Family Rollers (Coraciidae)

Near Threatened

European Roller (Coracias garrulus)


French: Rollier d’Europe German: Blauracke Spanish: Carraca europea

Coracias Garrulus


, 1758,



Often regarded as forming a species-group with C. caudatus and C. abyssinicus, although those two are probably more closely allied to each other than either is to present species. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. g. garrulus Linnaeus, 1758 – NW Africa, SW, SC & E Europe and Asia Minor E through NW Iran to SW Siberia; winters in Africa S of Sahara.
  • C. g. semenowi Loudon & Tschusi, 1902 – Iraq and Iran (except NW) E to Kashmir, N to Turkmenistan, C Kazakhstan and possibly NW China (W Xinjiang); probably this race breeds in E Arabia; winters in E Africa S of Sahara.
  • Descriptive notes

    31–32 cm; male 127–160 g, female 130–154 g; birds wintering in Africa c. 120 g. A large roller without tail-streamers, proportionately larger-headed than... read more


    Rather silent when not breeding. Typical call a nasal, grating, crow-like “rak”, single or doubled... read more


    Warm, sunny lowlands, at up to 1000 m in C Europe, 1200 m in S Spain, 2300 m in Morocco and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates, mainly beetles and other hard-bodied insects, and some small vertebrates: beetles of at least 14 families represented in... read more


    Lays in May–Jul. Monogamous; normally solitary and territorial, with typical rolling and diving aerial display, rarely semi-colonial... read more


    An intercontinental migrant, almost entire world population wintering in Africa S of Sahara. In... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Currrently considered Near Threatened. European population estimated in 1990’s at c. 16,000–24,000 pairs, with strongholds in Iberia (... read more

    Recommended citation

    Fry, H., Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2014). European Roller (Coracias garrulus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.) (2014). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 6 October 2015).