BIRDS of THE WORLD - An Online Bird Book


The Coraciiformes are very colorful birds. The order is composed of the following families:
Bee-Eaters: Meropidae  Kingfishers: Alcedinidae   Motmots: Momotidae    Todies: Todidae
Rollers: Brachypteraciidae (Ground Rollers), Coraciidae (Rollers) , Leptosomidae (Cuckoo Roller)


Order Coraciiformes    Family Brachypteraciidae

Genus Atelornis

Roller,_Pitta-like Ground-
  Atelornis pittoides  Found: Madagascar
Image by: 1) Winkelbohrer  2) Frank Vassen - Madagascar  3) Dick Daniels - Ranomafana, Madagascar 4) Attis_1979

Roller,_Rufous-headed Ground-  Atelornis crossleyi  Found: Madagascar
Image by: 1) Skip_Russell  2) David Cook  3) Charles_J_Sharp

Genus Brachypteracias

Roller,_Scaly Ground-  Brachypteracias squamiger  Found: Madagascar
Image by: 1) Boyd Horsbrugh  2) Niall Corbet

Roller,_Short-legged Ground-  Brachypteracias leptosomus  Found: Madagascar
Image by: 1, 2) Frank Vassen - Madagascar  3) Francesco_Veronesi

Genus Uratelornis - 1 species

Roller,_Long-tailed Ground-   Uratelornis chimaera  Found: near coast of southwest Madagascar
The Long-tailed Ground-Roller has long tail; brown upperparts with dark streaks; light gray underparts; white throat with black border;  white stripe at base of bill; blue at edge of wings and tail.
Image by: 1, 2) Frank Vassen   3) Gerry_Zambonini


Order Coraciiformes    Family Coraciidae

The rollers get their name from the aerial acrobatics some of these birds perform during courtship or territorial flights. They reside in warm climates of the Old World. Rollers resemble crows in size and build, and share the colourful appearance of kingfishers and bee-eaters, blues and pinkish or cinnamon browns predominating. The two inner front toes are connected, but not the outer one. They are mainly insect eaters. Rollers nest in an unlined hole in a tree or in masonry. [abstracted from Wikipedia]

Genus Coracias
Coracias is a genus of the rollers, an Old World family of near passerine birds related to the kingfishers and bee-eaters. They share the colourful appearance of those groups, blues and browns predominating. The two outer front toes are connected, but not the inner one.
These are insect eaters, usually catching their prey in the air. They often perch prominently whilst hunting, like giant shrikes.

Roller,_Abyssinian  Coracias abyssinicus  Found: Africa
The Abyssinian Roller has mainly blue plumage; lighter head with dark eye-line; brown back.
Image by: 1) JV Verde - Gambia  2) Frans_Vandewalle - Gambia  3) Henk_Veldkamp   4) Francesco_Veronesi - Gambia   5) Charles_J_Sharp - Senegal

Roller,_Blue-bellied   Coracias cyanogaster  Found: Africa
The Blue-bellied Roller has dark green back; white head, neck, breast; remainder blue.
Image by: 1) Charlie Westerinen - Reid Zoo, Tuscon, Arizona  2) Dick Daniels - Jacksonville Zoo in Florida 
    3) Sandy Cole - National Aviary  4) Dick - National Aviary  5) Dick - San Diego Zoo  6) gisela_braun

Roller,_European  also Eurasian Roller  Coracias garrulus  Found: Europe, Asia, Africa
The European Roller has mainly blue plumage; orange-brown back; black eye-line. It has strong direct flight, with the brilliant blue contrasting with black flight feathers.
Similar to: Indian Roller. The European Roller has striking blue breast; Indian Roller usually has brown breast.
Image by: 1, 2) Arno Meintjes  3) Andy_Morffew  4) Christian Svane  5) Bernard_Dupont - South Africa  6) Andy_Li 

Roller,_Indian  Coracias benghalensis  Found: Asia
The Indian Roller has brownisn breast (can tend to blue in a subspecies); blue crown, vent; purplish throat and neck with white streaks.
Similar to: European Roller. The European Roller has striking blue breast; Indian Roller usually has brown breast.
Image by: 1) JJ Harrison - Thailand  2) Lip Kee - India  3) JM Garg - India  4) Koshy Koshy

Roller,_Lilac-breasted Coracias caudatus Found: Africa
The Lilac-breasted Roller has brown back; violet breast, rump and much of wing; green head; white chin; greenish-yellow legs.
Image by: 1, 2, 3) Dick Daniels - Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa 4) Cristiano Crolle - Namibia 5) Yoky - Tanzania  6) Steve_Garvie - Kenya
6) Juvenile   

Roller,_Purple-winged  Coracias temminckii  Found: Sulawesi (Indonesia)
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans  2) Lip Kee  3) Peter Morris

Roller,_Racket-tailed  Coracias spatulatus  Found: Africa
Image by: 1) Valerie  2) Adam_Dewan  3) Dick Daniels - San Diego Zoo   4) Nik_Borrow - Zambia  5)  Arthur_Chapman - Namibia

Roller,_Rufous-crowned  formerly Purple Roller  Coracias naevius Found: Africa
The Rufous-crowned Roller has rufous crown; chestnut wings; white supercilium; dark eye-line.
Image by: 1,  5) Bernard_Dupont - South Africa 2) Frank Vassen   3) Yoky - Tanzania 
4)  Renier Maritz - South Africa  

Genus Eurystomus
The Eurystomus vary from the other genus of rollers, Coracias in having proportionally longer wings and shorter legs. These morphological differences reflect differences in foraging technique, whereas Coracias rollers forage from a fixed perch and take prey by swooping down onto it on the ground, the faster and more agile Eurystomus rollers catch their prey on the wing. Unlike the Coracias they do not perform the "rolling" display which gives the family its common name.

Dollarbird  also Oriental Dollarbird  Eurystomus orientalis  Found: Asia, Australia
The Dollarbird has brown head that transitions to blue-green body; blue throat, wings, tail; red bill, legs. Nonbreeding red becomes orange.
Image by: 1) Brian_McCauley.  2) Vijay_Ismavel - India  3) Victor_Fazio  4) Hiyashi Haka  5) Lip_kee - Singapore  

Dollarbird, Azure also Azure Roller  Eurystomus azureus  Found: Maluku Islands in Indonesia
The Azure Dollarbird has been considered a subspecies of the Oriental Dollarbird.
Image by: 1) John Gerrard Keulemans  2) Paulo Alves  3) Rob Hutchinson

Roller,_Blue-throated  Eurystomus gularis  Found: Africa
The Blue-throated Roller has mainly chestnut-brown plumage; blue throat patch;blue wings; blue tail; yellow bill. Juvenile shows bluish on underparts.
Image by: 1) Francesco_Veronesi - Ghana  2) Sergey Pisarevskiy - Uganda  3) Dick Daniels - specimen in Nairobi National Museum, Kenya  4) Michael and Helen Cox 
1) Probably juvenile

Roller,_Broad-billed  also  Cinnamon Roller  Eurystomus glaucurus  Found: tropical Africa, Madagascar
The Broad-billed Roller has cinnamon upperparts, head; lilac fore-neck, breast; brwon belly; yellow bill.
Image by:  1) Lip kee - Botswana  2) Margaux1900  3)  Frank_Vassen - Madagascar  4) Nik_Borrow - Liberia  5) Derek_Keats - South Africa   6)   Bernard_Dupont - Madagascar


Order Coraciiformes    Family Leptosomidae

The Cuckoo-Roller faminly contains just one species, the Cucko-Roller. It is unclear what order this bird belongs to. Perhaps it will be placed in its own order, but here it is placed with the Coraciiformes.

Genus  Leptosomus - 1 species

Cuckoo-Roller  Leptosomus discolor  Found; Comoro, Madagascar
The male Cuckoo-Roller has dark iridescent green upperparts; gray breast, head; black crown, eye-line; white belly. Female has brown upperparts; pale underparts with dark spots.
Image by: 1) Barbol Copepodo  Frank Wouters  David_Cook
1) Pair of specimens 2) Female  3) Juvenile male  4) Male

Back to Top