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Lilac-breasted roller

Coracias caudatus

Lilac-breasted roller

In the wild these birds can be found throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa, where habitats are suitable. The head of the lilac-breasted roller is green, the chin is white and the breast is lilac.

The roller gets its name from the courtship ritual. The male bird performs a gravity-defying flight with dives, loops, twists and calls to impress their mate.

To feed they sweep down from their elevated perch to hunt from the ground. They then aggressively batter their prey before swallowing it whole. These rollers have uniquely adapted to one natural disaster; bush fires! While these fires can be devastating to wildlife, these rollers purposely hunt near the edge of the fire where prey is fleeing.

Animal class

Forest and grasslands

Diet - Carnivore
Lilac-breasted rollers eat insects and other invertebrates. They will also eat small rodents, birds and reptiles.

Its body length is 32 to 36 centimetres. It weighs around 105 grams.

It prefers the areas between grasslands and woodland, throughout eastern and southern Africa.

Conservation status
The IUCN considers that the lilac-breasted roller is not yet facing a risk of extinction in the wild. They are listed in Appendix II by CITES.

There are no major threats to the lilac-breasted roller at present.

Current population
There are no estimates for the global population of the lilac-breasted roller. However, the population appears to be stable.

Zoo population
There are around 140 lilac-breasted rollers in zoos worldwide.

Key to acronyms

CITES - Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature

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