European Roller

Coracias garrulus

The European Roller is a summer visitor to much of South Africa as well as most of the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, migrating to this part of the world from Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North Africa. They arrive here from October and depart again from March. Although they migrate in large flocks numbering into the hundreds, European Rollers are usually seen singly or in loose aggregations during our austral summer, inhabiting grasslands, savannas and open woodlands and to an increasing extent coastal heathland in the extreme south. They feed mainly on invertebrates and small vertebrates like chicks, lizards and frogs.

European Rollers breed in the mid-summer in their northern hemisphere abodes, using holes in trees or cliffs as nests in which clutches of 1-7 eggs are incubated by the female for just short of 3 weeks. The chicks start flying when they’re about a month old and remain dependent on their parents for at least another month more. Adults measure around 30cm in length and weigh approximately 120g.

European populations of this Roller has undergone considerable declines in recent years, due to hunting, poisoning and a loss of breeding habitat, though the IUCN still considers it to be of least concern.


38 thoughts on “European Roller

  1. Pingback: EUROPEAN ROLLER – Something Over Tea

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Baie dankie, Dina!
      Ek dink vir trekvoels is die vernietiging van hul habitat nogal n komplekse probleem en wonder hoe dit op hul instinkte inwerk wanneer hul terugkom in n gebied, na n vermoeinde reis, waar hulle gewoond was natuurlike habitat was en dan skielik net n vernietiging daar vind.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thank you, Carol! I was surprised to learn that they’re being threatened in their northern haunts, as they appear to be so common here during our summers. I suppose it is a function of being “crammed” into a relatively small piece of ground at this end of their migration.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. John

        Yes here is actually much space for animals, but most in the north part, Don’t know why they stop to nest here but have read that they are decreasing in number everywhere.

        Liked by 1 person

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