European Roller

European Roller
European Roller Coracias garrulus, Xinjiang, May. (Craig Brelsford)

European Roller Coracias garrulus breeds western North Africa and southwest Europe to Xinjiang. Winters sub-Saharan Africa. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Clearings with scattered trees in dry, open country. Swoops down from perch to capture prey, which includes large insects, small reptiles, frogs, and rodents. Distinctive, rolling display flight, reminiscent of Northern Lapwing. ID Beautiful, distinctive; hard to confuse with any other bird. Stocky, with large head and thick neck. Mainly turquoise above, with orangeish-brown mantle and back. Flight feathers black. Whitish chin and forehead and light white streaking on throat. Juvenile paler. BARE PARTS Bill thick, black; feet yellow. VOICE Rasping, crow-like caw. — Craig Brelsford

THE ROLLERS OF CHINA has research on all three species of roller in China. Click any link:

Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
European Roller C. garrulus
Oriental Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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