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Lilac-breasted Roller

Beautifully colored, the Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus) has a virtual rainbow of feather colors. Sometimes confused with the Purple Roller (Coracias naevia), its distinguishing feature is its long, straight outer tail feathers.


It performs a wonderful courtship flight, with a fast dive from very high in the sky, with rolling (that’s where they get their name) or a fast rocking motion accompanied by loud raucous calls.


Monogamous and highly territorial, this attractive bird is one of the most commonly seen of the rollers. You can find them, atop a convenient perch, searching the area for a potential meal. It preys on grasshoppers, beetles, occasionally lizards, crabs, and small amphibians but is also known to take small birds. To feed, it swoops down from its perch next to its prey and eats it on the ground or brings it back to its perch where they batter it before swallowing it whole. Lilac-breasted Rollers don’t seem bothered by people one bit, allowing you to get very close for a good photo.