Lilac-Breasted Roller

Coracias caudatus


The Lilac-Breasted Roller inhabits open woodlands or grasslands with sparsely spread out perches to hunt from. They are native to South Africa and as far to the east as Ethiopia.

Coloration and Markings

The Lilac-Breasted Roller has a light tan face with a dark eyeline and light purple-washed cheeks. The throat and chest is a pale purple down to bright turquoise underparts. The back and upper wings are tan with royal blue primary feathers and a black and blue tail.


Lilac-Breasted Rollers live in small family groups occasionally but typically solitarily or in pairs. They are carnivorous and perch at high vantage points where they wait to ambush their prey. They mate for life and the male does a rolling, diving dance to court their mate. They are cavity-nesting birds who adopt abandoned woodpecker and kingfisher nests and occasionally nest in abandoned termite mounds.


The main adaptation that the Lilac-Breasted Kingfisher displays is the tendency to hunt at the borders of brush fires where fleeing prey will run right into their path.