Sabi Sabi Wild Facts: Lilac Breasted Roller

The Lilac Breasted Roller, Coracias Caudata, is a heavy billed, beautifully coloured bird with a green head, lilac throat and breast, a blue belly and even brighter blue wing feathers. Both sexes have the same colouration.


The species is found throughout Eastern and Southern Africa. The birds live in open woodland and savannah country, bushy game lands, and areas with well spaced trees.

All rollers, including the lilac breasted rollers, are highly territorial. They are also thought to be monogamous.


The species makes their nests in tree holes, as well as in termite mounds. They may also make use of unoccupied or abandoned woodpecker or kingfisher’s nest holes. Both males and females incubate the 2 – 4 eggs which are laid.

The rollers have a distinctive courtship flight, during which they dive from extreme height, rocking and rolling, while making loud, harsh calls.


At Sabi Sabi, the stunningly coloured birds are often seen perched singly or in pairs on telephone wires and at the tops of trees, watching for their food of choice – mainly insects such as grasshoppers and large beetles, scorpions, snails and occasionally lizards.

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