Indian Roller

Indian Roller
Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis, Yunnan, China. (Craig Brelsford)

Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis ranges Iraq to Thailand. In China resident southern Yunnan. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Open country and cultivation. Often perches on utility wires, from which it swoops down to capture prey, which includes beetles, grasshoppers, small lizards, and snakes. ID & COMPARISON Unmistakable; easily distinguished from European Roller C. garrulus (which does not occur in Yunnan) and much darker Oriental Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis. Turquoise on crown, wings, and uppertail coverts. Brilliant purple of wings most visible in flight. Light purple head sides, throat, and breast, with light white streaking on throat and head sides. Mantle brownish-green; rump dark purplish-blue. Belly to undertail coverts turquoise. Juvenile browner and paler with less turquoise on crown. BARE PARTS Bill thick, with hooked tip; grey. Feet yellow. VOICE Simple, hoarse call, continuously repeated. — 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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