European Roller (Coracias garrulus)
European Roller Information & Facts
The European Roller, a most attractively coloured bird, may be seen in open locations with old trees, in light deciduous woods, or in rows of trees alongside rivers.
Length: 30.5 cm. The male and female have like plumage.
Voice: A loud crow-like ‘kr-r-r-r-ak’ or ‘krak-ak’ and a harsh chatter.
Size of Egg: 32.0 – 40.0 X 25.5 — 31.5 mm.
European Roller Habitat
European Roller inhabits southern and eastern Europe as well as the eastern half of central Europe. It is a common species in the more southerly areas and when migrating may make its way as far as Norway, Finland and Iceland. The winter is spent mainly in eastern Africa, from where it returns at the beginning of May to its favourite breeding locations, lowlands dotted with woods and meadows. It is fond of perching on telegraph and telephone wires or poles, from where it has a good view of the surrounding countryside.
The male performs his courtship flight above the tree in which he has located the nest, turning somersaults, darting up, turning on his side and plummeting down again.
The female lays 4 to 5 eggs in the nesting cavity, incubating them herself for 18 to 20 days, though occasionally the male relieves her in this task. The European Roller hen begins incubating as soon as the first egg is laid. The young leave the nest at the age of 26 to 28 days, but continue to be fed by the parents for a short while after. The food consists of insects, which also form a major part of the adults’ diet.
The European Roller is swift and agile, generally catching its prey on the wing. Sometimes it will even capture a small lizard or mouse, beating such a large catch against the ground in order to kill it. In autumn it also nibbles soft fruits. In August or the beginning of September, it departs on its southward journey.