Undoubtedly, the lilac-breasted roller easily ranks among the world’s most beautiful birds. It looks like a rainbow. It has around 8 colors; green, white, black, yellow, turquoise, dark blue, reddish-brown, and lilac. Do you love birds? Want to hear some facts about the beautiful lilac-breasted roller? This article will explain almost everything.
This bird is a member of the roller family of birds, which is also known as Coraciidae. The lilac-breasted roller is a strong and swift flier. A Swedish scientist identified as Carl Linnaeus gave the bird its Latin name Coracias caudatus. There are two subspecies, C.c caudatus, and C.c. lorti. The latter is sometimes called the “blue-breasted roller” or the “lilac-throated roller,” and the two subspecies live in different parts of Africa, and their ranges do not overlap.
What does this bird look like? It has a robust body and a proportionately large, green head with a heavy black beak. It has a white chin and a white or yellow band above the eyes and beak. The bird’s breast is a dark lilac that grows lighter towards the throat. The abdomen and underside of the wings are turquoise, and the wings’ underside is also trimmed with dark blue. The upper part of the wings is reddish-brown. Their forked tail, which is also turquoise, ends in black streamers.
Both males and females have the same coloring. Juvenile birds don’t have the black streamers, and their throats and breasts are reddish-brown. As they grow up, their throats and breasts will turn lilac. This bird has syndactyl feet with the second and third toes fused together, like other members of the roller family. While its upper legs have turquoise feathers, its lower legs and feet are bare, scaly, and yellowish.
How many colors does this bird have? It wouldn’t be a mistake to call the lilac-breasted roller the “rainbow roller.” They have around 8 colors; green, white, black, yellow, turquoise, dark blue, reddish-brown, and of course lilac.
Why is it called the lilac-breasted roller? Generally, rollers owe their common name to their mating display, which consists of a lot of dives and swoops accompanied by loud and harsh cries. During a mating flight, this bird will fly upwards for about ten meters (33 feet) and then swoop down with wings closed. In another aerial stunt, the bird will roll from side to side while flying very fast. If the aerial courtship is successful, the two birds will mate in the air.
How big are they? They can be 36 to 38 cm (14.2 to 15 in) long, including the tail which can be 8 to 9 cm (3.1 to 3.5 in) long.
How much do they weigh? This bird has an average weight of 104 grams (3.7 ounces), with the males being slightly larger than the females. What is the lilac-breasted rollers wingspan? They can have a wingspan between 50 and 58 cm (19.7 and 22.8 in).
Are these birds friendly? “Friendly” may be a stretch, but the lilac-breasted roller does not fear humans. You can get quite close to them without it flying off—which is great when you want to take a photo of them. On the other hand, these birds are fiercely territorial, and they will defend their nest if you come too close to it, even if they don’t have eggs or chicks at the time. Also, they defend their favorite hunting grounds and will chase off intruders.
How many years do they live? They have an average life expectancy of around ten years in the wild, and captive birds can live a bit more. The lilac-breasted rollers are ready to breed when they are around two years old.
What birds are eating them? Various birds of prey are the main predators of the lilac-breasted roller. Known predators include Wahlberg’s eagle (Hieraaetus wahlbergi), the red-necked falcon (Falco chicquera), the peregrine (Falco peregrinus), and the Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus).
Are they an endangered species? Their exact number in the wild is not estimated yet, but it is believed to be stable. They are not currently listed as endangered.
What is their diet? These birds eat mainly insects like beetles and grasshoppers. Also, they will eat snails, scorpions, and sometimes small lizards, rodents, and other birds. They like to perch on high treetops or telephone poles to watch for their prey.