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|Common Name:||Lilac-breasted roller||Family:||Coraciidae|
|Latin Name:||Coracias caudata||Diet:||Carnivore|
|Native To:||Africa||Social Unit:||Individual|
|IUCN Red List Status:||Least concern|
Lilac-breasted rollers at Edinburgh Zoo
Here at Edinburgh Zoo we have two adult lilac-breasted rollers: a male and a female. The female hatched in October 2003 and arrived here from Parc Paradiso, Belgium in December 2004. Our male arrived in May 2007 from London Zoo, he hatched in May 2003. The two have formed a successful breeding pair, hatching successful clutches in both 2009 and 2010. The youngsters are removed from the parents’ aviary at the natural dispersal age and will be sent to other zoos for their breeding programmes.
Where it can be found at Edinburgh Zoo
Our rollers can be found in our Brilliant Birds exhibit.
Lilac-breasted rollers in the wild
The lilac-breasted roller (Coracias caudata) is found in East Africa, Ethiopia and Somalia, living in savannas, open brush and woodlands. It is a very vibrant bird, with multiple colours on its body. The head is green, the chin is white and the breast is lilac. Its back is brown while the outer tail feathers are black. The roller's underparts are greenish-blue with violet outer flight feathers, and their legs are greenish yellow.
Rollers get their name from their acrobatic courtship flight: a fast, shallow dive from great height with a rolling or fast rocking motion, accompanied by loud calls. Lilac-breasted rollers are either solitary or live in pairs; they are very territorial and will defend feeding grounds and nest holes from intruders.
This species has a mixed diet consisting of amphibians, ants, beetles, caterpillars, crabs, insects and small birds. They perch on trees, bushes or fence posts looking for prey before swooping down to the ground. They either eat the meal on the ground or return to their perch. Rollers are aggressive and batter their prey before swallowing it whole. They also take advantage of bush fires by feeding on prey fleeing danger.
Nests are either made in tree holes or in woodpeckers' or kingfishers' nest holes that the roller has taken over. The female lays two to four eggs, which are incubated by both parents. Nineteen days after hatching the chicks are fully feathered.
IUCN Red List category: Least ConcernAdopt a lilac-breasted roller A great way to support RZSS – buy it for yourself or as a gift for the animal lover in your life!
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