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.