Lilac-Breasted Roller Bird of Africa

So Colorful!

When I read about this spectacularly colored bird in our newspaper today I was amazed at its stunning plumage and had never heard anything or known anything about this bird located in Africa, so I thought that others might also enjoy information regarding it.

It is the national bird of Botswana and Kenya and its contrasting colors probably has photographers with cameras and birdwatchers with binoculars happily engaged when spotting it. I know that I would love being able to see such a magnificent multicolored bird flitting about in the wilds of nature. They range in eastern and southern parts of Africa.

Apparently it gets its "roller" name from its aerial antics during breeding season.

Lilac breasted roller bird

Lilac breasted roller bird
Lilac breasted roller bird | Source

Lilac-Breasted Roller Bird is the National Bird of both Botswana and Kenya.

show route and directions
A markerBotswana, Africa -
Botswana
[get directions]

B markerKenya, Africa -
Kenya
[get directions]

Lilac breasted Roller with Grasshopper on Acacia tree in Botswana

Lilac breasted Roller with Grasshopper on Acacia tree in Botswana
Lilac breasted Roller with Grasshopper on Acacia tree in Botswana | Source

Lilac-Breasted Roller

Were you aware that these Lilac-Breasted Roller birds mate for life?

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The male bird flies high and then plunging back towards earth it rolls back and forth before finding a perch near the female he is courting. That is quite the courtship dance of sorts!

Like some other birds, these lilac-breasted rollers mate for life and both birds help incubate the eggs and help feed them after they are hatched. There are normally two to four eggs in the nests at one time. Nesting often takes place in abandoned termite mounds or even in holes made by woodpeckers.

They eat insects, snails, small lizards, mice and even small birds often swallowing them whole. Their size is about 14.5 inches in length.

Perching on trees and the upper parts of bushes in open grasslands is their preferred territory and they fiercely defend their territory from intruders...even larger birds.

Unlike most birds where the male has the more vivid coloration and the females are more drab in hue, both the male and female lilac-breasted rollers are equally endowed with these gorgeous pigmented feathers. The remarkable colors include white, pink, lilac, cinnamon, yellow, black and various shades of green and blue.

This YouTube video shows this magnificent bird in flight...

See amazing photos of the Lilac-breasted roller in flight. So very beautiful!!!

In this video below the balancing act on a windblown branch makes it look like this lilac-breasted roller bird is belly dancing!

Belly Dancing Lilac-Breasted Roller

In this video you can listen to some vocalizations of this beautifully hued lilac-breasted roller bird.

Pretty Lilac-Breasted Roller...hear the sound it makes in this video.

Query regarding this most beautiful bird...

Have you ever seen a Lilac-Breasted Roller bird in person?

  • Yes
  • No
  • No but I would certainly enjoy seeing one in person!
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Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus) Photos for your Enjoyment

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus) photographed in Botswana.Lilac-breasted Roller in flightLilac-breasted RollerLilac-breasted RollerLilac-breasted RollerLilac-breasted Roller
Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus) photographed in Botswana.
Lilac-breasted Roller (Coracias caudatus) photographed in Botswana. | Source
Lilac-breasted Roller in flight
Lilac-breasted Roller in flight | Source
Lilac-breasted Roller
Lilac-breasted Roller | Source
Lilac-breasted Roller
Lilac-breasted Roller | Source
Lilac-breasted Roller
Lilac-breasted Roller | Source
Lilac-breasted Roller
Lilac-breasted Roller | Source

Colorful Birds

Have you ever seen a more colorful bird?

  • Yes...I will tell you in the comment section below.
  • No I have not seen a more colorful one. These lilac-breasted roller birds are stunning!
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© 2016 Peggy Woods

More by this Author


Looking forward to your comments. 18 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hello BlossomSB,

Glad you found this to be interesting. It also interested me when I first heard about this bird.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 6 months ago from Victoria, Australia

Oh, that's interesting. Thank you.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi aviannovice,

In scrolling through your hubs I found the one you did on warblers and made a comment. Loved seeing all the different kinds of warblers you have in Oklahoma.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 6 months ago from Stillwater, OK

I did a Warblers of Oklahoma, if you'd like to see that.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi aviannovice,

Have you written about spring warblers? Would be interesting to learn about them. Appreciate your comment.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 6 months ago from Stillwater, OK

Indeed, they are striking birds. Our spring warblers are showy birds, too, but nothing like this.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Alicia,

Happy to know that you enjoyed reading this.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 6 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

The photos are beautiful, Peggy! What a lovely bird. Thank you for sharing the photos and the interesting facts.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Frank,

So glad to know that you liked learning about the Lilac-Breasted Roller Bird. It certainly is colorful!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 6 months ago from Shelton

Peggy W this does satisfy the bird lover in all of us.. It is a beautiful bird.. what a wonderful hub :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Rachel,

So glad you found this of interest and thanks for the pin.


Rachel L Alba profile image

Rachel L Alba 6 months ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

Hi Peggy, What a beautiful bird. I love birds and love to read about them. Thank you so much for showing this beautiful bird to us. I am pinning this.

Blessings to you.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi BlossomSB,

Yes, amazingly the female is just as colorful.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 6 months ago from Victoria, Australia

I've been helping with mist-nets in South Africa and we saw (and held) some beautiful little birds that were being studied then, but I haven't ever seen this one! He seems quite a character. I was wondering, is the female as colourful, too?


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hello FlourishAnyway,

That is a good description that you made...that of looking like a crazy quilt. :)


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 6 months ago from USA

Gorgeous -- lookalike it's wearing a crazy quilt!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Roberta,

I agree that this particular bird would make for a wonderful and colorful painting. So glad you liked this! :)


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 6 months ago from the short journey

Oh! What a beautiful creature! Your post and pictures have made me want to stop everything and go paint one. I like the very first and very last photos best, for what that's worth. :)

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