Posted By Zoey T. Posted On

A Highly Distinctive Bird Clad In A Suit Of Pale Blue Flecked With Stunning Sapphire-like Accents!

An overall brilliantly blue bird sporting a very stout crow-like bill.

Meet the European roller:

“European Roller” by Koshyk is licensed under CC BY 2.0. (cropped)

The European roller (Coracias garrulus), a bird of medium size and stocky build, boasts a generously proportioned head, a slightly hooked bill that is long and stout, along with a slender tail and short wings. Its distinctive appearance is marked by a brilliant blue head and underparts, contrasting against its rust-colored back and black flight feathers.

“European Roller (Coracias garrulus)” by berniedup is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Both males and females share this eye-catching plumage.

Juvenile birds looked like drab versions of their adult counterparts.

“Coracias garrulus Ghiandaia marina European Roller” by Michele Lamberti is marked with Public Domain Mark 1.0.

The European roller’s habitat and range are notable. While it primarily breeds in Europe, its distribution extends to regions including Morocco, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

“European Roller (Coracias garrulus)” by berniedup is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The bird favors warm and arid landscapes, particularly those with open expanses and scattered trees such as oak and pine woodlands. It can also be found in environments like farms, pastures, and orchards that offer some vegetation.

“European Roller (Coracias garrulus) in the wind …” by berniedup is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

In terms of diet, the European roller predominantly consumes insects, including grasshoppers, crickets, and beetles. Additionally, it supplements its diet with small reptiles, rodents, and frogs.

Photo courtesy of Christian Svane/CC BY-SA 2.5

European rollers exhibit monogamous behavior in their mating habits. During the months of May and June, these breeding birds come together to engage in the mating process. This period is marked by the captivating display of acrobatic courtship rituals by the paired individuals. In a mesmerizing spectacle, the breeding pairs take to the skies, performing intricate twists and turns in unison, culminating in the act of mating. This breathtaking display is the primary reason behind their appellation as “roller birds.” When it comes to nesting, this species constructs their nests within cliff crevices or holes in trees. Following successful mating, the female proceeds to lay a clutch of approximately two to six eggs within the nest. These eggs are laid with intervals of two to three days between them. Once the entire clutch is laid, the female undertakes the responsibility of incubating all the eggs collectively for a period ranging from half a month to 19 days. After the eggs hatch, the juvenile birds may rely on their parents for nurturing for an entire month. As the young chick matures, it eventually departs from the nest within a span of three to four weeks.

“European Roller beak open” by Steve Slater (used to be Wildlife Encounters) is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Typically encountered alone or in small clusters, the European roller is often observed perched on various prominent structures like posts, wires, and trees. In such instances, its appearance may not be particularly striking. However, the bird derives its name from the captivating aerial displays it engages in during courtship or territorial flights. These displays showcase its striking turquoise wings, capturing attention.

“European Roller (Coracias garrulus)” by berniedup is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The European roller undertakes extensive migrations, traveling long distances. During the winter, it migrates to regions south of the Sahara in Africa, preferring dry wooded savannas and bustling plains as its wintering grounds.

“European Roller (Coracias garrulus)” by Bernard DUPONT is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

This bird is regarded as of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Photo courtesy of Andy Morffew/CC BY 2.0