CREATURE FEATURE: Lilac-Breasted Roller

The Lilac-Breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus caudatus) is an East African bird found from the Red Sea to southern Africa, and most abundant in the grasslands of Kenya.

Lilac-breasted rollers have bright plumage (feathers), with a lilac throat that deepens into a darker lilac breast. The crown to mantle is olive, and the cheeks and ear coverts are a lilac-rufous (reddish-brown). They have long black and blue tail feathers.

Lilac-Breasted Roller

Lilac-Breasted Roller

The average length is 37 centimeters (14.5 inches), with an average wingspan of 54 centimetres (21.2 inches).

The Lilac-Breasted Roller eats insects, lizards, scorpions, snails, frogs, small birds and rodents, such as mice and rats. It perches high in a tree, and swoops on its prey, catching it in its beak. If the prey is small, it will eat the animal on the ground. If the prey is large, it will take the animal to its perch and beat it against the tree until it is dismembered.

It is residential, and does not migrate to warmer climates.

The Lilac-Breasted Roller has a mate for life. Nesting occurs in a natural hole in a tree where the female lays 2–4 eggs. Both males and females keep the eggs warm until they hatch after 22-24 days. The chicks are altricial, which means that they are bald, blind, and helpless. The are fully feathered after about 19 days.

Lilac-Breasted Roller

Lilac-Breasted Roller

Lilac-Breasted Roller

Lilac-Breasted Roller

Lilac-Breasted Roller

Lilac-Breasted Roller

 

 

Photographer: Martina Nicolls

Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

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