 - 14.96 inches (inclusive of the tail streamer of 3.15 - 3.54 inches). These acrobatic fliers have an average wingspan range of 19.68 - 22.83 inches. They have an average mass of 104 grams.

They have a large head with washed green crown. Neck is short. Chin is whitish, contrasting with the bright lilac breast. Face is pale pinkish-orange.

They have brown back and scapulars, but outer web of flight feathers are violet, as the rump. Primary bases and coverts are pale greenish blue. Underparts are greenish blue.

The narrow tail is medium-sized, but outer feathers are elongated and blackish. Black bill is strong and hooked tipped. Eyes are brown. Short tail and small feet are greenish yellow.

Both sexes are similar.

Fledglings are grayish brown when fully feathered, at about 20 days of age.

CALL: A very harsh, a squawk “zaaak”, like a steam train. It utters loud raucous calls while is performing flight displays.

Feeds on insects, such as grasshoppers and beetles, sometimes lizards, crabs and small amphibians. It is also known to take small birds.

Lives in savannas, open woodlands, farmlands, temperate grasslands divided in prairies and steppes, areas with some palm trees, acacia country with spaced trees, and riversides areas.

Found throughout eastern and southern Africa.

Nests in natural cavities in trees, or in termite hills. It may use woodpecker’s and kingfisher’s holes. Nest is unlined.

The female lays 2 - 4 white eggs. Incubation lasts about 22 to 24 days, by both parents. Chicks fledge at about 19 days of age, when they are feathered.


1 comment

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