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Lilac-breasted Roller


Widespread in Africa south of Congo Basin, apart from extreme south; also north to East Africa, Ethiopia and Somalia.


Common in open scrub and woodland.


Readily identified by contrast between lilac throat and breast and azure blue abdomen. Forehead and brow are whitish and the back is brown. The blue tail has outer two feathers elongated to form pointed streamers.

Lilac-breasted Roller Click to View Bigger Picture

Call is loud harsh squawk, "zaaak zaaak". They perch single or paired. Often noisy, they are aggressive, taking prey from the ground. One typical aspect of its behavior is to prey on animals fleeing from bush fires.


The eggs (2-3) are usually laid on wood shavings in a tree hollow.

Lilac-breasted Roller Click to View Bigger Picture
Lilac-breasted Roller
Class: aves
Genus: Coracias
Species: caudata
Length: 14 inches
Average Lifespan: 15
Wild Diet: Mainly insects; some small vertebrates.
Predators: Other birds.
USFWS Status: Not Listed
CITES Status: Not Listed
Where at the Zoo? Small Animal Building: Rainforest

Learn more about aves or animals from Africa!
Or, cross-reference the two!

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