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Lilac-Breasted Roller Bird of Africa

Learning about the fellow creatures that share the planet with us is always of interest to me.

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 is the National Bird of both Botswana and Kenya.

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. They fiercely defend their territory from intruders which includes larger birds.

Lilac breasted Roller with Grasshopper on Acacia tree in Botswana

Lilac breasted Roller with Grasshopper on Acacia tree in Botswana

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 below shows this magnificent bird in flight.

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

Lilac-Breasted Roller

Query regarding this most beautiful bird...

Colorful Birds


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Peggy Woods

Looking forward to your comments.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 30, 2019:

Hi C E Clark,

That is a shame that you are not seeing the typical birds in your area. We still have an abundance of them visiting our birdbath in the backyard. We have bluejays, cardinals, doves, sparrows, mockingbirds, and more. I hope you will soon see them return. Thanks for the shares.

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C E Clark from North Texas on November 30, 2019:

Really enjoyed your great photos and reading about this interesting bird!t It seems to be quite large, too.

I'm a little concerned about the birds that used to live around here. It's been months or longer since I've seen the song birds that used to hang around here. Can't remember when I've seen even a sparrow! No cardinals or blue jays, or anything but grackles, and even they seem to be getting harder to find.

Posting this article on FB & AH. Also, on my personal board labeled "Birds."

Hope all is well with you, Peggy. Take care . . .

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 03, 2019:

Hi Mary,

It would be fun to see this bird flying freely in its native habitat.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 03, 2019:

This is such a colourful bird. I wish to see it one day.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 05, 2019:

Hi Aurelio,

Happy to know that you enjoyed learning about this colorful bird.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on May 04, 2019:

Beautiful and colorful. Thanks for introducing me to this bird.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 08, 2018:

Hi Zia,

Glad you liked this article about the Lilac-Breasted Roller Bird of Africa and learned more about its eating habits. It certainly is a beauty!

Zia Uddin from UK on December 08, 2018:

Lilac-breasted roller bird is a nice bird. It reminded me of the common kingfisher because it looks quite similar except it doesnt have the long pointed beak.

Im shocked that this roller bird eats mice, its a thing which eagles, crows, hawks and owls etc would tend to go for as part of their diet. The common cuckoo eats hairy caterpillars, another nice bird with a bad taste in food. I guess birds are strange.

Lovely article, will share and pin.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 02, 2018:

Hi Rajan,

I agree with your assessment. This is certainly a brightly colored bird.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on October 01, 2018:

It indeed is an extremely colorful bird and good looking too. Thanks for sharing.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on August 26, 2018:

Yes it is Peggy. After I commented I looked again and it was only really one image

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 26, 2018:

Hi Ethel,

It probably has its feathers fluffed up in some of these bird photos. I do think that this type of bird is a beauty with all of its various colors.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on August 26, 2018:

Such a beautiful bird. Has a sleek body but an untidy looking head too.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 29, 2017:

Hi Patricia,

Isn't nature wonderful! The lilac-breasted roller bird is certainly a colorful one. Your little grandchild Heston Wayne likes rainbows from what you have written. He would undoubtedly like the colors of this bird.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 29, 2017:

What a beautiful bird...the video certainly showed to well the vibrant colors of the plumage. I was thinking it might be called rainbow bird due to the varied colors.

So glad you shared this lovely creature with us....Angels are headed to you and yours in Houston. ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 18, 2016:

Hello BlossomSB,

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

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on March 17, 2016:

Oh, that's interesting. Thank you.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 13, 2016:

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.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on March 12, 2016:

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

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 11, 2016:

Hi aviannovice,

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

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on March 11, 2016:

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

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 11, 2016:

Hi Alicia,

Happy to know that you enjoyed reading this.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 11, 2016:

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

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 10, 2016:

Hi Frank,

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

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on March 10, 2016:

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

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 07, 2016:

Hi Rachel,

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

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on March 06, 2016:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 06, 2016:

Hi BlossomSB,

Yes, amazingly the female is just as colorful.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on March 06, 2016:

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 Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 05, 2016:

Hello FlourishAnyway,

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

FlourishAnyway from USA on March 05, 2016:

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

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 04, 2016:

Hi Roberta,

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

RTalloni on March 04, 2016:

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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